Thursday, September 24, 2009

Interdyke


I don't even know what that header means, I just didn't want to be left out in the cold.

No, I'm not in Las Vegas. I keep saying I'm going to go to Interbike, and then I realize that there are roughly 674,904,783 places I'd rather go than Las Vegas. And if I wanted to hang out with BMXers, I'd ride my bike.

To keep this vaguely relevant, I'd just like to say that Macneil's going back to the 22.2mm seatpost standard because frame tubing is smaller now makes about as much sense as going back to 1" headtubes. Your move, Jay. (Or was that Silent Bob's idea?) Smaller-diameter seatposts aren't any lighter, but they're definitely weaker. So, on behalf of those of us who insist upon running more than .000005" of exposed seatpost, thank you for reducing the number of frame companies we'd consider by one.

(The bike in the photo above is what we presume will be shown at Interbike in 2012. The 3/8" axles in the front and rear save weight, as does the 1" headtube and the 22.2mm seatpost. The radical curve in said seatpost allows one to run a shorter frame, yet still keep one's weight centered further back. You'll also note the liberal use of chrome.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Savage Seduction

That's the problem with redecorating in white—you never want to put that first smudge on it. Of course, once you do, it only gets easier. Can't live your life with a layer of clear plastic over it. That's not living, unless you're a tray chicken parts. In which case you're not alive anyway. Um, yeah.

(In a similar vein, can anyone explain to me why people drive with "bras" on their cars? Yes, you're keeping the front end from getting chipped. I understand that. But for what? You never take the damn thing off anyway! OK, sorry.)

Sometimes a product comes out that I don't even have to write about. Just posting an image seems like enough, words would just be redundant. Like these:


Animal's new MK3 pegs are the "1st color chromoly peg in the market. This is a new special paint process which does not affect grinding performance." Do I even need to say anything?

(OK, I will say this. Is it reaching a point where there needs to be a new Animal? By that I mean, is there room for a new "street" oriented company that just makes basic no-frills parts in black and black only? Isn't there still a market for that sort of thing? Seems to me that BMX is reaching that same oversaturation point it did in the late '80s, where everything was available in every conceivable color and everything was great until half the companies went broke. Doing all sorts of colors is awesome, except for when kids change their mind about which colors are cool. We'll see, I guess. At least the chrome Bobs are cool.)

•••••••••••

Best Interbike preview ever?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Devil's Hellion Child

Undoubtedly, when it passes, the year 2009 will have meant a lot of things to a lot of people. Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President. Kobe Bryant finally won a ring without Shaq. It was the International Year of Natural Fibres. And ya boy Askar Aitamov turned 50.

But for those of us who live, breathe and compulsively weigh BMX, perhaps nothing was bigger than Volume Bikes turning 10. And to celebrate such a momentous anniversary, they're re-releasing the Hellion.



Well, not exactly re-releasing as such.

The original Hellion was a monster, what with its massive gussett and proprietary detachable headtube. Among its many, many advantages was that it was cheaper than a Kink or a Standard. Not just any frame could get that endorsement, especially Kinks or Standards.

Now, you may be looking at this new Hellion and wondering what exactly makes it a Hellion. Hater. All you have to do is read the fine print:

"The new Hellion features similar design features as the first: brake bosses on the CS med height ST (no scooters here!) and a double diamond rear end."

Hm. Interesting. Yes, chainstay brakes do seem to be going the way of the massive headtube gussett and toptubes are sinking faster than a mastodon in a tar pit. But much like the Kink Empire Revision C, the new Hellion has virtually nothing in common with its namesake besides the name. Well, OK, and it's a BMX frame. It's like Chevy putting out a front-wheel-drive econobox called the "Chevelle" and stating that it has similar design features as the first: four wheels and an engine.

I suppose the "outtie" headtube badge (as opposed to the "innie" on Rob's Zombie) is there as a reminder of those carefree days when frames were needlessly heavy, rims were triplewall and bikes were ridden until the wheels (or headtubes) fell off.

Oh well. At least Blackie Lawless is psyched.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Twits

Yeah, I'm on Twitter. So is everyone else, or so it seems. Whiling our lives away 140 characters at a time. I sometimes amuse myself by trying to use exactly 140 characters without resorting to typing like a teenage girl. I'm sure Hemingway used to do the same exact thing.

Anyway, I don't talk about BMX all the time on Twitter. In fact, I barely talk about BMX at all. Just today some site that "tracks influence across the social web" decreed me the bronze medal influencer about baseball over the past seven days. Even considering that this only takes into account those silly enough to register their accounts in the first place, this is ludicrous. Do I tweet about baseball? Sure, but mostly to bitch about how much the Mets suck and suggest new and creative ways to get rid of manager Jerry Manuel. I highly doubt I'm influencing anyone.

But there are those who do Tweet about BMX, and many of them post photos. Like Brian Kachinsky, who posted these ultra-exciting prototype plastic DK pedals (innovation: they're made by DK and 'soooo light' with four 'o's), and BMXer and cigar aficionado Nick Wiegand whose multiple-butted Macneil bars fell apart like a poorly rolled Dominican. And there's Rich Hirsch, who posted the new Lotek jeans tags. Because you need to know these things.

All in all, I think Twitter is a good thing. It's like an ever-ongoing AIM conversation where people enter and leave randomly. I've talked shit about the Celtics with Ryan Sher and read too many corny jokes to count from Ed Koenning's dog. Also, I posted a picture of my bike leaning against a curb.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dig Dug

Writing rarely comes easy for me. Which sucks, since it's my job and all. Not one I clock in and out of, mind you, but one that takes up a good portion of my days. And whether it's something I'm getting paid for or something I'm doing for free, you can bet that I agonize over each and every word. (Even -------> this <------- one.) It's not ideal, but it's my life. Whether it's a living or not is yet to be determined.

Getting started is usually the hardest part. Once I get going, I'm good. I don't break deadlines, although I do show up to a lot of them out of breath and carrying a bouquet. If a piece is due on a Friday, I generally spend all week long stressing, then bang it out on Thursday night into Friday morning. That's just how I roll. I don't like it much—and it can't be good for me—but it seems unlikely to change.

There are times, however, when writing comes easier. Like, say, when I have inspiration. For example, when a prominent BMX magazine intros a new product by taking shots at me. Not that anything like that would ever happen.

Look, feel free to take shots. I can handle it. When I started this blog, I realized that would probably happen. Although I'm surprised they'd come from DIG. And I'm even more surprised that they failed to do any basic fact checking. To wit:

a) I still ride bikes. Rode today, in fact. And yesterday.

b) I don't have a television in my bedroom.

c) My parents' garage doesn't have a room over it.

Quite frankly, after all those egregious errors, I find it hard to believe anything they wrote, even the stuff about whatever generic squashed and steep frame it is they're pushing now. (Since it's for the "technical street rider," I assume it's either the new Standard Bullitt, or a signature frame for Trent Reznor.)

As for the living at home thing, yep. One hundred percent true. I'm looking at it as a vacation of sorts, only one where I have to mow the lawn and occasionally go to the grocery store. The suburbs are actually a nice break after spending the last 10 years living in midtown Manhattan. Don't know what I'm talking about, DIG guys? That's fine. More likely than not—especially if the media biz keeps heading in the direction it is now—you'll find out for yourselves soon enough.

•••••••••

Steven Hamilton is.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shawn Bradley

If there's anything you can count on in the world of BMX, it's that everyone's striving to make their frames lighter and their bars taller. Lighter and taller, taller and lighter. Hence the title.

(It's funny, because back when heavy bikes were the thing, taller and wider bars would have been a big help, no? Weight didn't matter, and it would have been a lot easier to get your 45-pound monstrosity off the ground with uncut 8x28s than it was using Castillo bars cut down so narrow that the grips touched the crossbar. Ah, the folly of youth. And stupidity. And Freddy Chulo. I fear the legacy of late-'90s BMX will eventually just be Van Homan and back problems.)

Anyway, just two things:

1) How can I not love Proper? First the "lighter than a roadbike hub" front hub, and now "taller than tall bars because we're making a frontload stem and we want our riders to run them (the stems, that is) even though we actually decided to do a topload too, so this idea is wholly unnecessary." BMX: Making things overly complicated since 1974.

2) Not exactly sure how I wound up on Derek Betcher's site (searching for "shimano dxr" I think) and I definitely had never heard of him before, but I found it funny that his prototype aluminum race frame weighs more than his prototype chromoly trails frame. Now I think the new Garrett's a bad idea because it's obviously far too heavy.

••••••••

You've probably seen it already (it was posted on Hypebeast, for God's sake), but the new Mutiny video looks terrific:


Mutiny Bikes "Let's Get Mystical" Trailer! from Mutiny Bikes on Vimeo.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Homan Empire

I feel like I'm really late with this—it's probably already been posted on multiple sites and been the top link on BMXfeed—but how can I not post it here?



As you may or may not know, Van placed third in X Games street this weekend, beaten out by two kids who probably grew up with his RIDE covers hanging on their walls and his Little Devil parts playing on their TVs. Van's amongst that last generation of riders who threw down monster bangers on 44/16-equipped tanks and, yes, learned how to bunnyhop before they learned how to tailwhip. Unlike most of his peers, who are either running bike companies or frontloaders these days, he's still beating the little whippersnappers who learned by watching him. Kind of like LL Cool J and Canibus.

Van used to have a signature frame through Fit, but it got discontinued because it was far too awesome for mere mortals to comprehend. Plus, it weighed like six pounds.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Defenders of the Faith

Generally, I'm not one to do blog posts as responses to a post on a different website that was a response to one of my own earlier posts. It seems silly—like having what should be a private argument while yelling over a speakerphone on a crowded street: "LOOK, I KNOW YOU'RE THE ONE WHO GAVE ME THE GODDAMN HERPES! DO I LOOK LIKE THE KIND OF PERSON WHO GETS LAID ALL THE TIME?" OK, maybe it's just me.

Anyway, I was surfing the interwebs Wednesday night when I came across this In the Gnar post bemoaning my apparent hatchet job on the new T1 Garrett frame. I actually had to go back and read my initial post again to see whether I killed it that badly. Nope, didn't think so. However, I thought I'd expand on my feelings. For what it's worth.

First, a few seemingly disjointed facts:
1) Complete bikes are starting to get awesome. (More on that next week.)

2) Most American-made "street" frames are now made from SuperTherm (or some other heat-treated and butted) tubing, weigh less than five pounds, and cost around $400.

3) The economy is fucked.

4) The average rider doesn't need a 22-pound bike.

Where am I going with all this? Good question! Let's start at the beginning.

Roughly 10 years ago, when the average BMX bike weighed 35 pounds, Waterford started making frames for Standard from heat-treated True Temper tubing. Standard called these frames "R-Models," and sold them for considerably more than their "normal" chromoly counterparts. Same frames, different weights. Waterford, having done high-end road and mountain bikes for a long time, had access to tubing that other companies may not have even been aware of. Standard took advantage.

If you remember (or even if you don't), S&M responded by releasing the "PBR Model," a conventional 4130 frame with extra mockery. Now When news dropped that S&M were gonna do a new Dirt Bike, I was excited. A new, affordable S&M frame? Nope. They went back to uncapped stays, but kept the high-zoot tubing and the $360 pricetag.

Look, I understand that SuperTherm allows you to build a lighter frame that's still strong. From the S&M website:

SuperTherm is highly temper-resistant, resulting in an 11% increase in fatigue life and a 20% increase in impact strength over heat-treated 4130.

Fantastic. It's also however-many-percent more expensive. One would think (or at least I would) that there'd still be a market for a heavier 4130 frame (that still made use of innovations like smaller dropouts and larger vent holes) that was available at a lower price point than all of the SuperTherm and 4Q Baked frames out there. It's hard to believe that EVERY rider out there is so weight-obsessed that a five-and-a-half-pound frame (or even six—mercy!) wouldn't be viable.

Which comes back to T1 thusly: Seems to me that damn near every American frame manufacturer—S&M, Standard, FBM, T1, Fit, Metal—is targeting the same demographic, namely, the one that needs to know whether a frame weight is with or without paint. You've got a bunch of companies who at least used to have somewhat unique identities offering very similar products at very similar prices to the same batch of consumers. An who will the average kid go with? The one who sponsors Eddie Cleveland and Dakota Roche, the one who sponsors Cameron Wood and Randy Brown, or the one who sponsors Garrett Byrnes? I can't help but feel that T1 is setting themselves up to fail.

I suppose the greater question is this: Where's the modern equivalent of the Standard Cashius or the Dirtbike Classic? Given the current state of the economy (and the basic advances in framebuilding), wouldn't it be a no-brainer?

••••••

If you'd rather just read a killer interview with Joe Rich, go here. Good stuff, Brian.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ghetto Fabulous

For as long as I've known about them, I've been a fan of BSD. You couldn't really get their products over here—what products there were—and I always fondly thought of them as sort of a Scottish FBM: a bunch of genial BMX drunks who spent their spare time riding trails and setting things on fire.

Well, like FBM, they've had to innovate or die. First there was the Forever frame, and now there are the "Ghetto Forks":



Here's part of the description:

"The Ghetto fork is full heat-treated, with tapered legs, integrated race, 7075 top cap, 35mm offset and a weight of 1.88lb."

Ghetto?

Huh. When I think of "ghetto forks," I think of a pair of messily spraypainted S&M Ditchforks with the 990 mounts hacksawed off. But maybe that's just me. Admittedly, though, we've reached the magical point in human history where sincerity and irony have met in a messy head-on collision. Face it, you have no idea whether that guy over there in the Slipknot t-shirt is wearing it because he likes Slipknot or because he doesn't like Slipknot. And you're not about to go over and ask him because, you know, he's wearing a Slipknot t-shirt.

Then again, ain't no one buying true "ghetto forks" these days anyway. If it's over two pounds, forget it.

•••••••••••

Hey Macneil, if you're going to do a "bike check," can you please list ALL the parts, not just the Macneil ones? Thanks.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scottish Football Association

I've left the page open in my browser for over a week now, and I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about the new T1 SFA.


The way I see it, there are two options.

1) It's awful.

2) It's great.

I suppose one could argue that there's a middle ground between those two, but I've never been much for compromise. Grey doesn't interest me. And compelling arguments can be made for either side:

1) It's awful. T1 has gone from making recognizable, niche-filling frames to joining the masses in the sub-five-pound, Supertherm, skinny-tubed dune buggy category. The new GB has a lot in common with the new FBM Howler, which is all well and good, except why not just get a Howler? Also, someone at Solid forgot to remove the mockup chainstays and put in the capped ones. Those things are so—wait, those are real? Um, not to nitpick, but it seems odd when a pegless pedal grinder's signature frame has a sketchier chainstay/dropout junction than an old Skyway T/A. And the uncapped/capped style, blech. It just looks unfinished.



2) It's great. About time T1 joined the party. Making unique frames that are worshipped by old kooks is a cool concept and all, but it's not a sound business plan, especially when the BMX pie is getting smaller and smaller and being sliced into more and more pieces every day. Romanticize T1 all you want—long live the Barcode!—but the reality is that if you don't offer a sub-five frame these days, fond memories are all you'll have left. And hey, at least it has chainstay brakes and takes a seatpost clamp. Small victories. Plus, if Garrett likes it, who the fuck are you to hate on it?

I suppose if I'm gonna be realistic, I have to lean towards the latter. I want T1 to survive, and if doing a four-pound, five-ounce frame helps them do it, more power to 'em. (Putting out the goddamn stem someday would help, too.) But I still hate those chainstays.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Proper, Fucked

Because I said I was going to write about Proper today, I guess I'll be saving this for tomorrow.

Not that I really have a ton to write about Proper anyway. It's just that I saw their post on the Microlite parts, specifically the part about the front hub:
"It is tiny for a BMX hub with female axle (the current standard for front BMX hubs) and weighs less than many road bike hubs (at less than 200g). With colours to each every taste, it's no wonder that Proper has become synonymous with hub technology around the globe."
Aw, how cute! An eensy-weensy Marmoset. Look, contrary to popular belief, I have no problems with bicycle weight savings in general. I understand that 2001 has passed, and that new materials and new manufacturing processes have allowed companies to produce lighter products without sacrificing strength. I have no wish to go back to the days of Alex triplewalls and Eastern Herculi and Profile SS cranks, when bikes were bricks and men were broken.

But aren't we going far too far? This to this, yes, I get it. But we're going all the way to this, and everyone but Harrison Ford knows that's a terrible idea. Skipping seconds is fine. Not eating on days that end in "y" isn't. Which is basically where we're at now. The fat's long gone, now we're losing bone and muscle. Skeletons don't weigh much, but they're not very healthy, either.

And for a two-sentence blurb, that release is pretty fantastic. First, we have the assertion that the Proper front hub weighs less than many road bike hubs. OK. All well and good. But is that really desirable? I ride a road bike, and I wouldn't dream of running pegs on my front hub, even if you got rid of the quick release and the carbon fork. Then there's the implication that offering hubs in a wide variety of colors is the way to become a worldwide hub power. I'm sure that's not what they meant to say, but sadly, it's probably close to the truth.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vacation

(photo blatantly swiped from Pinkbike.com)

For some reason I never seem to realize I'm taking a hiatus until I'm already hiatusing. Then I glance at bmxfeed and see "14d" under "last update" and think, "holy hell, it's been that long?" Once again, I'm not entirely sure how it happened. There was a short hop to the Left Coast in there somewhere, but that doesn't begin to explain how I missed nearly a week beforehand (and a couple of days afterfoot). Fortunately, I didn't even have to use my AK. So, regular reader, I apologize. Again.

As it is, I'd rather come back with something of a proper (foreshadow conspiracy?) update tomorrow. So consider this notice that I'll be taking two weeks off, effective two weeks ago.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Down The Tubes

• So that's what the cross-section of a Wave downtube looks like! Always wondered about that, but not enough to cut a friend's frame in half. In other Sunday news, someone is still running one of the original shaved headtube prototypes. It's still running strong after a year and a half, and it still looks stupid, in my humble opinion. Until someone starts making stainless headset bearings, I'll take the extra couple of grams, Pat.

Um, OK.

• Remember these bars? They were an August Fools joke perpetrated by Mr. Chris Moeller back in 2008. Today I open an e-mail from Cambria Bicycle Outfitters featuring this frame—a 2.75 pound, latticework carbon, hardtail MTB that costs $5,000. And they actually have the gall to say "IF YOUR [sic] LOOKING TO GET ONE YOU HAD BETTER HURRY, ONLY 200 ARE GOING TO BE PRODUCED IN 2009 AND CAMBRIA BIKE IS ONE OF THE FEW LUCKY RETAILERS THAT WILL BE CARRYING THEM" Oh my God, I'd better order one right away, then! Because I wouldn't want them to sell out and have to buy something inferior like this (um, for $1,000 less). I'm sure people are just going to be lining up to buy $5,000 MTB frames in 2009.

I also like that "the Delta 7 Arantix is truly revolutionary and could possibly change the way people ride bikes." Uhhhh, are we going to start pedalling with our hands and steering with our feet? Because otherwise, it's just a frame. An incredibly light, incredibly expensive frame that no one in their right mind would ever buy. Just because you can make something doesn't mean you should. And it certainly doesn't mean you can sell it. Shockingly, Delta 7 does seem to be a real company. Hopefully they start making BMX frames before they inevitably go under.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Epic Failures

Wow. Did you'd ever think you'd see the day where a company released two pairs of bars and the 8.1 x 28s were the small pair? You can then fit them with some bright-ass Aaron Ross grips which will one day hopefully be wired up to a tiny horizontal screen in your crossbar so you can actually blog (or at least Twitter) and ride at the same time:

"Oh shit I hope I make this gap!"

"Didn't make it. Somebody please call ambulance."

Twitterjacks with Defgrips?

(Unrelated thought, why were Sushi Bars available in colors other than raw?)

Sorry. Seeing that it's about to be a holiday—and not just a holiday, but a holiday you typically celebrate by drinking to excess, blowing stuff up and cooking meat over open flames—focusing is not my strong point.

Until Monday. Happy Fourth.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Prototypecast

If you want to stay relevant in today's fast-moving world, you have to keep changing. Gone are the days where a company could keep pumping out the same exact frame year after year after year and keep selling. (Wait, did those days ever exist?) Today it's all about lighter and lower, brighter and...dammit, nothing rhymes with 'lower.' Well, this paragraph is going great.

Anyway, it's prototype week in the good ol' US of A. First we have the revised FBM Howler, shown here in all its nekkid Supertherm glory:


Posed here on a peg that weighs roughly a quarter what the frame does, the new Howler has smaller dropouts, removable mounts and guides (well, the production version will anyway), and an added toptube/headtube gusset. If you compare the vital stats to those of the original version, the new Howler is lighter and slightly longer. They've also eliminated the Gyro tab threading for whatever reason. The fact that they have to say "before paint" regarding the weight sort of makes me embarassed for BMX as a whole.

Then there's Standard, who've been pumping out prototypes like it's their job. Which I suppose it is. First up is a new Bullitt, which may or may not still be for the refined rider. Whoever that is. These are full-on custom frames, which means giving the dimensions is pointless:


Both frames seen here have integrated headsets and Euro bottom brackets, which is sort of like having a Prius with an eight-track player. But to each his own. Weight is right around four pounds (gulp), and the classic Standard gusset is optional. The pierced toptube appears to have been left intact, however.

But Standard hasn't stopped there. Continuing on their mission to re-introduce every one of their old frames, a photo appeared on their Twitter feed of a new Trail Boss prototype propped next to the original Trail Boss prototype:


No specifics are available as of yet, but it looks promising (i.e. not squashed). As with the Bullitt, you should be able to order one of these any way you want, so I'm not sure if there's much point in posting specs even if I had them. Put me down for a sea camo 21".

Side note: With all the custom work these days, what's the point of getting someone else's signature frame when you can get your own? Finally, I can get that 20.90210" toptube and 74.20 degree headtube angle I've always dreamed of.

EDIT: For more on Standard, check the interview with Rick Moliterno here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just Because

Sometimes I can't help but wonder what Bill Hicks would make of the past 15 years. In hindsight, maybe he's better off dead.

•••••••••

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sat It On Them Twenty-Twos

So for argument's sake, let's say you're a big dude who rides BMX. Like, a really big dude. Really, really big. You make Gary Ellis look like Catfish (on the left, the one who's shorter than Ryan Sheckler). You run two Macneil 330s glued together. You order 200mm cranks. You ride uncut 30" bars. Your feet hit your front and rear pegs at the same time. What kind of frame do you run?

Well, cruisers are out. Because it's 20" or die. And custom frames are expensive. Which pretty much leaves you with the Macneil Deuce Deuce or...the Macneil Deuce Deuce. There's the Fit Lurch too, I suppose, but that maxes out at a relatively pedestrian 21.5". Nope, if you're a big dude who wants a long frame, it's the Deuce Deuce for you. Ain't nothing else out there like it.


So can someone out there explain to me why a 22" frame with a 14.25" rear weighs just 4.9 pounds? I mean, this frame is for big guys, right? And a longer toptube is going to produce more stress and strain on the front triangle, no? Instead of going to a smaller diameter top and downtube, shouldn't a "huge frame for huge motherfuckers" be, you know, burly? Or at the very least weigh more than a Deathtrap? I'm no physicist, but this just seems wrong on so many levels.

Guess not.

•••••••••••


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Smells Like Team Spirit

This post is inspired by these, but has nothing to do with them. (One Team Grip story, though: I'm one of those people who always stretches new grips before putting them on. Not sure when this started—probably back in the Jive Handles days—but it's something of a ritual now. So I get these Team Grips, start stretching one, pull a little too hard, and it just pops in half like a cracker. No prize, though. I've since eased back on the grip stretching.)

But anyway, I had no intention of discussing exploding grips. What I wanted to talk about was "team" product. Why isn't there more of it? I understand (I think) that by creating "signature" product, a company can hook a specific rider up with some extra loot. And in some cases a rider really does need or want something unique. But most of the time it seems like it's just a matter of a quarter inch here, or half a degree there, or a rider-specific gusset or brace. I understand that each team rider wants something special. Really, I do. If I were sponsored, I'd want a signature frame, too. Just for the ego boost. But if I were a retailer, why would I want to stock this and this and this? And that's just from one company! When it comes right down to it, what's the big difference between this and this? Wouldn't one of the above suffice? Factor in multiple sizes and multiple colors and I have no idea how shops choose what to stock.

I remain firm in my beliefs that, the more choices you have to choose from, the more you think you need different choices. But this is BMX, not the Tour de France. A quarter inch, half an ounce or degree here or there isn't going to change anything. Is it?

•••••••••••


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Never Will He Boost Loose Phillies With The Barcode

I agree with Mark Westlake over at the Pijin blog that, as a rule, flipbooks suck. Part of the allure of the web is that it doesn't have to adhere to the same rules that books and magazines do. A web page that you have to flip through page by page is like a motorcycle you have to pedal. But as with all rules, there is the occasional exception.

The history of the T1 Barcode is one of these exceptions.

Much like the web flipbook, the T1 Barcode itself was a bit of a throwback, a beefy (at least in appearance—although I suppose a five-and-a-half pound frame qualifies as heavy these days) fuck you to all the cookie-cutter frames that followed. And while it's temporarily out of production, all signs point to a return sooner rather than later. Please, no matter what happens, don't change that toptube/seatstay junction. Let the spirit of the original live on. And keep it over five pounds, please. Over five and a half, even. We're not ALL trying to get down to the 15-pound UCI weight limit.

(In semi-, not-really-related news, this is awesome.)

•••••••••••


Monday, June 22, 2009

Laid Back (With My Mind On My Money and My Money On My Mind)

There was a time, back in the distant past when rims were plastic and pedals were metal, that a layback seatpost was more or less a necessity. Even the longest "pro XL" frames weren't very long, and so-called freestyle frames all had 18" or so toptubes. If you were taller than Eddie Fiola—heck even if you WERE Eddie Fiola—you needed a layback post to make your bike rideable. Some more than others.

By the time Macneil developed the Pivotal seat and post setup, things had changed a lot. Now you could get a frame in virtually any toptube size, from 18" all the way up to 22". And long gone were the days when seats were for sitting. Seatposts themselves were becoming mere vestigal remains of their former selves*, just a way to anchor your seat to your frame without resorting to the indignities of hose clamps or duct tape.

Still, there are those of us out there who run our seats high(er) and proud. Who follow the one- (or even two-) fist rule. Who have more in common with Brian Foster than Randy Taylor. And if your seat is more than just a padded seat tube plug, you might want to adjust the positioning fore and aft. A Pivotal setup does not allow for this. So the good people at Subrosa developed this—a laid-back Pivotal post. Hm. That's one option. The other answer is clear as brake pads: A railed seat and a conventional post. Yuck, but who would ever run that?

••••••••••••

* Looking up "Primo Rod" in Google image search with 'safe search' off while in a public place was one of the most daring things I've done in a while. Somehow all of the results were quite tame. Disappointed isn't even the word.

••••••••••••

Was fortunate enough to catch the NYC premiere of "I Love My Bicycle" (the story of FBM) at the Bicycle Film Fest this weekend. Great flick. Joe Stakun did a terrific job putting together vintage footage and current interviews (with everyone from Cranpa and Gilly to Dave Mirra and Jamie Bestwick), and the premiere was a traditionally rowdy FBM affair (although nothing got blown up or set on fire, at least that I know of). Also, I finally got to meet Kelly Baker, which was everything I expected. Check the trailer out here, and go see it as soon as you can. Thanks, Steve.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Times Is Changed And Life Is Strange

There are times when all this BMX on the internet can be a bit much. When things like KC Badger hating on seatpost clamps and Ben Hucke posting carbon fiber Pivotal posts on Twitter and a fluorescent pink comeback make me fear for the future. The easiest thing to do at times like this would be to get on the bike. But sometimes monsoon season (which we appear to be getting a break from today, thank God) and other responsibilities keep me chained to the computer.

That's when I have to go to my happy place. Everybody has their distractions, whether they be in their head or on their screens. Power animals, fantasy sports, fantasy...other things. Me? I go here.

Amidst the raging storm of BMX changes, this is the calm eye where nothing ever changes. Where a stem is a Redneck, seats have rails, headsets need presses, and seatpost clamps have their very own section. (Take that, Badger!) Click on any of the categories, of course, and the illusion is shattered. Dan's has the same selection of candy-colored, drilled-out nonsense as anyone else, if not even more of it. But for that one moment, on that one page...peace and tranquility. Ommmmmmmm.

Can it be that it was all so simple then?

Enjoy the weekend. (And, if you're in the NYC area, don't miss the FBM premiere.)

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The College Dropout

It's becoming increasingly hard to innovate in the world of bicycling. The double-diamond frame has been around for well over a century, and the spoked wheel has been around even longer. With the basics long since established, you can either fiddle with minutia or make tremendous mistakes.

Or, if you try really hard, you can do both.

Which brings us to the new Stolen dropout design:


Now, BMX dropouts have come a long way in the past 30 or so years, from this to this to this. Then, of course, some companies had to go and get all carried away. I'm pretty sure this Taper Lock dropout falls into the latter category.

You read the interview, right? Looked at the photos? If you didn't, go back and check it out.

OK?

So, best as I can tell, here's how the Taper Lock dropout is supposed to work. First of all, the taper on the dropout looks to be even from front to back:


The similarly tapered washer sits in that groove:



And as you tighten it, the axle slides back in the dropout. As Dave from Stolen said in the interview, "we only hand-tightened the axle in the dropout and the wheel still wouldn’t move forward when hit with force." Very good. That's one problem solved. Not that it couldn't be solved using a current dropout and a big socket wrench, but still.

However, a few questions:

1) Seeing that the taper is consistent from front to back, won't the wheel keep getting pulled backwards with every turn of the wrench? Well, until the washer bottoms out on your hub, at least. It makes sense that it seats perfectly when hand tightened. But if you really torque down on your axle nuts—like to, say, hold your pegs on—won't your chain end up way too tight? I suppose you could grind down the back of the tapered washer so it stops at the perfect point every time, but that would seemingly lock you into one gear ratio. Which brings us to the second question.

2) What happens when your wheel is hit with force the OTHER way? If you catch a peg on an upright, won't your wheel slip backwards and loosen up? Unless, that is, you torque it down super-hard or run your chain super-tight, in which case why not just do the same thing with normal dropouts?


So yeah. Neat idea. Would probably work fine for a singlespeed city or mountain bike, or maybe a fixed gear. BMX? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Please.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't Stop Believing

Lots of new frames popping up this week. Had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn't Interbike time. It's not. Still, it seems like nearly every company introduced a new frame, including Eastern:


At a glance, it looks relatively normal, by which I mean it doesn't have all sorts of slots and holes drilled in it. Perhaps Eastern has moved beyond NASCAR technology. But look closer and you'll find a few, um, eccentricities. Like a proprietary (and seemingly arbitrary) bottom bracket width, and an offset-butted headtube.

Start with the wider bottom bracket. Eastern went from the 'standard' 68mm width to 82mm. Which makes some degree of sense, for the reasons they give:
"The BB is 82mm wide verses [sic] the standard BB that is 68mm wide. This spreads the bearings out to increase the strength on the spindle and bearings by putting the load closer to the bearing. The wider BB also allows the stays to be welded further apart to increase the strength and to allow for straighter chain stays and clearance for a 2.3 tire."
The traditional 68mm width always made more sense for road bikes with their skinnier tires, and even they went wider with outboard bearings (although the BB30 system represents an attempt to bring it back to 68mm—and you thought BMX was confusing). Meanwhile quite a few downhill bikes already use 83mm bottom bracket shells.

That said, there's a couple other things to take into consideration. Number one, you're gonna need a whole new (presumably Eastern) bottom bracket setup. Not the bearings themselves—those'll be of the standard mid variety—but a new, wider tube spacer and some thinner washers to go in between the arms and the bearings. And even with all that (consideration number two) I wonder what this'll do to your chainline? I'm sure it's been tested—after all, Josh Perry pulled a 720 tailwhip on one!—and it's only 7.5mm per side, but my drive side washer is pretty thin as it is.

The offset headtube shouldn't provide any problems. It could if you still had to hammer cups into it, but those days are long gone, and companies are doing far worse things to headtubes these days. If Eastern wants to save a few grams by making a simple headtube more complicated, that's their problem. Besides, it sort of goes with the similarly offset-butted Lightning Rod downtube.

Everything else is pretty normal for a late-'00s frame: Japanese (presumably Sanko) tubing, removable mounts and guides, machined dropouts, built-in chain tensioners. But I'm most excited about a holdover from the late '90s: an ovalized (at the bottom bracket juncture) seat tube. Again, this should make the frame somewhat stiffer, but it's also a homage of sorts to this. Which is never a bad thing.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ain't No Future in Yo' Frontload

So I noticed a tweet from @SubrosaBrand today mentioning a Hoang Tran bike check on RIDE that featured some prototype Subrosa products. Word? Curiosity killed the cat, but there's too many of the damn things around anyway. I clicked, and somewhere a tabby exploded.

Well, the only prototype Subrosa stuff I saw were the stem and the grips, and seeing that new grips are a dime a dozen these days, I figured we should check out the stem:



Or not. Hm. A milled-out, split-cap frontload stem. Where have I seen that before? It's more or less the skeleton of a Shadow stem. And here I thought toploads were making a comeback. This is what happens when 4-foot-11 12-year-old kids (or 25-year-old adults) insist on running eight-plus inch rise bars, I suppose. Not that I expected Subrosa to re-invent the, um, stem.

That said, let's see some thinking outside the box! How about a pair of 17-inch rise two-piece bars and a stem that goes in between the fork crown and the lower bearing race? Sure, you'll need some sort of extra piece to hold your forks on, and you won't be able to do barspins or tailwhips anymore, but won't that be a relief more than anything else?

That, or everyone could chill on buying super-high rise bars unless they really need them so there'd be no need for stems like this—but what am I talking about? That would just be crazy.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Mutually Assured Destruction

How do you destroy a modern BMX bike in five seconds or less? Try the Austin Church gap, of course:

SOLIDSTEEL Johno & the Church Gap from Clint on Vimeo.


I know Jimmy Levan, sir, and you're no Jimmy Levan. That said, ridiculous props for even attempting it. Solid Steel for sure.

If nothing else, this should serve as a public service message in support of straight-gauge spokes, 48-spoke wheels and (gulp—check 1:46) bars with fewer butts than a Sir Mix-A-Lot video. Not that a stronger rear wheel wouldn't have self-destructed too, but man. Dude's lucky his bike was the only thing that got destroyed. And cracks or no, I'd retire every part on it with full honors.

Obviously I have no intentions of jumping TACG™, but my new/old bike is ready for it on the off chance I lose my freaking mind:


In semi-unrelated news, there has been a Troy McMurray sighting on the East Coast. Hide the women and children.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Still Tippin' On Four:Fours

• Odyssey's got some tall-ass four-piece bars dropping that look sort of like Redline Forklifters without the number-plate tabs (or just the more recent versions) or Fred'z Bars without Fred. I'd embed the code so you didn't have to click the link, but the last time I did that it messed up the whole column aspect of the blog. I'm not blaming Odyssey—there must be a way I could adjust the width or the scale—I just don't know what I'm doing. I'd think these are what would have been the Lumb4rjacks (or was it Lumberj4cks?), and whilst I'm inclined to sigh at yet another pair of bars thrown into the mix, it's hard to not love 'em after seeing this photo:


That said, I'll stick with my Bobs.

• Whilst yesterday's post drew plenty of comments, nothing was really cleared up one way or the other. Meanwhile, Fit themselves took the Flavor Flav route. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

I want to believe. But correct me if I'm wrong, isn't that a 'new' Lengthy? And wasn't the Domination bike a regular STA? (As for actually buying it, who do you think you are, Rick Moliterno???) UPDATE: 'Tis apparently 100 percent legit. Must... fight... impulses...

• It could be worse, I suppose. We could all be riding road bikes, where equipment failure costs a lot more.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eff It

There's nothing I hate more than looking at BMXfeed and a) not seeing one of my posts in the top four, and b) seeing that I haven't updated in three days. Embarassing! I'm not the last site on the front page to update, but that's only because the Metal blog operates differently from the rest of the universe. Even Stephen Hawking doesn't get it.

Strangely, there's seemingly a lot going on, but not much to report. Rumors are flying around the internets about various companies—well, one company in particular—but details are few and far between. OK, there are no details.

I know what you're saying: "Russ! Aren't you supposed to be some kind of journalist? Man the phones! Dig some dirt! Rake some muck!" And you know what? You're right. It's about damn time this site actually broke some news. But it's not happening. You know why? First of all, I'm so far removed from the BMX epicenter that I can't even feel the vibrations. Here's a handy diagram to show you what I mean:



As for making phone calls, it seems like that would be an exercise in futility. Even if something big were happening, I'm not gonna get it out of them by placing a phone call or sending an e-mail. It's never quite that easy. And while rampant speculation is fun—"CHRIS MOELLER IS SELLING FIT TO PACIFIC SO YOU'LL BE ABLE TO BUY THEM AT TARGET!!!!"—it doesn't really do anyone any good. All we can do is wait. And, um, hope some disgruntled employee/rider/relative goes off anonymously in the comments section.

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In the meantime, you can check out some of the 2010 Fit completes on Alan's BMX, the site for a British retailer. It appears that Fit is actually expanding their line of completes for 2010, which seems utterly insane to me. But maybe putting the line in departme—oops.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Well, I said I wasn't gonna talk about Spanish bottom brackets anymore—and I probably won't. Much. But I couldn't resist using that post title:



Anyway, Darcy talked some more about Macneil's choice of the Spanish BB standard here, and the discussion got interesting in the comments section of the original post, with Taj talking about blowing up bearings and JPR coming up with his own modest proposal. If that discussion were to continue—either in this comment section or that one—it wouldn't be a bad thing. Personally, I still feel like it would be nice if we could decide on one bottom bracket bearing standard. After all, we're pretty settled on 1 1/8" integrated headsets and 25.4mm seatposts, and no one complains about either of those infringing on their rights to free design. (Obviously any company could feel free to make frames that took, say, 27.0mm seatposts and—what's that? Standard already tried that? Yes, and we all saw how that turned out.)

••••••••••

Rob Wise has a new frame from Volume that doesn't have any holes drilled in the seattube. Whew. I actually saw it a month or so back when Rob was in NYC, but thought shooting photos of his bike would be a little presumptious. Plus, I didn't have my camera with me.

The funny thing is, it's actually three ounces lighter that the First Blood, his first signature frame, even without the "silencer" holes. Eat it, Rambo.

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So yeah, new Eastern forks. Terrific. Just a few questions/comments:
• What exactly are "heaven drops"?
• Please put the CNC controls down.
• I understand that a capped tube with a hole cut in the cap is stronger than an uncapped one, but I still don't get it.
• That 'original' "Hangfree" dropout design? Yeah, Sunday sort of did that first.
• I'm still not entirely sure why you'd buy a fork not made by S&M or Odyssey, especially one that weighs less than two pounds.
• When does the titanium version come out?
••••••••••

One for the weekend. I feel like I posted this before, but what the hell.



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Almost forgot! Either Gary Ellis or Jody Donnelly is selling his bike on eBay. Tragic.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Checks Bounce

If you look at BMXfeed with any regularity, you start to notice bike checks all the time. They're like the chips in a Chips Ahoy! or the green clovers in a box of Lucky Charms or the terrible analogies on this site. Anyway, today I thought I'd just pull all the bike check photos I could find, and run them all with no rhyme nor reason. A bike check shuffle, if you will. Then I can go back to compulsively listening to "Maybach Music 2", which has plenty more rhyme but about as much reason.








(That last one is a bit of a cheat in both date and content, and I probably should have hyperlinked each photo back to the respective sites, but eff it.)

(And oh yes, the Eastern Hawkeye forks. Tomorrow. One of these days I should really look into using RSS.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

iPod Shuffle?

You know what, it's a rainy Wednesday, and I don't really feel like talking about Spanish bottom brackets anymore, so inspired by Steve Crandall's iPod shuffle over on Defgrip, I'm gonna give you 10 tracks off my own freshly re-filled Nano:

• Public Enemy, "Welcome to the Terrordome"
• Judas Priest, "Winter-Deep-Retreat-Cheater"
• Rick Ross f. Foxy Brown, "Murda Mami"
• Motörhead, "Dirty Love"
• Radiohead, "Treefingers"
• Judas Priest, "Between the Hammer & the Anvil"
• Alice in Chains, "Confusion"
• Queensrÿche, "Operation: Mindcrime"
• Slayer, "Disciple"
• Radiohead, "Videotape"

Keep in mind that this list is entirely irrelevant since all I've been listening to the past couple of days is "Maybach Music 2." If anyone can figure out what the heck Lil Wayne is talking about, let me know.





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Oh yeah, and I guess I should run a picture of me as a little kid, just to stay with the format.


Christmas day, 198-. A new Schwinn Predator and a new Oakland Raiders hoodie. Been downhill ever since.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Forking Crazy

Before I even get into this, I'll admit to still being somewhat perplexed by Odyssey Director forks. While I know they feel the same as normal forks, and I know they have the same rake, and I know they're supposed to be both lighter and stronger than conventional, leading-dropout forks, I can't help but think—because the legs are raked out the way they are—that they'd be more prone to bending. I mean, I know better, but something about it just bothers me.

That said, I really don't understand the new Fly forks. I didn't understand the "integrated dropouts" when they showed them on their frames, and I still don't understand them now. Dig just ran this:
As you know, we´ve been testing the new frames dropouts over the last year and since they are so strong, we thought that it will work on the forks as well. We have been testing these forks for some months now and everything is going great. The procedure is the same as on the frames. One piece casting dropout witch creates a really solid dropout-blades conjuction. Blades are triple butted and feature integrated cone race as our current forks. We´ll start production in a couple of weeks so they will be available around September.

And the Fly site didn't have much more. OK, the Fly site didn't have anything more. And while I understand that English isn't their first language, and they don't want to give away whatever manufacturing secrets they have, the text and the photos really don't tell you much of anything. Are the legs and the dropouts cast as one? Is it possible to create dropouts and triple-butted tubing at the same time? Can someone explain this better?

(Also, it seems weird that you'd come up with this revolutionary new process and just make the same leading-dropout forks as everybody else. It's as if Ford developed unibody construction but just used it to keep pumping out Model Ts.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jon Byers Wants To Punch Me In The Face

Well, not me specifically, I guess. But ESPN posted the second part of their interview with Eastern's Jon Byers, and it included a question about people who aren't too receptive to Eastern's "innovations." This was his answer:

Well there is no shortage of hate or s**t-talking. Some kids just don't want change and progression and anything new to them is 'dumb.' If BMX didn't change and progress, all the bikes might still be 40lbs. You have to be open-minded to new technologies, processes, materials and ideas. It doesn't bother me, and if I have the pleasure of meeting one of these 'Internet' kids face to face, I'm going to teach him the proper way to eat a knuckle sandwich.

This, I totally agree with. Obviously anyone who dislikes your product is "hating," and the proper way to deal with said "hating," as a mature business owner, is to threaten people with violence. Henry Ford used to do the same thing. Heck, maybe if Rick Wagoner had punched some people in tha face, GM wouldn't have gone bankrupt: "Just shut up and buy the fucking Escalade, asshole!"

Anyway, there's a lot more to it, and it's worth reading in its entirety. One of the other things he says is this: "Ill-informed kids are buying stuff because it weighs five ounces lighter when they should put more weight into what they plan to do with it when making their purchasing decision." Now that's worth remembering, no matter what brand you buy. Thinking: It's better than a punch in the face.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Half Links

• You might not be able to marry another dude in California, but you can sure buy a complete Killorado from Dan's Comp.

• Not sure what's more amazing—that Davey Watson has a new signature frame with a "$" in it when Enns already had this, or that ESPN thinks Federal sponsors a guy named "Dave Watts." (I'm sure it's just some inside joke that I don't get. Like the Shadow chain.)

• It's simply not possible to link to a Jason Levy section too many times.

• FBM has made their best custom frame yet.

• Brad McDonald's—I mean Brad Simms's—signature Hoffman frame, the B-RAD, is available now. Mid BB, removeable gyro tabs, cable guides and brake mounts (but an irremovable seatpost clamp. Jerks.).

••••••••••

Eff a new video, why ain't this at two million views yet? *makes bird noise*


Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Well-Trodden iPath

So apparently IPATH, hippie purveyors of footwear both hemp and fur-lined (and of course, both at the same time—and Rasta), is entering the BMX shoe market. They've built their instant team—a rather good one, actually (not that other skate shoe companies haven't had killer teams before)—and one presumes they'll be churning out BMX-specific shoes soon enough.

“Adding a BMX team into the mix is a natural extension for IPATH,” said IPATH team manager Dave Smith, apparently unaware that BMX has been around for nearly 40 years, and they could have jumped in any time. Forgive me for being cynical. Obviously IPATH hasn't been around quite that long, but they've been making shoes for at least a decade. Why only get involved with BMX now?

Two thoughts: 1) Will IPATH dump BMX the second it's not profitable? And 2) How will their reception be? Now that companies like Lotek and Orchid are somewhat established, is there really any need to have yet another skate shoe company taking their own small piece of an ever-shrinking pie? I know they're green and all, but how do the people at IPATH feel about bikes in skateparks? Will IPATH actually get involved with BMX on a level deeper than giving Mike Ardelean some cash and making a BMX-specific shoe? Will they do more than, say, Nike?

We'll see, I guess.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Habla Español.

Today, Darcy Saccucci posted an impassioned defense of the Spanish bottom bracket over at Macneil that boils down to just two points:

• It's lighter.
• It looks better.

No mention of performance, no mention of longevity, no mention of bearing loads or anything like that. Just a series of photos of bearings on digital scales that prove—well, would you look at that—that the smaller Spanish bearings are lighter.

Well I'll be.

Only sometimes smaller isn't better, is it? Despite the apparent epidemic of shrinking frame tubes, you don't see anyone clamoring for the return of 1/4" dropouts and 1" headtubes. Why not? They'd be lighter, right? You're telling me a company couldn't produce a viable 1" internal headset, or a viable 1" threadless fork in 2009? Why not?

You know what I want to do with my bottom bracket? I want to install it and forget about it. And if that extra 100 grams means I don't ever have to look at the thing, then that's 100 grams I don't mind carrying around.

Besides, who still uses Spanish anyway? There's Macneil, of course, and Fly, and T1, and...

Hm.

Hey, what if I told you that there was another bearing system that's even SMALLER and LIGHTER that's been in use forever where you actually screw cups into your frame, thus avoiding the use of hammers and mallets and scavenged pieces of 2x4? Would you be interested in that at all? What's that? Durability? Haven't you been listening at all? It's lighter and sleeker! What more could you want?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Byers Market

So ESPN/EXPN posted the first part of an interview they did with Jon Byers, one of the founders of Eastern Bikes and a one-time vert shredder. There's some interesting tidbits in there (Eastern was started with $3,000) and it's worth reading—but personally, I'm more interested in Part II, where Byers (and Leigh Ramsdell?) will discuss "where Eastern is going next, about slicing slots in seattubes, making mountainbikes, and pushing the boundaries of BMX technology in good directions."

Whoops, just threw up a little bit.

I hope Byers also explains why NASCAR engineers are qualified to design BMX frames that do more than go fast and turn left. And maybe he could also comment on Project Tank, which goes fast and doesn't really turn at all.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Word To James Shepherd

When I saw the news that S&M was re-releasing a limited run of OG Holmes frames (in 1", apparently, judging from the plans to make a "matching" fork/stem/headset), the first thing I thought of was an old "Sheep Bites" editorial from RIDE (or Ride UK?) that Austin legend James Shepherd wrote back in '96. (I thought of the same piece when I saw the double-toptube Subrosa Pandora, a tribute to a frame style that few kids these days ever rode—or even saw.)

Well, it just so happened that I typed the whole thing into Word a while back—probably when I was outraged over something on Vintage BMX. I'm pretty sure I e-mailed it to a few people, but never posted it anywhere. The second-to-last paragraph pretty much sums up what I think of things like the Holmes re-issue and the Subrosa RL-20II (somewhere, a kid who's stoked on that frame has no idea what I'm talking about).

Here's the piece in its entirety:

"Remember your roots." Old guys with real DX pedals and a closet full of magazines love the roots. Hey, I'm down with the roots just like the next guy, but you can't go overboard. Sure, looking back a lot of really cool stuff happened. In general, though, the sport was pretty gay. Mostly because the average rider had no clue. I had no clue. Jimmy'Z shorts. Fold-out-motorcycle-style-bitch pegs, mags and no f***ing clue.

Today, with rider-owned magazines and bike companies, people know what's up. John Q. Rider wouldn't stand for the crap that used to be shoveled out. It wasn't anyone's fault, really, the sport was new and just blew up. One day you were some pin-headed kid, and the next you're a high-paid pin head pro riding for a company run by an old man. It's really pretty funny. I won't go over everything, we'll just wade through a few of the more idiotic parts of the sea that was BMX AND FREESTYLE.

First of all, let's talk bikes. I hear people whining about how some new frame sucks, or that forks bend too easily. You want to talk about crappy bikes, bikes used to SUCK. I mean really SUCK. Try getting a Spin Master to work with caliper brakes on mags at the age of thirteen. It just doesn't happen, my friends. Clueless companies made stupid frames with standing platforms that extended as far back as the rear axle. Great for carrying luggage, not so good for schralping on down at the spot. If you want to show your roots, ride an old MCS Styler, but you won't be retro, you'll be retarded.

Now let's talk pros. Ex-superstar Mike Dominguez took his bike out of its box a total of six times one year. Those six times were to ride contests, which were part of his contract. No longer wanting to ride, but still wanting to draw a check, he rode as little as he possibly could, and people loved it. It was a little before the whole "ride to live, live to ride" thing.

Then there was the rollerskating retard, Fred Blood, who crossed over into the pro freestyle ranks. This fruitcake had about as much skill as an I-hopping 10-year old, but put him in an ad with a chick, two minitrucks, a complete bike, and you've got yourself a pro. That couldn't happen today, unless Jess Dyrenforth makes a comeback.

Then there were magazines. There is no doubt that almost everybody with roots considers BMX Action and Freestylin' to be the riders bibles, but even they were not without flaws.

Bob Osborn, who owned BMXA and Freestylin', had a son named RL. RL happened to be a great bike rider. He was so great, in fact, that during his pro career he got (I'm guessing) over thirty covers of his father's magazines. Ask Woody Itson (one of RL's main competitors at one time) how many covers he got. I'll bet he could count them on one hand.

Bob also had a daughter named Windy who shot photos for the magazines. Windy had a boyfriend named Eddie Fiola. Maybe you've heard of him? When your girlfriend works at a coffee house, chances are you can get free coffee. When your girlfriend shoots for a bike magazine, you're the king of coverage. Actually, the real king of coverage was Mike Loveridge, because he lived down the freeway from BMX Plus. Whooaaa!

Location didn't hurt Chris Moeller, either. In 1987, when Chris was still Mad Dog, he made the cover of BMXA four times. In case you don't know, getting four covers of the same mag in one year is ridiculous. Chris is definitely bad ass, but come on. If Ride's overlord, B Rad, pulled that crap you guys would have his ass tarred and feathered faster than the autowind on his Nikon.

Honestly, I don't think the sport was entirely gay, I'm just trying to make a point. Some people miss the past so much, they don't enjoy the present. It's not that bikes were so great, it's that you were young. Everything was great. No rent, no bills, just riding and trying to get laid. That's what people really miss, and hell yeah, I miss it too. If you're young and just got into bikes, this time in your life is the shit, so live it up. 'Cause one day you might grow up to be some fruitcake burnout with a beat-up old Dirt Bike that rambles on for hours about how great growing up riding was. If you are some fruitcake burnout with an old beat-up RL20II, sorry, but "F*** 'em if they can't take a joke."

Remember your roots, just don't let them keep you from where you're going. (That last line makes me look like a fruit.)

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