Opening the Throttle
L.A. Cycles Still Running Smoothly After 35 Years In Boone County
For 35 years, L.A. Cycles has been a fixture of the local and regional Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales and service community.
The origins of the shop go back to the early 1980s, when Larry Averitt and his father were working in the railroad salvage business. The current L.A. Cycles shop served as their office space and, as Larry’s passion for cars and motorcycles grew, he decided to channel that passion into a full-time job.
“Over time, dad got more and more into motorcycles,” Larry’s son Nick says. “In 1985, he decided to go for it and do a full shop and service business.”
By the time L.A. Cycles opened in 1985, Larry’s dad had decided to retire, and Larry hired a few employees including a service technician to deal with the small but growing customer base he had begun generating. He officially closed the railway salvage business in 1986 and was off and running in the motorcycle industry.
As a long-time devotee of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Larry had decided to focus his independent business primarily on new and vintage Harley models – a concept that he and the L.A. Cycles staff have adhered to through the years to this very day.
Nick, 32, began hanging around the store as a youngster on the weekends, sweeping floors and wiping down bikes. He worked at the shop on a part-time basis through his high school and college years, developing the same passion for Harleys that his dad has always harbored.
“I had always been around motorcycles, and motorsports in general,” Nick says. “Joining the store was always plan B, but I wanted to do it more and more as the years went by, and went to work here in 2011.”
Nick now serves as sales manager at L.A. Cycles, although he says he wears many different hats depending on the day and customer volume at any given time.
Now, as in the early days of the business, L.A. Cycles stocks, sells, and services a range of Harley-Davidson models.
“We used to carry some American Custom stuff when it was a hot market for that in the early 2000s, and we’ll do some Indian items here and there, but the vast majority of what we do is Harley-Davidson,” says Nick, who studied turf science at Purdue University before joining the family business.
L.A. Cycles offers a range of new Harley models, as well as parts and service for vintage bikes. Nick says many of the shop’s vendors offer monthly or quarterly training that the shop’s service techs consistently take advantage of, to stay informed on new parts, methods and technologies.
“We used to do a lot of custom-build and chopper work when those got popular with the reality shows in the 2000s, but that market’s kind of gone,” Nick explains. “One market that continues to be strong is the antique Harley market. We do a lot of work with the vintage Harley stuff. That’s really what makes us different.”
While many motorcycle shops handle service repair for certain vintage Harley models, Nick says there aren’t many U.S. shops that offer full service for antique, V-twin engine models.
“We’re one of the only motorcycle shops in the state that still stocks a full line of parts for vintage Harley bikes,” he says. “Nowadays that’s rare, and we get people who’ve traveled a pretty great distance to get what they need here. We’re a nuts-and-bolts store, and we’re not big on the merchandise side like bandanas and stuff.”
Thanks to Larry’s continued passion for accumulating the right tools for each job that came along over the years and decades, the L.A. Cycles service staff currently carries vintage factory tools from the 1930s to the present, allowing the staff to handle most any type of vintage Harley bike that might roll into the service area.
“The factory tooling is the most challenging part because if you don’t have the specialty V-twin tools you can’t complete the service job,” Nick says. “Luckily, my dad’s been around a long time, and the engine builder here who recently retired had been building Harleys for 40 years. The vintage Harley market has always been strong and the internet has helped that, so we’ll always have that neat niche to work in. But don’t get me wrong, we like selling and working on all the new stuff too.”
L.A. Cycles is located at 120 Porter Avenue in Whitestown. Call 317-769-5739 for more information and to schedule a sales or service appointment, or visit them online at lacycles.com.