TWMX All Access: ASV Inventions

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The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well over at ASV Inventions, but that should be no big surprise, given the past history of ASV’s founder, Robert Morales. “When I was 14 I started a company called Sticker Factory. I rode my moped around with a sticker case going to bicycle shops. I’d also go out to the races with a board and selling stickers for 50 cents apiece. Scot Breithaupt (one of the originators of BMX) was a big help with that. I was selling his stickers and SE Racing hats and t-shirts.”

“BME (Bob Morales Enterprises) was when I started to get a little more serious. BME is what started Dyno, and a lot of people remember Dyno Bicycles and Dyno apparel. In fact, I was one of Jeremy McGrath’s first sponsors. I’d bought a copy of one of his books, Wide Open, and I was looking at some of the retro pictures in there. There are pictures of him in his VDC outfits with Dyno all over him. I remember sponsoring him on the Country Kids BMX team years ago.”

“After that I got into riding freestyle BMX, and toured around with Bob Haro. I rode with Eddie Fiola and Team GT, and later got the AFA (American Freestyle Association) going, running freestyle contests. Mat Hoffman kind of took it from where I was and took it to the next level with the X Games.”

“Iron Horse Bicycles was next, and I was hired to be their brand manager, and created the team. I hired Dave Cullinan and won some championships. I designed the A-Frame working with Dan Hanebrink.”

“After that I did KORE, and a line of mountain bike components. Actually, what got me going with ASV, was in 1998, I sold KORE bicycle components, and I had a two year non-compete agreement. I thought, ‘Hey, I love motocross and riding all the time, I might as well do something in that business. I’d had the lever idea for years before that, and I thought, ‘Well, this is a good opportunity to get that going.’ I was into motocross riding since I was a kid. In fact, a lot of people don’t know this, but I started riding motocross before I got into BMX. I actually did the World Mini Grand Prix in 1975, and I’ve been racing as a hobby for a long time.”

“It’s been cool through the years. I’ve had some really good friends to draw from to help because I’m not a machinist, I’m not an engineer, I’m a concept guy. I have ideas for things and so I always need help from other people to help me get those things going. In the past I’ve had some bad experiences with trying to sell my ideas, or license or partner up with other people. Sometimes I’ve gotten burned. But other times it’s worked out really well, and I’ve made some good friends along the way. But I just decided that I really needed to focus on creating a company that could put my ideas to market. That’s what ASV is all about.”

Okay, that brings us up to the present. Robert’s been working on ASV for almost five years, starting with folding brake and clutch levers designed to prevent them from breaking during a crash. The original design has now sprouted into three items at three different price points, with the C/5 CNC-machined, F1 forged series, and F3 forged/anodized levers. Those have continued to sell well, helping ASV setting new sales records, while beang the goals they’d set for themselves despite a dealer climate that’s not always friendly to stocking their products.

As Robert tells it, “I think that a lot of the dealers have been getting trained through the manufacturers and big distributors to not stock anything. Keep the catalog on the counter, and special order for the year and make. Have one example in stock. I think the customers don’t always like doing that. I think when they go into a shop they have the money burning a hole in their pocket and they want it right now¿or they’re going riding tomorrow and they don’t want to wait until Monday to get the part for their bike.”

“My theory is that the more universal something is, the more dealers are willing to stock it because it’s not a risk for them. Our universal clutch levers will fit anyone who walks through the door. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, he can make a sale.”


“I’m really focusing on making our products universal so dealers can stock them. He can put five on the shelf and he knows he’s going to move them because they’re not for one year, make, and model. He also doesn’t have to stock 50 of them. He can stock five, and take care of the next five guys who walk through the door. I think that’s part of the reason we’re doing pretty good.”

“I know when we go to the race track, we do trackside sales and I’ve got the stuff there and people go nuts. They’re happy that they can get it right now, and they’re so not used to that. I wish the dealers would step it up a little more. On the other hand, I can’t blame them. There are so many companies making year/make/model-specific stuff in 19 different colors and sizes and price points, you just can’t stock it.”

“We’re expanding into the Sport Bike market as well. The levers are a natural, and we’ve had requests since day one for the levers in the sport bike market. The Y-Handle is already being sold in the sport nike market. It’s a natural for us, it’s a big market, and my wife’s into sport bike riding. That’s another thing that ASV is all about¿what me and my family are into. If I get a passion for karts in a year, you might see some kart products. Or who knows? Sport bikes, cruisers, BMX, mountain bikes, skateboards, the sky’s the limit.”

Robert’s also been working on diversifying the ASV brand, with new products. “We’re not just trying to focus on levers or stands or whatever, we’re just trying to come up with innovative products. We’re ASV Inventions, not ASV levers.”

“Our newest, latest product is the ASV Kick Stand. As far as I know, it’s one of the only folding lift stands. It folds up flat, and it’s a lift stand to lift your bike. It’s fabricated from TIG-welded ovalized Chromoly tubing with a CNC mechanism for the retractable arm. I’ve got a background in the bicycle business, and it’s actually made by a bicycle frame maker. In fact, it almost looks like it has a crank arm on the side of it. The arm can be set either way, so you can lift the bike from the right or the left.”


“It’s got a textured powder coat finish, and has replaceable rubber feet and rubber top. Basically it’s a very convenient stand. It’s a nice stand, not only because rather than actually having to lift it up and put it on, you can just push the bike up with your foot. You can also fold it up flat and put it your handlebars to carry it the bike wash or starting gate real easily.”

“You can also get underneath the bike easier for oil changes. It’s also nice because you can position the bike forward to lift the rear wheel only, or push it back to get the front wheel up in the air. It’s really nice in tight confines, like a trailer or a small room. You don’t have to move the bike. You can just put the stand under it and just push down and lift it up.”

“Our biggest customers are riders with multiple bikes in a small trailer. They love it because when all the bikes are in the trailer, they can hang five of these on the wall in the space of one stand. It’s a real space saver. We’re stoked on it¿it’s pretty original. It’s kind of based on an old school design, like a long time ago when people had stand like that, but with a big arm. I had an old school stand like that, but I didn’t like the arm part of it. I wanted to lift it with my foot. It just kind of evolved after using one of those old school stands.”

“It’s very simplistic, but that’s kind of what I like about most of our stuff¿they’re simple concepts.”

“The Y-Handle is also very universal. The Rotator Clamp fits everything. Quads, dirt bikes and street bikes. Every font brake master cylinder uses the same bolt spacing, and it goes on a 7/8-inch diameter bar. Done deal, it fits everything. Same with the Y-Handle, same with the universal clutch, and universal front brake fits everything. All Japanese bikes. Same for the stand. That’s the direction we want to go. The Y-Handles have really taken off. I’m amazed at how well they’re doing. I think part of it is because it’s not specific to any sport. Anyone can use them.”


In addition to their sales, ASV’s Team support program has also expanded substantially over the last year. “We have almost 2,000 support riders this year, and it’s created quite a workload for us. It’s also been a great source of feedback and development. We use them as our test mules for new products, new styles, and new colors. If it doesn’t go over well with them, Then it gives me an idea that maybe it’s something that shouldn’t go into the marketplace. It’s been a big help in gearing up for selling to consumers. We don’t use distributors. We’re dealer-direct only. So we can’t rely on distributors to stock a bunch of stuff. We’ve kind of got to have a crystal ball and know what’s going to sell and get it ready and built because we’re kind of a just-in-time shop here.”

So what does Robert see in the future for ASV? “I really want to see ASV through to the end. I really want to see this as my last company. I’ve got a good team here with my wife, Mary, who joined me here to help me do this. My long-term future goal is to see ASV making components and products in various markets from bicycles to automotive and everything in between. Sports products, household products, who knows? Anything. I just want to see it become an outlet for my ideas. If I have an idea for something, I don’t care what it is¿a kid’s toy, or a motorcycle or a car, and I think it’s viable, ASV is going to be my outlet to turn that into a product.”


“You’ll probably see ASV back into bicycles as well. I still ride mountain bikes and love BMX and I’ve got a one-and-a-half-year-old boy now, so he’s going to be going through all that again. That’s just going to rekindle my enthusiasm and passion for those things. While we’re doing that I’m sure we’ll find some problems that need solutions that ASV can come up with.”

ASV Inventions
16560 Harbor “R”
Fountain Valley, CA  92708
Tel: (714) 775-5855

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