The inspiration behind our stem by Morgan Nicol

| Tags: Kickstarter, Morgan Nicol, Inspiration

First Kickstarter update

Wow, in only one day from the launch of the product, so many of you contacted me, read our page and supported us in many ways. We have reached almost 10% of our goal in the first 48 hours which we're happy with. Please continue to share and back this project so that everyone that was involved and everyone that backed us can see it come to life!

We are still fine tuning and polishing this first effort so let me tell you some stories that'll help you understand this journey better.

Faustino Muñoz

This special stem product that you are being challenged to launch with your investment is mostly inspired by Faustino Muñoz, Alberto Contador’s personal mechanic, whom I met along with Manolo Saiz at ONCE in the mid-‘90s, worked closely with at Liberty Seguros and shared many hugs and hundreds of broken Spanglish conversations through many late nights. 

Faustino and Manolo always started by sitting athletes higher and shorter at the beginning of the season when they were coming out of a winter of hard training and maybe were not as flexible as they should be. Then they slowly moved the riders lower and longer as the season progressed and the riders lost weight, got more flexible, stronger and faster. Each adjustment cost Faustino hours of work carefully changing and torqueing stems, adjusting cables and flattening bars. 

This seasonal fitting system can and should apply to you and me and our mechanics or fitters and my stem could save you and them too.

Manolo would have Faustino raise Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano’s aero bar eight to ten centimeters for a Team Time Trial in the middle of the Tour or Vuelta so that Igor could use his superior power and size to protect Roberto Heras from the wind, helping the climber save energy for the mountains and allowing the team to go faster without dropping Roberto. This is one of the tricks that made ONCE and U.S. Postal the two fastest teams in the Tour. 

This stem is an honor to Faustino because it is an incredible tool to save him time and energy. You can be the beneficiary of Faustino’s decades of hard work and inspiration.

Surrounded by so many inspiring people

I like to say that I have led a Forrest Gump life. I have had the honor of meeting, befriending and working with some of the most amazing people in and around the incredible sport of cycling. Without these friends I would have never been inspired to work so hard the past forty years, helping to create two significant companies, create dozens of significant products, create (and pay 100’s of thousands of family dollars for) 7 significant patent groups and most important make the lives of thousands of cyclists just a little bit better.

Lennard Zinn

During this 35-day journey through Kickstarter I hope to introduce you to, tell you stories about and honour, many more of those special people. People like Lennard Zinn, Technical Editor at Velonews since the last millennium, who last Friday put the final period on his sixth edition of “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” while I was talking on the phone with him in Boulder, Colorado. His work is only the biggest selling book series in cycling history.

Steve Hed

You are going to meet Steve Hed, may he rest in peace, who put me on my first real road bike (a Basso) in his garage in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1979 and then died of a heart attack way too early. Steve helped support Lance Armstrong from the time he was a cocky, teenage triathlete to a World Champion cyclist to seven victories in the Tour de France. I introduced Steve to his lovely wife Annie and they created an incredible family and company that supported hundreds of athletes to go to the Olympics and World Championships in cycling, para-cycling and triathlon.

Dr. Mark Drela

You will meet Dr. Mark Drela, Professor Emeritus in Aerodynamics and Astrophysics at MIT, who has lead the world’s development of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) the past 30 plus years. I met him at the MIT wind tunnel in 2003 when we were working with Alberto Contador and Luis Leon Sanchez for Team Liberty Seguros. He is one of those brilliant, quirky guys in a lab coat who builds engines for GE and planes for the U.S. Air Force and rockets for NASA. He inspires thousands of students and guys like Josh Poertner and Steve Hed and John Cobb (and myself) without even remembering most of us.

My guess is Dr. Drela is the original inspiration of the JetStream fork that John Cobb and Steve Hed prototyped and I then patented, made, promoted, sold, corrected, then improved, tweaked from TT/Triathlon use to Road use, licensed to Ridley and Avanti, and then improved again and again (and soon, hopefully, with your help) once more. But it would not have happened without Dr. Drela and he probably still does not understand what an incredible role he played!

Bruce Eddington

I am going to introduce you to Bruce and Katherine Eddington whom I met when Bruce was a young, fledgling engineer at feisty, underdog Jordan F1 in Silverstone, England. Bruce is now the Head of Carbon Forming at ForceIndia F1, currently the #4 Formula 1 team in the world. He keeps teaching me that you can never just solve one problem without considering the consequences to all the other goals you need to accomplish and balancing the design to optimize the result. Bruce is a wonderful hidden gem of a friend and our initial meeting is quite a story.

More on another day

The base of the stem forms a workbench to hold and organize internal cables (and now electronics and hydraulics) while adjustments are made. But wait; let me tell you more of this story tomorrow …

Suffice it to say if you do not invest to support this project, this product may not be made and many problems will not be solved , many of you will waste time and be just a bit less comfortable when you ride your bikes. But regardless of the outcome of this Kickstarter, at least I can tell you my fortunate life story and honour the people who inspired me.

More tomorrow.

Morgan