Private Equity Firm Buys Controlling Stake in Cycle Gear
When it comes to looking for a place to get your motorcycle gear and apparel stores in the US, you’d be hard-pressed to find a shop that has as many of your needs as Cycle Gear. The nationwide retailer has been a pillar of the motorcycle industry in this country so when news came out that private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates, L.P. had swooped in and purchased a controlling interest in the company’s stock from previous owner Harvest Partners, LP, we had to come out and bring it out of the woodwork.
A lot of us have had dealings with Cycle Gear in the past, some not going past the mailboxes where the store sends their annual catalogs. But for those who have been to Cycle Gear or bought some bike parts and accessories in the store, this transaction is interesting to take note of, if only for the fact that the new owners could change the makeup of the company.
We already know that a major shakeup is in order in Cycle Gear’s upper management, most notably William E. Watts, a partner at J.W. Childs, assuming control as the new chairman of the company. Hopefully, the new owners don’t change a lot about the company from its current iteration. It’s not immune to issues, but for the most part, Cycle Gear has lived up to its status as one of the country’s premier motorcycle shops.
Here’s to seeing more of that success continue now that it’s under new management.
Click past the jump to read more about Cycle Gear.
Why it matters
If you’re not all too-familiar with Cycle Gear, you only need to check out its website, cyclegear.com, to understand how extensively its motorcycle catalogs really are. Whether you’re in the market for motorcycle tires, jackets, helmets, or any other kind of paraphernalia, Cycle Gear has plenty of them to offer you. Some might even fall under the clearance rack, which is a double bonus if you’re looking for the right item.
Now that it’s under new ownership, there might be some apprehension on the changes J.W. Childs Associates will have that will affect the consumers. Hopefully, that’s not the case here. We like how Cycle Gear’s already setup and we assume that its new owners will feel the same way. Granted, a few changes could be beneficial, but let’s try to believe that Cycle Gear will continue as it is, offering a wide variety of motorcycle gear and apparels that a lot of bike heads will continue to patronize.
Cycle Gear was founded in 1974 and in the years since, it has become arguably the most recognized national retailer dedicated to motorsports riders and bike enthusiasts. In the years that have gone, Cycle Gear has grown so much that it now has well over 112 stores spread across 34 different states. That’s not even counting its online presence, which now accounts for a big part of its business, and its annual catalogue that numbers close to 13 million copies every year.
For those who’ve been to a Cycle Gear store, it would be easy to understand why the company has lasted this long and has had so much success. It’s got a highly engaged team of motorcycle enthusiasts acting as staff members. On top of that, it also has a presence in over 1,000 bike events every year, whether through sponsorships or simple community rides in various parts of the country.
The company’s track record is the likely reason why Boston-based private equity firm J.W. Childs purchase a majority stake in the company. The private equity firm has been around since 1995 and has since invested close to $3 billion of equity capital in companies like Cycle Gear. Hopefully, this purchase goes well for all parties involved.