By Steve Smilanick of S and S Machine
Steve posted this highly informative information on T@H on 01/02/02 in response to the below note:
At 10:45 AM 01/02/2002
-0800, you wrote:
People have always had interesting responses to new technologies......................................
...............I'm not going to say that every new product that hits the
market is great and be here forever. But nay-sayers for new technologies are here to stay. That's just the way it is.
Steve's answer starts here:
OK, now you've got me
Try telling someone that they can have a bike that comes apart with S and S
Couplings then goes back together again and rides like a one piece frame.
Ha ha ha........
Nay-sayers is a kind and gentle term for many of the people that I talked
to at my first Interbike show. After seeing our test fixtures and destructive tests
that demonstrated the strength of S and S Couplings compared to a plain tube,
there were some builders like Dwan at Co-Motion, Steve at Bilenky Cycle Works, and Ross at Salsa Cycles that embraced the idea. Most of the builders,
industry professionals, retailers and shop rats laughed at couplings. When I had time, I pulled some of them into the booth and demonstrated how strong they were. Even then, most would say "I can see that the coupling is stronger than the tube but I would be afraid to have them on my bike, what happens if it breaks when I'm riding". It's funny that they can accept paper thin tubes, skimpy wheels and other light weight components that frequently cause crashes but not a coupling that is rock solid.
If I had a nickle for everyone that said "I wouldn't cut my Merlin, Waterford,
Serotta etc. in half", I could retire now. They still say it when I go to a
consumer show if they aren't familiar with couplings but at least now I can
tell them that they don't have to cut their bike, Merlin etc. offers it as an
option on their new bikes.
I had one guy that did trick riding/jumping say that he could break them no
problem. I put 100 dollars on the table and told him I was willing to bet as
much money as he wanted that he might break the frame but not the coupling. He was all excited until he looked at out test fixtures and destructive test
samples. He declined my bet.
It's been over 8 years since that first show, and we haven't had a single
failure or rerun of a coupling installed into a bike due to strength, noise,
flex of failure of any kind. Even frames totally destroyed due to auto, truck
or motorcycle vs bicycle accidents hasn't caused a single coupling failure.
Couplings have been proven but most people still don't accept that they are
rock solid. Even builders who are just now trying them for the first time,
call me once they have a bike built to tell me that they really do work. One
builder recently called to say that he had just read the comment on our web
site written by Greg LeMond regarding his personal S and S Coupled LeMond
and said that he has been afraid to try them but if Greg LeMond says they are OK then they must work.
I could go on and on but the bottom line, cyclists are tough customers!!!
Considering what I went through for the first few years (and still go through
now from time to time) dealing with skeptics, if I had it to do over again, I
doubt I would do it again. I'm just not a marketing guy.
Thanks Dwan (at Co-Motion Cycles) and Steve (at Bilenky Cycle Works). Without your early vision, support and encouragement to make tandem specific sizes, I'm sure this product would have never caught on. It certainly wasn't anything I did that made it happen. Also, thanks to all the other tandem builders that now offer S and S Couplings. Innovative builders make it happen.
While I'm at it, thank you to the folks on this list that have been so
generous sending me photos, comments, travel adventures, and other information for our web site as well as for spreading the word about S and S Couplings. I appreciate your support.
S and S Machine
S and S Bicycle Torque Couplings (BTCs)
9334 Viking Place, Roseville, CA 95747