Kona 2014 marked a state of validation for professional athlete TJ Tollakson, the Dimond bike and the rest of the Ruster Sports team. Over the past three years, industrial engineer TJ and mechanical engineer and (former Zipp employee), David Morse have been developing the Dimond bike. There were plenty of setbacks, late nights, and hard work, but it was worth it twenty-one bikes started at Kona, and Dimond was number sixteen on the Lava Magazine Kona Bike Count made it all worth it.
My number one goal was to have a great race and win at Kona, says TJ, a man who obviously has high expectations. And it’s taken me a bit to get over my disappointment, but having such a strong showing as a company has definitely helped.
But the team started to feel a pickup in sales even before the Kona event. TJ’s win at the NorthÂ American Championships in Mont-Tremblant was huge. You could almost feel the interest in Dimond bikes start to pick up, COO Ethan Davidson.
Tollakson shattered the course record by 10 minutes and set the fastest bike split by eight minutes on that day – and punched his Kona ticket. Sales picked up, and it was crazy trying to ramp up production and get ready for the big show in Kona, says Davidson.
At Kona the team was in for an even bigger surprise. Maik Twelsiek, the German CyclingÂ Machine for the team, lived up to his name and went straight to the front of the race during the bike leg. We were all snapping pictures and jumping up and down and getting messages fromÂ friends back home saying, Your bike is winning the race!’ It was incredible, says David Morse, the designer of the Dimond bike.
Back in Des Moines, Iowa, where the bikes are manufactured from start to finish, there hasÂ been no â€œoff-season.â€ Everyone, including TJ, has been back at it – getting athletes set up for 2015 and working through prototypes for next year’s products.
Morse explains the excitement he and the team have been experiencing during this whirlwind, It’s been great to see. Just one year ago we’re watching our first production bike go off at Ironman Arizona, now this. I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise–because we’ve always aimed high, butÂ it still feels pretty amazing.
The brief celebration is over, and the team is looking to turn out a few new products in 2015. Don’t sleep on this company out of middle America; they have great plans, a great team, and momentum on their side.