Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Comin' Straight From The Underground

It all started with a flyer. A few weeks ago, Ride (US) posted this on their website:


I looked at it, noted that they were the same UGP seats I'd seen already, and went to close out.

But wait.

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:

Dawn,

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:

http://sprfls.blogspot.com

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.

Thanks much,
--Russ


Within minutes, I had not one, but two responses.

One was from Dawn, the PR person I had initially e-mailed:

Hi Russ,
Thanks for your request! We will get you a seat out this week. We really appreciate the support.

Best,
Dawn

Excellent.

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.

43 comments:

Aaron said...

I don't think you're being bought (like it would be worth it for a seat- and kind of an ugly one at that). It's just a lot harder to bash something when you have some dialogue going and the other side isn't a complete idiot (i.e. the Alienation debacle).

peglessEBCo said...

Interesting change of pace this time around. I dont know if I like it. Well... Its a breath of fresh air I guess. haha. I would have gone with the "smatter" pivitol if I was you, but hey, what do I know? Its nice to see a company not too scared to feel the wrath of Russ.

Russ said...

I'm taking Jake Shuttlesworth's advice and trying to get the hate out of my heart.

Dialogue is good. Initially I just thought "haha, I wonder if they'll just say yes and send me a seat because I have a BMX website." It turned into something better, I think.

Seat's still oogly (I think I'm outside the intended demographic), but I'm gonna leave it on. Mostly as a reminder that it's not that serious. Like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day.

Dammit, I'm really gonna have to tear into something tomorrow, huh?

Stephen said...

Why do you have left hand drive on your peg side?

DO I HAVE TO CHOKE A BITCH?

Also, time to parlay this into some free belt buckles.

Russ said...

Four pegs, man. Always and forever.

Stephen said...

OH. WELL THAT IS OKAY THEN.

But seriously, see if Fit will send you an Eddie C. frame.

Anonymous said...

$14 take it or leave it

Dave said...

Kinda reminds me of the ninja turtles for some reason.

Some company should jump on nostalgic 80s cartoon themed bicycles.

Si said...

Ha Ha! Totally loved this post. It's a BMX coming of age blog drama!

Nice one Russ

Jeff said...

Awww... That made me feel all cozy inside. The dudes and UGP seem like nice fellows.

You might have to kill someone tomorrow. Get Brick Tamland on their hienies and stab them with a trident.

I ALWAYS FORGET TO TYPE IN THE LETTERS!@!! AAAAHHH!!!!

Anonymous said...

FUCK YOU!

todd from albe's said...

since Russ is being all nice i'll rant about something in his place: think BMX isn't a fashion show? just had a little kid (about 12 yrs) want to buy the Odyssey plastic pedals but when i told him we were out of white he was gonna buy the magnesium Wellgos for $30.00 more just because of the color. pathetic? wait, it gets worse...he didn't buy them when he realized they came with chrome pedal pins. he asked if i could change the pins to white (so they'd match the rest of the pedal) and i told him thats the only way they came so he said never mind and left. that's a little chunk of my world these days.

Stephen said...

Todd, you may want to invest in a can on Krylon.

Either that or just get some Hulk Hands so that you can playfully and maliciously punch 12 year olds in the face.

rusty said...

I came to Albes once and held all of the titanium pegs in my hands and compared them to regular pegs and then I bought a Terrible One shirt and left. That's a true story.

fact. said...

I went to Albes once, it was fucking lame! Todd and flip can suck fat dicks. Midwest has no style!! Spinner and sparks are fucking jokes! Suckadick albes.

Peace,

G

todd from albe's said...

okay then. thanks for the comment. anything specific that we did wrong or are you just another hater for the sake of hating? gotta love constructive critism like that. oh well, can't please everyone.

Shea said...

er... pretty sure he's just having a wee joke with you there Todd

Shea said...

i hated that seat when I first saw it and have been laughing at ugp's recent clown suits, but after reading how nice they are I've decided I quite like their overly colorful offerings and find them somewhat endearing.

todd from albe's said...

possibly, but we really get people that tell us about how much more they like Empire or Dan's Competition so it wouldn't suprise me if it is a critic. like i said, we can't please everyone and we know that our style, team and sense of humor isn't for everyone. we at least like to know what we're doing wrong and what's pissing people off...sometimes it's a simple misunderstanding that can get someone really worked up.

Russ said...

Dan's Comp is the Wal*Mart of BMX. I enjoy their website as a reference tool, but for the most part they can get fucked.

I guess I'll never get their advertising dollars.

Oh, it's worth noting that one of the first things someone said to me about that seat was "Hey, you have the same seat as Catfish!"

Is it a sign? Maybe I should continue the healing process.

adumb said...

these shitty seats are inflating the market

bobby p said...

so like one time i went into albe's and a bunch of short dudes were all standing around being nerds. they weren't wearing tight fitting clothes and they were listening to eminem or some shit. and that one dude even rides front brakes on his bike. who the fuck does that? two brakes-twice the pussy rider. i wouldn't not order from albes if they were the last bmx mail order on earth!

Anonymous said...

seen this?

http://www.defgrip.net/v3/questions/eddie_cleveland5/

todd from albe's said...

Bobby P...we sent out those rims and spokes that you ordered today. you'll have them in New York Friday. thanks for the support. oh yeah, you still haven't paid for them yet, let me know how you want to handle that. and there is a really good chance that we were not listening to Eminem.

Jeff said...

Dave Osato rides front brakes and his mustache is as tough as it gets.

http://www.colonybmx.com.au/images/teammillar2.jpg

Anonymous said...

todd, you a lying if you are saying bmx hasn't ALWAYS been about "fashion".

Drew K said...

Dan's sucks ass. EMPIRE FOR LIFE(its because I'm from Texas)!!!

DBZ said...

GONZO DICK.

Anonymous said...

empire sells krew and baker shit, but not Lotek? ain't feeling it

Anonymous said...

i love this site. ^^they do sell lotek. Are people still running seats?

Fashion said...

So this one time I went into Albes to buy Odyssey Plastic Pedals but they didnt even have them in white. So they talked me into buying wellgo pedals but then the fuckin dick wouldn't even change the chrome pins out for white pins. And they call themselves a bike shop......

rully said...

albes is best on earth now,.. just need to work on time scheduling and stuff like that.

oh and please listen to your customer's request on particular item, like shipping for example. sometimes they know better than you. haha

jeff said...

I almost bought T-Nez grips from Albes but you dudes wouldn't COD to Canada... Understandable.

Even though I will probably never buy anything from you guys (I <3 my LBS... And work there)I still think your great based completely on the fact that it seems that you guys have a sense of humor and actually have fun doing what your doing. And I think that fun is great.

Anonymous said...

this blog because a bigger circle jerk, rim fest minute by minute

g. edward jones, jr. said...

Albe's hooks up Steve Nowak.

Nowak gives me parts for free when he's bored with them (about every 9 days) and replaces them with new parts, often from Albe's.

Support Albe's! (and your LBS, obviously)

Anonymous said...

have Black Eye send you a Cory Jarman frame

Boston George said...

it reminds me of the ninja turles.

bobby p said...

todd- do you accept cocaine and strippers as a form of payment?

todd from albe's said...

no to the first and a hearty hell yes to the second. i am 100% in favor of bribery and bartering. i've traded grips for CDs, a tire for half a pizza and i once gave a girl fifteen percent off a pair of shoes because she lifted her skirt and showed me her underpants. i might as well put a sign in the window that says "intersting trades considered" right under the list of credit cards we accept. Stephen knows what's up.

t.f.a. said...

...but on that sign i'll make sure i spell "interesting" correctly.

Stephen said...

Hell yes.

If you don't shop at Albe's, then fuck you.

ooga booga said...

All this dialogue from Albes makes me want to buy something from you Todd. You just seem like a nice guy, like these guys at ugp, for instance.Pink hearts and green clovers.

"two brakes = twice the pussy" Although I don't agree with you, that is one of the funniest things I've seen on the information highway today.

Mexican John said...

Face Value on DVD would be immese. Id ride one of those seats if UGP brought it out..