8 Ball Tires Proves Personalized Service

When Ken Wahlster started 8 Ball Tires, a shop focused on selling and servicing one thing – motorcycle tires – he saw an opportunity to start a business that not only filled a need but offered an exceptional customer experience.

Plus, the man knows his tires. As in he has been testing tires on behalf of manufacturers for years and knows what works and what doesn’t. As a rider and racer for more than 30 years, Wahlster is a self-proclaimed tire geek who also happens to now be filling a niche with his bold move into a motorcycle tire-centric business model.

“8 Ball started as an idea in 2016,” Wahlster said. “Now we have three stores and are actively opening a few more soon. Once we set up a location and get the word out, we become the go-to place for motorcycle tires.”

8 Ball Tires has four locations and serves all motorcycle riders.
Ken Wahlster (L) and Rob “Fish” Fischlowitz (R) started 8 Ball Tires to fill a need in the motorcycle community.

Educating Riders is a Priority

He and co-founder Rob “Fish” Fischlowitz started “go-to” locations including San Diego, Escondido, St. Petersburg, FL, and a soon-to-be-opened location in Phoenix, AZ. Free time in 2016 and burning through motorcycle tires because he was riding a lot during that time also prompted Wahlster to start 8 Ball. But the most important factors that led him to start a tire-centric business was a desire to educate riders about tires and performance issues.

“I wanted motorcycle riders to have the same access to tires and knowledgeable staff as they do for cars/trucks,” Wahlster said. “After all tires are MORE important on a motorcycle than they are on a car or truck, just because of the simple fact that motorcycles go around corners by LEANING. So, I started 8Ball Motorcycle Tires.”

For Fischlowitz, a business model that includes engaging a very active motorcycle community is what makes 8 Ball Tires a place to gather, get questions answered, and learn a thing or two.

“Everyone here loves motorcycles, motorcycling, and in the inclusivity of the community,” Fischlowitz said. “If you’re looking for people that love motorcycles, stop by any 8 Ball Motorcycle Tires location, and you’ll easily find other like-minded individuals.”

8 Ball Tires location in Escondido, CA
There are four 8 Ball Tires locations – two in California, one in Florida, and one in Arizona.

Wahlster, too, takes pride in the products offered by 8 Ball, as well as the education offered to motorcyclists. Not only does 8 Ball help riders find the right kicks for their bikes, Wahlster and his team of professionals love to talk about the performance aspect of where the rubber meets the road.

“When we started a lot of riders didn’t really know a lot or thing about their tires,” Wahlster said. “But now, we see repeat customers who call us and ask if we have the newest tire they read about in stock or a specific compound that is better for rain or a tire they want to try.  I love that we’ve helped these riders gain a new appreciation for the huge impact tires have on their riding and are now knowledgeable about the amazing tires we have on the market today.  Tires have become so much better than they were when I started riding. I am amazed by the traction and cornering we see now on street tires.  Likewise, off-road tires are generations ahead of where they were just 10 years ago.  They have more traction and last longer. It is just astonishing.”

Tires Should Fit the Motorcycle You Ride

The tire needs also vary by community Wahlster said. What sells in the Florida shop is different than what sells in the San Diego and Escondido locations. Which makes sense, he said, as the terrain in each state is different.

“For example, at our San Diego location it is a mix of all types of bikes: American V-Twin, Sport, Adventure, off-road, really everything you can imagine,” Wahlster said. “However, our shop in St. Petersburg, Florida is very V-Twin-oriented. Florida has a lot more V-Twin riders because of the terrain.  So we install a lot more V-Twin tires there.  We still stock sport, adventure, off-road, etc., but we install a lot more V-Twin.”

Poker Chip with Law Tigers and 8 Ball Tires promo discount
Bring in your Law Tigers/8 Ball Tires poker chip for a discount on tire installation at the San Diego and Escondido locations.

Reiterating the need to match tires to the bike, Fischlowitz said installing the wrong-size tires can lead to breakdowns and performance issues. “Installing the wrong sized tires can drastically change the way the motorcycle handles,” he said. “Essentially you’ve taken the work of the design engineers and tossed it right out the window.”

“I like to say, ‘engineers are REALLY good at math,’ and they designed your motorcycle to work with its specific components,” Fischlowitz said. “Typically, we have customers ask for wider tires, but wider tires take wider wheels, so as to maintain the correct profile of the tire and geometry of the frame. Deviation from OEM is not advised.”

The Law Tigers and 8 Ball Tires have begun a new partnership benefitting the riding community by offering a discount on tire installs. Law Tigers is proud to sponsor special ‘poker chips’ good for $25 off the installation of a new set of tires. Look for the Law Tigers booth at upcoming motorcycle events in and around San Diego County or stop by 8 Ball and ask for your special chip for savings on your next set of tires. Wahlster encourages the riding community to stop by any 8 Ball location and just hang out in the expansive lounge area and talk bikes, tires, you name it. It’s all about supporting each other and a love of riding.

“If you haven’t been to an 8 Ball, just come by to meet the team and see the selection,” Wahlster said. “No pressure. Hang out. Shoot some pool. Pet the dog. Learn about tires that work best on your bike. Then when you need them, give us a try. If you have already been to an 8 Ball, please tell your friends who ride about us. We grow by providing a great service and having our customers rave about us to their friends.”

8 Ball locations include:

  • Escondido | 2750 Auto Park Way #2 | Escondido, CA 92029
  • Phoenix | 1621 E McDowell Rd. | Phoenix, AZ 85006
  • San Diego | 5715 Kearny Villa Rd #120 | San Diego, CA 92123
  • St. Petersburg | 7095 49th St. North | Pinellas Park, FL 33781

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