Malcolm Smith

I was a businessman pretty early in life. For spending money as a kid I sold cattails and avocados in my San Bernardino neighborhood. And later, after I’d gotten a real motorcycle – a 500cc Matchless single – as a teen, I worked at a gritty shop owned by Pappy Mott, who taught me a lot about sales and customer service.

The beginnings of MSR, which I launched in the late 1960s from the back of my shop (called Malcolm Smith’s K&N Motorcycles), came from similarly simple beginnings: control cables. On a trip to the Husky factory in preparation for an ISDT event I met a guy who made Nylon-lined cables in a nearby village, which were much better than the metal-on-metal ones then in use. I ordered a hundred red-colored ones, hauled them home in my suitcase, began selling them to riders and dealers, and very quickly sold out. Bang! I was in the parts and accessories business.


From there we branched out into racing jerseys and other bits of rider apparel, from gloves and socks to boots and leather pants. We kept adding accessories, such as handgrips, and soon we we’d outgrown our small space and had to buy a separate building to keep things going. We kept growing, hiring great people, and adding well-known brands and quality products to our wholesale business, and by the late 1970s were well established as Malcolm Smith Gold Medal Products, a name I felt would link the company to the success I’d had on the ISDT front.


By the 1980s we’d begun designing products of our own, which included our first MSR boot, built to our specifications by Alpinestars, and our own line of amazingly functional and durable Gore-Tex clothing. In time we achieved more than I ever thought possible.


MSR came from simple beginnings, yes. But through the years it was quality products, excellent customer service and great people that helped make us what we are today. I’m definitely proud to be part of this company’s off-road legacy.