Walking into the lobby at Acerbis USA, it was easy to see the European flavor you’d expect from the Italian-based company. Signed jerseys from current and former sponsored riders line the walls, including international riders like Josh Coppins, Pit Bierer, Mickael Maschio. They’re also extremely excited about an apparel deal they’ve signed with multi-time World Champ Stefan Everts, who will be in Acerbis gear for the next five years.
The first question we posed to Carey Pennington, our tour guide through the Acerbis USA headquarters, was about the European flavor of the their gear. “In the past, it definitely had more of a Euro feel. Over the past couple years, though, the U.S. office has had more influence in the design and can more easily track color trends that work for the U.S. market. With our 2003 Impact gear, I think we’ve made some big forward strides. Our riders and customers have been really excited about the design, fit, and color combos. It has a lot more U.S. influence, and it shows.”
Well-known for their plastic accessories, it was also hard not to notice the influence of another area where Acerbis accessories gotten a lot of attention and acceptance--off-road. Maybe it’s the vast assortment of hand guards that they offer, or their monster-sized accessory tanks and quick-fill systems favored by GNCC and Baja competitors. But they’ve been a long-time plastic supplier to the Kawasaki and Suzuki factory teams, and their new XR50 plastic kits are available in all the normal bike colors so riders can “convert” their bike to their brand of choice. Acerbis has also had a full line of chest protectors, and was among the first to offer a full range of sizes.
So with being so well-known for plastic, but making forward rapid forward progress on apparel, where is their primary focus these days? “It’s definitely on apparel. We’re looking to expand in that area, and we’re focusing more on motocross. We’ve been extremely happy with the riders we sponsor like Erick Vallejo, who has been doing really well in the 125cc East. For 2004 we’re also starting to look for a full-time high profile 250cc rider, or to maybe sponsor a satellite team like MotoworldRacing.com.”
Part of the crew who’s looking for new and upcoming riders is Tallon Vohland, who joined Acerbis after he retired from racing at the end of 2002. He now spends his weekends traveling to races supporting Acerbis-sponsored riders. The Sacramento-based Vohland became fluent in Italian while racing overseas, and can easily communicate with the both the U.S. office, and the Acerbis headquarters in Bergamo, Italy.
Another area that Acerbis would like to expand is with their line of boots. “We’ve gotten some really favorable comments from riders who have used them, even from riders who have used Alpinestars in the past.” In the future, you may see sponsored riders get dialed in with a head-to-toe apparel package. Acerbis offers a line of helmets in Europe, but they have yet to apply for Snell or D.O.T. certification for them in the U.S. market.”
Overall, we came away from our visit of Acerbis impressed with the quantity, variety, and quality of plastic that they produce, and with the forward progress that they’ve made in the look of their gear. They’re headed in the right direction, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see more Acerbis gear lined up on the gate in the future.
12300 Gregg St.
Poway, CA 92064
Tel: (858) 679-5220
Fax: (858) 679-3912