29
Dec
2010

Tour: Point One Racing part 2

12/29/2010 : sicklines

Who is point one?

Point One is made up of 4 founders. Jimmy Amaral, Jonathan Cofer, Tim Lukko, and Scott Orehek. Together they design the product, perform testing, and market for Point One Racing.

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(left to right) Scott Orehek, Jimmy Amaral, Jonathan Cofer, and Tim Lukko (click to enlarge)

Jimmy and Scott specialize in manufacturing. All of the design and testing work is done in house. The guys go to great lengths to make sure they design strong and lightweight parts with a look that is all their own.

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Jimmy doing some analysis (click to enlarge)

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Scott doing some machining (click to enlarge)

Tim’s main role with Point is helping with marketing aspects of the company.

Jonathan handles the graphics, photography, and helps with marketing creatives for Point. He’s responsible for the website and the overall image of Point. If you see anything in print or photographed of Point chances are Jonathan has had his hands in it.

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Jonathan working on t-shirt screen print prototypes (click to enlarge)

Point is a rider based company. On any given weekend the guys will be out riding around on California’s many trails. Northstar is their closest resort which they ride heavily. It has a great mix of technical courses that allow the guys to do initial testing their products over rigorous terrain.

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geared up ready for a ride (click to enlarge)

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Jimmy Amaral (click to enlarge)

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Scott Orehek (click to enlarge)

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Tim Lukko (click to enlarge)

Interview with Tim Lukko of Point One Racing

1. How did you come up with the name Point One?

Point One – Before we started the company we all raced pretty regularly, so we understood that racers strive for products with an excellent stiffness to weight ratio to give them a leg up. The name Point One represents that fraction of a second or “0.1” of a second between winning and losing a race. Creating great looking, lightweight products is what we’re all about, so we felt the name suited the company well.

2.  How did Point One Racing get started?  Why did you want to start a new company?

Point One – Point One Racing got started with a dream, to manufacturer our own products that will stand up to the hard demands of downhill racing, that will in turn be desired by the mountain bike community as a whole. The company got started because we were tired of the cookie cutter products that were all over the market. There were a few industry benchmarks whom we know would be tough competition, but the rest just seemed like inexpensive stuff that is all the same with a different logo on it. We wanted to have proudly made in the USA products that not only made sense performance wise, but also added clean design.

3. A lot of the parts you make, lots of other manufacturers already offer as well.  How do you pick which parts you wanted to create?

Point One – We want to take a component and make it better, period. Originally we had ideas for several products, but it was stems that made the most sense at first. Stems can come in many different lengths and rises and every bike needs one. For the market to accept a new high-end stem was not that difficult, considering that there were only a couple manufacturers who were at or near that level. We did not want to make cheap stuff, we wanted to strive to be the best. Since we all primarily rode gravity, 50mm stems and direct-mounts was what we initially offered. Soon came a 70mm (and now a 90mm) that added to our market share and made it more appealing to a greater audience. For the pedals we asked our customers who really liked the stems and by far they wanted to see our take on the flat pedal. Another market with a lot of brands, but not many high end.

4.  Any future parts you guys are working on?

Point One – For 2011 we have a 90mm version of our Split-Second stems for both road and XC use. With ti bolts it is coming in at around 104 grams which is lighter than most carbon stems that are twice the price. We also have an adjustable version of our direct-mount called the Infinite DM. It will allow riders who utilize a triple-clamp fork to adjust not only the reach, but also the height of their handlebars. For 2012 and beyond, you’ll just have to wait and see.

5.  Is there anything you think Point One brings to the table that no one else can or did when you started?

Point One – I think what we do best is think outside the box, how can we take a product and make it better, unique, simple?  Our stems feature an integrated top cap and this was something we had not really seen in the past. It saves weight, adds stiffness and makes it look clean. Our pedals have a visible axle design which so far we have found on only one other company. The design allows us to use sealed bearings as opposed to bushings which last a lot longer and gives us a very thin profile, usually half the thickness of most competitors out there. Only now, almost 2 years after our original Podium Pedal design are we starting to see manufacturers try and make thinner profile pedals. Another thing that I think we bring to the table if great design. We work very had when designing our products to find that delicate balance of engineering and industrial design.

6.  Where are your parts made?  What machines are used? Who assembles them?

Point One – All our parts are proudly made in San Jose, CA. We use Kitamura mills and lathes. All the products are assembled by us.

7.  Any stand out tools that you guys use during development?

Point One – Nothing out of the ordinary that you wouldn’t find at another machine shop. The advantage we have is our shop specializes in close tolerances. We design our products in accordance to what specific machines they will be ran on and work closely with the programmers, this allows us to cut machining time down as much as we can, which saves us time and allow us to incorporate more complicated machining, which also allows us to save more weight. We do of course use finite element analysis before prototyping. After we properly field and lab test our products using custom fixtures and gages that allow us to measure loads, flex and other attributes, before they go out to our consumers.

8. Any plans for expansion or growth?  Where do you see Point One in 5 years?

Point One – We moved into a separate building earlier this year and the place is already full! There is always something that needs to be done, always new customers and always new products on the horizon, so that is certainly keeping everybody busy. In 5 years we will have a larger place, more employees and still some of the best products out there.

9.  Who’s the fastest person in the office?

Point One – Jimmy Amaral hands down. He has been racing at a pro level for a while now, which makes him an excellent in house test rider as well as engineer.

10. How many guys work at Point One?

Point One – Right now it’s the four us working here.

11.  What bikes do you ride?

Point One – I remember when we all use to have multiple bikes, these days we are keeping things simple. Jimmy Amaral rides an Intense 951 that he
converts back and forth for DH racing and AM riding. That bike is as light and as trick as they come, in full DH mode it comes in around 33 lbs. Jonathan Cofer has an Iron Horse MKII and Tim Lukko rides an Intense Socom and Tracer. We want to build an office pump track, so who knows, everyone might have a hardtail next time!

12.  Anything else to add?

Point One – Thanks to Sicklines for doing this interview! Keep up with the blog and facebook to continue to see what is happening with the company.

Video:

Machining Processes

Every part starts out as a block of aluminum. It’s then bolted up to the necessary machine(s) where the material is shaved away from the block. In the photo below you can see that the first part of the pedal process has already been machine. As you saw in the video the aluminum bolted to the tombstone you see here will be machined further to finish machining the backside of the pedals.

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(click to enlarge)

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(click to enlarge)

In the photo below you can see the various levels of completeness of the pedals from the stock block of aluminum to a nearly finished product.

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(click to enlarge)

Point One’s direct mount stems are mounted on a different type of fixture that is able to move in a circle. Depending on the type of part to be made it takes different machines and machining techniques.

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(click to enlarge)

Once a product is finished with its machining processes it is hand inspected to check for tolerances and other possible flaws.

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(click to enlarge)

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(click to enlarge)

To make sure the parts are precise random samples are checked by the CMM. Make sure you watch the video to find out more about the CMM and see it in action.

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CMM checking tolerances (click to enlarge)

Once the products have passed inspection they are set up for assembly.

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(click to enlarge)

Each of Point One’s products are hand assembled and packed in their shop. This assures that Point keeps a tight grasp on quality and are able to spot any issues that they may have missed in previous steps. They’re able to handle each part and make sure it meets their specifications before it gets packed and shipped out to customers.

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pedal assembly (click to enlarge)

Even during assembly Point makes sure to check tolerances and assembly requirements at each step.

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(click to enlarge)

Where they work

Point has a modest sized space for their company but it works well for them. They have plenty of product storage and room for efficient assembly. There are several work areas for each of their products. They’ve even created a nice lounge area that may look a bit familiar to those that have seen Point at Interbike.

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test bikes (click to enlarge)

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lounge area (click to enlarge)


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