June 24, 2009 > Vroom, vrooom, vroooom
Vroom, vrooom, vroooom
By Marty Friedman
Photos By William Mancebo
Some people are born leaders. Others are born athletes. Ron Cairns was born to service Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Growing up in Niles, Cairns' dad bought him his first motorcycle at 12, while all the other kids just had mini-bikes. (His motorcycle was perfectly legal since he limited his riding to off-road.) In high school, Cairns became more interested in tinkering with the bike's engine rather than just riding the bike.
It's been said that one of the keys to happiness is to earn a living doing what you truly love doing. Cairns got lucky right after graduation in 1975. A buddy mentioned that he had a small area available in the building he owned. Talk about small! Cairns had to tiptoe around the bikes in that 12-foot by 20-foot space---to get to the front door. His modest service business soon took off, and he moved to larger quarters in a year. Twelve years later, Cairns settled in the expansive Hayward facility he is in today.
Of course, RC Cycles didn't always specialize in Harleys. As Cairns put it, "Originally, we serviced whatever junk came through the front door." However, as the motorcycle industry took off, the age of specialization came in. Yes, Japanese bikes like Honda and Kawasaki were well and good, but the ongoing engine modifications on 100 percent American Harleys made them the frontrunner for service and repair.
With a $25,000 and up price tag, bikes simply made no sense for basic transportation. Motorcycles offer much more than that: a mystique all their own: the "outlaw," the cowboy riding free---as personified by real life Jesse James.
A Harley-Davidson dealership sounded enticing, but every Harley sold needed to be serviced. Yes, the dealers had their own service departments, but if a customer needed a tune up tomorrow, that could mean three weeks away with the dealer's tight schedule.
Bingo! RC Cycles became the place for service and repair. A hands-on staff of eleven overworked and highly experienced experts was ready, willing, and very able to give the customer the one thing that he or she must have - getting back on the road ASAP!
How busy did Cairns soon get? Well, consider this. He's owned a Harley since 2002, and he's almost never had the time ride it.
At a time when so many products are shipped on a slow boat from China and Japan and Korea and everywhere else, Harley's are virtually 100 percent American-made---and that fits right in with the mind-set of so many staunchly patriotic bike owners.
Advertising didn't bring in all those bikes lined up for service on RC Cycles lot. Word of mouth did. Bike owners have spread the word that you can depend on RC Cycles to make certain that Cairns and his staff will keep that vroom going.
30872 Huntwood Avenue, Hayward