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ClayStuckey

Jotagas in the US

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So after a painful and unexpected split with the French company, I told you all that I was done with Euro companies and wanted to build my own bike here in the US. I found a company in Canada that agreed to build engines for me and I set out to get the money together to pay for that project. While at TKO I came up with the idea to build a bike using a trials engine but a more enduro like frame and components that weighed less and would have a lower seat height. When I got back from TKO I emailed every trials company out there. One said yes then a month later said no and none of the others even bothered to reply......except for one. I immediately got a reply from a guy named Piber at Jotagas. He said he would be more than happy to sell me a trials engine or his new enduro engine. What enduro engine I asked. The one that he was building for their new 300cc two stroke enduro line. Tell me more. And he did. And every time I emailed him he emailed me back damned near immediately unless it was in the middle of the night and sometimes he even replied then. (I wanted to ask if he really was in Europe! That just doesn't happen with Euros to Americans!) And then something even stranger happened. I got an email that said this: Ok clay
You know your market, each market is different. Wait! What did you say? In my 38 years in this industry I have NEVER been told that! It's always been some version of this: This is what we build now go figure out how to sell it! So I decided to go meet this unique man.
I checked with my favorite travel companion, my daughter Mattie, and booked a flight for October 10 so we could rent a car and drive up to the Basque country to see Mario Roman race the Spanish National Championship near Eligobar. Piber then emailed and told me to cancel the rental car because he wanted to pick us up and drive up together. Then the next week he asked if he could bring his partner, Phillipe, from Belgium. Of course I agreed. So after flying 8 hours we drove 6 hours and met Super Mario on Friday and had dinner. We watched Mario win on a 125 on Saturday by more than 7 minutes and then Sunday made a tourist loop up into France and down to Girona on Sunday night. We stayed at Piber's house which is huge (4 guest rooms in a separate wing). Monday I got to ride an e-bike for the first time, then the enduro bike and a new Pampera. On Tuesday we rode again after writing new maps for the bike and then me and Piber did another long loop on the enduro bike and the Pampera. We swapped back and forth on the bikes on the ride. On Wednesday Piber took me and Mattie to Barcelona to help fulfill my promise to Mattie to take her shopping. She's a fashion major in college and wanted to see the high end shops in the center of Barcelona like Prada, Saint Laurent, Gucci, etc. etc. etc. Then he took us to a hotel near the airport and we flew home. Oh yeah....on Tuesday I signed a 10 year contract with Jotagas.
So what was different about this deal that made me change my mind and want to do business with this company?
1. Piber. He's a hoot! Keeping up with him was like following a small tornado. He's 68 years old but you wouldn't know it!
2. The company is small and made up of people who ride. I never rode a GG when I was at the GG factory. I rode a Sherco in a small grassy area behind the factory when I visited them. I got to ride a lot at Piber's house and Piber wanted to ride both days I was there. He wanted to go to a race that was 4 hours away and watch it and to meet Mario.
3. He treated me and Matt like family. When I went to the GG factory we met in their corporate offices. When I went to France to meet the Sherco people they were borderline rude. With JTG we were treated like family. They fed us and drank with us let us sleep at their home and took us wherever we wanted to go.
4. They plan to grow and we're on the ground floor. They were building the trials bikes and e-bikes in Piber's basement. Now, don't get the wrong impression that this was small. His house is at least 8,000 square feet and so was the basement and it was laid out like a small factory. With the new line he knew they couldn't stay in the basement so he bought a building that is around the corner from S3 and two blocks from GG.
5. His partner Phillipe. Even though Phillipe is a typical engineer who only laughed one time in the three days I was with him I still liked the approach they are taking. Basically CHE who would have been a supplier is a partner and must be giving JTG a hell of a deal on suspension and other parts like the billet clutch basket they provide. This is a unique approach and I think it will be super helpful.
6. Last but definitely not least.....he wants to build what we want to sell and you want to buy. He agreed to every change I asked for. Taller seat, custom ignition maps, stiffer stock suspension springs, number plate in the box, no key or off/on switch, etc. Well actually there was no etc because that's all I wanted changed. The bike is damned good and we may ask for other changes after we get the first shipment but they agreed to every thing I asked for. Oh....one other thing: They planned to have 2021 models in September but I explained the need for them in July and he said OK.
So that's how this happened. I didn't expect it but it fell in my lap and I think you guys will like it.

So what am I going to differently from the last brand I sold? I'm going to sell this bike directly to you guys over the internet just like I did with parts with the last brand. I think I can sell this bike for $8500 plus shipping and set up ready to go with sag set and everything done. Roll it out of the crate and put fuel in it and ride it.
That $8500 is $1500 less than a KTM. Yeah I know the KTM has TPI and that's more expensive. But you get the crappy Xplor fork and that costs you a grand to fix. Plus heavier springs if you're over 160 pounds. Plus if you want a kick starter that's $400 (I think). And I'll answer the phone on Saturdays and at night if you need help.
That's also $1500 less than a Sherco, which doesn't have TPI and has crazy parts prices and no kick starter. And all of you guys who said you would have bought a Sherco if it had a ks….well here you go!
BTW.....I may add a handful of dealers but they're going to be few and far between.

I may do trials differently. I don't know a damn thing about trials so I'll need dealer help there.

And the e-bikes will be sold directly too.

Edited by ClayStuckey
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Cool. I know who is running Jgas,  and his history, which makes this GasGas owner feel pretty good about Jgas. 

That said, there are a lot of us short guys and a few lightweight ones as well. Are you going to be able to offer options for shorter seat height and lighter springs? What's the overall seat height for the standard bike going to be?

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10 minutes ago, SS109 said:

Cool. I know who is running Jgas,  and his history, which makes this GasGas owner feel pretty good about Jgas. 

That said, there are a lot of us short guys and a few lightweight ones as well. Are you going to be able to offer options for shorter seat height and lighter springs? What's the overall seat height for the standard bike going to be?

Oh yeah. Of course I will. And I'm still pursuing the shorter dirt bike thing with JTG. 

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I can feel the excitement in your post. More details and pictures as you can. It will be interesting to seen how you build interest and demand for the bikes.

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Preliminary pics, anything? 10 years is a long time, how long did you study that contract. Your attorney review everything?

Edited by Piney Woods

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Is it too early to give a basic rundown on specs? 300cc 2t, estart and kstart, 6 speed, etc? Great informative write up, it sounds like they are open minded and most of all enthusiasts. 

Found some pics from a cycle show that seem recent:

https://todotrial.com/blog/nuevo-modelo-jotagas-r-2019/

 

Edited by Johnny Depp
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8 hours ago, ClayStuckey said:

 I don't know a damn thing about trials so I'll need dealer help there.

Trials in the US is a niche within a niche. Or maybe a niche^3.
Nearly all of the current bikes look identical from 5 feet away. While competition is always good, if I were you, I'd do the enduro/woods bike first, get some cash flow and in the meantime, go to a bunch of trials events. Talk to trials guys, watch what they ride, see how they ride. A competitive trials bike is not something like a KTM Freeride or a Beta XTrainer.

But the good news is that all trials bikes are tiny volume bikes, nearly bespoke. You will be amazed at how many brands are in use at your local trails events.

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With the success of the xtrainer, I do believe a slightly smaller enduro bike with a trials engine in it, with an enduro type transmission, would sell well. Sherco is close with the xride but it's still not right. Too much trials in the chassis and has the trials gearbox, as well as way too expensive for what you get. A decently suspended 200 pound enduro bike with a grunty engine that won't stall should be a good seller, at least in places where the trails are mostly crawling over rocks. I have wanted a bike like this for a long time.

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I’ve ridden a friends 2t freeride and have a 2015 300 Xcw. I think I would be interested in what Clay is talking about. It would be a great bike for myself as well as something not to intimidating for a newer rider in gnarly terrain.

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13 hours ago, Grinson said:

That Jotagas Enduro has the most tucked in expansion chamber I've ever seen!!

 

13 hours ago, Grinson said:

That Jotagas Enduro has the most tucked in expansion chamber I've ever seen!!

What "enduro" are you speaking of? The one shown here looks very normal. That other one you may be referring to was never produced.

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2 minutes ago, Piney Woods said:

 

What "enduro" are you speaking of? The one shown here looks very normal. That other one you may be referring to was never produced.

 Shown where??

 As far as I can tell, no Jotagas enduro has been produced.

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JGas was supposed to have an enduro 6 years ago, has any of them made it as production models? I know a few trials bikes made it stateside, but then the owners were left with their bikes and no support. 

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On 10/18/2019 at 3:02 PM, kcposty said:

I can feel the excitement in your post. More details and pictures as you can. It will be interesting to seen how you build interest and demand for the bikes.

There weren't any production bikes to photo. I rode one of their test mules. While I was there they were moving into a new building and parts were arriving  for the 1st 500 bikes. I should have pics when the first one rolls off of the line. I'll also have one bike air freighted over in about a month. 

And I am open to any advice you all may have to offer about building the brand here in the US.

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On 10/18/2019 at 4:03 PM, Piney Woods said:

Preliminary pics, anything? 10 years is a long time, how long did you study that contract. Your attorney review everything?

I got a copy of the contract a couple of weeks before I went over but it was Spanish and not a US contract. In other words it was 2 pages and not 50. Pretty easy to understand. And it was written in English too by the way.

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