NORMAN — Ask any old timer around Norman and they all remember when there were several new motorcycle dealerships in town. But the details are getting fuzzy because it has been a long time ago. Best recollections place the late 1970s for when any of the big manufacturers last had an outlet with full sales, service and parts departments here.
That changed a month ago when Norman Yamaha Motorsports opened for business at 2525 W. Main Street. The business shares showroom space with adjoining Norman Mitsubishi automobile dealership. Both businesses are owned and operated by franchise partners Jared Cunningham Esq. and Chris Mayes of Big Red Sports and Imports dealership in Norman.
The Main Street real estate was previously occupied by the Bob Moore Cadillac-Saab auto dealership that moved to a new facility on the northwest side of Norman.
Yamaha is one of the Big Four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers that include Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki. The company was founded in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture to make pianos. Yamaha still makes musical instruments today along with other products as diverse as home appliances and industrial robots. Reflecting the conglomeration’s roots, every Yamaha motorcycle bears its logo of three interlocking musical tuning forks.
Norman Yamaha’s current inventory contains mostly new motorcycles from tiny ones designed for children to behemoth road bikes in the Star line. Sales have been tremendous with 80 new customers so far. “Besides motorcycles Yamaha also has the greatest breadth of product,” Cunningham said. “They make personal watercraft, four-wheel and side-by-side all-terrain vehicles, small scooters, golf carts, big boats, generators and power washers.” Norman Yamaha sells all these except big boats.
Cunningham anticipates a customer base that will include OU students, middle-aged hobbyist bikers, ranchers and hunters. “We’ve already sold units to competitive motocross racers,” he said. “The side-by-sides and four-wheelers were engineered specifically for farmers so we expect a lot of sales for agricultural use.” Yamaha’s marketing gurus have told Cunningham and Mayes that cruiser-style street motorcycles will be among their best selling products. “We expect to be selling a lot of scooters, too, because OU is promoting alternative modes of transportation to relieve parking problems on campus,” he said. “Yamaha makes some of the best in the world and they’re cost-effective in a collegiate community.” Cunningham cited the Yamaha brand as being one of the most durable and reliable in a field of high quality competitors.