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Brisan Motorcycles: Newcastle and the Hunter’s largest motorcycle dealership

Brisan Motorcycles Managing Director Clint Davis in The Australian Business Executive

A renowned Australian family-owned business, Brisan Motorcycles has satisfied over 100,000 motorcycle riders, lovers and enthusiasts for over 30 years across Australia, providing the largest range of quality new and used motorcycles in Newcastle.

Managing Director Clint Davis has been with Brisan Motorcycles for fifteen years, and has recently taken full control of the dealership. He speaks to us about the range of products the dealership stocks, the changes in vehicle buying habits over the years, and the successful growth that looks to be continuing through 2021 and beyond.

Quality new and used motorcycles

“Brisan Motorcycles is a retail motorcycle, power sports and scooter dealer,” Mr Davis says. “We are based in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle area in NSW, and representing a number of motorcycle brands and power sport products.”

The business has been operating for 35 years, and has been under the same ownership – a partnership between Mr Davis and his father, Ray Davis – for the last fifteen. A recent restructure has seen Ray Davis’ resignation as a director and shareholder, with Mr Davis taking over operations in full.

As a semi-rural, semi-metro dealership, based in the very heart of Newcastle, Brisan Motorcycle deals in a wide range of products, suiting the many different needs its customers require. Historically, it has been focused on the road bike range, selling products by brands such as BMW and Triumph. 

“More recently we’ve picked up brands such as Kawasaki, Suzuki, and have been expanding our product offering with partnerships with brands such as Indian and quite a number of scooter brands like Vespa, Piaggio and SYM Scooters. We also have some cruiser products, such as Indian [Motorcycle], and some other European brands as well.”

To differentiate from local competitors, Brisan works hard to be a one-stop-shop with its product offering. The dealership often leads with the motto: ‘if you can’t find a motorcycle in this dealership, then motorcycling isn’t for you.’

“We’ve got road products, adventure products, off-road, power sports products such as the Polaris range of off-road vehicles, and also scooters for the more metropolitan rider who’s looking for a commuter product to get around town.”

Brisan Motorcycles Managing Director Clint Davis in The Australian Business Executive
A renowned Australian family-owned business, Brisan Motorcycles has satisfied over 100,000 motorcycle riders, lovers and enthusiasts for over 30 years across Australia, providing the largest range of quality new and used motorcycles in Newcastle

Another part of the business is customers modifying their vehicles for extra purposes. This certainly appears to be the case in the cruiser and adventure touring side of motorcycling.

“Customers are looking to ride those vehicles for longer periods, so often accessorise their vehicles. Those type of brands – such as BMW, and Triumph, and Indian – a lot of those customers do more kilometres per year than the average rider, so they’re often accessorising their bikes, plus their rider wear, to be fully equipped for that long haul ride.”

Additionally, customers with off-road vehicles, of which there are a wide range of side-by-side vehicles for both rural and recreational use, often look to bolt-on accessories and options for more appropriate use for the terrain and operating conditions they’re riding in.

“When we took over the business fifteen years ago, it was a much smaller operation. We had eight staff at that time, and I think in the first year of business back in 2006, we retailed about 212 new and used motorcycles.” 

Since that time the business has grown primarily through brand and business acquisitions, with a lot of the brands being amalgamated into a new facility, which it moved into a few years ago.

“We’ve moved from a 600sqm facility, and we’re now in a 2,500sqm facility with 13 brands under that roof, and now have 35 full time staff working in the business. We’ve gone from selling 212 motorcycles in 2006, to this year selling over 1,500 motorcycles.”

Over the last fifteen years there have been a few notable industry trends that the dealership has had to adapt to, the most significant being the GFC in 2008, which had a particularly large effect on high-end, discretionary-spend products the sector we operate in.

Brisan Motorcycles Managing Director Clint Davis
Brisan Motorcycles now offers 13 brands, with 35 full time staff working in the business

“From 2017 to 2019, the industry had a fairly tough run for a few years. The market was down over 30% over that period, and there were a lot of discussions in regards to the tightening of discretionary spend for customers, with house prices going up, wage growth fairly stagnant, and cost of living increasing as well. That took its toll on the industry those years.”

Since then the industry has been somewhat booming, being one of only a few fortunate industries that has managed to benefit off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many outdoor activities have seen large industry growth.

One trend that has been growing throughout 2020-21 in the wake of the societal changes created by the pandemic has been in family riding, with couples in particular opting to purchase vehicles together.

“It’s been a real swing in the trend. Before COVID-19, previously the amount of times we’d see a couple come in looking to buy two motorcycles, one each, I could probably count on one hand. That’s been really nice to see. I guess there’s a desire for people to share riding and motorcycling together, and we hope that trend continues.”

The sports touring market used to be one of the biggest industry sectors, but over the last 5-7 years this has changed dramatically to a customer base where touring riding is done on adventure bikes.

“As people look to get off the beaten track, explore this beautiful country of ours, they’re looking for an adventure bike which enables them to take that dirt road, that fire trail, get away from the cities and hustle and bustle, and really experience what motorcycling’s about.”

The dealership is in a really interesting period of operations, with the business and industry both posting strong numbers, meaning things are looking good for the rest of 2021 and beyond. Find out more about Brisan Motorcycles by visiting www.brisans.com.au/motorcycles.

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