One of the biggest hurdles to the future of the powersports industry is getting the next generation invested early on in their lives. This was one of the topics discussed last week at the AIMExpo during the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) board of directors panel discussion. A few members noted that to build up a positive and fun community at the dealership, dealerships need to be reaching out to high schools, community colleges, and other youth organizations in their areas to bring in younger riders and teach valuable skills to the next generation.
After all, the powersports industry is much harder to enter as a career than the automotive industry, which has tons of educational programs for students to learn the trade.
That’s why it’s great to see a cool motorcycle build come out of one of these programs every once in awhile. Last time we attended the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, we found a super clean looking 2007 Shop Rat motorcycle we had to check out.
Shop Rat, a not for profit organization, provides educational opportunities for students by exposing them to the future of manufacturing, engineering, technology and various trades and crafts. They do numbers in preparing the next generation of workers and customers in the skilled trades industry. Shop Rat donated a motorcycle kit to the students of Chelsea High School in Alabama to be designed and built, and another to a school in Michigan. Both teams were to design and assemble a custom motorcycle to be unveiled and judged at the 2007 Wheels of Thunder Rally in Jackson, Michigan.
The Chelsea-built motorcycle features an air-cooled, v-twin four-stroke engine. The ignition is by battery and coil. The engine displacement is 1966cc (120 c.i.d.). Fuel is supplied via a single S & S carburetor. Getting the power to the ground is by a Baker six-speed transmission. The suspension features front telescopic forks and rear twin shocks (under the transmission). Brakes are front and rear disc. The motorcycle weighs in at 650 pounds.
If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected]