WPS launched in early November, but the crew behind it have been at it for years.
Jim Williams (the boss) started J-Tech Suspension back in 2010 after being in the bike trade and an avid suspension tinkerer since 1998 when the mad professor was in a shed on his parents farm making his first damper piston.
When Jim started J-Tech Suspension there really weren’t that many other service centres, it was a very niche market, but with the explosion of mountain biking and the huge leaps in suspension technology there were soon service centres popping up all over the country.
With WPS, Jim has created an all-new brand that aims to be the go to place for suspension service centres, bike shops and keen home mechanics to source upgrade kits, spring adapters, piston kits, tooling and more, all under the WPS brand, all made in the UK.
Jim is a busy man, but we thought we’d sit down with him and find out how all this started and what he has planned for WPS in the future:
How did you start out in the bike industry?
My first job in the industry was a Saturday job at Pearce Cycles, I was 15 when I started. I was mainly in the workshop, but a little sales too. The workshop was where I wanted to be though. I stayed there right up until I started J-Tech Suspension. Big thanks to Dave and Lindsey Pearce for the way into the industry. I learnt a lot while there!
Where did your fascination with suspension come from?
I couldn't afford anything fancy when I started out and I was really struggling to progress with a basic elastomer and spring fork. So I decided I'd research dampers and went about machining some parts at school in my dinner hours, then assembled and tuned it at home. I kept on developing things from there and tuned every fork and shock I owned. I always liked tinkering from an early age, Technic Lego and Meccano were never far away from me!
What made you decide to start J-Tech Suspension?
I could see that there was a market for more suspension service/tuning companies in the UK and working on suspension was (is) my favourite thing to do. I knew that data was the key, so built my own data logger and dyno in order to start taking out any guessing. Very few suspension tuners were actually gathering data at the time and I couldn't understand why. It's all the rage now, but we were doing it back in 2010. Still do, only with more fancy equipment!
How long have you been harbouring the idea for WPS?
I actually starting making tuning parts under the J-Tech Suspension name in 2010/2011, but demand for workshop work and testing meant the time just wasn't there to continue developing. I've always kept it in mind to start again, then with Covid hitting and lead times going crazy, I thought now is the time to start making our own products, in the UK. We were very busy though, so it took a while to get rolling. There have been a few obstacles to clear on the way (WPS wasn't actually the first choice of name - our first choice was strongly opposed by a certain F1 racing team!), but we're finally here, launching the brand.
What problems are you trying to solve with WPS?
There are a few factors we aim for. Better performance, more durability, more availability and all at a sensible price. There are lots of flaws we see in products, as we're working on multiple brands of forks and shocks, daily. We're trying to use all that knowledge to give our customers a better performing product that they can enjoy, hassle free.
Who will benefit most from the products WPS offer?
Anyone really - our tuning products will improve performance for any rider, our tools will help any technician and our parts can help anyone, where original parts have not been made available.
Where can people buy WPS products from?
They can buy from any of our authorised dealers and fitting centres. For the launch, that's just J-Tech Suspension, but we'll be adding dealers and fitting centres daily after that.
What are your plans for WPS, where do you see it in 5 years time?
We've got some exciting plans for next year already, in fact we've already been making a start on a large project, hopefully we'll have some news on that for summer next year. Otherwise, we're currently developing more piston kits, more tooling, more parts. We'll just keep on adding products as we go, trying to focus on those that we can make the biggest impact on. In 5 years time - maybe we'll have a complete suspension system for you... CNC machines in house would be great too!!
What WPS product are you most proud of?
Every one really, there's a fair amount of work in every product. But I really like the piston kits - there have been may, many hours put into these. There is a lot more to a piston kit that you would think!