Have you ever wondered how these rubber parts that we sell come to life? Did you know that you could be part of the process? We share your passion for classic bikes and the challenge of motorcycle restoration. It is the same challenge that we face every day running a specialised shop!
When my husband and I founded Sumo Rubber, the majority of our rubber parts came from PGM Rubber. PGM has been manufacturing parts for 30 years, so we knew the quality was good. But we knew nothing about motorcycle rubber or specific bike parts. Nevertheless, we wanted to learn. We didn't want to be like other retailers, only buy parts to sell on. We want to know all about our parts, so that we could deliver the very best service to you, our customers!
The first lesson was to learn where our parts come from and how they are actually made.
Reproducing rubber parts
Luckily our family friend and PGM founder had all the answers. The reproduction process of motorcycle parts is based on the reverse engineering method.
This method is the most effective one for rare items such as the rubber parts we are providing. A sample goes to the factory, it gets measured, tested for consistency and material. A mould or template is then made for production and prototypes created. These new parts are then tested for quality and if passed, the production can begin.
Knowing how the reproduction process works, has empowered us. We wanted to work together with PGM to improve some of their existing parts and add new ones.
Battery strap too rigid to use
The 122-82131-00 battery strap has been on the market for decades. It has been used on very early models such as Yamaha AT or DS7 as well as the DT series and RD series. Yamaha still produces a fuse holder equipped version of this battery band. Yet many of you prefer the smooth version that we have in our collection.
One of our customers, called Bruno, has bought this particular battery strap from us in August last year. Several weeks later we asked Bruno to review our service and the battery band on Trustpilot. He left us not the most pleasing, but a very constructive feedback. Bruno agreed that on first sight the dimensions of the strap were good. And visually the strap seemed unrecognisable from the original OEM part. But he struggled to fit it onto his bike. The material wasn't as stretchy as the old original! As he said: "Sorry to leave a bad review, but if you improve the product, I will buy another one."
This couldn't have been the first occasion someone struggled to fit this battery band. So we decided to act!
Working together on improvements
Rubber straps are essential for securing the battery in place on your motorcycle. The correct strap provides the right support, and prevents any excessive movement of the battery. If the battery strap is too loose or too tight, your battery can get damaged. If the material is not the correct consistency it can also be too difficult to fit or remove.
Learning about Bruno's experience, we requested the material to be amended. We asked our supplier to amend the elasticity on the next batch of 122-82131-00 battery straps. A few months later we received the improved products. How best to test it than ask the very same customer for an opinion?
Bruno's ingenious way of testing battery straps
We sent a sample of the second generation strap to Bruno. We asked a simple question: "Is this strap any better than the old one?" What we received was a semi-scientific explanation that put a smile on our faces.
Bruno decided to put our new strap to the test. He even bought a Yamaha NOS rubber strap to ensure the test was as accurate as possible. Using all three battery bands, he tested the elasticity in the simplest way possible. He hung a 5l canister of oil on the strap and measured how far it extends.
Here are his results:
Free length Yamaha 122-82131-00 (original NOS) = 95 mm
Free length Sumo Rubber first version battery strap = 95 mm
Free length Sumo Rubber new version battery strap = 95 mm
Extended length with 5 KG weight Yamaha 122-82131-00 (original NOS)= 115 mm
Extended length with 5 KG weight Sumo Rubber first type = 106 mm
Extended length with 5 KG weight Sumo Rubber second type = 115 mm
The results were clear. The new reproduction battery strap is similar /comparable to the original Yamaha part.
Better motorcycle parts for all
This might sound like a simple enough task, but for our business, this was a large milestone. We worked together with a customer and taken his suggestion to improve an existing part. Some companies might not take notice of such comments, but we do! We ask every one of our customers for feedback, so we can improve the products and services that we offer.
We understand that a lot of time and care goes into restoring a motorcycle. However, we are not mechanics, so we can't advise you how to fix your bike. But we promise you, that we will do our best to provide the best parts possible for your work to last.