Company History

 

INTRODUCTION

I’ve been riding dirt bikes since I was a kid, so I know first-hand the enthusiasm which drives the dirt bike and ATV enthusiasts. It’s that feeling of freedom and fear, excitement and anticipation.  It’s an adrenaline rush that keeps you returning.  But to experience those sensations you need a machine that’s ready to tackle the tracks and trails.   That was the impetus for C&L Companies — a desire to keep my bike ready for the next ride.  Today, the company Evelina and I started in 1993 is supplying riders worldwide with high-quality parts so they can enjoy the thrill of riding.

I’ve learned some very valuable lessons throughout my years of riding dirt bikes that has helped C&L Companies prosper.  One of those was always focusing on what’s ahead. Since its inception, C&L has been steadily evolving into a one-stop repair and performance company for the dirt bike and ATV enthusiast. 

The materials in this binder will give you a clearer understanding of the company’s values, philosophy, products, distribution model and history and how these components are working together to help us reach that destination and maintain our leadership position in the industry.

Enjoy the ride!

 

Curt Leaverton

C&L Companies CEO

  

 

OUR BRANDS

Rather than marketing products under the C&L name, the company made a strategic decision to market products under individual company or brand names. 

 

Hot Rods

Hot Rods has been making the best aftermarket crankshafts and connecting rods for over a decade.  Customers have come to recognize that there is no substitute for the quality of Hot Rods products. 

             

Pivot Works

The industry’s first fast, easy and complete solution to bearing and chassis maintenance for dirt bikes and ATVs. Each Pivot Works’ kit contains all the necessary components (bearings, seals, pins, spacers, collars, thrust washers and thrust bearings) needed to rebuild each part of the suspension system and chassis.  In 2012 Pivot Works established a Lifetime Replacement program on all of its products.  Another industry first!

 

Hot Cams

The leader in innovation, design and development of aftermarket dirt bike and ATV high-performance cam shafts, Hot Cams’ slogan —  “unleash the power within” — says it all. 

 

Cylinder Works

An alternative to OEM cylinders or re-plating existing cylinders, Cylinder Works offers enthusiasts quick and affordable access to a complete line of OEM quality replacement cylinders in standard and big bore sizes. 

 

Vertex Pistons

Manufactured in Italy, Vertex pistons is the premier choice of aftermarket replacement and performance pistons for dirt bikes, ATVs, and UTVs.  Using both cast and forged manufacturing processes enables Vertex to supply the highest quality pistons.

 

Bearing Connections

Bearing Connections was started in 2012 as an economy line of replacement bearing and seal kits.  Bearing Connections is the most affordable bearing and seal kits offered on the market today.

 

Wrench Rabbit

Wrench Rabbit was created to combine products across existing brands into one offering that saves the consumer and parts person time and money.  Currently Wrench Rabbit uses products from Hot Rods, Hot Cams, and Vertex achieving a 7-12% savings by kitting all these items together.  When this brand launched it started with only 85 applications.  Within its second year it expanded to over 175 applications.

Fuel Star

To solve the problem of worn out or corroded fuel petcocks, Fuel Star was created in 2014 as the first complete affordable after-market option for replacement ATV fuel petcocks.

 

OUR HISTORY

The history of C&L Companies is really the history of eight distinct companies — Hot Rods, Pivot Works, Hot Cams, Cylinder Works, Vertex USA, Bearing Connections, Wrench Rabbit, and Fuel Star.

1993:                 Curt Leaverton and Evelina Chen create Hot Rods to manufacture and
                          market replacement connecting rods.

1994:                 Hot Rods signs its first exclusive distribution contract and moves from
                          the basement of Curt’s parent’s house to a 1,250 square-foot building in Grimes, IA.

1998:                 Hot Rods signs a master distributor agreement with Wiseco, expanding sales and distribution throughout the United States.

1999:                 Hot Rods begins manufacturing complete replacement crank shafts

1999:                 Pivot Works begins operations as the first company to manufacture and market complete bearing and seal kits.

2000:                 Sales of Pivot Works products grows as Parts Unlimited and Tucker Rocky become major Pivot Works distributors.

2001;                 Pivot Works receives the Nifty Fifty Award

2001:                 C&L Companies moves into a larger manufacturing and warehouse
                          facility in Urbandale, IA.

2001:                 Hot Cams begins operations as a manufacturer of aftermarket dirt bike and ATV high-performance cam shafts.

2004:                 Hot Rods ends its relationship with Wiseco and expands distribution
                          through a network of national and international distributors.

2004:                 Hot Cams begins production of complete valve shim kits.

2005:                 Hot Rods introduces four-stroke crankshafts.

2005:                 C&L Companies moves into a larger and more modern manufacturing and distribution center in Urbandale, IA.

2007:                 Hot Rods begins to market the bolt-in stroker crankshaft.

2007:                 Hot Cams begins in-house production of cams .

2008:                 Cylinder Works was launched in 2008 to offer the market an affordable, stock replacement, and big bore cylinder line that is OEM appearing.

2008:                 Pivot Works exceeds production of 500 different kits, fitting more
                          than 7,200 individual applications.

2009:                 Vertex USA was founded in 2009 as a joint venture with Vertex Italy. Vertex is a premier piston manufacturer, founded in 1953
                          in Reggio Emilia,Italy. Vertex supplies pistons to many European OE manufacturers while offering high quality aftermarket pistons.

2012:                 Bearing Connections was started in 2012 as an economy line of some of our Pivot Works bearing and seal kits. 

2013:                 Wrench Rabbit was created to combine products across existing brands into one offering that saves the consumer and parts person
                          time and money. When this brand launched it started with only 85 applications.  Within its second year it expanded to over 175 applications. 

2014:                 To solve the problem of worn out or corroded fuel petcocks, Fuel Star was created in 2014 as the first complete affordable
                          after-market option for replacement ATV fuel petcocks.

 

OUR PHILOSOPHY

The three most important words in C&L Companies’ mission statement also serve as the driving philosophy of the company – Identify, Develop, Deliver.  These three simple words succinctly explain what has made our company successful. 

Identify
In the early 1990s, C&L Companies owner, Curt Leaverton realized that he was not the only dirt bike enthusiast in need of replacement connecting rods for his dirt bike.  As a result he began marketing about a half dozen models of replacement rods under the name of Hot Rods.  Continually identifying the needs of dirt bike and ATV enthusiasts is the key to what keeps C&L Companies a leader in its markets. Identifying those needs is much easier when you have a staff of enthusiasts who understand what riding dirt bikes and ATVs is all about.

C&L Companies has a formalized process of identifying marketplace needs that include updates to current products as well as introducing new products. 

The updating process is usually performed during the late summer when the OE manufactures begin releasing their parts fiche.  Research determines what current products will update to the new model year.  If the new model needs a completely new updated part – C&L develops it.

Discussions regarding new products begin the first week of March.  Using information gathered from the customer service department and tradeshows, future product ideas are presented and voted upon.

Develop
Once approved, C&L Companies invests in the appropriate amount of research and development to ensure a quality finished product.  All products are designed by a staff of professionals using state of the art development tools along with highly documented design procedures developed throughout the history of the company.  Developing innovative products is just as important to the success of C&L as developing outstanding working relationships with the distributors who bring these products to the marketplace.

Deliver
Great products are nothing without exemplary customer service to back them up.  C&L Companies is committed to providing customers with a level of personal service unmatched in the industry.  Simply stated, C&L delivers.  C&L delivers product in a timely manner to distributors worldwide who in turn ship to their dealer networks.  C&L delivers accurate information to customers via Web sites and specially-trained customer service representatives.  C&L delivers support to the dirt bike and ATV community by sponsoring events that promote the sport.

A dirt bike or ATV rider will not put his weekend on hold waiting for a part!  There is no such thing as a backorder in the powersports industry.  C&L Companies has made significant investments in its IT infrastructure to support the delivery process.  The investment in IT has also paid off by providing complete network architecture, including advanced security and wireless (wifi) access throughout C&L’s facilities.  As a result, business critical applications are tightly integrated with accounting, purchasing, shipping, forecasting, and collaboration portals providing the information necessary to ensure product when customers demand it.

In everything C&L does, the staffs of Hot Rods, Pivot Works, Hot Cams, Cylinder Works, Vertex USA, Bearing Connections, Wrench Rabbit, and Fuel Star are committed to delivering the best products and most responsive service to the customers who make the company what it is today – a leader.

 

OUR VALUES

As C&L Companies grew, it was important to communicate the values of the individuals who started the company with the growing number of employees.  In 2005, C&L Companies adopted the following seven core values.  Management empowers all employees to live up to these values in their day-to-day dealings with coworkers, vendors and customers.

            Respect all people.

            Act with integrity.

            Create opportunities for individual contribution and pride in workmanship.

            Enhance the procurement and development of knowledge, skill and
              workmanship.

            Build collaboration, coordination and communication.

            Improve continuously.

            Know how to work strategically through thought and planning.

Employees understand the importance of living up to these values, and how these values relate to the success of the company and its customers.  Every new employee is told that the company does not micromanage anything, except the value statement.  The value statement is held in high regard at the C&L organization.  All employees including the owners are required to conduct themselves by the values expressed in the statement.