TWMX All Access: EVS Sports

s EVS been around, and how did it get started?

Since 1985…With motocross athletes plagued by the injuries of increased speed, fierce competition and natures land, EVS was born. 

Over the last 20 years of hard product development, testing and research, we have released a series of the finest products ever to hit the motocross market. 

Today¿s athletes are falling victim to one of the most devastating competitor ever ¿ injury. With the same dedication motocross athletes put into their sport and the endless moments of sweat, blood and tears¿EVS has spent the past two decades solely focused on keeping them safe. Keep in mind that EVS is ¿The Original Protective Gear Company¿.

What was the first EVS product?

The original product, the AMX-5 knee brace, which has been worn by some of the world¿s most prestigious athletes was the building block for today¿s most complete protection product line ever….EVS.   It didn¿t take long to realize the need and demand for a complimentary soft goods line and so we set out to expand.

Where is the company based at?

We operate out of two offices. Our production, warehouse, design and manufacturing is located in Rancho Dominguez, California.  All sales, marketing and rider support takes place in our Midwest office (Janesville, Wisconsin).

What’s your role at EVS?

Originally when I started seven years ago, we were a company of five; two owners, a warehouse manager, a receptionist and me.  I was the sole person based out of Wisconsin – California housed the other four. As a start up company there was many jobs and hats that I wore in the beginning.  Fortunately now we¿ve grown to the point where we have personnel in place to handle the important facets of our business…(rider support manager, export manager, and in-house designers, inside sales) now it¿s a management role I play.  Currently I manage all of our three large distribution partners: Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, and MC Stuff along with key National accounts. With the owners of the company (Kevin Hinyub and Guido Rietdyk) focused on strategy, design and manufacturing, I oversee the day-to-day sales and marketing functions along with yearly goals and budgets.

Obviously all the EVS products are applicable to other sports and other uses, but are they all moto-related in origin?

Since 1985 all we¿ve done is motocross protection. Even though our products find their way to orthopedic surgeons for medical prescription for all sports injuries, our focus in product design always starts with the needs of the off-road motorcycle rider. We pride ourselves on being the protection leader. It¿s grown to be a viable category in the motorcycle industry. If you look back five years ago, you would have never seen a knee brace advertisement in a magazine like TransWorld or MXA, but today you¿ll see a multitude of functional kneepad ads. We¿ve shown the industry that there¿s a market, and it¿s a segmented market for protection. Dealers understand that it¿s a product line that they can stock. Riders can come in and purchase a knee brace, a neck support, and a shoulder brace product to keep them in the sport that they love.  It¿s come a long way in the last five to seven years. Years ago people were saying, ¿What¿s a knee brace?¿  Now it¿s, ¿What kind do I choose and why?¿  Our slogan¿s always been, ¿A knee brace is like a helmet for your knees.¿

Is there a medical (prescription) side to the business as well?

We do a good amount of medical business but our day-to-day focus is moto, moto, moto.  Every product we design has one thing in mind…riding a dirt bike!  We have never been the company to nufacture a product for the masses and then try to make it work for the motorsports market.  The features we build into our products are rider conscience through and through.

What are some of the highlights of the EVS line? Best-known products…products that stand out from the crowd…products that you’re particularly proud of?

We have been the innovator in this market segment, so to be very honest, I am proud of the whole line of products that we offer.  We really pride ourselves on research and design.  We were the innovators to bring so many products to the motorsports market and design them to give our athletes the best possible protection.  Look at items like the RC2 neck support system, Vision knee brace and SB03 shoulder brace.  These products have truly impacted our industry and we are continuing to raise the bar time and time again.  At EVS we truly believe that R&D (Research and Design…..not Rip off and Duplicate) is the key to true success!  And judging from the amount of copy-cat products launched by our competition, many prove to agree with the merits and quality of our designs. 

Does the average motocrosser wear enough safety gear? Is it even possible to wear enough safety gear?

With less than 20% of the MX riders wearing knee braces, I would say the knee brace market is way under developed.  We are making every attempt to overcome the hurdles of this every day.  With proper education and key products like the EVS Vision, the impact has been amazing.

With the top pros wearing little to no chest protection, it makes it a difference in what sells at the dealership level. Underprotectors are becoming more and more popular with the look of pro riders wearing less and less.  With EVS products designed-to-ride theory…chest, knee, elbow and neck protection is much less obtrusive then in the past.  As a whole, I would say ¿no¿ the average motocrosser does not wear enough protection.  Injury is the biggest competitor on the track!

How about pro riders not wearing chest protectors or other visible gear. Do you think that negatively impacts what the average rider wears for safety gear?

I feel that the gear sponsors for the pro riders should make a chest protector mandatory in their contract.

I feel that the average rider knows what he/she is capable of and they know what is best for them, so I don’t believe that affects the average rider.  In the youth market, the parents typically want to put as much gear on their child as possible, which keeps them protected and safe.

How about some of the younger guys like Villopoto or Millsaps, who are bucking the fashion trends of the older riders, and using neck rolls (or in Davi’s case, a helmet donut)?

I think it is great! I just wish riders would understand the medical aspect of this item.  Education plays the key ingredient in making this product a success.  Riders need to understand the concepts behind spinal damage and how to use a neck support properly.  Strapping a piece of foam to the neck line of your chest protector doesn¿t provide adequate spinal and collarbone protection.  Most neck injuries occur by the driving force of the chin towards the sternum.  Frontal protection is a must when educating anyone on neck support systems.

Who does R&D for EVS? Who are some of the riders who put the prototypes through their paces?

An elite group of orthopedic and trauma surgeons assist in the medical applications of our products.  We also use select riders of all levels to test and abuse the products we develop for fit, function and durability.  In addition we work in cooperation with top national and international universities to design and test our products.  In testing our concepts and getting data on their effectiveness we¿re positioned to come up with the most ideal products that really provide proven protection to the user.  We are a brand that you can trust to come up with products that work.  If it doesn¿t work, it won¿t have EVS on it. Period!

How are EVS products sold? Distributors? Direct?

The majority of EVS sales are sold through our distribution partners: Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky and MC Stuff.  We also handle some main key accounts in-house.

What’s in the future for EVS?

We¿ve got a hot line up of new products including a brand new knee brace.  It¿s a little too early to let the cat out of the bag, but it¿s some technology that¿s never been done before. We¿ve got new neck support systems coming out that are over and above anything that¿s ever been seen or done. We¿re really raising the bar and developing products that require a lot of engineering and thought that take the rider into consideration – so it¿ll be a good year for 2006.

Contact:

www.evs-sports.com

ositioned to come up with the most ideal products that really provide proven protection to the user.  We are a brand that you can trust to come up with products that work.  If it doesn¿t work, it won¿t have EVS on it. Period!

How are EVS products sold? Distributors? Direct?

The majority of EVS sales are sold through our distribution partners: Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky and MC Stuff.  We also handle some main key accounts in-house.

What’s in the future for EVS?

We¿ve got a hot line up of new products including a brand new knee brace.  It¿s a little too early to let the cat out of the bag, but it¿s some technology that¿s never been done before. We¿ve got new neck support systems coming out that are over and above anything that¿s ever been seen or done. We¿re really raising the bar and developing products that require a lot of engineering and thought that take the rider into consideration – so it¿ll be a good year for 2006.

Contact:

www.evs-sports.com