Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Promises, Shmromises

I'm taking the rest of '08 off, with plans to expound on the new STA on Friday. I almost t-boned a moron in a Tacoma in an icy Lowe's parking lot today, and that was quite enough excitement for one day.

Oh yeah, the Pornstar got re-listed. It's probably not gonna sell this time, either.


Happy New Year, peoples.

How about some Fignon v. LeMond in '89?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Liar, Liar

I lied. Due to a day trip to NYC, a meetup with an old friend (unrelated, and later) and a pressing need to finally sign up for Facebook, there's no way I'm posting anything of substance today. Sorry.

Also, I don't have any photos of my Homeless. It was a 1" Mack, with the "H" cutout in the cap on the back of the toptube. Tan. With an S&M Menstrual fork/stem combo, Profiles, and silver HP-48s. I think I rode it once, then parted it out. The frame went to Tom at Empire, the wheels and the cranks got sold, and I still have the bars/stem/forks. The stem is amazing—it's a Race/Challenger with "MENSTRUAL" engraved in the top cap instead. If it was 1 1/8", I'd have it on my bike right now. Instead it's...well, somewhere.

Anyway, I'll post something more real tomorrow, promise.


Off-topic again.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not Ron Jeremy

I'll resume normality tomorrow. In the meantime, someone please help out this Homeless Pornstar.

(At some point I suppose I should do a post on people who think that just because they spent a lot on a bike 10 or 15 years ago that it still should be worth a lot. I bought a complete Homeless with a similar build kit less than five years ago for like $150. And I'm thinking the "value" hasn't gone up.)

(Oh wait, those are LIMITED EDITION Primo tires. Nevermind.)

In related news, I bought this last week:

30/10, here we come.


Hm, maybe something different just for today.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Fucking BMXmas

The photo below is me in front of the folks' house on Christmas 25 or so years ago on my brand-new Schwinn Predator. (If I'm not mistaken, I got the Oakland Raiders hoodie that Christmas as well—score!) I meant to re-create the photo on my current bike, but weather intervened. It would be nice to re-create the feeling, too, although that might be a little tougher.

Anyways, hope you all enjoy your respective holidays, and I'll see you back here on Monday.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Hey look, Christmas is coming, there's things to do, and I'm just gonna throw out a quick batch o' news and stuff today. And I might take tomorrow and the next day off. DEAD BLOG.

• I haven't ridden real trails ever, and the one time did go to Port Washington it took me all day just to jump the stepdown that started the line. Nevertheless, I can appreciate what Mark Noble is doing over at Deluxe. And despite the fact that they're releasing a seat/post combo, I still got love for those guys. Nice photo, Mark. I see you!

• JPR over at FBM has some more to say about the coming CPSC rules that should kick the prices of everything in the industry up just when we can all least afford it. 2009 is gonna be a tough year. I got an e-mail with some more specifics, but since I can't readily verify things (especially not now), I'm gonna leave it alone for now. Much more on this later, I'm sure. (Incidentally, you guys should send Take #666 to Nate Wessel. It's the right thing to do.)

• So Solid is releasing some new cranks that won't be listed properly on Dan's. They're not full-wrap on top or bottom, which is causing some consternation amongst the BMX cognoscenti (OK, just on various messageboards, but I really like the word 'cognoscenti'), but the original Solid cranks weren't wrapped either, and I don't recall anyone ever breaking those. I'm just stoked on the idea of a 22mm splined crank.


Monday, December 22, 2008

What About Rod And Rex?

It's days like today when I realize I should have timeless entries typed up and ready to go. You know, for those days where I don't have much to talk about. Like today. Because there's plenty of timeless stuff—guys who should have gotten to go on Road Fools but never did, the next two parts that will be combined in one (sprocket built into drive-side crank arm?), whether Iro and Pake should get back at Volume and FBM by making BMX frames. Or even something simple. like whether you can tell me what major bike company offers this unique snowflake of a bike:

Here's a hint: It has 25/9 gearing, 74.5/71 angles, 13.8 stays, and it's made of Sanko seamless chromoly.

Give up?

Good, so do I.

For today, at least.

(Here, anonymous, I'll save you the trouble: "DEAD BLOG.")


OK, well, the bike above is a Mongoose. It's actually called the Fraction, which is funny, since that was the name of the Federal flatland frame that Steven Hamilton rode before he got a signature bike. So let me see if I've got this right: Mongoose dumps longtime team members Steve McCann and Simon Tabron, picks up JJ Palmiere and Miles Rogoish, names their new bike after Steven Hamilton's old one, and releases it in McCann's signature color. Good stuff!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Rip-Off Quiz

I call this the rip-off quiz not because of the content, but because the concept of the Friday quiz is something I've blatantly stolen from BikeSnobNYC. I don't do it nearly as well or as regularly, and I don't even provide a way to tell whether your guess is correct (assuming there's even a correct answer to begin with)—but other than that, it's pretty much exactly the same. Oh well, maybe when I have his readership.

This time, at least, you should be able to sort out the correct answers with the links in the questions. Provided, again, if there are correct answers.

Anyway, on with the show.

1. The Fit FITED. LT is how much LTer than the regular FITED.?
a) 8.5 ounces

b) 5.5 ounces

c) 3.5 ounces

d) 0.5 ounces

2. Ryan Guettler's upcoming Vans signature shoe will be called what?

a) The Superman

b) The Whip 3

c) The Hot Topics

d) The Podium

e) The Monster Boost Kicker

3. Felt shot their new range of parts in black and white because:

a) it reflects on the understated elegance of the brand

b) someone forgot to change the settings on the camera

c) colors are so 2007

d) it's harder to tell that they're just Taiwanese catalog parts

e) they outsourced the photography too

4. The new(ish) Fit Shiv fork's legs are:

a) tapered

b) sharpened

c) scary

5. True or false: The Standard 250LITE is peg friendly.

a) True

b) False

c) Define "friendly"

6. Plegs now come in white. You should:

a) only use them on white ramps

b) never use them after Labor Day

c) re-think your entire color scheme and buy white tires as soon as possible

d) who cares, pegs are so 2005

7. I am currently listening to which song? (See last video for answer.)

a) Pink Floyd, "Bike"

b) Judas Priest, "Freewheel Burnin'"

c) Chamillionaire, "Ridin' Dirty"

d) Saxon, "Wheels of Steel"

e) John Farnham, "Thunder In Your Heart"


I meant to post this yesterday with the Taj post, but I didn't. About four or five years ago, I bought this Hoffman Bikes jersey on eBay. I think I paid somewhere around $60. It's one that Taj allegedly wore in an X-Games (not this one, I guess), complete with his name on the back and blacked-out Boks logos. Here's me shamelessly modeling it (I don't think I've ever posted this photo anywhere before—for good reason.)

Nice hair, hippie.

Anyway, my friend DBZ lived in Austin at the time, and I figured I HAD to get Taj to sign the thing. After all, how many of these jerseys could there be? It's not like I was gonna wear the thing. And I thought Taj would get a kick out of seeing it again. So I sent it off, and this is what I got back:

One of these days I'll get around to framing it or something. In the meantime, anyone have a pair of Boks in a 9.5?


It's an HB kind of week, I think:


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Todd's A Jerk

I'm not even going to bother writing anything today because this is so awesome: Taj gives a rundown of every one of his old bikes—well, every one that he has photographic evidence of. Here's to hoping he does the same thing with video parts someday (this is one of the top five video parts of all time, as far as I'm concerned).


(It's not really a video at all—but did I really have a choice?)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Felt Tip

Wow, how did it get so late?

Spent the day doing important things, like shopping for Christmas presents, reading the inimitable BikeSnobNYC, sending off some eBay-auctioned kicks and lurking another eBay auction for my five-year-old nephew (which I won–WHAT?). Now here it is 7 p.m. and I have no idea what the heck I'm supposed to write about.

I hate seeking out subjects, because it seems odd to actively look for something I won't like. So normally I rely on e-mail and BMXboard and the main feed area of BMXfeed (which qualifies as seeking, I suppose, but hey, no one's perfect). It's especially tough in winter, because when it's nice out I can just look at anyone's bike and find something awful.

Then there's the BMX magazines, I suppose, but to be honest, I don't read them much anymore. For starters, every bit of so-called news is on the web months before it appears in a magazine. And too many photos wind up ruining a video I haven't seen yet. And the things I don't know already are generally things I don't have any need to know—like the Welsh and Scottish news in Dig. There are still good things to be found in BMX magazines, of course—interviews and such—but I really miss McGoo and Sheps and Mad Dog and Billy Riesing. (A note to the powers-that-be at BMX Plus!: Please stop using so many fonts on your covers? It's really embarassing. Seriously.)

So I think I'm going to cut my losses today and just let you marvel over the new and exciting Felt line:

Looks like they do even less research than I do.


On the very rare chance that Troy McMurray (or anyone who knows Troy McMurray) is reading this, holla at me. I feel a "where are they now" post coming on.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Toy Story

Only seven comments yesterday? SEVEN? Sheesh. It looks like I'm gonna have to start downsizing here, and right around the holidays, too. Shame. And forget about having a party. Good thing I hadn't bought any supplies yet—although it looks like I'm going to lose the deposit I left with Grand Prospect Hall. (I just couldn't resist the allure of their commercials—watch it if you dare.)

It's a snowy/rainy/gloomy Tuesday, and I spent part of my afternoon in a crowded suburban Toys 'R Us. Judging from the bareness of certain shelves and racks and the fullness of many carts, it seems that the kids in america will not be suffering this holiday season. Mommy and daddy might not be able to fill up the Escalade, but Junior will be getting his Spike the Ultra Dinosaur come hell or high water. (I'll admit, I would have been stoked to get one of those when I was younger. Like, 25.)

I didn't look at the bikes in Toys 'R Us, but I probably should have just out of a sense of morbid curiosity. I've been fortunate enough in my life to never have a department store bike, and I'd hope that no one else would have to suffer through that either (although I do remember pining for a Huffy Pro Thunder when a friend down the block had one). And it's not because I hate cheap bikes—cheap bikes are fine—but it's just that department store bikes are just plain lousy. They're "designed" by marketers rather than bike people (just look at them!) and assembled by bored high-school kids who probably know even less about bikes than the designers.

To further clarify, I have no problem with the toy store bikes built for little kids. You know, the ones with training wheels and tassels. A kid's gotta start somewhere. I reserve my disdain for the ones that are supposedly just as good as a bike you'd buy from a bike shop.

Take this one, for example:
Awful. And for only $180! I think the description speaks for itself:

The 20" Mongoose Boy's Ace Bicycle is made for anyone over 7 years old who wants a legitimate trick bike. It is the perfect bike to learn freestyle riding or just to have fun with. The Aluminum 5 Spoke Mag Wheels are the ultimate in cool. This bike has all the parts to be completely legit freestyle bike - 4 axle pegs, ORYG rotor, full wrap freestyle tires, 4 piece handlebar, 3 piece crank, Promax Alloy brake levers and an alloy chainring. There are performance features usually reserved for bikes that cost twice as much. The Front Caliper and Rear Alloy U Brakes provide the braking power needed for safe dependable stopping when learning new tricks. Finally, the heavy duty padded saddle and dual density grips provide the rider with all the comfort they could ask for. Ride Mongoose and Ride Like the Pros.

Hello, blatant misinformation. First off, aluminum five-spoke mags haven't been "the ultimate in cool" since 1975 or so. And as for the "performance features usually reserved for bikes that cost twice as much," um, you can get much BETTER features on a bike that costs roughly the same amount if you buy this. (I'm pretty sure that Mongoose doesn't even have three-piece cranks?) And if you actually DO spend twice as much, you can get this, which is 37 times the bike that alleged Mongoose claims to be. Even this is much better than any department store bike, and it's only half again as much. This isn't twice as much, either. With the money you save, you can get a front brake.

My favorite Toys 'R Us bike HAS to be this one, though:

A carbon bike? At Toys R' Us? For $280? It's pretty obvious where they saved money—like those monstrous forged three-piece cranks. Some sort of hollow one-piece may have been cheaper AND lighter. Not to mention you'd be infinitely better off getting your kid something like this (and even save money in the process). Sure the DK isn't carbon, but let's face it—the carbon fiber in that Huffy isn't much like the carbon fiber in this.

Although hey, if things are gonna be like this, maybe I should look a little closer at those department store bikes. The way things are going, I might wind up riding one.


How I posted about woodgrain yesterday and missed this, I don't know:

Yes, that's a new SE OM Flyer that's virtually all woodgrain. Leave it to the Wildman.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Crank Yankers

What with all the two-piece crank developments these days, you'd think that the venerable three-piece crank was being hustled off to the retirement home. Or at least the clearance racks. Bins. Section. Whatever.

But no. Profile continues to pump out their 48-spline race cranks, which remain virtually unchanged after 30-plus years (if you want to see what the originals looked like, and you have a spare $300 burning a hole in your pocket, you're in luck), and companies like Eastern, Primo and Shadow continue to cater to that weird market of people who'd rather not have to remove their entire crankset just to change sprockets.

And while other companies work hard to eliminate that pesky second spindle bolt, others seem content to simply fiddle with cosmetics.

Thankfully Profile is only making 100 sets of these candy-striped nightmares. One wonders whether Garrett Reynolds (and perhaps Jack Skellington) will ever get around to using all of them.

Drop me an e-mail when these are all gone—I'm just curious how long it'll take. (Personally, I there needs to be a "Louisville Slugger" set to go with all those poor abandoned Mosh parts and Verde seats, although I have no idea how you'd powdercoat woodgrain. Or what about this? Local pride!)

At the same time, other companies continue to develop brand-new three-piece cranks, which seems almost quaintly defiant in the face of progress—like a soda company selling their product in steel cans that require a churchkey, or a newspaper actually printing on paper. Take Premium, for instance. I'm almost sure they're just making a joke about being the first to use 16-spline "technology" for their new cranks:

After all, Redline's been using something similar for their Flight Cranks since approximately the beginning of time, and both Mosh and XS (among others) offered a less-than-48-splined pinchbolt crankset. But maybe none of those companies used 16 splines. Maybe it was eight or 12 or 14. I can't recall. Regardless, it all seems a bit Nigel Tufnel of them.

That said, while Profile's 48-spline interface is tested and true (if memory serves, they originally went with 48 splines for their cranks because that's what they were using on their race car steering setups), it will forever be a pain to line up properly. I'm sure there are a rather large percentage of riders out there RIGHT NOW pedalling around with their cranks a spline or two off. You'd think in the ensuing years, as their cranks took off, that Profile would have reduced to a more manageable 32 or 24 splines. Although then perhaps the precision of the fit declines to the point where you need to taper the spindle or use pinchbolts or something. Hey, they're the engineers.

Still, it's good to see that the two- and two-and-a-half (ugh) piece crank has yet to entirely eclipse the three-piece variety. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find my churchkey.


This week's sign of the apocalypse: Taj cut off the top of his seattube to run a wedge post.

(Send me this bike and I'll forget all about it.)


Friday, December 12, 2008

Ride The Lightening

Well, you knew it was coming sooner or later, right? Now, if I can only figure out a play on Master of Puppets and Cliff 'Em All.

Anyway, someone e-mailed me this link today, and it seemed appropriate enough. Minus BMX sells "Lightening Bolts," which are 18-8 stainless steel bolts and 7075 washers to replace the spindle hardware on a variety of three-piece cranks. (Unless they just haven't updated the site, all of you up-to-date two-piece types with Wombolts and Flys and Tibias are stuck with the factory hardware—bummer. And if you've got Solids or XSes or Primo Excels or something, well, lighter crank bolts are probably the least of your worries.)

They're $20 a set, which is half the price of a set of Profile titanium bolts—although Profile hooks you up with a sprocket bolt as well. (Then again, if you're at the point where you're actually concerned about the weight of your crank bolts, you've probably already got a spline-drive sprocket.) And given the risks of running ti bolts in a ti spindle—if you don't use that ti-prep, you could end up with a very expensive set of one-piece cranks—maybe stainless bolts are a better choice.

But are they? Sure, I guess they're lighter than stock crank bolts, but are they stronger, or even as strong? One would imagine that if stainless were the best material from which to make crank bolts, companies like Profile would be using it already. After all, they don't seem like a company that would use a sub-standard material just to be able to sell their product at a lower price. I'd be curious to hear whether stainless is a viable bolt material in a BMX application.



I'll do a quiz next Friday, promise.


If you haven't read it already, there's a great interview with Shawn Arata over on Orchid. I'm a sucker for where-are-they-nows. Also: "Remember this, its not about how light your bike is or how many tailwhips you can do or what company you ride for. Because no matter who you are [or] where you're from, it’s all about the smirk, the itchy hands and the bounce when you see the most perfect spot." Word.

The G-Sport George interview on BMXUnion is well worth your time as well.


I feel as if, despite my best intentions and efforts, I've totally lost track of what videos I have and haven't posted. All apologies for any repeats.


Kris Bennett rules!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Measure For Measure

Does toptube length mean anything anymore? What with all the changing angles—from steepened headtubes to slacker seattubes—is one 21" equal to another?

Apparently not.

Fit was first, labelling their Eddie Cleveland frame as if they were Champion sweats, in M, L, XL, etc. Now Fly has joined the "eh, we have no idea what size it is" party by sizing their new Tierra frames based on what they're supposed to feel like rather than what they are. It gets more confusing by the minute.

Maybe some good will come of this. Maybe more companies will start to go by the sweatshirt sizing method rather than releasing frames in 20.25" and 20 5/8" and 20.666" and 20.31415926535897932384" and leaving us to wonder what the hell it all means. Your frame isn't a pair of shoes, it doesn't have to be an exact fit. This is checkers, not chess.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kiln 'Em All

I've never been to Interbike before, but it seems to me that lots of companies use the big show as an opportunity to display things that either a) they have no intention of ever producing, b) are so far off that they may as well never produce them, or c) are just some sort of elaborate industry insider joke. You know, like that pretzel-shaped FBM flatland frame, or the giant Landing Gear fork, or the Metal tandem.

When I first read about the Kink ceramic-bearing headset, which debuted at Interbike '08, I hoped it was the same sort of thing. Because all I'd ever heard about Kink headsets were how you more or less couldn't tighten them because they forgot to have slots machined in the top dust cap. Which is the kind of attention to detail that makes you want to upgrade their $25 headset to a $100 one.

Tragically, it would appear that the hundred-dollar Kink headset is not only in production, but available for purchase. (Thanks whoever e-mailed me this.)

Ceramic bearings are nothing new to road and mountain cyclists. SRAM's Red road group comes with ceramic bearings, and they sure seem to think they're a good idea. From their own description of said bottom bracket:
They offer a performance advantage over traditional bottom bracket bearings that's almost too great to believe. Besides being 10% lighter than standard bearings, ceramic bearings require an astonishing 78% less energy than the next-most efficient BB on the market.
Wow. That's almost too great to believe! Although unless you spend your sessions trying quad barspins over and over, I don't see how ceramic headset bearings would make a bit of difference for a BMXer. Anyway, let's read on, shall we?
Ceramic bearings are more resistant to dirt and moisture and, when properly maintained, will outlast and outperform any other BB on the market.
The key phrase in there, for me, is "when properly maintained." I don't know about y'all, but I haven't done "maintenance" on a headset since I ran a Tioga Beartrap back in like '90. Maintenance? You get a new frame, you put an FSA Impact (or similar) in there and forget about it. Maybe you get a new headset when you switch frames, but only if you're super anal about that sort of thing. When I got my first Edwin I was bummed they didn't have Campys left in stock, and went with the FSA. I figured I'd swap it out for a Campy later. Hasn't happened yet, and that was four years and three or four frames ago. Are regular integrated headsets really that bad? Has there been an epidemic of barspins gone wrong?

What SRAM leaves out of their orgasmic description is that ceramic bearings are expensive as hell. One of their ceramic bottom brackets is $170. In comparison, a regular SRAM BB will run you around $35. (So the Kink headset is almost...underpriced?)

Now, the extra expense may be worthwhile if you're a road racer who spends all day spinning out a 53/11 and climbs 10,000 vertical feet before breakfast. That whole "78% less energy" thing could make a real difference—and be well worth $135. (Come to think of it, a ceramic BMX bottom bracket would have been perfect for Mike Griffin and Luc-E.)

But a ceramic headset? For BMX? Just say no. Please.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So Standard went and made a custom frame that weighs less than four pounds.

Three pounds, 14.4 ounces, as you can see by the obligatory scale shot.

"Paint it? PAINT IT? Are you kidding? DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH PAINT WEIGHS???"

This is wonderful news, I guess, if you're one of those people who finds a four-pound frame too heavy, or can't quite get your leg over the toptube of a standard (little "S" intended) 250L.

The whole "LTA" thing is annoying, though. "Lighter Than All"? Yeah, until next week, probably.

It's also kind of entirely the opposite of what Standard used to stand for. Which is fine, I guess. Times change. But what was wrong with "Stronger Than All"? Weren't things better when companies weren't proudly displaying the latest and greatest frames on digital scales? Guess it's only right, since everyone's pushing weight these days.

Still, I found the third photo funny.

See that frame in the back? It's an old 125 Motocross. Maybe even a plain old Bicycle Motocross. (Note the loop on the back for the cantis.) It's way heavier than the custom frame, probably even heavier than the 250L. American BB, regular headtube. And of those three frames, that's the one I want.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Gates Of Winter

Well, winter's here. It snowed over the weekend, and now the temperature is hanging steady around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Mocking me.

I mean, is it too cold to ride? I guess not. But ever since I passed 30 (and lapped it), riding in sub-freezing weather has just gotten harder to deal with, Muscles don't respond well, and riding off a six-inch curb feels like riding off a six-foot loading dock. Old bones. Plus, I don't do gloves. So barring a thaw, I'm in hibernation mode. My bike is up on metaphorical blocks. (Although there's a really tall curb around the corner from my parents's house that has an appointment with my Holmes's Sprocket Pocket.)

It's a quiet time for the industry as well, so it seems. Even the Ratchet hub, anticipated like few other products in recent memory, arrived somewhat quietly. Perhaps it's the downturn, perhaps it's the weather, or maybe people are buying them by the dozen and I just don't know about it. And I suppose I won't find out by compulsively refreshing Lance Armstrong's Twitter feed or updating mine. (Seems like BMX has been slow to embrace Twittering—other than Profile and UGP, there doesn't seem to be much of a presence. Come on, companies based in states other than Florida!)

If it seems like I'm rambling pointlessly, that's probably because I am. I struck out on BMXfeed, used most of the new Dan's stuff in Friday's quiz. And it's Monday. I've never been good with Mondays. I also had to post a huge recap of yesterday's Knicks/Pistons game over on SLAMonline. So that's enough writing for one day, perhaps.


Holy crap, Merriam-Webster's BMX illustration:

Jay Miron?


Just in case you don't click on links, I can't post this video enough. Best BMX video ever?


Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Quiz

I ain't done one of these in a while. Mainly because I don't even remember the last time I posted on a Friday. But I scanned through BMXfeed and the Dan's Comp new products section, and I think I've got some decent material. Well, some material anyway.

1. This is Premium's new "Refuse Resist" tire. (Yes, it's just one tire, not the "Refuse" AND the "Resist". You're thinking of WTP's "Grippin'" and "Feelin'" set. Get it straight.):

Which of these other Sepultura song titles was NOT thought of and rejected as a name for this tire?

a) "Crucificados Pelo Sistema" (Didn't fit on sidewall.)

b) "Dead Embryonic Cells" (Too controversial, draws undue attention to tire's stem cell content.)

c) "Stronger Than Hate" (False advertising.)

d) "Sarcastic Existence" (Hit too close to home.)

e) "Bestial Devastation" ("Bestial" not in office dictionary.)

2. Colony, unsatisfied with their absolute domination of the Australian BMX market, decided to expand their empire into a less dangerous, albeit far more lucrative sport: Poker.

What other BMX crossover product is in the works?

a) Odyssey Monopoly

b) Subrosa D&D dice

c) Flyaella

d) S&M&Ms

e) Levi's Road Fools—oh, wait

3. SE Racing chose to name their latest frame after the De Ville, a model of Cadillac:

Given the current economic situation, and the state of the American auto industry, which of the following would have been a better name?

a) The Titanic

b) The Bear Sterns

c) The Bailout

d) The Subprime

e) The 401(k)

4. I'd never even heard of Integrity before I saw this:

Apparently they're a Utah-based company that sponsors Colton Satterfield, and as far as I can tell, their only product is this 10-ounce frontload stem. What much-needed part should they offer next?

a) a Velo-based pivotal seat.

b) a "stump" pivotal post

c) stickers

d) a hollow-pin, hollow-plate, half-link chain

e) grips that are almost Longnecks but not quite

5. If you do an image search on Google for "BMX", this is the first result:

This is:

a) depressing

b) fucking awesome! Where do I line up!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Piece Of Your Action

I'd like to thank Paul from Retro BMX for alerting me to the latest sign of the apocalypse: ActionVillage mailorder is getting into BMX. It's such an important part of their business that they list it right in their header along with paintball, skateboard, Airsoft, apparel and snowboard gear—oh wait, no they don't.

Stuff like this really confuses me. Especially now, when the economy's in free-fall. On the one hand, maybe it makes parts cheaper for kids who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford them, and maybe it pushes BMX to another market. That's good, right? But on the other hand, it takes business away from longtime BMX-only mailorders like Empire and Albe's who have done so much for the sport. Hobby. Pastime. Addiction. Whatever you want to call it. That's bad, right?

Yet at a glance it appears that all the major companies are behind it. I understand that the goal of a company is to make money, but do you really want your stuff sold alongside snowboards and Airsoft guns? Do you really want to take business away from the mailorders that have supported you from the start? Isn't this about a step away from LAFs being sold at Dick's? Is that what the goal is?

Honestly, this sucks. Cash rules everything around everyone, but isn't there more to it than that? Somewhere around here I have my first-ever BMX mailorder receipt. It's from Trend Bike Source, back in 1989. I ordered an R.L. Edge wheelset (with the coffeegrinder "freecoaster") and an Odyssey six-bolt stem. The stem was out of stock, so they replaced it with the more expensive TKO Pro at no additional charge. From that point on I ordered from Trend, and when Tom and Tina left to start Empire, I followed them there. It wasn't about price, it was about relationships, as corny as that sounds. I could e-mail Empire in the middle of the night and hear back right away. I could ask a question about a new part or video, and know I would get an honest answer. Is that how it's going to work with ActionVillage?

My gut tells me this won't last. That people will continue to order from Albe's and Empire and even Dan's, keeping things in the family, and that ActionVillage will get out of the BMX business as quickly as they got into it, preferably with a Lotek footprint on their corporate ass.

Then I see this, and I'm not so sure.


If you're a glutton for punishment, I started a SPRFLS Twitter page. If I remember to update it for a week, I'll be amazed.


R.I.P., Mosh.

Someone sent me an e-mail the other day about starting a BMX company dead pool. Everyone picks X number of names and we tally things up at the end of the year. I was like: "Dude, that's a terrible thing to suggest. Why didn't I think of it?" Anyway, one down, I guess.


This bike is awesome. I want it. Send me one, Jim. Please?

In other Odyssey-related news, I'm pretty sure this is my fault:

(Hey, why is the team shirt lighter than the Aaron Ross shirt?)


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Conscience Is The Mirror Of Our Souls

Well, we haven't looked at a new frame here in a while. How about the Superstar Mirror, the new signature frame of Antony Lille (as discovered on the Pijin blog):

You'll note that it's only available in 21/13.4", making it a true signature frame, i.e. this is exactly what he rides. Well as far as you know. The built-in seatpost is closer to that of the old T1 Garrett than the Sunday Ian or the Mutiny Cosmotron, and not only because it uses those quaint old railed seats (can you still get Marvin's Guts?). It's also an actual seatpost as opposed to guts welded to the toptube/seatstay junction. There also appears to be a groove near the base that you can use as a guide if you'd rather just hacksaw the whole mess off and run a regular seatpost setup. Neat.

The dropouts are pretty incredible. You couldn't cut them much thinner. It doesn't surprise me that peg use would void the warranty (although, presumably, Micropeg usage wouldn't, since they say they're fine right before mentioning the whole warranty-voiding thing). I'm also impressed by the 75.3 degree headtube, as I've always thought that 75 degree headtubes were just a touch too slack. Brilliant! Now I can finally stop running a 1.75" up front. Toss in the laid-back 69 degree seattube angle, and, well, I have no idea whether the toptube length even means anything anymore.

Other than that, just the necessities—built-in tensioners, removable brake hardware, post-weld heat treating. Which means it should cost somewhere in the neighborhood of...what? $420? $450? They tell you everything except the price. Of course.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All We Need Is Just A Little Patience

Man. I realized today that I went so long between updates that the G-Sport Ratchet hub AND Chinese Democracy were actually released. Talk about embarassing.

I'm actually listening to Chinese Democracy now, and even through my tiny laptop speakers, it's not half bad. I wouldn't go so far as Chuck Klosterman—I don't think it was worth waiting 15 years for—but then again I didn't grow up in North Dakota. Still, at least it finally gives some closure to the whole Guns N' Roses saga, and it's certainly a better album than Slash's Snakepit or whatever the heck Duff McKagan's solo record was called. You sort of have to respect a loony perfectionist like Axl Rose for releasing anything at all. (I found it interesting that Buckethead, the supremely talented and weird guitarist who appears on a few tracks, once released 28 albums in ONE YEAR. Philosophical differences, anyone?)

Anyway, when you put things into Chinese Democracy persepctive, it's like we didn't have to wait for the Ratchet at all. If I'm not mistaken, the Ratchet was first shown at Interbike 2007. Guns N' Roses started writing in 1994 for an album that wasn't released until 2008. I'm not sure what Interbike was like in 1994, but it's safe to say that anything shown there that hasn't been released yet won't be coming out. BMX was kind of different then. What was Odyssey making back then? Pitbull brakes and Gyros, I'd think.

Not sure about y'all, but I'm never complaining about a long wait again.


The latest in "let's revive a terrible idea from the '80s?" This. Tioga marketed a product called the Crazy Chain back in the '80s which was more or less exactly the same, only weaker. Then again, it was lighter, so maybe seek out an original if you want your bike to look stupid. They also sold a 'matching' set of mismatched chainring bolts, which would probably be a big hit amongst the fixed-gear freestyler crowd.


CORRECTION: A few posts ago, I said something about Inopia being "doomed from the start." Apparently Inopia is not dead, only hibernating. Thanks for the heads up, George.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Back From The Dead

OK, I really need to get back on the ball here. It's been, what, two weeks? And the BMX world has been merrily going on its way without me. But hey, sometimes real life interferes with this whole blogging thing, and when you've got a staff of one (including yours truly) it's easy to go off the rails. So I apologize. Hopefully I haven't lost any of you for good. I promise to get back on the daily grind, even if some days are less wordy than others.

Anyway, where to resume? There's the new Stricker, I suppose—now with the ever-important lower toptube and entirely superfluous (yet admittedly cool) headtube badge. But no, since S&M's flash-based site still renders it unlinkable, I'm gonna pass. Maybe I'll write a haiku about it later in the week.

What else is there? I haven't even looked at BMXfeed in God knows how long. Am I still a featured feed? Yes? Good. Even more of a reason to update.

Should I talk about the Nike video? Unlike some other people, I have no problem whatsoever with Nike being involved in BMX. And the video—at least the parts I've watched—is bananas. Garrett Reynolds obviously isn't human, and Dennis Enarson is suspect as well. Not sure why because they weren't that similar, but Enarson's part reminded me of Kurt Rasmussen's Left/Right part for some reason. It's weird that you can tell how light bikes are now just by watching videos. I have yet to watch Spinner's and Nigel's parts, but I presume they include a lot of tailwhips and barspins respectively. And Mirracos.

You know, I think I'll just leave off for now. Call it a comeback. And feel free to e-mail me about stuff or leave suggestions in the comments. I know there are things I wanted to talk about, but my memory's failing me. Damn old age. Or maybe it's the Morbid Angel.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weave The Apocalypse

The weather outside has gotten frightful. I rode downtown earlier in a hoodie and my trusty old Blacken hat and was chilled to the bone. Winter might not be here quite yet, but it's coming. Fast. The light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train, and that train is the Polar Express. Hopefully without Tom Hanks.

But I'm not here to talk about the weather. Tragically not much has really caught my eye since the last time I posted, but there are a few things:

Tioga D-Spyder pedals. Look, I have nothing against Tioga. I love the Comp III (although it's disappointing that it's no longer available in skinwall), and if they made a 20" tension disk wheel I'd totally ride one. But the D-Spyder is a little disturbing for two reasons: 1) Why release a $100 pedal when the majority of riders are switching to $15 plastic jobs? 2) What's with the spider motif? Seems sort of juvenile (no, not that Juvenile), and juveniles won't be dropping $100 on a set of pedals. Then again, I suppose there are some flush Uncle Fester types out there who need the right pedals to match their Widowmaker sprockets. They're probably the same people who buy Fetish frames and do their clothes shopping at Hot Topic.

Fit four-piece bars. It's one of the worst-kept secrets in BMX: Edwin Delarosa rides Bob bars sometimes. And it's hard to see this as anything but a way to get Ed back on Fit bars. Look at the specs—the Fit four-piecers are nearly identical to Bobs. The only difference is that the Fits have three degrees less backsweep. According to the blog, several team riders requested them. Who, Nate Hanson? (Aesthetically they're different—the Fits have a conventional crossbar—but heck, even the stickers are similar.) SPRFLS indeed.


Thursday, November 13, 2008


It is, at times, unbelievably amusing the lengths a company will go to sell a simple product. Take Tioga's new race tire, for example. "Conceived for unparallel efficiency in transferring pedal power and other rider inputs into lateral motion." For serious? Couldn't they have just said: "Bald tires are fast"?

This has long been a problem in road biking, where carbon-copy carbon frames are often lauded for their lateral stiffness and vertical compliance. Or was it the other way around? BikesnobNYC would know better than I.

Personally, I get more suspicious about a product the more trademarked names and processes that go into it. The more complex a company makes something out to be, the more I suspect that they're just blowing smoke. Multi-Zone Tread Design? Ultimate Traction Control? PermaTread Design? Who comes up with this stuff? Unless it's intended as some sort of elaborate joke—and I don't think it is—isn't it a little too much? Can you read through that entire overblown press release without laughing? I can't.

Somehow I don't seem to recall the Comp III needing this sort of hardcore sales pitch, and it seemed to do OK. Be interesting to see whether the Power Block sticks around half as long. My guess is no.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I think my favorite Obama-related headline last week came courtesy of The Onion: "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job." Like pretty much anything else that runs on there, it's funny because it's true. But hell, check the New York Times—the headlines on there are even better. Or worse. "A Town Drowns in Debt as Home Values Plunge." "G.M., Once a Powerhouse, Pleads for Bailout." "Buying Binge Slams to Halt." Maybe The Onion is America's finest news source after all.

The bike industry is not immune, of course. Costs rise, profits fall, and things aren't the way they used to be. Starting a new company in 2009 won't be as easy as it was in 2005. The bubble has burst, and no one appears to be blowing another one anytime soon. Pretty much the only thing America and Americans have a lot of these days is debt.

On the heels of all that, Brian Tunney brings news of new sanctions for the bike industry that take effect tomorrow. Er, today. Bummer. I'm not sure what "phthalates" even are—sounds like something Bill the Cat would say—but anything that adds cost now is a bad thing. (It also makes one wonder, how much lead exactly has been in bike paint up to now? Don't eat paint chips off your Taiwanese-made frame!) Will Taiwanese frames wind up being more expensive than their American-made counterparts? Will we see a $500 BMX frame in 2009? It's a funny time for Terrible One to start manufacturing frames overseas.

Then again I guess it's a funny time to do much of anything. Good luck, President-to-be Obama. You'll need it.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Look Out Beloe!

Beloe, the BMX-only shoe company that sponsored Jim Cielencki, Nathan Williams and Jim Bauer, among others, is no more. Sad, because some of the shoes looked decent. In somewhat related news, Taj is off Etnies, after a long and (presumably) fruitful relationship. Maybe I should keep my remaining pair of Traumas.

Which leads one to wonder, to paraphrase The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, how many BMX-only shoe companies will survive, and what will be left of them? Maybe Derek Adams should have chosen Little Devil over Orchid. That said, Lotek seems to be thriving, and Inopia was doomed from the start. (Caste, John Paul Rogers's effort, was doomed before the start.)

Look, making shoes isn't like making t-shirts. You can't just bang out a quick dozen and sell them out of your trunk. You need to get molds made, find a manufacturer (most likely in Asia), sort out a sole pattern that doesn't violate any other company's patents, make a heck of a lot of them, and oh yeah, find a way to sell them.

Having never tried to start a shoe company myself, I'd imagine that's the toughest part. It's not like you can just call the people at Foot Locker or Journeys and convince them to give you some nationwide shelf space. And good luck getting your local skate shop to carry them. Not going to happen. But the thing is, the average bike shop won't carry them, either. They're too busy selling SIDIs and Diadoras to road and mountain cyclistsm who a) have money, and b) are less fickle and fashion-oriented. Heck, it's hard enough to find a big-time bike shop that carries BMX frames.

This leaves the mailorders and local BMX shops, who can only support so many of these companies. (It would be nice if they'd drop the skate companies completely the way the skate companies have dropped BMX riders, but then riders would just buy their Adios and Etnies from someone else—it's a tough old world.)

I guess the real question is whether BMX can even support another shoe company alongside Lotek and Orchid. Doesn't seem that way, unless said company has a ton of financial backing and doesn't consider profit to be particularly important. It reminds me of that old joke about what the best way to make a million dollars is—start with two million.

Beloe, we hardly knew you. Good luck to anyone who follows in your, uh, footsteps.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Been A Long Time, I Shouldn't Have Left You

Or maybe I should have? I don't know. I had no intentions of taking a week off, but there was Halloween, and then the weekend, and then this whole Obama thing, and Mikey Aitken is doing much better, and the thought of being all negative and cynical just didn't seem right. In fact, it still doesn't. But I guess one has to do what one has to do.

Only, what is that? I don't really want to be the Sarah Palin of the BMX world, belittling and you-betcha-ing all over the place behind my frameless titanium glasses. (Heck, I should probably do a whole post on those, huh?) And at the same time, I haven't ridden my bike in—well, a while, and I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. Who am I to say what's right and what isn't? Maybe frames with five-inch seat tubes are a great idea, and I just don't realize it.

Haha, OK, maybe not.

Regardless, though, things in "the industry" have been awfully quiet of late. There's this new complete WTP, but what's there that I haven't discussed yet? Low seat, big bars, integrated clamp, blah blah blah. Sure, the spokes are so widely spaced that the nipples must be right on the edge of the rim, but what of it? And apparently Kink is doing rims of their own that allegedly look like photocopies of another popular rim, but the RIDE website is such a nightmare that I can't even find the photo.

Oh well. I guess I'll just post the best bike ever and leave it at that.

Until tomorrow.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

You're On A Rocket Ride To A Suicide

Thank you, Superstar, for solving one of the biggest mysteries of our time—the difference between a new modern street frame and an ultra modern street frame:

I would have never figured it out otherwise. Darn new terminology. What I gather is this: The ultra modern frame has really short chainstays, an integrated seatpost clamp, fairly standard angles, and weighs less than five pounds. And while they say it's for pegless riders, they don't mean it. On the other hand, the new modern frame has really, really short chainstays, an integrated seatpost clamp, fairly standard angles (with the exception of a slightly lazy seattube), and weighs less than five pounds. And while they say it's "peg-compatible," they don't mean it. (Remember when the Metal Rebel Contender came out as a "pegless" frame and the thought was you could never run pegs on a sub-five frame? Uh-huh. Also, I feel like the Rebel Contender is sub-five pounds like Kevin Garnett is sub-seven feet. Ask someone if you have to.)

In related news, it seems that Superstar's motto of "Innovation, Technique, Simplicity." infringes on Standard's classic "Speed, Power, Technique." Sorry, but "Technique" belongs to Standard since they used it first—especially since it was already in a string of three words separated by commas. Not to mention I find it interesting that a company that installs integrated seatpost clamps in their toptubes has "Simplicity" as an identifying point at all. Maybe just cut it down to "Innovation." Although, hm, Standard has "innovation" in their header, and SE Racing has been using "BMX Innovations" since roughly 1975.

Hell guys, just start over.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fresh FitEd.

Well, according to the Fit site this is a web ad, so I guess I'm just helping spread the virus. Meet the first official mention of the Fited. LT. Lower. Lighter. Stronger. Sigh.

*cue "hey it's a signature frame what are you complaining about" comments*

It's kind of weird, though. The more frames Fit puts out, the more they become like each other. Lower, lighter, etc. Not so sure whether I buy the 'stronger' part. And another "traditional" double-diamond frame bites the big one.

BMX is reaching an intriguing point where the only people who will be able to afford new frames won't want to ride them. I know I'm just a crotchety old man and everything, but I don't think I'm the only person left who wants to be able to sit on their seat without having eight inches of seatpost showing. And with the ever-lowering toptubes and ever shortening-seatposts (see graph), we're kind of running out of options here. Looks like this old guy will be sticking with his old frame for the forseeable future—I suppose I'll have to make do with 5.5 pounds or whatever it is. Look, I'm all for making frames lighter, I'm just not sure whether it's worth changing dimensions to do so.

Eventually, BMX will be entirely overrun with nub seatposts and frames with enough standover height so dudes can successfully ride in skirts (you know it's coming) and seats themselves will pass on out of existence. Many years from now, there will be letters written to the BMXperts asking what the heck those padded butt antenna things were on people's bikes in old videos like Animal and Turbulence. Quite frankly, I'm Tierrafied.

(I really wanna get into this whole trend more, but I gotta run. Sorry!)


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wheel Tired

Blame Nike and their downtown ACG event last night for my tardiness and lack of verbiage today. I'm normally not a fan of Heineken (or any other beer that comes in a green bottle—skunk city), but I'm willing to make exceptions when it's free. Nigel Sylvester was there, so I suppose it was a business event.

Speaking of Nigel, MirraCo seems to have released a couple of wheelsets without anyone noticing. No wonder. Pretty standard stuff—I was hoping for a 32-spoke front, or some kind of proprietary cassette drive, not Rhino Lites and a looseball cassette. Oh well. It's funny, when I look at that front wheel I can't help but think "aw, people still run standard axle front hubs—how cute!" If the G-Sport Ratchet hub ever actually comes out, the same might be true for the back soon too.

Hm. I'm late, I'm incoherent, and I'm distracted by the first night of the NBA on TNT. I should probably just leave well enough alone.


Monday, October 27, 2008


LinkHey, it's my 150th post! Never thought this day would come. Thanks to all the companies out there for keeping me entertained and all of y'all for continuing to read this crap. Hopefully the next 150 posts will be considerably better.

Not today, unfortunately.

Things are slow in this post-Interbike time. Fly has been having a "new products week" that has been nothing but new colors. Ooooh, a flat-black Pantera kit! Never would have thought of that. (If it's true innovation you're looking for, try the brown Campillo. Or better yet, the Karl Poynter Sunday.)

There's also a semi-new custom Standard cruiser over on the Standard blog (October 3). And in other news, RIDE says to drill holes in your bike.

When's spring?


Friday, October 24, 2008

Thin after Thin

Ah, the miracles of modern medicine. Went to bed around 1 last night, and for the first time in a week I wasn't awakened by a fit of coughing and wheezing. (I was awakened by "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead" around 8, but that's a whole different story.) And I haven't even started my antibiotic cycle yet! By this time next week, I expect to feel like a new man. I'm hoping for LeBron James. Or maybe Dennis Farina in Midnight Run.

Anyway, I don't have much for you today. To tell you the truth, I've spent more time reading about Mike Aitken's condition than I have scouring the interwebs for new products. I've been meaning to post something on the new Hoffman 32-spoke wheels actually, but it's gonna have to wait.

(Something else I've been thinking about, though—with bars getting wider and wider and headtubes getting steeper and steeper, isn't steering getting quicker and quicker? One of those Rich Hirsch Subrosas with Max Gaertig's signature bars must be twitchier than Robin Williams on a coke binge.)

In closing, couldn't Attila have found a better model? I mean, I thought the whole lightweight trend was just for the bikes:

Enjoy the weekend.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dak the Ripper

Out on Long Island today without my computer but with bronchitis. Good times! If I had a scanner, I'd post my plethora o' prescriptions. So I'm keeping this short.

You can check out Dakota Roche's new signature frame here, and maybe someone can explain to me why, if he needs the strength of two gussets up front, he's still endorsing a frame that weighs 4.2 pounds. Is it the magic of Supertherm? (Speaking of Supertherm and gussets, FBM's gussets are bigger than yours. Unless you ride a Sunday. Or a Shaman.)

Ugh. Coughing so much that you throw up isn't something I'd recommend.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rip and Tear

Wow. Yuck.

OdysseyBMX.comDaily WordDirect Link (Larger)

I understand that it's a fashion choice rather than a technological one, and that it doesn't affect performance one iota, but I hated it when Nike was doing it with their shoes and it's no better now that Odyssey's doing it with their seats. Heck, this might be worse than the Rogue Status collabo. Keep streetwear out of BMX! (Or is it seatwear?) At least it's a limited release.

Hey wait. Why not use Japanese selvedge denim?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

U Can't C Me

(Not that there's anything inherently wrong with it, I suppose, but Terrible One making 11-butted bars makes me feel like the folkies must have felt when Dylan went electric. I suppose it's the right thing to do, but it still feels like the end of an era.)

Sort of lost in the shuffle lately was the Sunday Model-C.
Cruisers have always been the proverbial red-headed stepchild of the BMX world—most people either go 20" or urban MTB—mostly because there's never been a real effort to produce a true street cruiser. There was the Nyquist Backtrail, I suppose, and Standard technically offered a 24" TRLS-250, although I've never seen one. Bontrager offered a pretty tough chromoly cruiser as well. And both Standard and S&M have always made race cruisers that could serve double duty. (If you want deeper cruiser history, try this from 2001.)

But the Sunday is something different. Different angles and what I assume to be a very different feel. Judging from the photos and words on the Sunday site (except this one which is obviously faked), the Model-C is intended to just be a bigger BMX brother. And with Odyssey making 24" Hazard Lites and Sunday making cruiser forks (and taller-than-most cruiser bars), there are finally legit options for the big-but-not-quite-that-big-wheel crowd.

The funny thing is, I recently sold my cruiser. I had an old S&M Widowmaker that was mostly gathering dust—so little time, so many bikes. But it wasn't just that. The geometry was just plain wrong. Switching from the 20" to the 24" meant leaning way further back for manuals and pulling up that much harder to hop. Low bars and a low bottom bracket and long chainstays made for comfortable cruising and stable sprinting, but that was about it. (I won't even get into the shafted stem and crookedly welded rear triangle.)

Long story short is, I'm pretty excited about the Model-C. It makes a lot more sense to me than something like the Deuce-Deuce for the height-unchallenged set. Now all Sunday has to do is assemble a mighty team of sky-scraping riders (Neil Harrington? Gary Ellis? Catfish?) to put them through their paces. Or I guess they could just send me one.* I may only be six feet, but I ride much, much taller.**


* Just kidding. Unless you really want to, in which case I won't stop you.

** I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.