'Round these parts, 'on your bike' isn't so much a throwaway comment as a way of life. Catering for all your motorcyclist needs, offering everything from motorbike sales, parts, and accessories to apparel, servicing, and MOTs, the Wigan Yamaha Centre really is the place for petrol-heads of a two-wheeled persuasion.
Between 1994 and 2016, the number of motorcyclists in the UK bloomed by 74% from around 600,000 to just over 1.1 million. Opened in 2000 with just three members of staff, the Wigan Yamaha Centre has grown in tandem, now well established as a full-service dealership employing 12 people and boasting dozens of new and used Yamaha bikes along with some exclusive rare pre-owned and special paint models.
General manager Rob Ocego, 46, says the centre has always prided itself on customer service, reliability, and integrity. "Having been here for almost 20 years, we make a real effort to give each and every customer the best possible experience," said Rob, from Warrington. "We have been extremely successful with repeat business and many customers returning again and again. And we also strive to support bike clubs and charities where we can."
"I've always enjoyed the job," added Rob, who has managed the centre since it opened. "Priding ourselves on having the best possible stock, price, and meticulously prepared [products] prior to resale, all of our bikes are fully-warranted, giving piece of mind to the new owner. We really do try our hardest to keep everybody happy and endeavour to form a good bond with people from the biking community."
A true one-stop shop for all things two-wheeled, Wigan Yamaha Centre boasts an on-site MOT and tyre bay, as well as a full clothing and helmet department. With a full range of Yamaha demonstrator bikes available, all their makes and models are serviced by fully-qualified technicians and are delivered all over the UK.
The company also prides itself on being a big ambassador for training apprentices. Technician Mike Norbury - himself a successful road racer - started working at the centre on Saturdays eight years ago, with the centre enrolling him in college where he obtained his qualifications. He now works at the centre full-time and is working towards his Gold Technician award.
"Mike has a real passion for motorcycles," said Rob. "People want people who have that underlying knowledge, and Mike certainly has that."
Hailing from Astley, 25-year-old Mike commented: "I do servicing, MOTs, and repairs; it's like having a hobby as a job. On my days off I work on my own bikes, and then I come to work and do the same."