Here at Performance Machine, we’ve been busy conceptualizing and building out a new Research and Development (R&D) area of our shop. We painted and scrubbed clean a new space, purchased and installed new equipment, and taken full advantage of our in-house design skills at every step along the way (our own staffers — Jun Odashima, [R&D Engineer] and Jason Tiedeken [Engineering Manager] — designed the floor plan, workstations, and even the massive PM decals that plaster the 20-foot high walls).
In addition to the face-lift, Jun and Jason helped replace two motorcycle lifts, oversaw the installation of a new motorcycle/ATV floor jack and an automotive floor jack. Four handmade workstations and desks were constructed based on Jun and Jason’s designs, and when you throw in a new band saw, welding table and belt grinder, you’ve got yourself a world-class R&D operation for a company like ours.
To date, Jun and Jason guys have built three bikes in the new area, including the 2011 Sportster 48, the 2011 Fatboy Lo and the Drag Specialties Road King — all of which adorn the 2011 Performance Machine catalog.
With the R&D shop now humming like a well-oiled machine, we figured this would be a good time as any to meet our talented engineers:
Performance Machine: Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself, Jun?
Jun Odashima: I was born and raised in Northern Japan (yes, where the earthquake was). I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Yokohama National University, and I moved to the states in 2000. I took some classes in manufacturing engineering, studied 3D design and CNC. I worked at Chica Custom Cycles for three years and made the move to PM.
PM: How about you, Jason?
Jason Tiedeken: Here’s a quick timeline: I was born and raised in rural Minnesota; I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) where I graduated in ’02. I raced downhill mountain bikes until injuries forced me to stop in 2004. That’s when I moved to California in ’05 to design automotive wheels and build bikes. I started with PM in May 2006, and was promoted as engineering manager in 2008. I eat and sleep design and engineering and it is all I do — literally.
PM: What is a typical day for R&D at Performance Machine?
Jason: I think a better question is what don’t we do in a typical day? From a department standpoint, R&D is responsible for product development, product maintenance (making sure products fit new models), and tech support to all areas within PM. That includes sales, marketing, manufacturing, quality and shipping. To break it down, we can design the product, revise the product to make it better or fit new models, test the product, and support the rest of the PM team with technical information.
A typical day consists of technical support for our sales team, supporting manufacturing — which usually involves check fitting new products and product testing — and the major function of scheduling and bringing in all the new model year motorcycles to make sure our PM products are the best-fitting, best-performing and the best-looking products on the market. Jun will agree with that!
Jun: Agreed… I’m kept busy fit-checking products; reverse engineering, testing products on bikes and making prototypes, just to name a few tasks.
PM: What is your favorite Performance Machine part or product?
Jason: I have many favorite parts, but I’d have to say the new Paramount wheel is my favorite for obvious reasons. I mean, just look at the new PM 48 Sportster. My second favorite is the Supergas Air Cleaner. It’s a nice filter, has a clean style, and it makes horsepower! I can’t forget about calipers either. There’s a lot of engineering that goes into a great-performing caliper that most people take for granted.
Jun: PM Primary is my favorite because I spent so much time developing all the parts.
PM: If you guys were forced to ride together to a rally, who would ride as a passenger and who would drive? Why?
Jason: That’s a pretty weird question. Can I change the question to ask ‘if you could have anyone on the back of my bike, who would it be?’ In that case I would say Oprah. But seriously, Jun can drive because he rides fast!
Jun: I don’t ride as a passenger; I tried it before and didn’t like it!
PM: If you had two weeks to ride anywhere with anyone (assuming not together) who would it be, what would you do, and where would you go and why?
Jun: I’d ride around Alaska with my wife. It’s always fun riding with my wife and besides; she’s really good at cooking.
Jason: Honestly, I would love to ride up the coast to Alaska also, or to New York from Cali. No hotels, just a tent and sleeping bag. I would take anyone who would do it without complaining.
Thanks, guys. And thanks for all you do to make Performance Machine the leader and innovator it is today.