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Now browsing: Hometown News > Business & Finance > Volusia County

Roar Motorcycles: Jewelry you can ride
Rating: 3.12 / 5 (25 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Nov 16 - 06:02

 

 

By Cathy Wharton

For Hometown News

 

 

We all know the scene: The twice-a-year influx of bikers who ride loud and proud in large numbers, often giving the rest of us pause while they cruise along, enjoying the camaraderie of their fellows.

The recent Biketoberfest drew thousands of bikers to the area and, although the event is over, that doesn't mean motorcycle enthusiasm has diminished. In fact, bikes are growing in popularity, especially with women.

Over the years, as Daytona became a "must" destination for biker fans, a number of biker establishments began popping up. In some areas, bike storefronts aligned side by side on the same street. Most of them, of course, have geared their sales towards the guys, which kept the ladies on the back seat - but not anymore.

Enter ROAR, a motorcycle emporium for ladies.

Owner Kathy Tolleson is passionate about bikes. "I always rode bikes," she said. Over time, however, she noticed other woman riders were not very comfortable, that most didn't "fit" their bike. The ergonomics of riding, she noted, are different for women. While men generally have longer arms and legs, thus ride more comfortably, most women have to adapt or adjust to a "man-made" bike. As a biker enthusiast, and a former counselor to abused women, Ms. Tolleson is a natural for helping to reset the industry standards.

Inspired partly by her husband and partly by what she observed, Ms. Tolleson decided to open her own business - a bike shop for women. Opening during Bike Week 2008, the business was an instant success and continued to grow. In 2012, however, it was time for a change.

In July, Roar moved from its original home on Bellevue Avenue to its new home on Beach Street in downtown Daytona. In two weeks' time, thanks to some hard-working friends, a bigger, more expansive Roar was ready to roll. On Aug. 1, the avant-garde motorcycle store for women was once again open for business.

Simply put, the new store is dazzling! One look tells a story of variety and uniqueness. Displayed in the two major showrooms are a number of biker accessories, such as T-shirts, jackets, belts and sunglasses, all designed for riding enjoyment and comfort. But the core of Roar is bikes. Each is different, each is beautiful and each is a piece of art.

Even for those who don't yet ride, Roar has an appeal all its own. The first showroom, also the store's entrance, features two gorgeous trikes - those big three-wheelers that always attract attention. The second, more spacious showroom exhibits several stunning-looking cycles, all ready to go. Harley, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and the newest addition, Hyosung, are at the hub of Roar's inventory. Also on hand is biker-related jewelry; plus a section called "Pre-Loved Leathers," a consignment area that features pre-owned jackets, pants and vests, all in good condition, and at a fraction of the original cost.

A third section of the store is dedicated to guys, who comprise about 20 percent of Roar's customer base - just opposite of the industry's ratio: 80/20 men to women.

However, the real story of Roar is about individuals who want their own personalities to shine in their ride. As such, the second showroom also functions as a design center, where customers can customize their bikes: seat covers, helmets, paint jobs or anything else they may want.

"We have all kinds of leathers and vinyls to choose from," Ms. Tolleson said. "We can customize and give you what you want. We can also custom-build a cycle."

In fact, Roar has a complete workshop that does just that - building one-of-a-kind bikes from stem to stern. The most important aspect of design, however, is ergonomics, making sure the customer is comfortable in every way. This includes seatwork, lowering and risers, each designed to fit the individual.

Also at Roar is an exceptionally talented airbrush artist who can paint any image the customer desires. Whether helmets, seatwork or the bike itself, her amazing skills are evident on both stock and customized bikes, many of which include the Roar insignia: the lion.

But Roar isn't just about things, it's also about people. "We don't just sell motorcycles, we empower women," Ms. Tolleson said. "I want them to have a cultural experience - something they can connect to through education, product and presentation."

Also, "the female is the fastest growing segment of the industry," she said. "I want to expand the market, not just service the existing market."

Why the name "Roar?" "I like lions," Ms. Tolleson said. "Lions roar, so do motorcycles." The name also pays tribute to Helen Reddy's classic hit, "I am woman, hear me roar."

ROAR is at 420 N. Beach Street, Daytona Beach. Showroom hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday – Friday. Phone: (386) 255-7527. RoarMotorcycles.com




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