Business Reviews

Route 66 Ridley Motorcycles - Carthage, Missouri

Written by  November 30, 2007

Ridley Motorcycles…the name conjured up the images of the 2/3 scale motorcycles I saw a few years back. Wasn’t my gig, so I didn’t pay much attention to them or feel I was in for any big surprises when I made the trip out to Route 66 Ridley in Carthage, Missouri to take a look at them! Boy, was I ever in for a shock at how much this motorcycle company has come along in the last few years. Their bikes mean a lot to a segment of the population who would have never considered them if they didn’t know any better. Derek and Marsha really laid out a new meaning for customer service and support. Route 66 Ridley supplies something a lot of other manufactures and dealers should take a long hard look at.

Ridley began in 1995 when Clay Ridley and his son Jay started out to build a better motorcycle. They envisioned one that was easy to ride, and different in a sizable way compared to other motorcycles by having an automatic transmission. Success was just a step away; and with the newer models and the obvious details that are involved with them, this rider thinks they have hit the mark in a big way. Now, Ridley carries five different models in the current year, one of them being a fat-tired Chopper that stands toe-to-toe with some of the finest customs out there in detail and design. More new designs are on the way for the 2008 model year, with some exciting design features coming out, including a Limited Edition Clay Ridley Signature Series and an Autoglide Trike that will have reverse. As of this story, there are artistic pictures available on the Ridley website, at

Derek and Marsha Smyth have hit the mark with Ridley. A few years ago, while involved in drag racing, they came upon Ridley while looking for a pit-bike, and were hooked! With a deep commitment to customer service and after-the-sale service to the people who ride Ridley, Derek and Marsha have made themselves well known in the area. Derek and Marsha are the country’s largest Ridley-only dealership, which gives them the very strong foundation of commitment to the brand itself. Derek is reverent about taking care of his customers, and it shows. Derek and Marsha pride themselves on their shop, and it is kept neat, clean, and uncluttered. I was very impressed by the layout of the motorcycles inside; you were able to walk around each and every one to get a good view of its layout and styling in order to find the perfect one that fits your specific needs. A full line of accessories are available, with Ridley clothing and equipment at your fingertips. Derek also takes pride in letting his customers know that in the rare case they have a mechanical problem, he will see to it right away. He also promises that if they are on the road, he will do his best to make sure they have what they need to get themselves up and running again as quickly as possible. He goes out of his way to let his customers know they are top priority. That, in itself, is one of the many things what makes this dealership shine in my view.

Talking bikes with Derek that afternoon was a joy. Here is a person that lives a passion like no other. He really enjoys his motorcycle, and with the way he communicates really makes you feel at ease. It seems this shop is dedicated to a less stress, more fun-type of atmosphere, which makes shopping for a bike so much more enjoyable. The product knowledge Derek has about his lineup is unmatched. Every technical question I had was answered dead on, and he was able to point out anything I had questions about. His expertise and love for Ridley has made me give some serious thought to buying a Ridley for my wife, to compliment our touring bike when she wants to ride her own. This bike is built for a lot of different motorcyclists, and appeals to a lot of people who would normally not think of an Autoglide motorcycle as the bike for them. This bike gives you a more enjoyable riding time with a lot less hassle. You just give it the gas and go; with no worrying about what gear you need to be in. To me, this would be the perfect commuter bike. There are also many options for custom ordering to make the perfect motorcycle fit your individual desires and needs.

So make sure to take a trip over to Route 66 Ridley real soon, and while enjoying a cup of coffee with Derek, check out the new models for yourself. I came away very impressed, and intrigued by what I saw. I also walked away with a couple of purchases I made while I was there, and they have really great prices on a lot of things you might need. The pictures we took at the dealership will never do justice to the quality of the motorcycles Ridley produces, and until you meet Derek or Marsha in person, you will never grasp the passion and fervor they have to help make your visit one of the most pleasurable memories you could ever have. I personally think a lot of dealerships out there could learn a big lesson from the level of customer service this shop gives, because Route 66 Ridley, by far, takes it to a whole new level, and keep in mind what Derek said to me with a smile as I left, “Ride safe, and ride Shiftless!”

Route 66 Ridley is located at 2488 Old 66 Boulevard in Carthage, Missouri, and you can reach them at (417) 358-8441 or (417) 793-0909, or on the web at

By Jim Austin


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