Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dirt Don't Hurt

According to the May 6th news entry on S&M's website (which I can't link to directly because it's the most annoying website in all of BMX, except for maybe Vital), they're going to be releasing an update of the original Dirt Bike frame soon. I'd poach the photo and post it here, but I can't do that either. I think it's the website's fault, but I'm also somewhat internet illiterate.

Anyway, this is what they had to say about the frame:

"We're bringing back a classic, the Dirt Bike frame has been re-designed with some geometry changes, featuring an Integrated Head Tube and a Mid B.B. to keep the frame up to current standards. I'll put more info about it up soon."

There are several other things that can be inferred from the photo that I can't copy: 1) It has classic DIRT BIKE downtube stickers from the mid-'90s. 2) The brakes are on the seatstays. 3) It appears to have the traditional S&M/Fit downtube gusset. 4) No wishbones. 5) It looks like the stays are a) straight tubing and b) uncapped. 6) Simple, but not completely tiny, dropouts.

The original Dirt Bike is an American classic, like Levi's 501s or Nike Air Force 1s. It was a product that, when it was first developed, filled a need and was beautiful in its simplicity. At a time when all the bigger BMX companies (I'm looking at you GT and Haro) were putting out the same inferior cookie-cutter shit year after year after year and fucking kids over with fine-print laden warranties, Chris Moeller and Greg Swingrover stepped up with something suited for real riders:


Along with big-brother Holmes, the Dirt Bike dragged BMX kicking and screaming into the '90s. It put the focus back on what was important—being able to ride your bike without worrying about it breaking. (An army green Dirt Bike was my first "modern" frame back in 1995 or so. Although I was six feet tall, I couldn't envision needing a 21". Not after a string of 18" and 19" toptube GTs and Haros and Bullys.)

Here's hoping this new version can do the same thing—help save BMX from itself. Lose all the laser-cut this and double-butted Supertherm that and low-profile the other thing. Just put out an affordable straight-gauge chromoly US-made frame ($250 or less, if possible) with classic geometry (74.5/71 and a 14.25" rear triangle, please). Offer the Dirt Bike at 20.5" and the Holmes at 21", and don't even list the weights. I'd love to see (optional) chainstay 990 lugs and the classic triangular S&M/Redline downtube gussets, but I suppose you can't have everything. Still, I hope it's a Dirt Bike in spirit, and not just in name.

By no means am I advocating a return to the earliest days of the BMX Renaissance. Despite what you all may think, I'm not a retro grouch. (Bike check coming soon?) I appreciate many of the advances that have been made by companies like Sunday and even S&M themselves. But at the same time I think there'd be a market for simple frames that get the job done and don't cost $360, even if they weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of six (!!!) pounds. Ideally, the Dirt Bike would have never gone away in the first place, but I'm glad it's coming back.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it has new geometry and modern stuff like an integrated headset and Mid BB and now has seat stay brakes, how exactly is it a Dirtbike? Isnt it a completely new bike with a popular old name?

Russ said...

I think of the Dirt Bike or Holmes being a basic, affordable bike—straight-gauge, uncapped chromoly tubing, no frills—that would suit the needs of most riders. Internal/mid is necessary for any frame nowadays, and no one's going to ride a frame with a 15" rear triangle. It seems to retain the spirit of the original Dirt Bike (as far as I can tell) and that's the most important part.

Anonymous said...

similarly Standard is bringing back the STA. Only, it'll have its trademark gusset, unlike the dirtbike. They've already done a custom 250 with the gusset too.

ssnnakebite said...

as much as i agree with you i think the back end length would be a selling point to some if not most people. little kids, big kids, and full grown adults are going to want to manual and do rear end tricks with it. With so many people used to current rear ends it will be hard for people to adjust to the longer rear end. Unless they are bigger/taller. all in all i totally agree with you but the the back end length is something to be considered updating, maybe longer than average but shorter than it used to be?

Iwo said...

alt+printscreen+mspaint is the best/least you can do with flash.
http://img359.imageshack.us/img359/4458/dirtbikesu0.jpg

Russ said...

ssnakebite:

14.25" is a reasonable compromise between the "modern" 13.75" and the original Dirt Bike 15". A couple bikes are still available with 14.25" stays, but not enough, IMO. We're on the same page, I think.

Anonymous said...

s and m = shit

Anonymous said...

s and m = (the best) shit (ever)

Dave said...

Here's the reason we're getting a gusset on the new STA(if it ever comes out) and perhaps what may have inspired the title of the latest standard video. Behold, an email written to standard with a response from Rick Moliterno.

In response to the post about the new STA:
> I've been riding an old school STA for 5 years now (pre 1998 dropout
change)... I don't need a new one just yet, but when the juggernaut
finally goes it will be time for a new STA. Thought you might want to
hear my input. I don't like the way the Mark IV looked in comparison to
previous STA's. Keep the geometry as is, the bike is perfectly
balanced. The toptube/seatube junction should look more like the old
one, and with the trend of gussetless Standard frames, I don't care how
strong the bike is without it, there better be a classic Standard gusset on
that headtube. That gusset is an icon, and gives the frame identity, it
would be a huge disappointment to see it go.
> The dropouts need to be bigger or stronger than on the MARK IV. If I am
correct it shared the same(or similar looking) drops as the 250s or
Bullit? If making them bigger is not an option, then you should use a
scaled down version of the dropouts on the last Lengthy frame, except
14mm. Sounds indestructible to me. The STA needs to be Stronger Than
All in every aspect, in an era of scaled down lightweight frames. The new
STA should be able to withstand years of street abuse, hard grinds and
flat landings. And please offer a limited run or a special order option
for chrome plated frames, if at all possible.
> -David Hsu
>
David!
Thank you VERY much for caring enough to give the input! Based on what you
say it looks as if we share many of the same views as to how the new frame
will be! The only thing that may be difficult is the chrome plating. We
have found a supplier that MIGHT work out!

Keep your eye on our web site! I am working on this frame now!

Respectfully,
Rick Moliterno

Russ said...

If the new STA is sub-six I'll be kind of disappointed. If it's sub-five, I'm going to Iowa with a Louisville Slugger and a box of gila monsters.

Dave said...

Yeah they better make that STA count! It shouldn't be too heavy or else no one will buy it in this twisted world.
For practical purposes it should weigh about as much as a trls250... they need to bring back the old frame naming system too. It better have 500 next to the STA logo. And fuck modern graphic design, I want the late 90's standard graphics on mine. Standard should at least re-issue/retro the frame decals of that golden era. Hell, I would put them on a Fit. I always get mad when I see old standards with the stickers missing. They look good with them on.

Anonymous said...

Stickres r 2 hevy for street

Mike said...

I would sell my soul for a chrome holmes with a reinforced internal headtube. I'm halfway there already though - I had Solid make a custom AA with a 14.75" back end.