Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bike Check 1, 2

By their very nature I don't like bike checks much. (I know, I know, you're shocked.) All you need to do is look at the latest Rob Wise one on the Ride site to see why. His bike is more or less a rolling Volume/Demolition catalog (there are all of six parts that come from other companies—and that includes the chain and the headset). No real surprises. And given that Rob was on MirraCo less than two months ago, it's not like he's had much time to develop an affinity for any particular parts . You could put him on a $250 complete and he'd still kill it.

That's not to say that I've always felt this way, or that all bike checks are useless. I still remember a Joe Rich one from 2000 where he admitted to still running 45/16 because he said "a $250 hub? I'm happy with what I've got." To which I said: "Joe Rich would have to pay retail for a cassette hub?" But that's neither here nor there. I also have distinct memories of an RL Osborn one in BMX Action back in the '80s where he talked about removing the dustcap from the non-drive side of his coasterbrake hub and having the arm welded to the cone for better performance. Something like that. Of course he also had a "No Bozos" sticker on the back of his number plate. (Later, RL went on to have the worst bike check in recorded history where he claimed to be riding a box-stock Bully. The fact that Bully was his newest venture probably had nothing to do with it. Then again, even that might not have been as embarassing as this.)

Judging from several BMX messageboards out there (and bike websites in general—we're not the only ones), however, the humble bike check is appreciated by many. One in particular contains page after page of pristine bikes, by which future internet BMX historians will be able to determine that riders in the year 2008 loved $35 Kevlar-beaded tires, hated seatposts, and spent more time photographing their bikes than riding them.

I can't help but think the bikecheck is a first cousin to the ever-popular "what did you wear today?" streetwear messageboard thread, as they both predominantly involve young males showing off to one another. (They also both involve a lot of amazement over people being able to match primary colors. Yeah, wow, I could do that in first grade.) I've dubbed this the "gay peacock" theory. Because in nature it always seems like it's the guy who's showing off. But hell, they don't do it to each other. And at least the peacocks do it to get laid.

All that said, every once in a while there is a bike check that forces me to reconsider all of my crotchety preconceptions. One that makes me say "damn, maybe bike checks aren't so bad after all." This is one of those bike checks. I am in utter awe.

(Although there are still unanswered questions. Like, who rides this beast? Why were those massive headtube gussets necessary? If you're going to ride a 45-pound Solid, why not run pegs—given the Dirt Monsters, is it some sort of an end of the world TRAILS bike? And is that Shadow Slim seat someone's idea of a sick joke?)


nick said...

nor cal bitch

Anonymous said...

that last bike looks shit!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

who wants a forty five pound bike

lotekrich said...

It's funny i remember trying to set my Bike up to be just like Joes 98-00 pretty much the same as people do to Eddie and Chase now. Things don't really change to much over the years I suppose, my bike sure is nicer now though shit was always breaking back then and I havn't broke a part in years.

wade said...

A huge chunk of my PhD was on the evils of the pro bike check: a form of editorial content that truly is advertising posing as editorial. They serve the companies, the pros, and the magazines themselves way more than the readers / riders.
The bike check is the combination of a shopping list and a recipe for the emulation of heroes. Perhaps it shouldn't matter what the Pros are running?
The first time Ride US ran a Pro Bike Check, for Taj, it stated that they were going to do it for special set ups. Jim C. also had a special one. Interesting special modifications. Now it's just a list. Great for Pros and their image careers, great for the advertisers, great for the magazines, and I think, very bad for the riders.
Do you know the story of the Emperor's New Clothes? If the general mood / discourse surrounding BMX Freestyle and the Pros shifts towards - "Wait, why should I care what the Pros run?" - the whole industry would have to reorganize.
What if BMX Freestyle went back to not having (so many) signature parts?
I remember years back that Pro skateboarders hated the idea of non-pro model decks, as these might undermine their livelihoods.

Aaron said...

"gay peacock"


lotekrich said...

Bike checks are awesome if there is something to actually read in it... It's not like Joes was really different we all knew what Primo shit he ran and wel all wanted it but there were at least a few variables back then.

-Seat height was always at least a little vriable

-Brake kit (mods, perverts, sst shit, etc)

-What new inovations the pro may have that we hadn't yet seen. (Or in joe's case what old shit they were still rocking)

Kids now just look up to the dudes that all have the super simple bikes and there barely any variables left other then cosmetics... Good thing or bad thing? Probably neither just different. I just put brakes back on my bike after 5 years so change is always fun. It's strange how having brakes makes you go faster.

DBZ said...

Wait a fucking minute… brakes?

Anonymous said...

breaks r 2 hevy 4 street

lotekrich said...

Yep brakes, there not on the new bike i just put together, I haven't had time to dial it in yet.

Anonymous said...

is it possible to ban wade's ip?

g. edward jones, jr. said...


You do realize that the whole point behind having a pro team is advertising. The only reason, whatsoever, to pay someone to run your stuff is to entice kids to run your stuff. It's even more important now that there is less variation in products. The consumer isn't buying a product because it's better, they're buying a corporate image. To some extent that's always been the case.

I had a GT Pro Performer because Eddie Fiola rode a GT. I know kids who had Hutches & DBs for Woody Itson and Mike Dominguez. Really, it's the same stuff, just a different day.

Guav said...

Now this is a good bike check:

Russ said...

^^ Yes, the Chase bike check was incredible. He's the Monk of flatlanders.

You can also still find a Troy McMurray bike check from back in the Warpig days (no brakes, no pegs, no problem).

Hey Rich, when you get the new bike together wanna post a world exclusive bike check on here? I'm at least half serious. I think I need to start being more hypocritical.

Brien said...

I wanna know more about getting a PhD in bike checks.

wade said...

If you are serious, we can chat off of Russ' blog. I'm at gmail, and the first part is my name as part of a one-word variation of "wait a minute."

Sean Diesel said...

A huge chunk of my PhD was on the evils of the pro bike check:

The other part was on pedantry, wasn't it?

Perhaps it shouldn't matter what the Pros are running?

It only matters to the people who want to know. Other than that, no it doesn't matter. But, if a pro trusts a part to last while doing a trick most kids only dream of, well, then his reputation more or less speaks for itself in that regard.

Again, they're not holding a gun to someone's head and forcing them to ride the same part.

God you anti-consumer underground nimrods annoy the holy living piss out of me. I'm sure the world will be a much better place when the evils of "advertising" are replaced by one of the pedantic horde telling us what is and isn't good for us.

Wade, have you read Harrison Bergeron? If so, I think you missed the point.

Aaron said...

Let's not forget Steven Hamilton's bike check in ride uk. Best bikecheck ever.

Also, just because someone has a different opinion doesn't mean you have to ban them. Wade is a pretty awesome dude and even though I only agree with one or two things he's said, it's nice to hear other people's opinions.

Anonymous said...

yeah I was only joking about banning Wade.

Just a bit of banter.

rob said...

fyi. solid bike check was that of brent linder. yes, the gussets were necessary and nope, he never ran brakes/pegs. His setup really hasn't changed in over eight years.
An orignal Coors.