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Triumph- "British Wiring Diagram* No-Battery Capacitor Triumph- "British Wiring Diagram* Magneto ^^ ^^

When a legend is not enough

The awe inspiring view of a sunset is a moment to be savored, but the experience of getting there is just as important. Style and chrome won't get you up that mountain road or safely past that semi. Only torque and horsepower will get it done. S&S* Cycle gives you more of both.

S&S Cycle has been building high performance parts for Harley-Davidson" motorcycles for over 50 years. Located in Viola, Wisconsin, we're just down the road from Milwaukee, and our passion for speed and our history of Proven Performance"" are also legendary - proven on the dyno, at the racetrack, and on the street - because reliability is just as important as speed.

S&S performance parts are available at cycle shops and select Harley-Davidson" dealers around the world. Ask for them by name to get authentic, American-made, S&S performance parts to bring your legend to life.

Visit us on the web at www.sscyde.com/lifestyle

V-Twin Performance Since 1958

V-Twin Performance Since 1958

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jam ichole and I have known Russ Wildman, and they instantly

Niedwick for a while now. Russ up a great relationship. Wildqjfoipi^

owns and operates Niedwick impressed with Russ' stor^i, ansjjff

Machine in Orange, CA. While you've probably noticed,. Nie£}Wi£

getting to know Russ and building Machine is a proud advertisers^

a bike for him, we naturally started The Source now. This is not a star talking shop. Russ' shop is very of a mag pushing its advertiser,; bi capable, and he has his hands in actually how the story bjftugpftt^Hj a lot of different operations. One mag and the advertiser togethe day while looking through a tri- It also is a great testimony that a fold of his, I noticed they offered American manufacturer Cat^^fe machine shop services in Asia, if it is capable of adaptation .arr meaning they could outsource work evolution. Enough of my babbps. let'

if need be. I immediately called him listen to Russ for a while, and gave him the, "What the Hell, dude?" He told me to chill, as that QS" Give us the backgjcOyjf^TO

was an experiment gone dreadfully Niedwick Machine, how it got startec wrong. The idea of an American and how you got where you-a^»^ manufacturer going to Asia, and almost immediately returning, made RN: Niedwick Machine started i me happy to say the least. As soon 1956 by my grandpa when «fig»

as I could, I introduced Russ to airplanes were being built 'fn'^LoW

44 February '11 CYCLE SOURCE

Beach. There were screw machine shops all over Orange County and LA, and that's how grandpa started. You know, he bought a Bridgeport and he just started making parts. We actually have a video on our Web site of his very first machine from 1956, which is kinda cool. And that's how it got started. You know that's how they did it back then; guys bought machines and started making parts for the aerospace industry. He did it just like that for about 10 or 15 years, and then my dad went to war and my uncle didn't. Instead of going to the war, he went to work with grandpa. The shop really got going in the late '60s and early '70s. They did really well for many, many years. They were pulling in a few hundred thousand dollars each per year in the seventies and eighties, just making widgets for the aerospace industry.

In the early eighties, they started making commercial dishwasher parts for the restaurant pick up additional business. The industry as the aerospace industry commercial dishwasher business started to die out. Now, as you know, has been our staple over the last 15 they no longer build any airplanes years.

in Long Beach, they are all built My dad got involved in the mid overseas or in Europe. All those nineties, after being a computer mom-and-pop screw shops and programmer for years. He started machine shops died out as well. We his own shop, and a few years later were able to hang in there because they merged the two shops together, we grew enough, and we were big Slowly they were still diversifying, enough and diversified enough to but they were still old school, you know, they were still making widgets. Not finished products, just nuts and screw and doohickeys.

I've always been a motorhead, you know, I've always been working on cars and motorcycles, and I got involved in 2005. I was a stock broker for years and years, and I took a year off to finish my Master's Degree, and started building a motorcycle in my garage. I hadn't spent much time in the shop my entire life. In 2004, I was spending a lot of time there building parts for

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my first bike. As I was hanging out there, I was driving around going to a lot of different bike shops, and I happened to meet Jesse James. He had seen some of the stuff I had made, knew we had a shop, and asked me to make some parts for him. So I went back to the shop and made some parts. The next week, I met somebody at a medical device company on a whim, and they also asked me to make some parts. Six months later I've brought in all these new accounts, and I told everybody at the shop, 'Hey, put me on the payroll.' It was never my intention, but I found that I was really good at generating leads and business, and I found myself on the payroll at the end of '05. I learned the business really quick.

What I was able to do was bring in a whole new aspect of work. I brought in the hot rod industry, the off-road truck stuff, the motorcycle stuff, and we really saw our business start to develop over the next few years. We were doing the same amount of widgets, but we were also doing all this new stuff. We carried on like this for about two years, and then unfortunately my uncle passed away in 2007. At that point, it was up to my cousin and I to step up and run the show. So we moved into the big office and have been running it ever since. We have seen more of this new business and less and less of the widgets, primarily because the widget business has been moved overseas. But we've continued to grow because we've added the motorcycle business and the military. The military will be our largest contract this year. We are doing less of the high volume simple parts; our business has become more of the high end, complicated parts and prototyping. If we do the military, number one, there stuff cannot be done overseas. And for the motorcycle guys, they do not need 10,000 parts, they need 200. It does not serve for them to go overseas. They'll never sell enough parts. You need to be able to quickly change designs and get new parts out there. We've really created a niche where we do rapid prototyping and follow it up with production runs.

QS; So you've become the go-to guy for the gearheads. Do you think the fact that you are not just button pushers has helped you stay alive?

RN; We definitely do not make a lot of money on the one-offs or the prototyping. It creates exposure. One of these days it will lead to big accounts. The last few months we've had numerous parts on the covers of countless magazines on high profile builders, but we don't get the recognition. It's always done through a wheel company or a brake company, but those companies know to come to us and say, 'Hey, we need this part by tomorrow.' People know to come to us to get stuff done quickly and to get it done right. That's not a money maker, but you have to do it to present tomorrow's opportunities.

GS: So tell us about your overseas operations and what led you to ceasing those projects.

jRi^; Our overseas operation developed a few years ago. Basically, the customer we handle, the largest one, was getting pressure from their competitor. Their competitor was going overseas. So they pressured us to be competitive on this particular machine. There's only so many ways to cut costs. They were such a big part of our business and vice versa; we own all of their research and development, all of their fixturing, everything for the last 25 years. If we shut down, they shut down. We probably make 500 line items for them on a monthly basis. There was a lot of pressure just because of our history together. So at the end of the day, we decided to look into producing some of the simple parts overseas. We did that. We brought some stuff in from overseas, but the large quantities, and the crazy lead times sucked, and when we got the parts, we basically had to go back and fix all of them. You have no recourse as far as returning the parts. It was more effort and work than the savings warranted. At this point, we were getting tremendous pressure from overseas. So we decided to send some of our largest assemblies there. We worked on that for about a year and a half. We got these assemblies in and we had about a 50% quality check on those parts. The parts were just too complicated for the overseas factory to figure out. At the end of the day, it was irrelevant. It was too much effort. The parts were junk. They used the wrong material. So we made the decision that our parts are made here, and we will ask for price increases from our customer, and if they cannot pay it, we cannot do the work. That was a tough thing to do. But we had to continue making parts overseas and put up with the headaches, or lose money making the parts here, or diversify and find new sectors that need our services. So we did what we had to do, and brought it back home.

OS" Do you think that is one of the problems with American jobs going overseas, that too many people are scared to say no, that they will do whatever it takes to make the customer and ultimately the consumer happy?

rn;" Absolutely. It's impossible to say no for so many people, and especially hard when you've had such a longstanding relationship with somebody.

CS" Did it feel like a huge monkey off your back when you finally told them no?

RN; Definitely. And we are still working with them on things we can do domestically to keep them and us profitable. They are looking into things they can do in Asia, but we will not be a part of it. We've told them that when they get their parts in from overseas and they need 1,000 of them corrected overnight, we will do that, but we are going to make money at it.

OS; Do you have any stories relative to the motorcycle industry that exemplify the current attitude and shady business ethics outsourcers have?

RN: Yes. One of the largest aftermarket parts companies out there started getting parts from us. We still have a large screw machine operation, and they needed screw parts; a lot of them. They were doing it on CNC machines, which isn't productive. We started running all their screw products. They were very busy at the time, and they came to us with some of their more complicated CNC mill work, and we took that on. We did a great job at it. We were given large blanket job orders on two or three line items. We did prototypes, we started production, and about a month into it, they had taken our prototypes and sent them overseas and we lost the contract. They came to us and told us to compete at the overseas price. We couldn't buy the material for the finished product price, so the contract was lost. Not only did we tool up, do R&D, and start production, but they took our parts and used them against us. And that sucks. I probably have $20,000 in tooling and fixtures lying here, and they went somewhere else to save a buck. They have no appreciation for what we did.

Sure as shit, three months after their parts were sourced overseas, they call me and say, 'We need you to run these parts again; the parts coming in from Asia are junk.' And I said, 'No.' They came back to us because the stuff they got from

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