Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Modest Proposal

BMXfeed was down for a couple of hours today and I almost lost my mind. I don't do RSS feeds—I don't even know how to do RSS feeds—so BMXfeed is my connection to the rest of the BMX internet universe. The umbilical cord that keeps me fed. Wonderful, amazing, exciting news like this. Yes, Ali Whitton is getting a new signature frame from Macneil. No, I don't know why. (Here's what I really don't get: If the market is truly being driven primarily by kids, how many of them are eager to ride the same frame as Alistair Whitton?)

But there was something else I wanted to talk about today, something that has nothing to do with BMXfeed, or any sort of BMX news.

The weather outside is frightful. My faithful BMX bike has been parked for some time. And, as is usually the case when I'm not riding, thoughts have turned to a new bike. I've considered many possibilities—a Sunday, a Barcode, maybe even an STA. But I think I have a better idea than any of those.

What I want is a complete bike. Preferably something 20.75" or 21", but I think I could handle a 20.5". I'm thinking of an FBM Marauder or a Kink Liberty or a Fit STR Signature or—best of all—a Giant Method Team. I would change nothing (well, unless I got a Giant, in which case I would remove the brakes and add four pegs). I wouldn't cut the bars or the steerer tube, wouldn't change the grips or the pedals or the tires. I'd even leave the reflectors in the spokes and the "THIS BIKE IS ONLY BUILT FOR RIDING SLOWLY ON THE SIDEWALK" sticker on the toptube. I would only replace parts when they broke, and would more or less turn it into a long-term test.

You always read in magazine bike tests that "[Rider X] could do everything on [bike Y] that he could do on his regular bike" or that "[Rider Y] liked the [bike X] just as much as his [bike W]." Well, what if said bike became Rider X's regular bike? How good are these completes really? Can a $500 (or $800) complete compare to a $1,500 custom build? And, if so, what's the point of assembling a bike piece-by-piece?

I admit, I may have to go through hardships. Like wider-than-usual bars, a shorter-than-usual toptube, a skinnier-than-usual rear tire, machine-built wheels and even (gulp) Alienation rims. I am willing to endure all of these things in the name of science.

The big question, however, is which bike? I welcome your suggestions, either via comment or e-mail. The Kink and the FBM are tempting simply because they're legit "street" bikes similar to my own for the low, low cost of $500 (more or less the cost of my frame and fork). On the other hand, I like the idea of the Method Team because it's the top-of-the-line BMX bike from the biggest bike manufacturer in the world. More or less the polar opposite of a frame-up build from a rider-owned company. The Anti-Christ of bikes, as it were. Maybe I'd even leave the brake on. Either way, I'd be down to ride the bike for a year, keeping track of things the whole way through, from assembly to [possible] destruction. (We're talking weekly updates. Possibly with video and the occasional guest tester.)

Which leads to the final part of all this—I'd rather not pay retail if at all possible. I mean, I will if I have to (PayPal is at the ready), but if someone out there from a bike company or distributor or shop/mailorder is reading this and wants to help out, it would be appreciated. Just e-mail me at sprfls@gmail.com. I promise to settle on just one bike.

And look on the bright side. If this works out, I'll have no shortage of material. BMXfeed being down won't leave me high and dry.

•••••••••••••••



54 comments:

David said...

After all this time, you don't get a shop level discount? I'd go with the FBM, but that's me.

Maxime Rousseau said...

The FBM looks like a nice bike for a complete.

Also, first, for the third time in a row.

Maxime Rousseau said...

Or not :(

stephdau said...

From http://twitter.com/stephdau/status/1122680559: "@SPRFLS: If you don't get a freebie for your experiment, I'll commit $50 to science if you want. I think it's a great test to be documented."

Russ said...

I could get a shop-level discount, yes. I'm more hoping for EP or free.

Maybe I should look into the bike in the video?

If the FBM/Kink were 21" (or even 20.75") it wouldn't even be a contest. As it is I'm sort of leaning towards the Giant.

wade said...

Don't you dare pay for it.
Conversely, and to immediately contradict myself, you really should pay full retail so as to not feel any obligation.
Either way, a good idea.
I've stared at completes for a while now thinking that they should be enough. Then I thought that I could at least run all the parts from my friends at MacNeil for brotherly loyalty and because they are all better than good enough. But then my sprfls side kicked in and I needed to get rainbow ti spokes, a chrome frame, and white folding tires. I'm weak. Shameful, really.
Also, I like a 20" frame. Maybe we could all agree that 20.5" is good enough?
Perhaps we could all agree on the best good-enough complete in one colour and all buy the same thing. An anti-difference movement? Rebellion through conformity? Communism?
The We The People completes always look the best to me.

CMcMahon said...

Is ti a bad thing if I totally expected that family to get hit by a car in that video?

- Beerman

jason said...

FBM - definitely...

you get extra points, Russ, for thankfully leaving Eastern out of the equation... Well, it's makes sense, since you're were looking for a quality, complete bike

Eastern, well, not so much...

Russ said...

If everyone rode the exact same bike with the exact same parts, it would sure answer the nagging questions about who's better than who.

Of course all of those questions are stupid and irrelevant, but that's besides the point.

Or is it?

Russ said...

I also realize I should have titled this "Immodest Proposal."

And I agree that paying retail would be the right thing to do. But who has $500 to spend on a bike these days?

Russ said...

And finally, I wonder if I could get Bob Haro to do a sketch of the bike for the initial test post?

*makes friends on Facebook*

matsmith said...

the fbm looks like the most enjoyable. the giant seems like it'd be more interesting as an experiment

gregarette said...

I rode a Whitton frame for quite a while before it got stolen, and the geometry on that thing was fucking awesome.

deaner said...

russ, bmxnews.info or signalbmx.net are both good if bmxfeed.com is down again.

John said...

I dare you to ride Project Tank for a year.

deaner said...

i mean signalbmx.com

Russ said...

I wouldn't want to ride Project Tank for a day.

John said...

Then ride it for a week.

Mark Westlake said...

The WeThePeople completes are ridiculously good value for money, just as a heads up. A friend's bike got stolen and his insurance co. replaced it with a WTP Envy, and it rode really nicely. It's amazing how far completes have come in the past few years...

Anonymous said...

Its still a sick frame, its not like I need a heavy / badass frame to have fun riding...I'd rather go for the bloodwolf though still. I had heard somewhere that metal has a bunch of new products in the pipeline, so I am sure there will be some good things announced over the next couple months. Lime green with leopard spots was the best paintjob i have ever had - metal rocks

Anonymous said...

crap that was supposed to go onto the moonunit post, whatever

Anonymous said...

FBM's heart is in BMX and they have mine. They get my vote.

Have you checked out that bmx party time site? It's kinda like bmx feed except you can pick which feeds you want to show up. Kinda confusing at first but it works great as long as you're not on IE. They even have a couple ride feeds without the shitty user photos.

Anonymous said...

I have to say you disappoint me, selling out and it isn't the first time either cheesing and sucking it to get free shit, Lame!

Russ said...

There's no guarantee I'd actually get anything for free (chances are not good, I'm guessing) and I'd be brutally honest about the thing. I'm fully prepared to buy a complete if no one comes through. Which might be the best idea anyway.

Anyway, I'm gonna write more on this whole idea tomorrow.

Beau said...

http://www.danscomp.com/101505.php?cat=BIKES#

This is the one

Anonymous said...

You have to get a KHE.

The tiny pink one.

FOR SCIENCE.

aaron said...

russ, you should really check out the wtp envy.
that one looks really dialled.

Drew K said...

Get the FBM. End of story. Cranpa kicks ass!

Anonymous said...

Obviously an attempt to get a bike from Taj

Anonymous said...

Beau: the white/blue radia is the most gorgeous bike I have ever seen, I was a little dissappointed when I read that only the DT is cro-mo, but who the fuck cares. I want it, good price too.

Beau said...

Yeah that's the one I saw a few weeks ago, I thought it was an Ian with normal dialed ass parts but then he said it was a Verde complete, I looked that shit up and it was barely over 400 bucks. Wild.

Ben 2 said...

It would be interesting to take a model of a lower range , not full cr-mo , single wall rims...

Ben said...

I dont mind which bike you take. But do it!
I am looking forward to your weekly posts about your bike!

Josh said...

I second (or third) what others have said. I couldn't go with the Kink or the Giant b/c of the parts (Alienation and Mosh respectively). If you intend to leave the bike as is then you would have to leave those "trying too hard to be street" graffiti STR stickers on the Fit. Which only leaves the FBM, which I wouldn't buy simply because they couldn't toss so much as a Wurlitzer sprocket on their high-end completes. Check out the WeThePeople completes. I think the Verde completes look as good as anything on the street but know very little about them.

Myself, I just pulled the trigger on one of the Albes 21" raw Barcodes (spotted in the comments the other day). Just checked tracking and it arrives today.

manmade said...

i like the khe's for scene points,
i like haro 'low low'
i like mirraco.
i like the idea of testing a product which does not come with heat treated dropouts.
test something shitty russ.

jason said...

You know, Russ, you could see if Povah (Etnies) still has the orange jumpsuit from the GO bike-test days.

Cheesy, yes, but would make for interesting photos

ben said...

Will any bike stand up to you talking shit and sitting on a bench at the banks ?

Darren H said...

Completes don't have to be bad. I rode a complete Hoffman EP around 10 years ago. I think the only thing I changed out were the levers, at least at first. Nice bike.

Anonymous said...

im sure all the companies you talk shit on every day would love to send you a bike for free for you to do nothing but talk shit on it.

just sayin.

Russ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I want a complete for no other reason than for my shit to match, instead of my bike always looking like a big hodgepodge all the time.

Dave said...

I ride a Whitton II. I will probably get a Whittion III nothing to do with swinging of Ali's nuts or anything I just like how the bike feels. Unless they make it low slung and stupid then its off to Sunday for me.

My friend has ridden 2 completes back to back specialized and wtp. He swears by completes.

Anonymous said...

Get a Sinner

Anonymous said...

russ rapes kids

Anonymous said...

Choosing the Giant because it's the biggest factory in the world is like choosing GM if you were looking at cars. Giant has as much to do with BMX as Specialized so what's the point? if you want a company's high-end bike then why throw the Marauder or that Kink out there? There's some nice high-end bikes from Fit and Verde that so much more relevent than Giant and you still compare $700 retail vs. $1500 if you build it yourself. Bikesnob has more influence on you than your own imagination doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Giant sells roughly half of what Trek sells

dayday said...

yep, to be truly impartial, you will need to buy your own or accept 1 from each company. Easterns are not so bad.

Anonymous said...

"Bikesnob has more influence on you than your own imagination doesn't it?"

This is an embarrassingly mediocre version of Bikesnob. A few reasons being he has a job, doesn't live with his parents, and doesn't grovel for free product.

djw said...

i'd go with a Verde(since they're on sale at albe's, WINK.)

Russ said...

Wow, anonymous is harsh today.

Bikesnob is the best bike blogger alive, as far as I'm concerned, with Steven Hamilton and Enns tied for second. I don't think I've ever compared myself to him. And I wouldn't. I read him every day, just like anyone else who loves self-propelled, two-wheeled transportation should. And of course he influences me somewhat. But the rest of us are just drafting off his lead. Or whatever. (Some of my other influences are Douglas Adams, James Howard Kunstler, MF Doom, James Shepherd, Bob Osborn and McGoo when he used to answer letters for Ride. If you'd like to compare me disparagingly to any of them, feel free.)

I don't think I "groveled" for anything. As someone else astutely pointed out, it's unlikely that any company would send me a bike anyway. Not if they actually read through any of my posts. But hey, it never hurts to ask.

As for the Giant/GM comparison, sure, that's apt. But doesn't that make it all the better? The whole point of it would be to see how good a high-end BMX bike from an enormous manufacturer really is.

Russ said...

I love anonymous comments, by the way. So bold, so daring, so...pussy.

Juan Fco. said...

Hey russ, you should test and BUY the FBM maurader. I think it promises a lot of things so why not? The giant isnt too "factory" equipped because it has a ton of mosh parts which are aftermarket so that one doesn't count.
I would be more than pleased to weekly read about a complete. Also, you should try a new STA I mean, they are part of your BMX side don't you think?
Love your blog and I can't wait to the completes thing.
Cheers...

Anonymous said...

Russ, I've been looking for a new frame for a while as well. I have been riding a custom T1 for the last three years and can't give it up because there is nothing wrong with it (other then its a tad heavy). Anyway, I have been looking at the Fit Aitken, The Sunday Funday or Class D (right, the trail frame), or waiting till T1 gets there new frames in stock. I guess I look at those three companies and appreciate what they are about (you can pick through a Dan's catalog and find a ton of bikes with the same angles, etc. I also feel that a 41 thermal frame, or something T1 puts out will hold up to my sketchy (at times) riding.

I guess my point is, personally, go with a company you want to represent, unless someone just gives you a bike. But if you have to pay...

Anonymous said...

srsly tho- what's the point? anyone with a half a brain knows a decent complete would be up to the job.