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Upbeat on downpipes

The spirit of free enterprise has certainly beaten all odds for DrDownpipe founder Martin Cloke during the Covid-19 pandemic, having launched his new cleaning product for exhaust headers just as the UK lockdown approached.

The starting point for Cloke’s business came from long years of professional experience valeting used bikes he bought in for supply to the trade. Increasingly dissatisfied with many of the cleaning solutions available, he was also aware that some household items in regular use most definitely weren’t motorcycle friendly.

So Cloke set out to develop his own answer to the problem of baked-on header filth, one that wouldn’t damage chrome and adjacent paintwork, and was equally efficacious on polished stainless steel. The result, after extensive testing and establishing regulatory compliance, was a biodegradable acid-based formula that he branded DrDownpipe – The Exhaust Remedy.

This was initially launched early this year, just as coronavirus reared its ugly head, with a promotional price to gauge demand. “You could say we dipped our fingers gently into the market,” says Cloke. “It started to sell and suddenly bikers were talking about DrDownpipe. We saw a few videos doing the rounds on social media of people using it. Then, like a greyhound leaving the traps, it took off and we had sold out via our website.”

And when lockdown hit and much of the motorcycle trade was obliged to close its doors, DrDownpipe prospered. “Most bikers were stuck at home with nothing to do,” Cloke explains. “What better idea than to give their bikes a spruce-up! We sold more than a thousand 500ml bottles in two weeks and demand quickly outstripped supply. We couldn’t keep up.”

The product was subsequently featured and recommended in key specialist media including MCN, RiDE and Bike, as well as on the Bennetts Insurance Bike Social website, which helped to attract greater attention and grow sales.

Martin Cloke is naturally grateful to the handful of dealers who became his first stockists, mainly local to DrDownpipe’s home at Dartford, Kent. These were Ride DMC in Dartford, Fast Lane in Tonbridge and Sondel Yamaha in Blackfen. Further afield, Ashbourne Motorcycles in Ireland was the inaugural export destination. Many more have since followed.

Cloke is keen to extend reach to a much wider customer base through further trade outlets and is proud to stress that he is purveying a British-made product. DrDownpipe also has the scope to supply to the trade in bulk quantities for showroom stock valeting purposes.


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