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?)