Neville 'Nibs' Cragg has been the dealer principal at Suzuki South in Main Road, Wynberg, for more than three decades. A former drag racer, he prides himself on understanding what makes his customers tick, and has weathered both boom and bust years without visible effect.
Some years ago, with his sons Rob and Neville to help - making this a family business in every sense of the word - he became a Kawasaki dealer as well, and branched out with a well-stocked bikewear section, that includes top names such as Arai and Schubert helmets, and Lookwell leathers.
But his decision to take on the Aprilia agency for the Western Cape came as something of a surprise to those of his customers who saw the Cragg operation as one steeped in Japanese motorcycle culture - Cragg has visited that country more than once, to strengthen his network of contacts there - and a little impatient of the 'personality cult' surrounding the top Italian marques.
Not so, said Cragg. Aprilia products are distributed locally by Kawasaki Motors South Africa, so the infrastructure - as well as the personal relationships - was already in place. So, from the beginning of April, a range of Aprilias from the RS125 schoolboy two-stroke to the motard-style 1200cc Dorsoduro began quietly appearing in a section of the show-room at 'South that had been specially set aside for them.