Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Eat It, Julie Andrews

I have often been accused of being a hater. Not just in the world of BMX, but in other venues as well. I object to these accusations—not because they're untrue, because they absolutely are—because it's foolish to try and categorize someone so narrowly. Am I a hater? Probably. But I'm also a lot of other things that I won't get into right now. "Hater" is so incomplete.

You see, there are lots of things I love, even in the gram-obsessed world of BMX. And in the interest of offsetting my obviously misguided all-consuming hate, I thought I'd lay out a list of six products (or product categories, I guess) that I really like. Some of them I don't even ride. So there.

• Animal Bob Bars: I'm kind of bummed Animal is producing a butted version. I'd heard a rumor that they weren't going to be released, and that made me happy. Bob Bars are what you think they are—no-nonsense four-piecers that aren't super wide or super tall or super light. They're not gonna make you the belle of the bike-check ball, but they're not gonna bend if you look at 'em funny, either. (They might, however, bend if you throw your bike in frustration after—well, that's not important right now.) They look good, feel right, and are suited (uncut) for anyone who doesn't have a night job as a power forward or light-bulb changer.

• Steel pegs: Brand doesn't matter. I guess it's cool that various companies are experimenting with various materials—plastic, lexan, 7075 aluminum, titanium, depleted uranium. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life. And if having a never-ending supply of plastic pegs allows you to fulfill your lifetime dream of grinding the entire Great Wall of China, well, good for you. But like Floyd Gondolli, I like simple pleasures. Call me a traditionalist. I like my hamburgers made from beef, my magazines printed on paper and my pegs made from hardened steel.

• Seatpost clamps: Brand immaterial, but a 6mm bolt would be nice. I've written enough on this subject for the time being.

• S&M Slam bars: Like the Bob bars, they were a copy (more or less) of an older product. GT bars, Hutch Woody bars, whatever. And at a time when everyone and their uncle was running four-piecers, S&M produced a two-piece tough enough for street or trails or anything else you wanted to throw at them, and big enough for Sasquatch. Pros who weren't on S&M or Standard ran either Slams or Strips anyway. Now there are 37,000 choices when it comes to 8x28" (or bigger) two-piece bars, but why settle for an imitation when you can still get the original? (Oh noes, they're not 13-butted. Sorry. Do a pushup.)

• The KMC Z-510hx: Half-link chains look cool, I guess. But I never really understood the need to run a chain made up of all half-links when all you really ever need is one. Am I wrong? It's like running a chain made up entirely of master links. And why are they so much more expensive than regular chains? The Z-510hx is plenty strong, and costs all of $13. Sure, it doesn't have those sexy drilled-out plates and pins, but it's also less likely to turn your disaster into a complete disaster. Sometimes simple is better, you know?

• Complete bikes for under a G: I saw somewhere recently that you can get a decent complete for $499 from a rider-owned company. That's crazy. It's reached the point now where you can actually buy a complete FBM in a mall* while you're on your way from Hot Topic ("vintage" Stones shirt) to Lidz (custom New Era). Probably 80 percent** of the riders in the world (including yours truly) could get away with riding a $500 complete, no problem. That number would jump even higher if you could buy more completes with 21" toptubes. Which begs the question of why the aftermarket market is so big, and whether it will STAY so big, but that's for another day.

* I know I saw a link about this on the FBM site, but today I couldn't find it. Must be the senile dementia.

** Generous underestimation. I originally had 95 percent, which is probably closer to the truth.



Aaron said...

"I saw somewhere recently that you can get a decent complete for $499 from a rider-owned company"

Well played.

mat said...

bob bars ftw

Mr. Anon said...

"Labels: aardvarks, CSI: Binghamton, denture capitalists, frank TV, FYTW, hot topic, nomar garciaparra, omelettes, paprika, senile enlargement"

Fuckin' gold!

Who cares if you still ride a bmx or not, and I'm sure you do, but you have the intenetz down.

BTW - I am not positive, but I don't think JPR has ridden a bmx in years. I mean like really riding, not testing one of the new completes around the block.

Anonymous said...

my first real bmx bike was a complete hoffman taj that was like 550$ or something and was full crmo but had one piece cranks, 3/8 front and back and single wall rims. things certainly have gotten better right out of the box.

Josh said...

JPR recently shot back on TheComeUp (who didn't see that coming). It's some decent photoshopping but really speaks to the character of the person behind it. Perhaps the pressure of defending one's Taiwanese-made completes filled with those incredibly in-demand Nice components has gotten to be too much. In other TheComeUp news, I am proud to say that my IP has been banned. I can no longer post comments because I chose not to post the usual hate, racism, and homophobia associated with the sight and instead intelligently challenged Mr. Grandmaison's motives and reasoning. It's good to be alive, I think I'll go ride!

Anonymous said...

don't forget that the shooting back was attempted veiled anonymity.

Josh said...

Oh, in case anyone is interested, this is the last post I made and I'm guessing the reason for my current ban:

"Wasn't Adam ragging on SPRFLS not so long ago? Something about being amazed that anyone listened to what Russ (the guy who does the SPRFLS blog) had to say? I guess that all goes out the window when you want to poach their pictures. That is the very definition of "sellout." Adam takes a tough-guy stance against another BMX site up until the point that he thinks it can help him. Kind of like removing the TheComeUp logo from the front page in order to replace it with an H&R Block add. Didn't the logo used to say something a being "hardcore?" I guess H&R Block is the most "hardcore tax service provider in BMX." I have a question Adam: How much does it cost to not only sell yourself out but also BMX in general. I hope it's all worth are officially a joke."

This anonymous post was in the same comments section:

"adam's has a gay voice. I cum too much into his mouth. sorry."

I guess I was completely out of line in my post while the other fine gentleman was simply expressing himself in a completely appropriate manner. You just have to laugh.

t.f.a. said...

what about the original compound 20x2.125 Tioga Comp III tire? you know...before they "improved" it. or are you not trailsy enough for my trail riding club?

Russ said...

Todd, I'm about as trailsy as Lindsay Lohan. The one time I went to Superfly's trails in Port Washington, it took me half the day just to jump the stepdown roll-in. And that's as far as I got.

Also, I didn't want it to be a nostalgia fest (that's for another day). Although I DID consider mentioning the Primo Dirt Monster, which is still my favorite Primo product and a heck of a multipurpose front tire.

As to the other, I'm really not interested into getting into any inter-site war. SPRFLS was started strictly for the reasons laid out in my mission statement. Period. I'm not doing this to make money (although I might give Google ads a shot just to see what happens), and I don't promote it. I'm glad it spawns discussion and the occasional pre-emptive recall—frankly, I'm amazed it's gotten the attention it has—but I'm not expecting it to turn into Come to think of it, I haven't looked at the stats in weeks. OMG, how many unique visitors did I get last week!

Pawelb said...

I've been a long time fan of the 510-HX and I only broke it like twice but recently I switched to the shadow v2 chain after seeing that my 510-HX had a bunch of the side plates nearly coming off of the pins. I don't know about anyone else but pedaling as hard as you can at something big can get pretty serious and i think the V2 has a better pin design, which would result in less of a "hoder" experience.

Russ said...

Also, FYI, I popped tabs on a few PBRs with JPR the last time the FBM crowd was in town. Didn't have any problems with him. Of course, this may have been in the pre-SPRFLS days, but whatever.

I'm not sure whether he put together that dead sexy image or not, although I have my suspicions. Suffice it to say that there seem to be some industry folk out there who spend a lot more time thinking about me than I do thinking of them. I must be doing something right.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to sort my Chucks.

Jake said...

"Seatpost clamps: Brand immaterial, but a 6mm bolt would be nice."

Fly makes one. 6mm. The bolt kind of rusts easily. (personal experience.) Not to mention it's made out of 4130. Therefore strong enough to crush your new plastic post.

the truth said...

JPR - Let he who is without sin [b]CASTE[/b] the first stone.

Your Schwinn tattoo rules.

Brett Rohlfing said...

Shadow half link chains have proven to be stronger than 510hx chains (at least under my abuse, clearly its far from scientific) so that's what makes them worth running. How yes, you can buy about 2.6 510's for the cos tof one shadow, but shadows last me about twice as long, and not having to scoot my bike home as often is well worth eh .6 price difference for me.

and bob bars will bend if you look at them wrong, it's sad. Too bad. I bent a pair, my super flowly tiny friend bent a .083 tubing pair, and a bunch of other local park rats ran through those things faster than they changed their color sceme.

That said i agree with the rest and love the blog, keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I've had no luck with Bobs, either. Tried twice, because the size is all right and they look like they belong on an angry man's bike. Not this one's.

Both sets bent in the same place, downward on the right grip side. No idea how. Didn't fall or throw it. They just suddenly felt funny.

Too black, too strong.

Josh said...

I like the Bob bars despite their weaknesses. There is, of course, a lack of four-piece bars on the market so we have to cling to the best option out of few. The Sputnics and the new Federals don't look all that appealing, but I did hear that Arcade was going to make a pair. I wonder if Standard would make a custom set for the right price?

Phillip said...

wasn't this song from head first?
it's funny i rarely read your writings as hate at all. being a critic in my mind has nothing to do with hate and more to do with admiration of an activity or life or whatever it is that we're all involved in. it seems the underlying motivation to a majority of the posts here are really in support of what some might call the fundamentals of bmx, simplicity and functionality... but who knows, i'd like to think the glass is half full so what do i know...

josh said...

The thing that I find most amusing about the concept of the "hater" is that many today view having people "hate on them" as a sign of status. Typically the conversation goes something like this:

Person A: Yeah I got wasted last night, got into a fight and ended up spending the night in jail. I spent most of the night avoiding getting my ass kicked or raped.

Person B: Wow, sounds like you really need to change some things up in your life.

Person A: Why you hatin?

Person B: No, I'm just saying that at this point maybe you need to take an honest look at the consequences of your actions.

Person A: Yeah, keep hatin! You're just jealous!

It's as though by voicing opposition or an opinion that differs implies jealousy. Again, maybe I just don't get it.

Smitty said...

That's a good observation Josh. The same thing occurs in today's political environment.

Animik said...

I personally hate the KMC Z-510HX. ive snapped it 3 times, onnce where my knee got fucked up and that was when i got lhd (i grind right) so i have no idea why it even snapped. i ordered the khe collapse, hopefully that will last

Russ said...

I like the look/dimensions of the We The People four-piece bars (they're slightly larger than Bobs, but not as ridiculous as the Federals or Sputnics), except they don't seem to be available in the US of A.

Which sort of leads into tomorrow's post.

bman said...

KMC 510 fuck yeh!

pretty damn strong, and cheap. what more do you want.

sure someone could engineer a chain that can huge impacts and or never break when pedalling (from what i understand these two are somewhat mutually exclusive, sacrific one for other so to speak), but no doubt it would be mucho dinero, and it probably wouldnt be that much longer before it snapped anyways.

i go through alot of chains. i cycle everywhere on my bmx, and i pedal like a madman, and with my 30 to 9 ratio i put alot of strain on the chain. the idea of snapped chain in rushhour traffic scares the hell out of me, so i replace my chain every 3 to 4 months regardless. the kmc allows me to do this. a chunkier chain that costs 4 tims more and only lasts about twice as long if that, like the shadow chain, makes horrible noises if it is used to pedal toomuch with, and its a heavy motherfucker.

kmc all the way.

meat said...

All this love and appreciation makes me feel uneasy, sort it out.