Slingshot Bicycle Company was established in Grand Rapids in 1982. The company will be celebrating 30 years of successful business and innovative design in September of 2012. P.J. McDonald, the International and Domestic Sales Manager for Slingshot Bikes, talks about the unique design, benefits, business, and future plans for Slingshot Bicycle Company.
Q: What makes the design of a Slingshot Bike different than a standard bike?
A: Slingshot Bikes are easily spotted in a crowd. They are the bikes with the cable instead of the downtube. What makes the Slingshot different is Sling Power Technology, “S.P.T.”. It is our patented system that offers suspension to the rider and converts energy already expended into forward motion. The frame design has the ability to flex which makes for a more comfortable ride. This is achieved with the use of our “Dogbone” flex board, a stainless steel aircraft cable and a die spring. The motion of the suspension is converted to power delivered to the rear wheel making the bike surge forward with every bump or pedal stroke.
Q: What are the benefits of having a Slingshot Bike?
A: The performance advantage is the most important characteristic. People always exclaim they feel the additional power and speed when they’re on the bike. The softer ride is a major plus because people can ride longer without suffering the fatigue they experience on other bikes. Then of course there’s the styling that is like no other bike. The bike always starts a conversation among riders. It’s like driving a Ferrari instead of a station wagon. This bike almost defies logic in that it’s slightly heavier than a hardtail, but climbs hills better than a bike weighing less. Industry magazines have always written that it’s the fastest climbing bike available.
Q: What does the business offer? (Products, Services, etc.)
A: Currently we are focusing on mountain and cyclo-cross bikes. Cyclo-Cross bikes look very much like a road bike but are designed to be ridden on all types of surfaces especially dirt. We are also offering “traditional” bike frames, the D.D. series, to complement our S.P.T. frames. The D.D. series are handmade and hand painted in GR.
We have partnered up with a former member of the Austrian Olympic Ski team to offer cycling tours in the Salzkammergut region of Austria with our SlingCycle Tours. Our tour guide Helmet Huttenmayer, has over 12 years experience leading tours all over Europe. The accommodations are exceptional. The meals are gourmet and the landscape is breathtaking. Information can be found at www.slingcycletours.com
Q: What’s coming in the near future for Slingshot Bikes?
A: In the near future we plan on a return to the following categories of bikes: road and BMX. We will offer both S.P.T. and D.D version of these bikes. We also have updates to our wildly popular Farmboy and our Fold-Tech models. As we expand our manufacturing we plan on bringing jobs back to Michigan.
Q: What is your background as it pertains to Slingshot Bikes?
A: My experience has been almost 20 years working in the bike industry from the retail perspective. Here is my timeline pertaining only to Slingshot:
1983: I first read about Slingshot in a BMX magazine and instantly fell in love with the concept. (11 years old).
1989: I saw my first Slingshot Mountain Bike on a trail near Ferris State (when I should have been in class) and was able to ride the bike.
1994: I was selling Slingshot at a retailer in Metro Detroit.
1995: I purchased my first Slingshot and commuted on the bike every day for almost a year (winter included).
2010: I started working for Slingshot as the International and Domestic Sales Manager.
2011: I helped design/introduce the first D.D. series mountain bikes made by Slingshot.
Check out Slingshot Bicycle Company at 342 Market St.. The shop is open Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m and the showroom is open by appointment only. Whether you are a novice bicyclist or a seasoned veteran of the sport, Slingshot Bikes is guaranteed to give you a knowledgeable staff, unique options, and overall exciting experience! ~Kristin M. Coppens, Regional Director