Accessory pioneer named to Hall

Robert Bates completes induction class of 2009

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 15, 2009
Motorcycle accessory and apparel pioneer Robert Bates has been selected the ninth and final member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame class of 2009.

Bates founded scooter service and accessory company Bates Manufacturing Inc. in Los Angeles, Calif. in 1939. Bates began designing scooter windshields and, when metal was being rationed during World War II, he developed a plastic windshield rim that he later patented.

Following the war, Bates Manufacturing began marketing motorcycle accessories and leather apparel.

“After I bought my first real motorcycle, a Triumph Bonneville, the next thing I needed was a Bates leather jacket,” says Don Rosene, chair of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction committee. “I thought as much of that jacket as I did my new motorcycle. I know Robert Bates made many other motorcycle accessories, but I’ll never forget my Bates leather jacket.”

Rob Dingman, AMA president and chief executive officer, credits Bates as a pioneer in the aftermarket industry.

“In many ways, motorcycling attracts individuals, and that individualism often manifests itself in how we customize our motorcycles,” says Dingman. “This social phenomenon was not lost on Robert Bates, who developed a broad range of products that connected with motorcyclists, from aftermarket pillion seats to leather jackets. As one of the first businessmen to leverage this affinity for personalization, Bates helped establish an aftermarket industry that is thriving today.”

Bates will be honored with the eight other members of the Hall of Fame class of 2009 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. on Dec. 5.

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