Jay Ridley replies to my readers regarding their comments after my article “Ridley Motorcycles Trying A Come Back ”
“Reader. I am surprised and grateful to see the continued interest in our motorcycles. In 1995, my father and I started with a dream to build the ultimate ¾ scale motorcycle. Over the company’s fourteen year history our business grew exponentially with the help of our investors, vendors, the media, service centers and of course each and every Ridley Owner and Dealer. Like every other manufacturer, we began to feel the economic conditions change when lending requirements were tightened on retail buyers in 2007. Unforunately, we were not able to make the necessary changes to keep the business funded through these tough times. This left us with several significant liabilities that created a situation we could not overcome without a swift recovery in the market.
Through nearly all of 2009, Ridley Motorcycle was actively seeking a partner who could capitalize the company through a partnership or outright purchase of the company. Eventually, the closing of Ridley Motorcycle was forced by our primary lender, Midfirst Bank. Despite having taken them a buyer for the company who was willing to guarantee the company’s loan, the Bank refused our solution and chose to auction the company’s assets. Our company was committed to making the dream of riding come true for thousands of riders. We combined a low seat height with a lighter vehicle weight and a fully automatic transmission in a traditional American motorcycle style to create the perfect easy to ride motorcycle. We knew when we started building our first model that it would not be for everyone. We purposely built each model so that it did not complete with any other motorcycle in the market. From the beginning every effort was made with good intentions to build a strong brand with an excellent reputation.
As the comments suggest on this blog, all of the company’s vendors took a hit. The average vendor was owed less than $400. We made every effort to stop ordering parts and even returned parts when we knew that we could not pay for them. Most of the vendors accepted our returns; however, some did not for obvious reasons. It was our newest vendors who we had not done years of business with that lost significantly. The owners of our motorcycles also stood to lose a great deal.
I am passionate about our product. I also regret the situation that developed that caused the company to close and ultimately file for bankruptcy. Ridley Genuine Parts was founded after the bankruptcy to provide support for the owners of Ridley Motorcycles. We are offering original equipment parts and technical support so that these bikes continue to make the dream of riding a motorcycle come true for years to come. The relationship between RGP and nearly all of Ridley’s vendors is good. We have made arrangements with most of the original vendors to continue to have parts made and to purchase parts.
I appreciate everyone ‘ s responses both positive and negative. 666- Please call me. (877) 311-0008. Maybe we can work something out” Jay Ridley, Ridley Genuine Parts.
From MN with LOVE- Unfortunately my father only serves as a consultant for us from time to time. I wish I had his help; however, he has moved on to other projects.
Capt. Phillips- We appreciate your help. Margins are tight for everyone these days. We continue to push Owners to you at Beast Custom Cycles!
Lola, Jill, & Carol- Thank you for your continued support.
Minnesota Rider- The context of the conversation I had with the dealer in New York had to do with how Twin City Custom Cycles was doing so well. Instead of misleading him, I explained what I knew about the situation. You are right, we should have given Twin City Custom Cycles more credit and pats on the back. Unfortunately, Twin City is no longer servicing the Ridley’s with parts from RGP.
Zyon- Yes, the situation was not good. I too am not happy with the way things progressed; however, I am trying to make the best of this very bad situation. I am trying to make sure those Owners with several years of payments left to be able to enjoy their motorcycles. As long as we continue to support the Owners, I hope they continue to support us.
Scot- In a bankruptcy everyone loses, especially the vendors. It was a very frustrating situation. I am very grateful that nearly every supplier you listed continues to do business with us.
Robert Curtis- Unfortunately that is the situation. The bank was secured partially by the company’s inventory of $3mm plus in parts and nearly $1mm in motorcycles. Vendors were owed around $200,000 total excluding Midfirst Bank.
Ronnie- I agree. We found a growing niche of automatic riders. Its not for everyone, but it is perfect for new riders. And yes, I don’t expect the vendors to give us any terms.
Wiz- Thank for you your feedback. Our 750cc design was not intended to be a hotrod. More of an unintimidating cruiser. As suggested in a later post, I am working on something a little bigger.
Bigalyts – Yes, this situation has become more common in the last few years. We never intended to lose our business. Between my father and my family it was a total financial loss. And your point about Honda, the market is obviously very limited which allowed a small startup like ours to gain momentum. It would have been easier to have been a big clone bike, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as rewarding as helping all of these people realize their dreams of riding.
Art Welch- I appreciate your help in marketing and selling our motorcycles in Minnesota. I have learned a lot from our dealings. Over the past five years we have not and probably will not see eye to eye. We both grew our businesses and now I hear you have an incredible Indian Motorcycle dealership. Congratulations. I disagree that I have done anything illegal. Your information on the NASCAR sponsorship is incorrect. The terms of the sponsorship were never disclosed at the request of the Team owner. I am not a NASCAR follower, but I can respect their audience and marketing power. It was for three of the final race in 2006. Brad Keselowski was the driver. Your information about the Midfirst auction was also incorrect. I did not bid the parts personally, but was in the audience during the entire auction. I was surprised you did not attend.
Marty- Corbin’s show did a lot for Ridley. I wish it was still running. At the bank’s auction there were roughly 200 people. Only two people bid against us. One I did not know and the other was a local gentlemen who later told me he was going sell it all at swap meets. I was very surprise no one else bid on it.
Rod- Thank you for your comments. I am glad to see you understand the situation.