Best Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Shops of 2012

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Sound RIDER! Top Shop Awards: 2012

New award allows a broader spectrum of recognition

When Sound RIDER! began in 1999, there was little going on in the way of recognizing dealers in the Northwest. Local print motorcycle magazines were struggling, and outer media, such as weeklies and TV, were just getting on board with 'vote for us programs.'

In response, we developed our Dealer Survey Awards program which ran all the way to 2010. That survey was much more meticulous, requiring riders to spend about five minutes on the questionnaire, covering everything from sale person's knowledge of products to store aesthetics and parking. For its time, it was and remains the most comprehensive third party survey anyone has ever offered in the region.

And while we still use it as a barometer today (you can rate any dealer you like simply by using our dealer directory), we're making a change in our final recognition of area dealers, now allowing service providers to be recognized as well. Say hello to the Sound RIDER! Top Shop Awards.

Photo: It's all smiles from members of the management team at Ride West BMW.

In the past our awards were focused on OEM dealers, and we didn't have a place to recognize training schools, seat makers, painters and others. Some of these businesses offer 3rd party services that are a part of the fabric that makes up the Northwest motorcycle community. We think they need to be recognized as well.

In addition, the Dealer Survey Awards were skewed due to lesser populated areas such as Boise, Bend and Spokane, which did not having enough votes to get on the radar. But we know who the dealers and services are in those regions as well, and some deserve as much recognition as any high populous metro shops.

So by combining our dealer survey results with input from various contributors to Sound RIDER! and a little in-house knowledge about the who's who of motorcycling in the Northwest, we've come up with our inaugural list of winners.

Photo: Seattle Cycle Center is one of the shops that benefited from the expansion of the Dealer Survey to Top Shop awards. Shown here are Doug, Lisa, Ryan and Bud at the Seattle store.

To make it fair, we've bestowed an average of 3 awards per million people in each state. This year, Washington will see 20 awards, Oregon 9 and Idaho 4.

But just what does it take for a shop to make it as a Top Shop? It's one thing to be good at customer service and score high on the industry standard CSI awards, but we believe the longevity of a business lays in inspiring riders to cover more miles, and imbuing them with the knowledge and inspiration to do so.

A shop must show at least three of the following attributes to qualify for the Top Shop awards each year:

  • Top Rate Customer Service - There's good customer service and then there's top rate. There's also lack of. We look for top rate from a Top Shop.

  • Inspiration - What is a shop/service doing to inspire riders to ride more and ride further? They may be providing special travel slide shows, offering discounts to educational classes or hosting interesting rides and events tied directly to the shop.

  • Education - When was the last time you visited a shop and learned something new about your motorcycle, riding, travel tips or great places to ride? We firmly believe that all shops should be generous with information that will better a motorcyclist's ride. This may come across in the form of specially created seminars and clinics at the shop, or simply by having an employee who is well seasoned and willing to share his or her knowledge freely with customers.

  • Innovation - What is a shop doing outside the norm that puts it beyond just another place to get a bike or a service from? It's the shops that are progressively leading the way with new ideas that keep the sport of motorcycling evolving.

  • Community Involvement - Is it too much hassle to go the extra mile and get involved in the motorcycle or local community? A canned food drive, event support and charity associations are all community involvement we look for in a Top Shop.

The 2012 winners are:





Cycle Barn, Lynnwood BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon, Tigard Carl's Cycle Sales, Boise
Downtown Harley-Davidson, Renton Beaverton Motorcycles Action Cycles & Sleds, Twin Falls
Ducati Bellevue Cascade Moto Classics, Beaverton  
Eastside Harley-Davidson, Bellevue European Motorcycles of Western Oregon, Eugene  
Empire Motorcycles, Spokane Motocorsa, Portland  
Hinshaw's Motorcycles, Auburn    
Ride West BMW, Seattle    
Seattle Cycle Center    
Skagit Powersports, Mt. Vernon    
South Bound Honda, Lacey    
South Sound Honda, Olympia    
South Sound Motorcycles, Tacoma    
Westside Motorsports, Spokane    


Alt Rider, Seattle Giant Loop, Bend Happy Trails, Boise
Cafe Veloce, Kirkland Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally, Baker City Black Dog Cycle Works, Sandpoint
Gerbings Heated Clothing, Tumwater Langlitz Leathers, Portland  
Puget Sound Safety, Lacey Team Oregon, Corvallis  
Rich's Custom Seats, Kingston    
Touratech, Seattle    
TourUSA, Seattle    

To nominate a Pacific Northwest shop or service for a future Top Shop Award, please review the qualifications above, then email with a 100-200 word analysis as to why a shop or service in the Pacific Northwest should qualify.

SR!/Spring 2012


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