S&S attended the Iowa Grand Rally at the Iowa Speedway near Newton, Iowa July 24 – 28. This is the first year for this new rally and we didn’t know what to expect, but when we got there we were impressed by what a great facility the Iowa Raceway is. This modern racing, concert and event facility is a great venue to present everything from NASCAR races to motorcycle rallies to rock concerts. We were also impressed at how hot the weather was. During set-up on Tuesday July 24, and the first day of the show on Wednesday, the temperatures were well above 100° – that’s pretty hot! Wednesday night a line of thunderstorms came through with heavy rain and high winds. We were lucky because the S&S trailer came through the storm with no damage. Others were less fortunate.
The Wall Of Death, which was right next door, had its top awning blown off and badly damaged. In spite of the set-back the show had to go on. Take a look at the short video and the photos of Patch McGillicuttey defying death and gravity as he rides his motorcycle around the cylindrical track of the Wall of Death. He was riding with no hands, snatching dollar bills from the hands of spectators, and even making change if you didn’t have any small bills. The wall will be in Sturgis, and you should check it out if you get a chance.
As it is at every rally, our Morgan 3 Wheeler was a real hit. Some people have no idea what it is. Kind of like Marty McFly’s Delorean after he crashed into the barn in the movie Back To The Future. Some people had heard of it but have never seen one in person. Lot’s of people thought it must be something we fabbed up in the R&D department. Those guys are always surprised that it’s a production vehicle made by a company that’s been in business since 1910. A couple of with it individuals knew what it was and had some experience with the original Morgan 3. Everybody thought it was super cool, and wanted one.
Also on Thursday was the opening ceremony at the Rolling Thunder traveling wall and the S&S circle of honor. Event organizer Jay Allen lead the proceedings through the ceremony and the S&S Circle of Honor, a five bike simultaneous burn out in front of the wall. The mission of the Rolling Thunder organization is to honor and recognize the men and women who gave their lives in the service of our country.
The weather really didn’t cut us any breaks during the rally. Tuesday through Thursday were brutally hot. Friday was the only nice day. Saturday started out fairly nice, and attendance was looking pretty good. However, by mid afternoon, right after the closing ceremony for the traveling wall, the rain started and put a damper on the proceedings. A lot of folks called it quits and left and it’s a safe bet that a lot of the local people who would have attended, decided not to show up because of the weather.
In spite of the weather, we had a great time. We’re looking forward to the next Iowa Grand Rally. We think it has a lot of potential because of the great facility, a full complement of attractions like numerous rides to local destinations – lead by celebrity road captain and “Minister of Fun” Don Wood, activities, attractions, and big name entertainment. A great time in a great facility at a great price.
Flathead Power/ S&S Cycle attended the AMCA National Swapment in Oley PA, hosted by the Perkiomen Chapter, April 27-29th 2012. AMCA events like the Perkiomen Swapmeet have long been a great place to network with fellow vintage enthusiasts as well as get the word out on new and existing S&S products under the Flathead Power Brand. Flathead Power founder Anders Nygren used the same venues to display and sell his wares, and this year, following the recent release of an American Iron magazine article, Flathead Power debuted the Anders Nygren Signature Series 93” Knuckle Engine, and what better place to honor the man that got Flathead Power going, than a National AMCA Meet?
Flathead Power road crew members, Eric Wangen & Kayle Pauling left for Oley PA on Tuesday, April 24th for the 2 day drive to East Central Pennsylvania. A day before we left, we saw on the news that most of PA was hit by a late snow storm, depositing as much as 13 inches in some areas, but a day later when we went thru, just a trace amount of snow in the higher elevations was the only evidence to be seen. Other than a near miss by a kamikaze turkey outside Boaz WI and an “over the cab” car hauler in western PA who suddenly felt he needed both lanes in a construction zone before he fully passed the our truck and trailer, the trip out was pretty uneventful. On Wednesday we made a stop to visit S&S/Flathead Power Dealer Paul Friebus at American Cycle Fab in Bloomsburg PA to see some of the skunkworks that goes into Bonneville racing a flathead motorcycle, sorry we didn’t take any pics there, but trust me, Paul is a record setter for a reason!
Thursday is considered a setup day at most all of the AMCA Swapmeets and is not open to the public, but there is still a lot of people for booth traffic as the other vendors take a chance to see what everyone has brought into the show in hopes they might find that hard sought after item they need or they think they can turn a bit of profit on. We’ve found that if you can get to the meet as it opens on Thursday, dropping the trailer and setting up is way easier if you can get in long before your neighbors arrive. With new display materials, we got setup in short order, and were busy most all day Thursday.
Now some may not know this, but S&S holds a strict policy that we won’t sell retail and compete with our dealers, so linking up with one of our dealers at these events allows us to bring along some select parts to sell thru the dealer in attendance, in this case we had WayBack Wheels from Portsmouth New Hampshire in the very next row. We brought some seconds and blem parts to sell along with some select firsts. Fully functional, seconds and blems can be pretty good deals if you don’t mind a bent or a small broken fin or other defect that inadvertently makes it thru the machining process but would not be a sellable item at MSRP. We get people looking for mock up parts, parts they want to try some modification on or with a little work, repair the fin or other blem feature and run the parts. We even had a guy that wanted to take a blem knuckle housing and make a beer tapper handle. The only way to get in on these rare second and blem parts deals is by attending one of these meets where the flaws can be seen handled and explained face to face by our road crew. (All blems and seconds are marked and are sold as is, and not under any kind of warranty)
Our UL/WLA Hybrid military display bike featured on our Facebook page was also a big hit for the people in attendance and the road crew who took it out for a spin around the grounds every couple of hours. We didn’t keep count, but I bet it was one of the most photographed bikes at the meet. Sporting our UL cylinders, heads, lifters and kicker cover, the bike was a great way to showcase parts and our commitment to the vintage market.
Friday was cold, overcast and extremely windy, at a few points in the day the guys were holding down the tents while talking to customers, almost like being in a day long bank hold up. The cold and wind did'nt deter too many from venturing out to find their parts, attendance and booth traffic remained pretty steady.
Saturday weather was fully cooperative, and the booth traffic was very steady right up to the close of the show as most vendors pack up and leave Saturday night. A side story about some of the pictures below, about mid afternoon Saturday, one of our neighbors was getting all packed up for his drive back, accidentally locked his key in his truck. With his spare set at the other end of the state, he was ready to break his back window to gain entry. Not wanting to see that happen, crew member Kayle Pauling stepped up and after about 20 minutes of work, was able to fish a coat hook in and bump the electric lock. Now that’s customer service!
Our next show is at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa Iowa, and we may be adding another AMCA meet in Wauseon in July, we’ll keep you posted, or check us out on Facebook for more Flathead Power road tour events.
Bruce and Justin from S&S visited the Power Sports Institute
, a division of the Ohio Technical College, in Cleveland Ohio to observe an S&S Dealer Training Class
. This session was the Sidewinder training class, which deals with the mechanical aspects of servicing S&S engines. The focus of the class was the S&S V-Series and T-Series engines for 1984 – 2006 Harley-Davidson big twins, and numerous S&S Hot Set Up Kit® configurations for 1984 – 2011 big twins. This class is only available to S&S dealers
The purpose of these classes is to get technicians who work in S&S dealerships up to speed on the special care and feeding of S&S engines and S&S modified Harley-Davidson® engines such as those that contain an S&S Hot Set Up Kit. Each participant in the class is required to tear down, measure and reassemble an S&S V-Series engine
and either an S&S T-Series engine
or a Hot Set Up Kit modified Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 88® or 96 engine. In the process they learned not only the techniques, but the how's and why's of the S&S components and the engines that contain them.
The students in the class ranged from seasoned technicians to near entry-level technicians. Regardless of the level of experience, all participants of the class learned a lot. In the case of the less experienced students, it was an eye opening introduction not only to basic engine building and maintenance techniques, but an insight into the difference between stock and performance motorcycle engines
. For the old pro's, it was a chance to hone their skills and find ways to do their jobs better. Nobody walked away from the class without a head full of newly acquired ideas and solid v-twin performance
knowledge, regardless of how much they knew before the class.
The fact is that S&S engines and S&S modified stock engines are different from stock Harley® engines. That's why they're faster. With that fact in mind, it should be pretty reasonable to conclude that they need a little different approach when you have one in the shop. Making more power isn't just about increased displacement, although that's a pretty good way to go. It also has to do with cylinder head flow, ignition timing, cam specifications, carb tuning
, and a lot of other considerations that generally are not even a concern to the mechanic who works to the maintain stock function of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Modifying an engine for more performance takes more knowledge and the ability to think outside the box. Related: Students from PSI's Dealer Training Build Bike for AMD Championship
"We don't just want these guys to be parts-changers!" Says PSI campus director Bernie Thompson. "They need to be able to think about what they're doing and make the right calls when confronted with the special problems of high performance work." V-Twin Education Manager Ron Radeke adds "To receive the S&S Sidewinder
certificate, students have to do the work and pass the tests. Without these strict requirements, the certificate wouldn't mean much. This way you know that any technician who holds a Sidewinder certificate from PSI is the real deal. They've earned it!"
Bernie adds "To go along with that, we have a separate v-twin course here at PSI where we not only teach our students how to service Harley-Davidson® and other v-twins, but we give the students the opportunity to build a custom bike from scratch. This year we used an S&S engine and our bike took 8th
place at the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building event in Sturgis." Click here to see the bike!
A cool chance meeting occurred when we discovered that the technicians from Gateway Big Dog, who sent us the picture and dyno chart featured in an earlier S&S Performance Times Blog
were taking the class when we were there. Other participants included two brothers from a new shop in Australia called Karbo Kustoms, and two guys from Lowbrow Customs, one of the sponsors of the recent Knuckle Shuffle
in nearby Yuba, WI. See our Road Tour Blog entry here
Dealer training is something that is pretty unique in the high performance industry, and S&S is committed to making sure that our dealers can back up the great reputation that S&S products have with performance enthusiasts all over the world.
If you are interested in attending S&S Dealer training, visit our site for more information
and this year's class schedule
. If you would like to become an S&S Dealer, or learn why partnering with S&S is great for your business, visit our Become an S&S Dealer
page on our site.
Beautiful days and a lush green scenery are not uncommon – at least in the summertime – to folks who live in Wisconsin. The riders of S&S Cycle got together for the tenth annual memorial ride honoring S&S Founders George and Marjorie Smith. It was a gorgeous day for a ride, 37 riders gathering for a route that took us winding through the beautiful countryside and Home to S&S, the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin.
Two groups, one starting in Viola and another in La Crosse, met at Jersey Valley county park where current S&S president George B. Smith (son of George and Marjorie) gave a speech commemorating his parents and thanking all of the riders for their enthusiasm and hard work.
"My parents started this company in 1958, to make high performance parts for american v-twins. It's all of you who have taken our motto "Proven Performance" to the next level, and helped shape the company into what it is today. I look forward to the years ahead and thank you for your hard work. Now, get out and ride!"
Motorcycling is an important part of life for many S&S employees, as it was for George and Marjorie Smith, both avid riders and enthusiasts.
Following the Memorial Ride, employees and family enjoyed a picnic bash, including a feast of BBQ favorites, games, a bouncy castle (not just for the kids) and camaraderie.