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.
Viola, WI. September 15, 2011. The AACA Illinois Brass & Gas Touring Group made a stop at the S&S facility in Viola, WI. The day started out cool with the first frost of the season, but warmed up nicely as the sun came up. That's a good thing because these are all open cars! That's why the old timers always wore those big car coats and goggles. Some of the cars were actually steam powered, so they had to fill up with water here at S&S.
The club is for owners of cars built before 1915. The reason they call it Brass and Gas is that up until 1915 the cars used a lot of brass in the radiators and other structural parts, but after WWI started, brass was in short supply, most of it going to the war effort for making ammunition. Later cars used painted or nickel plated steel. All the cars on the tour were fully restored and fully functional. It requires an incredible amount of dedication to restore and maintain these vehicles. Replacement parts are pretty much nonexistent and the amount of TLC and financial resources required are considerable. However it all pays off on a beautiful fall day, with an event like this.
The club holds a number of these tours during the year. They bring the cars in covered trailers to a specified location; in this case Richland Center, WI. Several day trips are planned by the club during the tour. The members don't really know where the will end up until they receive their trip book with detailed directions as to where to go and where to turn. At an average speed of 30 mph, the trip is a pleasant cruise. In most cases it's not about the destination, it's more about the trip. In the case of the S&S visit, the destination proved to be really cool too.
The group toured the S&S museum and manufacturing plant, and many picked up S&S t-shirts as souvenirs. Not only do the owners of these antique autos love cars, many of them have motorcycles and other toys too.
When S&S Engineering Manager, Jeff Bailey brought out our brand new Morgan three-wheeler test car they all fell in love with it on the spot. Even though this Morgan isn't an antique, it's modeled after the old time Morgans which were first produced in 1910.
The Morgan Motor Company of Malvern Link in Worcestershire, UK started out producing the three-wheelers in 1910 but discontinued them in 1954. However, Morgan is reintroducing the three-wheeler this year, and the modern version is powered by the S&S X-Wedge® engine. That's why S&S happens to have one of these yet to be released vehicles. It's here for testing and a fun part of that testing includes showing it to people to see what they think. "I think I need one!" is what most people say after they see one. After they have a ride in one that changes to "I know I need one!" Jeff gave rides to several of the antique car owners and they reciprocated by giving rides to several S&S employees. Good times!