Pingel Enterprise, Inc. founded in 1967, is owned by Wayne and Donna Pingel and is a manufacturer and distributor of Motorcycle Performance Products. Wayne became a motorcyclist when purchasing his first two-wheeler in 1960. His interest in motorcycles developed into his own company named Motorsport that started out occupying a two-car garage in Palatine, Illinois with Wayne doing custom fabrication of “Chopper” type motorcycles and Harley-Davidson engine rebuilding. He also found time to build choppers for himself.
Wayne’s mechanical ability was developed through his upbringing on the family farm in the Midwest and generated his desire to work with his hands and fabricate things. This background helped Wayne to design and manufacture his own products. So in 1973 the company started manufacturing its own products and developed into a mail order enterprise with the creation of a catalog and national advertising, selling to consumers, dealers and distributors and focusing on products for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Independence generated through mail order allowed the Pingels to move from their original location in a heavily populated suburban area near Chicago to a more rural setting in Wisconsin in 1979 which now occupies 51,000 square feet of space.
As time went by, the company became more involved in manufacturing motorcycle drag racing products. To offer more to the racer, the company then started distributing other product lines.
To best show these products to the racer, the Pingels started traveling to national events in 1983 with a van load of products for sale and a table for displaying them. The company now takes their product line “on the road.”
Thanks to all of our customers through the years!
Wayne & Donna Pingel
|Wayne Pingel "In the Wind," 1972
| Grandpa Pingel back on the
farm in the late 1930's
Wayne Pingel and his 1965 XLCH in 1966
|Donna Pingel’s first exposure to motorcycles was when she was 17 or 18 years old, she recalled. “I was driving around in my car and saw a motorcycle for sale and stopped to look at it,” she explained. The bike was a Honda 100cc step through and Pingel said she had to have it, so she went ahead and bought it. “I would just ride it around my neighborhood,” Donna told us, but shortly after she bought the bike she moved to a new neighborhood where the local Honda dealer was just two blocks away. “I would go there almost daily, looking at the models and picking up brochures and figuring out what would be my next motorcycle,” explained Pingel.
But before she was able to buy her next motorcycle, Donna said she met her future husband, who, at the time, owned a motorcycle shop adjacent to her house. “We married and that is how I became involved in the powersports industry,” shared Pingel. She continued by saying her husband’s business was in building choppers and rebuilding Harley- Davidson engines. “I started working at the bottom doing the cleaning,” she told us, “He was pretty fussy and had to have a clean shop. He liked my work and moved me up to sales person since he really liked to do the work but didn’t like dealing with the customers.”
|According to Donna, when she first started at the business in 1973 it went by the name of Motorsports Sales and Construction, though the two later renamed it Pingel Enterprise, in the mid 1980s, because, she said, there were a lot of ‘motorsports’ in the business. “So I have been with the same company for 35 years,” Pingel stated.
“My husband and I have worked together the entire time and I did whatever was needed to be done: machine shop work on mills and lathes, a little metal polishing, product packaging, tech, sales, order processing, picking, shipping, bookkeeping, inventory, human resources, ads and cataloging,” listed Donna. Currently, Pingel added, she serves as vice president, overseeing many of the daily business activities, as well as attending trade shows and motorcycle events.
“I enjoy meeting our customers at various industry events, as well as other business owners in the industry who share my passion for this industry,” Donna told us. She said one of her best moments was when Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited picked up their product lines. “Being in the business has allowed us to participate as a sponsor for Top Fuel Drag Racer Larry McBride
|who was the first motorcycle to run 5.99 in the 1/4 mile and we were there to watch him at Houston, TX, in 1999,” Pingel continued, “In 2005 Harley-Davidson contacted us to provide products for their Destroyer drag race motorcycle and we were very proud to have been chosen as we had been providing drag racing products since 1975.” Her most recent favorite, she said, was when they purchased a café/bar in Sturgis, SD, in 2007. “It is the perfect venue to promote Pingel products inside with a full display area outside. And the location is great being right across the street from the Sturgis Harley-Davidson dealer,” she explained, adding, “We have done some remodeling inside and named it Shifters Bar and Grill after our product, the electric shifters. It is where ‘Shift Happens’ in Sturgis.”
Since her first motorcycle, Donna said she has only had a few up until 1998, when she restored a KZ900. “I loved it but it wasn’t as comfortable as I wanted,” she explained. However, in 2001 Donna then purchased a Honda 750 Shadow and rode it until she restored a V-Rod in 2003, she explained. “That was it and I had to have one and purchased an anniversary model. I added a windshield and saddlebags and
|it was a fun bike. I love the performance and handling,” she told us. Then in 2005, Pingel said she walked into her local Harley-Davidson dealership and saw a 2006 Screaming Eagle V-Rod and decided she just had to have it. Pingel added, “So that is my current ride most of the time because I like it the best as I am fortunate that I still have all of these motorcycles. I have drag raced this V-Rod and look forward to doing it again. Most of my riding time is for pleasure in the hills of Southwestern Wisconsin with the Black Hills in South Dakota being my next favorite riding area. I am also captain of a modified hi-performance Bonanza A36 airplane which is also another great ride.”
Though the biggest threat to the market right now is the economy, Pingel said she believes the area with the greatest growth potential is drawing in the younger generation, who are starting to make their way into motorcycling.
“Enjoy what you do,” she advised. Pingel concluded by saying, “Being passionate about motorcycling, along with having a business in that industry makes for a fulfilling life. It doesn’t get any better than also sharing that passion with my husband.”