Tuesday, July 8, 2008
No Limit Soldiers
This seat has never really appealed to me. The whole all-over print streetwear aesthetic just strikes me as being tired, and aimed at a group that I've never been a part of. I'm not so hot on the automatic weapons motif, either. Which isn't even necessarily about being outside the demographic—I know plenty of people (riders and not) younger than I am who never got into the whole hypebeast mentality either. However, seeing that this is the second version of this seat—in four different colorways, no less—someone out there must like it. Nope, stuff like this is just a symptom of something bigger.
BMX bicycles, frames and parts are marketed more like streetwear than they are bicycles. It makes sense, of course: a) companies need to actually sell things to stay in business, b) if people only replaced parts when they broke or there were distinctly better options available, everyone would go out of business, and c) BMX definitely has a long-established tendency to go with style over substance. Hence "limited edition" parts and colorways, heinous all-over print seats and the $2,000 Mirraco (which, um, isn't even identical to Dave's actual bike).
Whatever works, I guess. The economy is headed for disaster, prices for raw materials are going through the roof, and I'm sure there are countless companies struggling to just stay afloat. Maybe limited products help them survive. Lifetime warranties don't make things any easier—if you can buy one fork or pair of bars that will be replaced in perpetuity, you'd need a damn good reason to ever buy another set. Gotta give people a reason to buy something new. And if you believe some of what was said in yesterday's marathon comments, things will only get worse. Prices will go up (high-end BMX frames are absurdly cheap when compared to those for any other discipline), and soon everything in BMX might be limited edition. (Of course everything is limited in the literal sense—I don't think there's an infinite amount of any bike parts out there, except for maybe Primo Walls.)
There is no easy answer, and I'm not foolish enough to think I can present one. But focusing on limited edition stuff just seems to make things hard for the retailer and the consumer. If you're the retailer, you need to stock untold colors and risk taking a hit if one doesn't take off. And if you're the consumer, you're stepping on a merry-go-round that never stops. What's this week's new is next week's old, and if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you have to move fast and spend a lot. Which is why I feel, generally speaking, it's best to take the advice of John Cutter:
Always bet on black.