Startups

Published: January 1, 2022 | Updated: January 1, 2022

Ross, 30, takes to the road with his motorcycle business and promises a fun, hassle-free ride

Ross Allison, Director, Rotate Motorcycles Ltd. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

His motorcycle business may have got off to a roaring start but Ross Allison admits to more than a little trepidation at going it alone.

Then again, the 30-year-old has sunk around £90,000 into his new venture after quitting his full-time job at Bournemouth Kawasaki after 15-plus years.

His association with the main dealer started with a Saturday job and ended in a senior sales role.

But Ross, who has lived and breathed motorcycles from his teens, said: “The time was right, especially after turning 30.

“While it’s a little scary my gut feeling was that it’s a case of do or die and I know I can sell bikes.”

Any initial doubts were dispelled within days of launching Rotate Motorcycles on December 1.

His first sale came after 48 hours and Ross has now sold eight bikes in the space of three weeks.

The target is 150 over the course of the year.

Three of the sales were wrapped up while sitting with friends at a local German market.

“They couldn’t believe it but it proved that you don’t need physical shop premises to operate a business like this,” said Ross.

In fact, the former Portchester School student who also studied for a diploma in art and design, operates from a unit in Parley.

Visitors are welcome but by appointment only.

At any one time he has a stock of about 20 used bikes of all makes and types.

They range from sports and adventure bikes through to motocross, enduro, commuter and learner legal 125s.

Prices start from £1,999 up to around £11,000.

Rotate Motorcycles – rotatemotorcycles.co.uk – is also on Facebook and Instagram and advertises through Auto Trader, eBay and Gumtree.

Ross, who has a two a half year old son, Freddie, with his partner Ellen, said he had harboured ambitions to launch his own business for several years.

He said: “Pete (Extance, owner of Bournemouth Kawasaki) has known I’ve wanted to do my own thing.

“He’s been brilliant, and very supportive, and I left on good terms.

“I’ve learnt so much over the years while working there and it will stand me in good stead.”

As a trained mechanic, Ross is able to carry out services on bikes before handover, ensuring every bike is prepared and warranted.

His knowledge also helps with the sourcing of bikes, from private customers through to dealerships.

As for the name – Rotate – that came to Ross about a year ago.

He said: “If you think about it everything – from the engine to the wheel – rotates.

“Include things like rotating finance plans and it all makes sense.

“Several customers have already complimented me on the name.”

Ross’ business life now is certainly varied.

A typical day, on December 20, involved an appointment in the morning at Parley followed by several hours on the road, delivering sold bikes in the Rotate Motorcycles-branded van to Tonbridge, Kent, and then Oxfordshire.

But Ross, who owns four bikes himself, said: “It’s my business and I have the freedom to plan the day so if I want to spend time with my son, then I can.

“It’s early days but, eventually, I’d like to employ a technician so I can concentrate on sourcing the bikes and selling.

“My aim is to provide a fun, hassle free buying/selling experience as we’re all likeminded people who are extremely passionate about motorcycling.

“At Rotate, we don’t take ourselves – or life – too seriously.

“We want to gain friendships with all of our customers and create something where you know you can rotate your bike in for a new one as often as you like.

“To me it’s paramount that we have fun and excitement in supplying every bike as if it’s your first!”