Modern Tire Co., the wholesale motorsport tire and wheel division of Raben Tire Co. Inc., is offering new ATV tires made by a mining and industrial tire maker.
In February Piney Flats, Tenn.-based Super Grip Corp. launched its SG Stinger and SG Super Light ATV tires and cast aluminum wheels. Modern Tire is the first and currently the only distributor of Super Grip's ATV lines and wheels, according to Adam Raben, sales and marketing associate for Modern Tire.
The SG Stinger comes in seven sizes and is primarily a racing, cross-country tire, while the SG Super Light comes in 24 sizes and is a mud tire, Mr. Raben said, adding that Modern Tire is looking for additional distributors.
The ATV tires are available in a six-ply construction and come standard with Super Grip's built-in rim guard protector. They also all come with an optional sprayed-in tire sealant called Super Liner, which seals holes up to a quarter-inch diameter in the tread area, according to Modern Tire.
The Super Liner gel is sprayed in the manufacturing plant so it is ``economical and cost-effective compared to other flat-proofing technologies out there,'' Mr. Raben said.
Super Grip's ATV tires are one of Modern Tire's newest product offerings, and sales for that brand have been ``excellent,'' according to Doug Nelson, Modern Tires' vice president of sales.
He said ATV tire market sales ``just keep going through the roof,'' and many ATV tire manufacturers are having trouble keeping up with supply.
The Super Grip launch has given Modern Tire the impetus to look at options for advertising in powersport publications, an endeavor the company has never done before, Mr. Raben said, adding that he is pushing for approval from his managers for a print ad campaign.
Modern Tire previously has relied on its Web site to promote itself and its brands, he said, but now ``we're looking at the best (advertising) method to choose.''
Many people outside of the powersports industry don't know that Modern Tire exists because it hasn't advertised or sponsored racers, Mr. Raben said, noting that he wants to change this.
``People in the powersport industry definitely know who we are,'' he said.
``We don't solicit to retail. Somebody who comes in and wants to buy a wheel kit, we won't sell to them because we sell to the dealers, and the dealers know that we do exist.''
Modern Tire originally was founded as Modern Tire Treaders, a car and truck tire retreader, in 1939, according to Mr. Raben.
Thirty years later, the company began adding motorcycle tires to its lineup when its first order of motorcycle tires sold within two weeks.
In 1974 Modern Tire decided to allocate more resources to the powersport industry and began wholesaling tires to motorcycle dealers full time while closing its retread shop and changing its name.
Raben Tire acquired Modern Tire in 1991 and has operated it as a division wholly dedicated to distributing ATV, motocross, enduro and go kart tires.
Some Raben Tire stores carry a few ATV tires based on demand, but none of the Raben stores sells motorcycle tires to prevent competition with Modern Tire's customers, Mr. Raben said.
The six Raben brothers-Tom, Phil, Mark, John, James and Larry-own the company. Adam Raben is Phil Raben's son.
Modern Tire is located in Raben Tire's headquarters in Evansville.
The unit generates approximately $12 million to $13 million in annual sales, according to Mr. Nelson.
Besides Super Grip, Modern Tire carries Bridgestone, Michelin, Kenda, Continental, Industrial Tire Products (ITP), Greenball, Goodyear, Maxxis, Dunlop and Avon brands.
The division is quickly outgrowing its warehouse space, Mr. Raben said, and will need to look at other options in the next 24 to 36 months.