All In The Family At Cycle Sports
Zooming down the road on a motorcycle and zooming around the family business is how many members of the Montgomery family spend their time.
“We’re one of the top five oldest motorcycle dealerships in the nation owned by the same family,” says Ross K. Montgomery, the distributor representative and grandson of the company’s founder, the late Al Montgomery Sr., who died in 1989.
Second and third generations of the Montgomery family are in charge of operations at the dealership, whose name many locals will recognize as the company has been around since 1946.
Montgomery Motors’ Cycle Sports is a distributor of Suzuki motorcycles and outboard engines for boats in the state of Hawaii and Guam. With 24 employees and a location on Iwilei Road on Oahu and one on the Big Island, Cycle Sports has a warehouse and retail showroom with the latest machines in the industry. One of its fastest motorcycles in stock is the popular Hayabusa model, with 195 horsepower. Another top seller is the GSX-R series sport bike, which Ross describes as “nimble.” The ETON moped and Motorex Oil round out some of the other products available at the shop, which stocks biking accessories such as jackets, gloves, boots and helmets as well. At the Iwilei location, two full-time and three part-time mechanics poke, prod and pick out problems with bikes.
“We are the first in the state to have a DynoJet Dynometer,” explains Ross. “This machine allows us to test ride and go through all the gears. We can remap the computer to tune it so it can perform better. “
Ross says one of the challenges of running this business is keeping up with the industry and all the technologies, brands and product knowledge.
“To be on top of it all, we look at dealer magazines, motorcycle magazines, industry e-mails, websites and we have discussions with sales representatives,” says Ross, who is also the current president of the Hawaii Motorcycle Dealers Assocation.
The firm keeps in touch with customers with a mailing twice a year - for its May Madness sale and its customer appreciation sale in December.
It all started when Al Montgomery Sr. moved to Hawaii in 1943 from Oregon, and he worked as an electrical journeyman, and a volunteer firefighter. After work, Al Sr. fixed bikes in the living room of his home in Pearl Harbor. He stored parts in a closet of a spare bedroom. He fixed bikes and sold them to nearby military members, who sold them back to him when their tour was complete. Then that bike was sold to another servicemember. His wife encouraged him to turn this hobby into a business, and in 1946 Montgomery Motors opened its doors on Dillingham Boulevard. At one time, all of their children worked in the store: Melanie, Al Jr., Mark, Brett and Stafford. There also were seven shops across the islands in the past. A walk down the shop’s Hall of Fame shows many of the company’s historic highlights, which include selling the first motorcycles to the Honolulu Police Department.
There’s lots of family at the helm. Al Jr. began taking over the company in 1973 when he was in his 20s; he now serves as the president. His wife, Jackie, is the office manager. Their son, Ross, is the distributor representative and manager. Their daughter, Errin Sanford, is the distributor representative who works with dealers. Her family has brought in the fourth generation with her four children, ages 1 to 9, to possibly carry on the dynasty.
Brett is the vice president and sales manager. Stafford is the service manager. Stafford’s son, Travis, is the service writer and the person folks will see if their motorcycle needs repairs. Travis’s wife, Jazz, handles finances, insurance and warranty issues. Travis and Jazz also have contributed a member of the fourth generation, as they have a newborn.
The company is looking forward to selling the first fuel-injected RM-Z 450 dirt bike, which arrives in the islands in December, and sponsoring the upcoming Rock Island Riders Maunakea 200 Motorcycle and ATV race in May.
April 2008 will mark the company’s 62nd anniversary.
“We really appreciate all our customers and the state of Hawaii for supporting us for more than 60 years,” says Ross.
Montgomery Motors’ Cycle Sports is located at 818 Iwilei Road. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 536-7023.
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