Mission Motorcycles Has Closed


Via our friend Richard Harmon we learned Mission Motorcycles, a 45-year + independent motorcycle dealer, and the second-largest Zero Motorcycles dealer behind Hollywood Electrics, has closed:

“In other news, my Zero dealer has gone out of business. Their store (which had been at that location first as a Yamaha dealer for the past 45 years and then carrying all of the Japanese brands in later years) has been sold, including all of their motorcycle franchises. They have been sold to SF Moto (a scooter shop near downtown San Francisco) and the building has been sold to the Dollar Tree Corporation. 

The shop owner decided to retire after going through a year-long struggle with (a major manufacturer) that eventually resulted in her losing the franchise.  I spoke with the shop’s sales manager today (a big Zero supporter) and she said that she was getting out of the motorcycle sales business, too. It has become too complicated and the margins are just too thin in the current Bay Area business climate.  She also told me that SF Moto leases their building and that when their lease expires they will be toast, as leases in San Francisco are being doubled or tripled by the landowners when they renew.”

We just got another report from him:

“Several of the Mission Motorcycles staff have relocated to SFMoto, including Nancy, the saleslady that sold me my Zero, along with Mission’s experienced Zero service tech and at least one of their parts employees.”

To be fair, this is not to be confused with Mission Motors, or Mission Electric, or Mission Motorcycles electric motorcycles, who’ve promised some exciting news coming up.  At least they did back in January on their Facebook Page.  For the scorecard there, see our previous story: Mission Motorcycles to Become Mission Electric – We Get Confused.

(Thanks Richard!)

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8 Comments on "Mission Motorcycles Has Closed"

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Just a point of clarification. I understand that transferring Mission Motorcycle’s Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki franchises to SF Moto has not yet happened and is still awaiting approval from the various corporations. SF Moto acquired the Zero franchise over a month ago. No doubt it was a much easier approval process.

Meanwhile, SF Moto is refinishing the hardwood floors on their large second floor showroom and planning to make further upgrades to the shop. They sure have a great location, which is only three blocks from the Civic Center.

All of the new highrise commercial and residential development going on around them would make anyone speculate about the future of their building and the chances of renewing their lease. It is a really hot location for real estate deals. But the staff are really enthusiastic about the future and I hope they will be able to stick around for years to come at that location.

Maybe Zero should rethink their sales model, and go internet order/direct delivery like Tesla. One could easily transport four or six motorcycles on a custom trailer behind a small passenger car. And one could fit a dozen in a medium sized closed truck.

That model is highly unlikely to work for motorcycles, esp. if you want to address potential customers beyond environmentalists. Motorcyclists typically tend to spend a lot time in m/c shops: One, they have much more intensive service requirement than cars (virtually all ICE bikes need 4K mi. oil changes, and yearly replacements of drivechains/sprockets, brake pads etc.; tires cost a lot more more per mile than the gas).
Two, there is a strong community aspect which frequently centers on dealerships (somewhat similarly to bicycles or other sport-hobbies).

Motoryclists also tend to be extremely conservative (for example, automatic tramsmissions never took off_, and the only way you’ll get them even to think of an EV bike is offering a demo ride from someone they know.

You missed a big point.

We motorcyclists also hang out at our favorite shop, just to hang out and socialize. Often supplementing the staff in unpaid volunteer capacities.

?? That’s what I said… That motorcyclists hang out at bike shops.
I was pointing out to mhpr262, who may not be acquainted with the culture, that changing the sales model to pure-online, without dealerships, wouldn’t work for EV bikes.

Also, motorcycles fit (or don’t), where cars and bicycles are adjustable. Being able to just sit on a showroom unit is a huge deal, especially when you’re committing more money than an ICE bike like buyers are doing here. People whose entire experience base is in cages- or even bicycles for that matter- just don’t get it, among other things.

Hate to trot out a Harley cliche, but it happens to be true- if I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.

Wendy Epstein, the owner of Mission Motorcycles, is a personal hero: she was a privateer in racing AMA Superbike decades ago, she owned and operated a motorcycle dealership for decades, and she was very early on the Zero bandwagon and a great advocate for electric motorcycles. I am sorry she has had to retire, and I respect her fine achievements.

I also give Wendy a lot of credit for having a staff that also enthusiastically embraced Zero when the company and their products were unknown and untested. Most motorcycle dealerships would not have taken the risk to sell a new technology to traditionally conservative motorcycle customers. It looks like SF Moto will continue the EV tradition and the San Francisco market is the perfect place to do so.