Coleraine-based SuperTrike is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop and market innovative products for motorcycle and scooter enthusiasts throughout the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.
The new business, formed by two local engineers, John French and Raymond McMullan, is introducing the manufacture of a range of upmarket motor trikes and three-wheeled scooters to Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic using conversion kits from a US market leader. It has already received enquiries from Spain for the new trikes.
Both partners are experienced businessmen: Mr French runs SurfTech International in Coleraine and is a former R&D director of Seagate Technology in Limavady, while Mr McMullan owns McMullan Motors in Coleraine. The new company’s works and showroom will be based within McMullan Motors.
The Coleraine company will use kits from MotorTrike of Dallas, Texas, the US market leader, to convert Honda and Harley Davidson motorbikes into trikes. It will also distribute trikes made by MotorTrike in the US.
Invest NI’s North West Local Office (NWLO) in Coleraine is backing the business, which is expected to provide four new jobs over the next three years, with marketing support under the Export Start programme.
Mr French, commenting on the new business venture, said: “Our decision to set up a trike business in Northern Ireland is the result of extensive research into a market opportunity that we identified from the tremendous popularity of these vehicles in the US.
“Interest in trikes in the UK and Ireland has also been stimulated by the recent Billy Connolly television series. Furthermore, several premium motorbike dealerships, including McMullan Motors in Coleraine, have also been receiving requests for trikes and are now including these in their portfolios.”
Mr McMullan added: “MotorTrike in Texas has experienced double-digit sales growth in nine of the past 11 years and has averaged 25 per cent per annum in the past five years.
“Our strategic focus is on the development, marketing and technical support of premium quality trikes using the best Honda and Harley Davidson motorbikes. Our conversions will be carried out here in Coleraine and at the MotorTrike plant in Texas. This will ensure high quality products.”
Mary Gormley, NWLO Manager, said: “The company is built on the matching skills and knowledge of its two founders, who have combined experience of over 50 years in manufacturing and marketing. They are introducing a product that is successful in the US to developing markets in the UK and Republic, both of which have a deeply rooted interest in motorbikes.
“Another important aspect of this new business is the relationship which it has already developed with the US market leader for conversions and with another company for the supply of bikes for conversion.
“The company is also targeting existing motorcycle dealerships and seeking to increase awareness through its participation in major events such as the Ulster Grand Prix and the development of a website.”