Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse

I present to you the Nike 6.0 Mogan Mid:


It's supposed to be a homage to ramp builders, hence the circular saw blades (which remind me more of W.A.S.P.), "plywood" (which looks more like cheap blinds), and bent nails. Bent nails? Isn't that a bad thing? What's next? A trails shoe decorated with tree roots and barbed wire? A street shoe with skate stoppers and broken glass? This is quite possibly the most disgusting shoe ever made—the kind of thing a well-meaning parent would buy for a soon-to-be-disappointed kid. Hint: If you're gonna buy your kid these shoes, buy them a can of flat-black Krylon as well.

I'm not one of those people who's entirely opposed to Nike being involved in BMX and skateboarding. This is not just because (full disclosure) I know people there and occasionally get product for free. Nike does more research when it comes to shoes and the foot than any other company. And I have more faith in a giant shoe company figuring out the needs of BMX than I do of a BMX company figuring out how to produce shoes .

Then again, maybe I'm wrong.

35 comments:

lotekrich said...

I do agree that they should be able to make a superior product but the reality comes down to shoes like this in BMX... Just like All the other big shoe brands when it comes to BMX they just don't seem to try (although this may be a case of trying to hard.) I live a block from Nike next time your around haha.

wade said...

I like your blog, first of all. I am not only a BMXer but a university professor, and I ache to see some critical thinking going on in BMX culture. So for that, thanks.
The problem with Nike in BMX for me is that I felt good about keeping them out for so long. The 6.0, to me, means they failed about 5 other times. I was at the second X Games in 1996 in Rhode Island, and watched as Nike struggled to impose their sponsorship on the event. Electrical tape over Airwalk logos, for example. Luckily, the BMX media leaders kept them out by being, well, leaders. Remember "rider-owned" discourse / ideology? Don't see it much anymore, do you? Why? Because the leaders grew up and started doing business smarter (which a 15 year old might call selling out). Smart business is bad for any subculture. So, a decade later, Mark Losey runs the Nike program while running Vital for Brad MacDonald. Conflict of interest? Sure. Smart business? Absolutely. Bad for the subculture? What subculture? BMX is large and has been corrupted. We can't go back. But I will say this (and with respect to all of my friends in the industry who I'm implicitly calling out here): we blew it. Who? There was a time back in the early 1990s that the same 100 people were at every BS contest. Find the list, and you will see that 50 of them have been running things ever since. I include myself as complicit to some degree as well, as I ran events for a beer company for four years that exploited our culture. These are the people that blew it. We didn't need to be another skateboarding. We didn't have to go "real street". We didn't need to go without helmets. We didn't need to be all about new color-ways. We didn't need to be superficial. But we are. It is no wonder that the average emo kid fits in with BMX. It's all pose now.
So, to focus, Nike is bad for the subculture, but we aren't a subculture. We lost that battle years ago. Brad, Mark, and all the rider-owned company figureheads are making a living in a capitalistic world by becoming better business people. You can't be too angry about that.
I still think it sucks, and I miss the other-ness of BMX, but we're passed that.
I'm still not going to wear Nikes, though.
I have the same feelings about Odyssey, by the way: fine products (especially George's), but they used to be in the same category as Nike for me.
Wade

Noel said...

Odyssey, Wade? Everyone's entitled to their opinion but I'm curious as to how you compare a BMX-specific company that's been there almost since the beginning of freestyle with the world's biggest shoe company. They made some hokey stuff, all right (remember the RX-3 lever? it looked so cool but never worked) but have stayed with it all this time - including the lean years - and today they make some innovative, quality stuff that costs a lot less than some of their competitors. Meanwhile, Nike...jeez, where do I begin? I don't need to tell you what you already know. Suffice to say that I have no problem running in their shoes, but will never support their BMX line. I don't work for Odyssey, by the way...anyway, could you elaborate?

Forrest said...

I think what wade is trying to say is that odyssey is actually a sub-division of Odyssey golf. If you've seen happy gilmore you've seen their stuff.

As for Nike, it doesn't matter how good their shoe is I will never buy a pair because once they stop taking money from us they will leave. Reebok did it, Adidas too. Nike does not need to reach their hands into the pockets if every sport. Right now they make hockey sticks and gold balls. How long will it be until they start putting out tires and grips?

Love the blog even though I don't agree with your thoughts on light weight parts

Forrest said...

That was golf balls not gold

Russ said...

But if a rider-owned company stops making money, they'll disappear too. I don't entirely understand that logic. Nike's job is to make and sell shoes. If they happen to make and sell an excellent BMX shoe (I happen to think the Oncore is terrific), they're doing their job. Aren't they? I think I said this on BMXboard somewhere, but it's not like BMX is a huge moneymaker for them. They probably make more money from Jordan in a week than they do from 6.0 in a year. I don't think they're taking advantage of us as much as they are trying to make a good product. Um, the sawblade/nail colorway notwithstanding.

lotekrich said...

qggzbgI guess it might naturally come from how the large companies term of "worth it to stick around or not" equals a lot more money then us on the BMX side. We tend to stick it out until things get pretty ugly usually which isn't necessarily something to be proud of.i always find it strange that with how technicaly advanced Nike is supposed to be all the brought skateboarding was a shit load of dunks and the zoom air cusion which amounts to a slice of a dr. scholls insole, and then even less on the BMX end. Although i do have to agree that there old shoes do seem a lot nicer then any of the new skate/bmx related ones.

Anonymous said...

those shoes = dick in mouth

pdxbmx said...

"I think what wade is trying to say is that odyssey is actually a sub-division of Odyssey golf."

I hope this was a joke. I would love free clubs to go with my free parts.

Anonymous said...

"What's next? A trails shoe decorated with tree roots and barbed wire? A street shoe with skate stoppers and broken glass?"

Steven Hamilton is psyched.

g. edward jones, jr. said...

Forrest,

That's counterproductive thinking, the classic example of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Love 'em or hate 'em Odyssey's been pumping money into the BMX economy since, 83, 84ish which is longer than 3/4 of the active BMX population has been drawing breath.

There's nothing wrong with non-rider owned companies, especially those who've shown that they're in it for the long haul.

Sean Diesel said...

BTW, just to add in, "rider owned" does not mean "not corporate".

The "C" in LLC stands for "corporation".

I wish people would just be honest and say "I don't like companies that make more money than companies I like, therefore I'm going to only support companies I like until they make a lot of money too."

Although, I guess saying "support rider owned" is less words.

There never WAS a "subculture" of BMX. It's a myth, always has been always will be. It rose out of highschool kids trying to establish themselves as something other than every other group dynamic. Eventually, you grow out of that.

Or, in the case of BMX, you don't and you get pissy b/c the industry is run by a bunch of 30+ year olds still acting like they're 13.

Unfortunately, there's no longer "cool kids lunch table" for them to obsess over, so they turn their attention to marginalizing the sport they claim to love.

Sean Diesel said...

I will never buy a pair because once they stop taking money from us they will leave.

Please define "taking money." If by that you mean "kids and parents who know the Nike brand that is in every mall on the planet buying shoes that have neat colors" then you need to examine your definition of "taking".

Last time I checked noone from Nike was holding a gun to my head forcing me to give them money for a product noone wants.

A voluntary purchase is not 'taking money' just because you don't like the company. Honestly, if the did take your money it wouldn't matter if you DID buy them or not, b/c you'd be stuck with the shoes and out $100.

The simple fact that you're CHOOSING not to buy them means they aren't taking a damn thing from anyone.

Jim said...

"Now" its about colorways? I seem to remember painting my bike once a week back in the day. But what I don't remember is having as good as a bike as I have today. Thats my evil strategy, make better bike parts to rope them in(evil laugh, twisting mustache)

Anyone can talk S on the internet. While you are doing that us sellouts will be at the trails this weekend. Have fun!- Jim from Odyssey

Kyle said...

I have a very hard time trusting Nike. I get the feeling that they are just looking for another market to sell shoes. Props to them, that's good business, but I'd much rather give my money to someone who is really involved with BMX like Lotek or Orchid.

Forrest said...

I never said Odyssey is bad. My bike is made up of their parts.

wade said...

I suppose I should explain the Odyssey comment then?
First, and again if you look at the original comment, the Odyssey stuff is quite nice nowadays, and has been for the last several years. This is of course because they hired the right people and they've done a good job.
They are of course not rider-owned, and never were. Which either bothers you or doesn't. Neither is Primo and others. They might be rider-run companies, and these riders may be smart and talented, but they aren't rider owned. Which people cared about pre-2002.
My problem with Odyssey is silly and I admit that. But here it is: Pre- Jim Bauer and friends, the company was pretty lame. I tried all of their stuff in the 1980s, (erection seat, RX5 locking levers, gyros, Pitbulls, I really think every single product) and ran a few things during the 1990s (grips, sprockets, gyros), and tested out their GTX-R when it came out.
Wait: I'm losing focus. My problem with Odyssey...
The Gyro. Sucked. For a long time. Like, from 1986 to 1996. No changes. No improvements in cables. And back then, we all used them. Scura made a few significant changes and the Oryg was (relatively) awesome. And this big, dumb company didn't change its gyros until it had to. I'm sure that they are fine now, by the way.
It should also be noted that I am, in general, anti-corporate, anti-capitalism, etc.. So that is the rose-colored spectacles that I look at things through. My bias.
And you can imagine, then, that I liked the period in which the discourse in BMX was pro- rider-owned business. So, anti-Trek, anti-Specialized, anti-Nike, and anti-Odyssey, and eventually, anti-Primo. It is actually hard to believe that that era lasted as long as it did in the BMX media, as the big companies that could afford to advertise must have been pissed. Remember that interview with Greg Hill and Harry Leary in Ride? Why should we advertise our helmets and uniforms if the magazines don't insist that the riders wear them? Similar idea.
So, somewhere around 2002, the industry peaked. Magazines tanked with less advertising and the threat of online publications. And the rider-owned discourse disappears. Magazines need to show love to their advertisers, not disrespect them in subtle ways in the editorial content. This contributes to a more conservative attitude in the BMX media.
OK, I'm rambling now, but this is what my PhD was on, and I'm writing a book on this stuff...
And I'm tired after midnight.
Last thought: the kids who have been attracted to BMX for the last dozen years are the same jock kids that the BMXers hated pre-X Games. So, of course they are going to be more conservative as well.
Perhaps there was never really a chance that BMX Freestyle could have been subversive / progressive. It was just another thing to waste your time on, like video games or inline skating. No better and no worse than all of the other options.
But for a while, I believed.
Now it's just fun. Which is fine.
Oh, wait ... and colorways ... anybody that knows me knows that I personally love colors, and so it might seem to be hypocritical: still, a new colorway is not a new product. Marketing is not product development. It contributes to planned obsolescence. Which is business, and not serving the culture. SPRFLS indeed.
Hi Rich

g. edward jones, jr. said...

Wade,

The thing about the Gyro is, it was better in pretty much every way than the ACS Rotor and less of a giant asspain than the Spintek system. It didn't really need to change for a long while because it was already superior to its only competition. (Speaking of ACS rotors, am I the only one who noticed that the new Fit DLD stem is basically just a front load version of the old ACS drop stem machined out to within an inch of its life?)

I don't know if you can really be anti-corporate and anti-capitalist and still support rider owned companies. It's not like MacNeil is a co-op. As Sean pointed out (and will continue to point out if you let him) all rider owned companies are either corporations or run by idiots and don't believe the "give back" hype, if you own a BMX company you want it to be financially successful...or you're an idiot.

I kind of view the world through similar leftist, socialist glasses, but given that we're still talking about capitalistic enterprises the battle isn't us against the evil corporations. The battle is evil corporations vs. not so evil corporations.

You are 100% right in that a new color is not a new product.

wade said...

MacNeil is run by two of my very favorite humans, and I am an honorary uncle to their children. So I run their stuff. D'Arcy is a genius, I think, and I am proud to run his parts. I call D'Arcy out on some things, but ultimately I am glad to support my capitalist friends.
You really could call out every company for something. That's ultimately not the point, though. We used to keep companies like Nike out, now we welcome them. What is interesting to me as a 28 year member of the culture and as a scholar is how this shift in attitude came to pass.
In my field of study, the examination of company ownership and influence falls under the umbrella of "political economy". If people cared, and the point, again, is nowadays it seems that they don't, you could investigate and chart the ownership of all of the companies to see who and to what degree are companies rider-owned. I can think of three companies off the top of my head that are superficially rider owned, but ....
And it should be noted that pointing out that someone is acting hypocritical does not necessarily negate their arguments.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go build up my two-tone black Whitton 2 (my baby blue Whitton 2 clashed with the new orange cranks).
And I will fine tune my rear brake using a Snafu Mobeus and SST cables.

patty pooh pants said...

I think they'd probs look ok under some navy blue jeans, but yeah the idea is pure dairylea.

odyssey is not owned by odyssey golf spoon head

pdxbmx said...

What Wade also fails to mention that he worked for SST for many years and there is a definite animosity from that building to Odysseys. I think leaving out key pieces of back ground information as to why you have certain opinions Wade destroys any credibility you may have.

I notice in the other thread you take a poke a what is a BMX bike. This is coming from a guy that still rode a coaster break through the late 90's. Get over yourself Wade. Just cause you have fancy pieces of paper doesn't mean you know what you are talking about. Oh yeah thanks for the cables back in the day.-ben ward

g. edward jones, jr. said...

Wade,

I think it comes down to, and has always come down to, support the companies that give you what you want. If you get a sense of satisfaction from supporting company X, that's what you do. Everything else is just yammering.

I'm not sure about the "we used to keep companies like Nike out," thing. In the history of BMX the rider owned or nothing thing has been a relatively short blip, really only occurring in the last 10 years. If you look at the complete history of BMX there are a lot of big, evil corporations that have long, long histories inside BMX. I mean, I've still got a bike with Oakley O-Wings on it in my parents' basement.

lotekrich said...

You're not really right on the whole rider owned thing man... Haro, SE, Bully, Wilkerson

In my vague memory here's the order of the more successful ones up to 10 years ago. BMX has always been supportive of BMX brands. I would say S&M being the biggest case since they have the deepest and strongest roots.

SE
Haro
S&M
Bully
Wilkerson Airlines
Hoffman
Standard
Basic
Solid
FBM
Eastern

Stephen said...

I don't have a problem with Nike at all. How many of us rode in some Nike shoes back in the 90's when Airwalk went tits up? They made shoes and we wore them...this is different than someone like Huffy sticking their dick in BMX's mashed potatoes because really, how many of us used their parts before they decided to try and suck our blood.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we wore them anyways.

Chris from Odyssey said...

Wade, as a former employee of SST’s your bias towards us goes without saying.

A lot of the comments you’ve made about Odyssey (and others) are based on conclusion-jumping inaccuracies that are overly simplistic. It’s a mentality that’s become cliché, and it has been discussed incessantly on internet forums for the last ten years. And while I think you’ve admiringly tried to avoid it, you’re still coming off as pretentious and condescending.

People should be able to ride and make bikes without you looking down your professorial nose at them or stereotyping them as “emo posers” or “jocks” (or lazily implying; “look, they’re all just corporations with wicked money-hungry intentions, man”). Would dropping the corporate sponsorships at leading universities affect your ability to then criticize them in book form? (A digital book given away for free, I hope).

Unfortunately, BMX would obviously not exist as a worldwide phenomenon (which most riders consider as a good thing) without the “capitalist” ways of those that came before your time and mine as participants in this so-called “subculture”. Briethaupt, Kastan, Turner, Haro, Osborn, etc. Where would we be without them?

Pining away for the state of BMX (or anything, for that matter) to go back to “how it was” is usually just a futile wish for a one-way ticket back to childhood. One-day people will be longing for 2008 in the year 2018. And that’s just a waste of time, both literally and figuratively.

wade said...

Russ - sorry your blog got hijacked.
I respect you all and your opinions, honestly. I see things differently, that's all. I also tend to deal with things in a detached, abstract manner. I am being taken very literally. OK, it's text, so that is partially my fault.
For the third time, there is nothing wrong with Odyssey or the guys at Odyssey or their parts. I'm sorry that I've somehow been vague on this. Right from the first post, I have said that this is my silliness. Like not eating at McDonalds. Or not buying gas from Shell.
I'm psyched that Jim and Chris are passionate enough about their work that they jump to defend it, but I'm not attacking. Really. Read it again if you've got more time to waste. Your parts are as good as anybody's. Your marketing is too. You are both worth triple what they are paying you. You sponsor a few of my acquaintances who I think very highly of, and they all speak well of you.
I worked at SST for six months eight years ago. I think everyone knows who won the brand battle there. If I was still loyal to that brand, I wouldn't be running McGoo's Mobeus, would I?
The first point I made was "...I ache to see some critical thinking going on in BMX culture. So for that, thanks." I was just trying to contribute, but it is not appreciated and has been confused, so I'll stop.
Everything is fine in BMX Freestyle. The only problem with Nike is a poor choice in colorway.
Hey Ben. Hey Rich.
I'm going riding.

Anonymous said...

Its all in good fun my dudes. Its just kids bikes and were just some dudes who love them and like to talk about them.

Sean Diesel said...

The first point I made was "...I ache to see some critical thinking going on in BMX culture. So for that, thanks." I was just trying to contribute, but it is not appreciated and has been confused, so I'll stop.

*inhale in anticipation of run-on sentence*

You know, I was inclined to just launch right into an ad-hominem and note that the concept of a communist/leftist college professor hiding being pedantry and paperwork is just SOOOO beyond passe' that one more statement about degrees and what corporations you like (the ones that apparently don't make money) and don't like (the ones that do) was going to cure my insomnia.

*exhale*

But, really, when you follow it up with what amounts to "I'm going to take my degrees go home", well, that's just bollocks.

Here's the beautiful thing about critical thinking; it's open to varying discourse. C'mon, discourse is your bread and butter! Unless, you happen to be the type of Che sporting lefty that tolerates diversity of faces over diversity of thought (damn, I was gonna limit those ad hominems! oh well).

It's quite simple, SEEMINGLY you wore your bias like a badge. An you got called for it. I don't know you or those who called you on it, so I cannot verify if, in fact, you were biased. I can verify that you flaunted cred that impressed noone and when the critical discourse ensued you backed down.

MASSIVE. FAIL.

For the record, you and George probably see more eye to eye on life in general. However, George and I (me being the looney anarcho-capitalist that I am) frequently have these debates and, usually, we both walk away smarter for having had them. I've learned nothing from you that didn't already support my own bias toward college professors (with whom I work on a daily basis, usually when the PhD can't figure out that a printer icon means print).

You weren't promoting critical thinking, you were promoting YOUR thinking. When it didn't take root you gave up.

There's a veritable TON that could be done to improve BMX from all facets. Regardless of whether we agree on what is wrong, everyone discussing the topic is bound to uncover a few truths. Getting pissy b/c you couldn't sway the game is a sad, self-fulfilling prophecy in which you'll NEVER find anything to enjoy about the sport again.

Seriously man...c'mon...

Anonymous said...

it sure got sudo-intellectual gay in here quick

Stephen said...

well, these smart dicks aren't going to suck themselves...

Russ said...

WHAT HAVE I DONE????

Just kidding. Can't say I expected that turn in the comments, but it's fun to see where these things go.

I definitely endured the Barefeet/2001 brakes Odyssey era (and bring it up probably all too often to needle the current guys), but I'm proud to run a near-full complement of Odyssey parts these days. I've yet to embrace the newest developments like the Elementary stem (I ran one for a while, but wasn't a huge fan) and the Director fork, but I appreciate that George and Chris and company are willing to look at an old problem in a new way, rather than just take an old design and drill a bunch of holes in it (which seems to be the prevailing 'engineering' technique in BMX these days).

As for Nike, they may not be putting all the 6.0 profits back into BMX, but they do support a team and sponsor events. They're trying? (No excuse for that saw shoe, though, sheesh.)

Anonymous said...

its nice to see a bmx blog "come up" and actually have something intellectual to say. this gives me something to look forward to every day.

Anonymous said...

^holy shit your life must suck

the chin is in 2007 said...

and by the wade. if you don't buy gas from shell, even if a lot of people stopped buying gas from shell, the company would just make up for it by selling the excess to the other gas companies. check it out here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/gasoline/gasout.asp
yes that does only talk about one day boycotts but it would be a similar situation if they were actually boycotted. besides, I prefer shell it makes my suburban, that I drive by myself, run great. also, don't recycle: http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-1444391672891013193

don't worry about global warming:
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.fullscreen&videoid=8917946

and ride your bike(just remember that this guy is way smarter than you and rides better than you ever could):
http://physics.uoregon.edu/~jimbrau/astr123/Notes/ch26/Einstein_on_Bike.jpg

why is a "university professor" posting such in depth comments on a bmx message board? this is the place for pompous teenagers/college students to use their word of the day to show their ignorance and clamor for attention the way I am right now.
and whomever wrote "sudo intelligent" it is spelled "pseudo"
and rich figure out your theres, theirs and they're s.

smith said...

Nice blog!! Those Nike shoes are really looks very awesome and provide ankles support. Perfect of skateboarding.