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SPORT QUADS: JUST RESTING

June 12, 2009
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SPORT QUADS ARE JUST RESTING
      I saw an ad for a radio station on the freeway the other day. It said “the only station that DOESN’T talk about the economy.” I understand completely. But somehow I’m still talking and listening to talk about the sad state of financial affairs in America. I must be one of those guys who watches NASCAR for the crashes.
      For the record, the economy will come back, and it will probably be in my lifetime. It’s kind of interesting how it has affected dirt riding. From what I can see, people are riding ATVs and dirt bikes more than ever. Most racing venues are having great turnouts, riding areas are as full as ever and repair business is booming. None of those things require a loan. New ATV sales, on the other hand, sucks. Not long ago, I went to Chaparral Motorsports, which is a huge dealership in San Bernardino, California, to research a story on good deals. They had some amazing prices on new ATVs. Invariably, the ones with the best prices were sport quads; specifically the KTM-powered Polaris 450s, the Can Am DS450s and even the Yamaha YFZ450s (all non-current models). Why are people riding sport quads buy not buying them? Beats me, but that state of affairs can’t go on for long. In the meantime, guys who actually can buy a new ATV are the beneficiaries.
      KTM picked the absolute worst time in history to jump into the sport ATV market. The company did a great job with the product; the race quads they sell are lighter, faster and have better suspension than anything else you can buy. They also come stock with nerf bars and bumpers, but you have to pay for all that stuff up front. A new KTM 450 motocrosser has an MSRP over $11,000. They haven’t sold many. It turns out that even in a good economy, most ATV riders would like to make all those upgrades for himself. Yes, you will spend over $11,000 on a Suzuki if you want to make it work as well as the KTM. You’ll spend even more on a Kawasaki or Honda. But KTM robbed riders of the fun of building their own creations. When you build up your own machine, you get to make it your own, personal expression. It’s like a kid who builds a model airplane–what would be the fun in buying one that’s already glued together? As a result of  this oversight, KTM probably will not produce any more ATVs for 2010. They aren’t getting out of the market, but they’re just resting for now. Maybe they’ll try again in 2011. It probably won’t be long before we start seeing some KTM deals, too.
      The Catch 22 about all these great deals on sport quads is that there’s no financing. And as soon as that gets ironed out, the prices will doubtlessly go back up. But if you CAN buy now, you win. It might be worth giving up your cable TV package and that daily trip to Starbucks.–Ron

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