Founder and Owner Steve Simons’ history of innovation started in the mid-1970’s when he designed game-changing motorcycle shock absorber coolers, front forks, fork kits and shock absorbers – all before the age of 25.
In 1980 he started development of the Upside Down Fork that just a few years later would become industry standard. In 1982, pro racer Brad Lackey, the first and only American ever to become 500cc Motocross Grand Prix World Championship, using the Simons UDX-60 and credits the fork to have played a significant role in winning the title. This fork design was licensed to every major motorcycle fork maker in the world and is still the benchmark of the industry.
In 1985 he Steve formed Simons and Susslin, a contract manufacturing company that specialized in high precision machining for multiple industries. At Simons and Susslin, a variety of VMCs and HMCs were used. Simons and Susslin was one of the first adopters of a FMS (Flexible Manufacturing Systems) in the Bay Area.
In the 1990’s Simons took his manufacturing expertise to the mountain bike industry, co-founding Rockshox, Inc. His talent in engineering, design and manufacturing helped Rockshox become one of the most successful bicycle suspension companies ever. He became President of the company in 1992 and remained in that position until the company was sold in 2000.
Steve Simons divested many of his business interests and in 2001 enjoyed a haiatus that allowed him to build his dream house. However it didn’t take long before he started consulting for various suspension and manufacturing companies. Simons turned his attention to personal projects that he was most passionate about: machine tool automation. Steve’s years of manufacturing experience in the USA and overseas gave him insight on how he might stem a small portion of the flow from ‘mom and pop’ machine shops through large manufacturing firms to Asia.
In 2011 Simons Design Innovation LLC was formed to commercialize the Smart Valet concept and the first products were shipping by the end of that year.