I looked at it, noted that they were the same UGP seats I'd seen already, and went to close out.
At the very bottom, a name and phone number, with the notation "for samples, please contact."
Hm. Very interesting.
And I got to thinking. Do I have a BMX website? Yes. Do I get a fair amount of traffic? Um, sort of. And while the URL is a blogspot, and it the site isn't exactly kind to products, hey, why not send an e-mail? If nothing else it would be a good way to see whether anyone there would actually look at the site before agreeing to send me anything.
Seemed like a good idea at the time. So I sent the following, asking for the model that looked like it was designed for an episode of Schoolhouse Rock:
My name is Russ Bengtson. I run a BMX blog called SPRFLS that focuses primarily on componentry. It's been getting quite a bit of attention of late. You can check it out at:
I'd like to get a sample of the SHOKS1 seat (Pivotal) for inclusion, if at all possible. Please let me know. (If that model isn't available, the SPLASH would be my second choice.
Within minutes, I had not one, but two responses.
One was from Dawn, the PR person I had initially e-mailed:
Thanks for your request! We will get you a seat out this week. We really appreciate the support.
The other was from Sebastian Surroca, the creative director and lead apparel designer at UGP. As it turned out, he was already familiar with the site. Go figure. His response was a bit more detailed. Basically, I wasn't putting one over on anybody:
Hey Russ, my name is Sebastian I’m the Creative Director here at UGP. I’m familiar with your site, especially the Alienation controversy. Classic. Anyway just wanted to give you the scoop on our seats. In no way are we looking to push the technology boundaries with our seats. Everybody knows that Velo makes all the Pivotal seats in the world. Our approach is just to offer seats as accessories to our collection. We’re a clothing company not a parts and components company. So don’t expect to see any innovative parts from us, just a new approach. Which in and of itself could be considered innovation. If your into it, we’ll definitely send you a seat. You can give your honest opinion. Don’t worry we can take it, we post on thecomeup regularly. Kids are brutal. Talk to you soon.
I'll admit the sheer honesty of it all put me off my game a little. Hey, they're just making seats. They know they're not changing the world. They're treating seats just like another fashion accessory—like hats or t-shirts—and what's wrong with that? (Well, besides the fact that most people stick to one seat and one seat only, and that there are already 500 other designs out there built on the same platform.)
But hell, I'd gone this far. Might as well go the rest of the way.
So yesterday afternoon, a box showed up at my door:
I had to get it on my bike immediately—a Sunday that has now been declared the official SPRFLS test steed. (It's also got a first-gen Shadow chain on there, and I might have to throw plastic pedals on, too. Maybe some big bars. Anyone wanna send me some Kevlar tires and a stump post?)
Couldn't help but notice after I bolted it up that it was twisted to the side a little bit, like a brand New Era. Guess the post isn't in there straight. But it seemed appropriate enough. If the seat had come with a sticker on it, I would have left it. And, like a fitted (not a FitEd), once a Pivotal seat gets bent, it's more or less finished.
It's by far the brightest part on my bike—I should never lose track of it. There's not much to say about it, really. Either you'll like it or you won't. At heart it's just another Capital, so if you're one of those weird people who actually SIT on their seats, it'll feel familiar enough. About the only thing I could critique is the graphics, and all I can really say about those is a) it would be cool if the logos faced every which way instead of exclusively to the left, and b) please please PLEASE do NOT put them on an all-over print hoodie.
(Also, please re-release Face Value on DVD as soon as humanly possible.)
According to Sebastian:
I don’t know where we fit in or if we fit in at all, which is just how I like it. I guess our stuff could be categorized as many things. At the end of the day we like making things that we like.
And is there really anything wrong with that? If they're truly doing what they like, why should I say otherwise? Man, I keep thinking like that, this site is in trouble. (But man, enough with the seats already. If anyone else out there is thinking about introducing their own line of Pivotals, please don't. Pool's full.)
Anyways, had to shoot one more flick to prove I actually rode it outside. I ain't scared:
Is it true? Can SPRFLS be bought? You're all welcome to go ahead and find out.