Central Kentucky Motorsports caters to people who want to be on many different types of seats. Off-road riders are a major customer group. After all, Lexington, Kentucky, is the gateway to off-road heaven, with numerous riding parks within an hour’s drive of the dealership. Many rural people in the area have their own land and need side-by-sides for work and a dirt bike, sport side-by-side or an ATV for play. The dealership also sells trailers, golf carts and commercial lawnmowers.
“We try to cater to anyone who wants to be on a seat,” says Drew Baldinger, the member/manager of Central Kentucky Motorsports. “We want to help them get into the sport and become an enthusiast.”
Racers are a second large cohort. There is an old saying that the first motorcycle race happened after the second motorcycle was built. With so many dirt bikes and ATVs in the Lexington area, it is no surprise that there are a lot of people who want to race. Competition-minded folks have their choice of several different local and regional racing series, with separate events for women and for different age groups of young people.
Street riders appear on a regular basis. The Lexington area has a surprisingly strong street riding cohort, divided between sport bike enthusiasts and cruisers. There are enough scooter enthusiasts for Central Kentucky to sell several different brands of scooters with different price points. The dealership works hard to make all these disparate groups happy with their rides.
Baldinger and his business partner, Brad Stinnett, were riders and enthusiasts when they decided to open their shop in 2012. Their first OEM was Husqvarna. Their customer base increased due to good service and competitive pricing, and they started to take on more brands, starting with GasGas and Sherco. At present, the dealership also sells Beta, Zero, Kayo, Trail Master, Intimidator, Genuine Scooters, Spartan mowers and Stacyc push bikes for children. Central Kentucky Motorsports is very proud of its two latest OEMs: Polaris Commercial and Segway. Although Central Kentucky does not sell Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda or Suzuki machinery, the company does stock parts for these brands and does complete service on them.
Since social media brings in a lot of business, Baldinger carefully tends to a few social media channels. He regularly checks Google reviews and responds to people who leave comments. Special announcements, such as competition sponsorship opportunities, are made on YouTube. He makes an extra effort to get at least one post on Facebook a day, advertising off-road inspection specials, new products and fun riding suggestions. There is usually something new to see on Instagram. All this effort attracts the attention not only of people from the surrounding area but also people from nearby states, who drive miles for Central Kentucky’s reputation for great service and low prices. The Central Kentucky partners are able to maintain a large dealership in a relatively low-density area due to this broad selling area.
Central Kentucky Motorsports also gets its name out there by sponsoring local motocross and enduro series and helping local racers. “We are hands-on with local riders,” Baldinger says. The dealership does one large open house per year with entertainment and food trucks. It is a big event in Lexington.
For 2024, Drew is planning a major sales event to introduce Polaris and Segway to the community.
It’s also not just a boy’s club. Women are a large part of the Central Kentucky customer base too. In addition to women who trail ride with their families and those who race in women and girl’s competition classes, the mothers of children who ride and race are familiar faces. Central Kentucky sells the tools that help kids with skills and confidence. Stacyc electric balance bikes start kids off on their two-wheeled adventure. After they learn the basics, they can graduate to a Husqvarna electric motorcycle. Central Kentucky also has a female sales rep who is popular with customers.
Given the large number of customers who are out of the immediate area, the dealership website is critical. It is not particularly fancy, but is very easy to navigate. Inventory is listed on a drop-down menu by category, and most prices are listed on the website with a note as to whether the vehicle is in stock. There is a fillable financing form, a service quote form and online shopping with extensive inventory listed. In addition, there is a parts finder for Husqvarna.
Part of the draw for Central Kentucky is the service department, which is positively mentioned in the majority of online reviews. Quick Service Saturdays get riders who need a simple accessory installation, an oil change or a new tire in and out in an hour or so, which is an attractive option for customers who may live out of the immediate area. Another popular option is the pickup and delivery service, with price dependent on mileage. Central Kentucky will even come out and get people who need an emergency pickup in their service area. Side-by-sides (which may be needed in farming or a business) are promised a 48-hour turnaround.
There is no specific rider training in the Lexington area, but sales staff is trained to point beginners towards the off-road parks, where trails are groomed and marked on a scale from easy to challenging, and tell new riders to stay on the beginner trails until their skills improve. Central Kentucky stocks an extensive selection of children’s safety gear (including Moose Racing pink gloves for girls) and encourages parents to make sure their kids wear it.
Central Kentucky Motorsports has achieved a lot in the 11 years the dealership has been in business, but is not done yet. “In the next five years, we want to continue the growth,” Baldinger says.
Central Kentucky Motorsports
1050 E New Circle Rd
Lexington, KY 40505
OEM: Beta, Intimidator, GasGas, Zero, Sherco, Kayo, Stacyc, TrailMaster, Spartan, Genuine Scooter, Polaris Commercial, and Segway. Parts for Honda, Yamaha, BMW, Can-Am and Kawasaki.
Aftermarket: 100%, Alpinestars, Frogg Toggs, HJC, Ikon, Joe Rocket, Moose Racing, Nelson-Rigg, Parts Unlimited, Schampa, Show Chrome, Thor, Throttle Threads, Z1R
Number of Employees: 28