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MotoMacGyver
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks, I just read an article at Motorcycle Online (www.motorcycle.com) that Arai is trying to make (making?) a policy change so that any of their new helmets (manufactured after 09/01) CANNOT be sold mail order or through the internet. They MUST be bought at a retailer!

That's it. It's Shoei's for me from now on. I like my helmet and all, but I've had too many unacceptable levels of quality from my almost $500 dollar (retail) helmet. I won't bore everyone with my helmet's foibles again. I just wish I'd bought mine online and saved a $150 bucks like Phillip (PDarnall) did.

This policy is pure crap! You know the real reason is because retailers probably got all up in arms about people coming to the store, trying out the size they want, then going home and ordering it for boat-loads cheaper on the Net. Well, what do you expect when you mark up a helmet %30 more than mail order? God knows how much the markup is over cost. This pisses me off.:yell: :yell:

Emrah
 

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Wheelie for Safety
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Emrah,

If I were Arai I would do the same thing. I suspect Shoei and others will most likely do the same. It costs a lot of money to keep a store open. That is why the price might be a little higher in a store.

If I were a manufacturer I would want to make sure the retail stores carried my product. I suspect you are correct, the stores threatend to stop carrying their product.

I would rather go down to a local store and compare products then to buy over the internet and wait.

Going down to a store and trying out a product, then going online to order it is like stealing from the store. If the store price are too high then I go to another store.

I got my Shoei RF-800 for $200.00 at a local store. It was a better deal then I could of got from an internet dealer.

I like to support my local economy by buying local. It helps to get a better price when I research and compare store prices.

Andy
 

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Dirty Harry.... Moderator
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You do have a good point Andy. I bought my 2nd helmet from buykawasaki.com and got exactly what I paid for, a POS. My first helmet came from the dealer, a Fulmer, that is much better than that color matched helmet, and about $100 less. My next will be a Shoei however. Tom
 

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My sentiment runs generally like most others. That's fine if they want to do it, but they better do something about the dealer prices. Making a profit I understand, screwing the customer I do not. I don't really care yet as I have been wearing Shoei's for 10 years.

Another point, totally unrelated. Why is MO three weeks behind in their reporting of this news? This topic has been raised, argued, and forgotten on most Auto/MC lists and forums already.
 

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I don't think there's an easy solution or explanation for Arai's decision. This kind of stuff has been going on for years.

I used to do the old "try it out in the shop and then buy mail order" thing alot. I wasted many a salesman's time in audio shops listening to systems, and then went out and bought my stuff (Denon, Boston Acoustics, H-K, etc) at about 50% lower from mail order warehouses (in the days before the internet). I actually feel guilty about it now.

Recently though, I have second thoughts about doing that. I figured since I tried on my Joe Rocket Atomic jacket at the shop, I would go ahead and just pay the extra 30 bucks and be done with it. Same with the Joe Rocket Rhino boots. That's not to say I don't buy anything online, but I don't do it for gear that I try on at shops.

Just food for thought-

kelly
 

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West Coast Moderator
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I think Arai is doing a good thing not providing (or saying they're not) the helmets on-line. Fit and customer satisfaction is very critical when it comes to gear, especially somthing that could do more harm than good if it doesn't fit properly. Have you ever riden in a jacket that's too big only to fight it the entire time? A helmet is not something you want to be fighting while you're riding, and the prices some guys pay for a helmet, they figure they'll wear it whether it fits right or not. That's dangerous.
 

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Dirty Harry.... Moderator
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You are right Martin. I just spent the last 30-45 minutes on parts411.com looking at helmets, everything from BELL to SHOEI, Nolan, Beiffe, Arai, HJC you name it, they have 'em...anywhere from $80 to $500. I think I'll buy my next from the dealer though. tom

It's somewhat kin to my feet (which are very flat and cause me a great deal of pain) I don't order shoes/riding boots on the 'net.
I believe Andy or Scottaraujo suggested putting on a helmet at the d'ship and walking around in it to make sure the fit was right.
 

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Sorry Tom, I hit "submit reply" instead of "preview reply" and I was really starting to ramble so I had to go back and edit. But either way, you're still going to find good prices at the shops, too.
 

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Funny thing this. I went shopping for helmets for the kids and wife. We went into a shop and tried on helmets just checking things out. When I got home I checked out the prices on the internet, even without shipping some of the helmets were cheaper at the store and it was a wash when I looked at them all.

Plus, not a single internet site spent any time showing my 6 year old daughter how to put the helmet on and take it off and made sure that it was the best fitting helmet for her even through it ended up being the least expensive one. Or answered my 8 year old son's million questions about everything in the shop.

When I go and buy these helmets I know where I'll be going.
 

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part of the reason why the internet can be so much cheaper is that vendors don't have to keep upwards of several hundred helmets in stock in various sizes and colors. that's a lot of overhead for a shop to pay. internet and mail order houses also don't have to pay salespeople. finally, they often buy and sell discontinued, year old or odd lots at very low prices. with their wide distribution they can afford to do this.

BUT gouging customers is never ok. i'm with tom, i like to try on what i wear before i buy it. savings can quickly be eroded by paying shipping back and forth on something that didn't fit.

generally if the price is close i'll pay a little more to buy at a shop i like. that's important, if the staff is not helpful and cooperative i don't owe that shop anything. if there is a vast difference in price i'll mention it and try to bargain. shops are often happy to accomodate you *especially* if you are a regular/return customer. i have a life long 10% discount at the shop where i bought my first bike and i got 20% of everything i bought on the day of purchase. on two arai helmets that saved me around $180. there's room to bargain.

scott :)
 

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Arai and local dealers BS

On soapbox!

I wanted to buy my new Arai Quantum/f and another THH (for the kid) from my local dealer... I tried, I really tried.

Problem #1) He didn't have a "Sport Blue" in stock. It was going to take him about two days to get it from Rocky-Tucker.

Problem #2) They wanted about $450 for the helmet. I told him that I could get it for $317.00 from www.Parts411.com He said that all he could do was give me a "10% discount." So now I'm down to about $400 for one helmet and a two-day wait. I didn't ask about the extra THH!:mad: I would have paid $350 cash or so for the first lid.

Solution: I placed an order with www.Parts411.com for both helmets. They were both in and ready to go within two-days (from Rocky-Tucker!). Now here is the kicker; I got both helmet for about $405.00 out the door!

Myths: "It doesn't cost anything to do business on the web." www.Parts411.com had four employees answering phones. They were sitting in a pretty good sized warehouse. Toll free phone numbers aren't free to the owner. Hosting fees for a pretty good sized web site can be very expensive. What does it cost to maintain a huge web site? I don't think their web master works for minimum wage like the guys at the dealerships?

Chaparral Motorsports is one of the largest dealerships in the USA. They are located in a brand new two-story building and getting ready to add more sq. ft.! The first floor is a huge dealership with all of the standard stuff. The second floor is for the mail/Internet side of the business. In fact from what I hear, the mail/Internet side of the business carries ($5~$10 million per year) the downstaires operations. Their combination of business seams to be working. They have been around for about twenty-years and have expanded (buildings) about four times.

If my local dealer can't discount like a mail/online vendor. It's because he doesn't want to - it's too much trouble.

May be dealerships should stick to selling just bikes? I'm sure the after market can handle the rest.

Philip
Off soapbox:z
 

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philip, i didn't mean to imply that it doesn't cost anything to run a web business. i know it does. i just meant that with a larger distribution area and no showroom it's easier to make more efficent use of people. sales people on a floor do lots of different jobs. sales people on the phone are more focused in their tasks.

in your situation i would have done the same thing. that's too much of a price difference even with shipping figured in. you gave the dealer a fair chance to compete for your business and they lost.

scott :)
 

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Scott

I hear ya! Some of these dealers are friggin' crazy. You know the old saying: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

Hey you missed a great ride with Emrah and Martin!

Philip
 

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Wheelie for Safety
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Its true that most motorcycle dealerships are a rip off when it comes to selling riding gear. Only one dealer in our area has good pricing (Honda in Milpitas). They are a very large dealership and have a great selection.

However, there are several smaller motorcycle accessories stores (like Zoom Cycle Accessories in Santa Clara) that have very competitive pricing and a big inventory of riding gear.

Andy
 

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MotoMacGyver
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Discussion Starter #16
I think Phillip said more clearly than what I was trying to say. I do tend to rant...

I agree with the "support your local store" philosophy ONLY up to a point. When I can save $150 and the best that they can offer me is a "10% discount", sorry, but my loyalties lie with my wallet. If we're talking $20-$30 bucks, well, the story changes. Hey, even I paid full price (and I mean FULL) at my dealership, because I was there, they know me (sort of) and my size and color combo was available. In other words, I paid for the CONVENIENCE of walking/riding off with the helmet then and there without worrying about mail order, waiting for it (I'm really impatient), returning it if it doesn't fit, etc.

Like I said, I'm all about supporting the local guy, but there's a limit. I have no idea what the markup is on most Arais, but I'd guess when they sell a helmet for $450 dollars retail (plus tax, but that has nothing to do with them), and sell others online for $317, you can bet it costs them at least 20%-30% less than that. I hate paying for double markups.

And if Arai were so concerned with their private retailers, they would reduce the price of their helmets. I chose the Arai because it fit me best and is considered (arguably) the top helmet out there. Shoei is probably less than a hair's width behind, but much cheaper. I bought the Arai becasue it fit me better than the Shoei. Even though I knew I was paying through the nose for the name as well. Let Arai sell their lids at a cheaper cost to their marketers (stores), and close up the "markup gap", and I too would find it hard to justify mail order. Until then...

Emrah
 

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The timing of this thread is just to funny. I have been e-mailing Todd at The Helmet Harbor for the past 2 days looking to get an Arai from them. The nearest Arai dealer is almost an hour away from me. I am only interested in an Arai because the Signet GT will give me some MUCH needed chin room due to its oval shape.

I think Arai is making a HUGE mistake. Their "name" means nothing to me except they make a helmet that will fit my large skull. Yes they make a good helmet but so do others. By making it more difficult for the consumer they are taking a HUGE risk.

Word of mouth is a powerful thing, if people start getting disenchanted due to the hassle of buying an Arai they WILL influence others. Others that have easy access to an Arai dealer may look at other brands because of what they heard for a friend. Then their cash cow dealer purchases will start to
dry up because the dealers won't be able to move their stock.

I don't see a lot of Arai's on the road now. And the only time a MC dealer has EVER helped me with a helmet is when I bought the bike. In fact I was in a Yamaha dealer yesterday looking at helmets and they didn't even speak to me....even when I started looking HARD at the three 2002 FZ1's they had ($8699). MC dealers amaze me at how some of them even stay in business but that is another topic for another time.

I don't mind supporting the "local dealer" but not when there a $150 price difference and not when the "local dealer" is over an hour away. Bottom line convience and price, the "local dealer" can't provide either.

Chris
 

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My approach to this is pretty simple. Whenever I'm ready to purchase tires or accessories I first go on the web and find the best price (inc. shipping). Then I go to the dealer where I purchased my bike and give them a chance to at least come close to the web price. They always do, so I buy from them. Usually they'll be about 10% above the web and 20% below their "retail" price.

I like supporting my local dealer and they have treated me fairly. On the other hand, I agree with some of the others here - if they would'nt come down to a reasonable price I would defintely buy on the web.

When I bought my bike the dealer extended a 10% discount on anything in the store for 30 days (I know, big deal). But after "influencing" a friend to buy a new Vulcan 800 Classic from them, they have extended the 10% discount for life. It's kind of moot as I always negotiate a better price anyway.
 

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THE JUDGE
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Anothing thing to think about....
I just ordered my new Arai from my local dealer and it will cost me $75 more than what I would have paid online. There really is some reasoning behind my going ahead and paying the extra. My husband's arai has had several problems, simple, but several (vent thingy's breaking off, or face shield problems)....anyway, he took it to the dealer, and they fixed it, no questions asked. Had the same thing happened and he had bought it online, he'd have had to mail it to Arai (paying shipping himself) had them fix it and send it back. At LEAST a week (and that's giving them a lot) before the helmet is back.

I decided to pay the extra for the ease of getting warranty item taken care of on the helmet. Those little plastic pieces for the vent hole covers aren't fancy, but it would be a pain in the butt to have to mail it off to get that fixed when the local dealer can fix it on the spot.

It doesn't bother me if people buy off the net, but the dealer told me that Arai was doing this because of liability issues. If someone buys a helmet off the net and it doesn't fit right, they crash, Arai gets sued. If Arai sells only through licensed dealers, people are more likely to talk to salesmen, and make sure the helmets fit properly, and therefore protect the way they are supposed to. (That's just what my friend who works at a dealership told me).

Anyway...I'm still excited about my new arai, even if I did pay a little more for it. Oh, and my dealer is throwing in a different size cheek pad, that normally has to be paid for in addition to the helmet if you want to change it. :)

I don't care where ya buy it....just buy one!! :)
 
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