Monday, February 2, 2009

Futurama

Just gonna link to something today and ask an open-ended question. Nothing too exciting. Hopefully I'll get something more substantial posted tomorrow. As it is. I've got about 20 minutes before I have to get out of here.

Anyway, Taj posted a great blog update today, tongue firmly in cheek, about the BMX bike of the future. (Which made me think of Disney's "Tomorrowland" for some reason.) Things won't ever get that bad. Will they? (Not that I haven't seen—and even photographed—roving packs of Razor Scooterers at the Brooklyn Banks. I remember even seeing one equipped with a King headset, which cost more than the actual scooter, I believe. But hey, if you're gonna be doing triplewhips, you need to cut down that friction.)

I guess the question is, where is this all going? And what's the priority of the average rider? For me, personally, I want a bike I can ride around on. Transportation is key—and I don't mean commuting, just being able to get from spot to spot. I'd like a bike I can sit down and pedal when I'm carrying a camera bag, but still ride once I get to wherever I'm going. Weight is a secondary concern. I think my bike now weighs around 27 pounds with four steel pegs. That's plenty light for my purposes.

Thing is though, weight appears to have become a primary concern now, even at the expense of practicality and rideability. Lowered toptubes and shortened rear triangles are simple ways to achieve substantial weight savings without further butting and fluting and whatever else gets done these days. So you wind up with a bike that loops out at the slightest provocation (especially when you factor in eight-inch bars and a topload with spacers), but hey, the frame weighs less than five pounds! Where we're headed is flatland bikes with longer toptubes and (much) lower seats. Bikes you need to drive to wherever you're going to ride. Tailwhip machines that you wouldn't want to ride more than a block.

So where ARE we headed? Will toptubes continue to drop, rear ends continue to shrink, until we reach the Segwaypocalypse? Or will things swing back the other way towards ridability and sanity? I'm just asking.

43 comments:

Russ said...

Man, I shouIda quoted "Futurama" (the Non-Phixion song) instead of Back To "The Future":

"Where cyborgs'll shoot your mama."

Russ said...

A cross between 'Terminator 3' and Tutankhamen.

Russ said...

AND I forgot to post a video. I'm doing great today.

nate said...

The part about the wheels getting smaller actually struck a chord in me.
I've actually wondered on several ocassions why nobody has tried to make a "normal" sized frame that uses an 18" wheel in the back to shorten up chainstay length even more.

Granted, I wouldn't touch such a monstrosity with a 10 foot pole, but there's a lot of stuff that kids ride today that I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.

steve said...

this is an excelent question that i don't have the answer for.
trends are trends for reasons.

if taj hadn't liked the trends why did her switch to the single brake lower seat, but not switch to the even lower seat? maybe he likes his seat high. and until DAK goes one fist front brake only, i don't think we will see a large shift until those riders get old balls and newer guys come up.

Smitty said...

There is a simple solution to one of the challenging issues facing BMX frame designers and users today: The Quick Release Seat Post Clamp. Yes, the quick release adds at least 2.3 ounces to your bike, not to mention the weight contained in all those extra inches of tubing found in an uncut Primo Rod or Odyssey Intac post. But a penalty well worth paying, in my book.

steve said...

so my ltf's seattube is internally flutted. how can i ride a uncut pivitol 330 post without already running it at full mast all the time, while having the ability to raise it 3 inches.

blame S&M for creating the trends. because hoffman ain't really following them

bman said...

haha yeh. i actually know a fair few people who pretty much ride only park.

thats cool with me, if thats what you enjoy, might as well condense your bike as appropriate.

its less the saddle height that , bothers me as a hindrance to transport, as even with high saddles i rarely sit down. though it is nicer. mine is low but, i still sit on it going down hills/grabbinng onto trucks etc(nicely out of view of the wing mirror :) ) though some saddles are so low your arse scrapes the tire.

no, my main issue is the gearing. 25/9 just does not do to commute and get about town with.

Jake said...

but the thing is, is that we're mostly talking about KIDS. you usually don't see a grown man with these extremes. now i may qualify as a "kid" with three years of riding and 15 years old, but i have about six inches of post, brakes, and a 30 tooth with a 21'' burlish. not all "kids" ride these scooter thingies. i think you could also say something about the flannel/bum hats/tight pants thing too. it's weird, i have a wedge post and a clamp, because my howler doesn't have the space. now that i think about it, my bike is really hypocritical. i should send in a picture or two.

Will said...

whah whah whah, i dont like the way the new bikes look, whah whah whah. these types of articles are not in the least bit clever and are a bit annoying. You act like new bike trends are going to forcibly change your own set up, you know you’re going to run your bike the way you want to so why even worry about it? All I see with posts like this (Taj’s too) is a bunch of old farts making fun of little kids that are just getting into the sport, and ones who haven’t even started yet, because they don’t look and ride exactly like the old guys do. If you ask me, the worst part about BMX is the old guys that act like they deserve respect just because they have been riding longer.

Here is my prediction for the future of BMX: since the guys riding now are already making fun of kids that haven’t even started yet, by the time they do start riding there will be so much hate in BMX they will ride for a week and quit because everyone is being such an ass to them. Way to go!!! I though this was supposed to be freestyle…

steve said...

sorry i lied, 3" is max insert on ltf

Anonymous said...

the quick release adds at least 2.3 ounces to your bike

MCS makes one that's just over an ounce. I just ran over to mine to check, and, sure enough, there's room to drill about fifteen holes in it. That plus one of those T.H.E. race-baby seat/post combos: just over 6 ounces (minus whatever comes out of fifteen holes). Don't tell anybody.

And Russ --

The Futurama quote this post needed was "Bodies are for hookers and fat people."

ali said...

Do a flip!

Anonymous said...

will, the making fun of "younger setups" has been happening for ever in everything, especially skateboarding. i wouldn't think this is anything until you start hearing bands with songs making fun of bike set upd.

Stephen said...

I ride mostly park, but I have some post showing, brakes, 2 pegs and my bike weighs in at about 28 pounds.

I don't know if I care where it is headed, because I hit my comfort zone with a bike about 2 years ago and I have enough parts in the shed to last me until the end of my days.

Ride bikes.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE SNAFU AND PROFILE CRANKS!

oh wait, wrong topic.

MWM said...

^^^ and wrong decade...

Robert said...

you know, the will kid above actually has some good points. I've been the first to hate on 'kids' because of the short posts/frames/whatever, and it does perpetuate a cycle of weird animosity between bmxers. Young kids looking at old dudes as "weird old dudes" and older dudes looking at kids like their fags. I guess the same thing happened in skateboarding and now you have the shred dogs in rector fatboys killing pools and younger, hip-to-the-scene kids doing every kickflip variation possible on a three set. You think there's no shit talking between them? Thankfully theres dudes like Tony Trujillo that transcend the generations and are an awesome blend of both. I think the same guys will really stand out in bmx. Those that hold true to their own style.
BMX is growing/evolving/maturing into what it is now, and the truth is it sucks for riders that have been around for anymore than 10 years. On so many different levels, the newer generation will never see bmx in the same light as us. The fact that there's 10 times as many riders/companies/skateparks/media sources/etc. now than there was 10 years ago is a start. BMX/Freestyle was a different game then.
At the same time, I will never understand the fascination with scooter bikes and half the trends going on. Either way I'll continue riding the same way because I enjoy it.
And you know, maybe its healthy for the newer generation to get harassed for a bit. Earn their keep if you will.

Heres another thing to consider.. if every new company (and some of the older companies) are all following the same old treds, producing gross skooter bikes and superfluous parts, then it leaves other companies like T1, solid,and credence to continue producing legitimate bikes.

Hman said...

BMX is f-ing great! I will ride and enjoy it whether I'm getting bad vibes at the park for riding my 29 lbs 2-Hip Lino with Skim Milk bars or somewhat good vibes for my new Quamen lower slung bike (albeit with narrow Skim Milks also). Maybe it is because I have three boys of my own, but I embrace new changes in BMX whether or not I follow them. It is a sign of things continually changing but somehow the SPRFLS things fall by the wayside given time passing (remember chain/seat stay number plates and bars with two crossbars!). Don't sweat the small stuff; it will all be gone some day just like us.

Oh yeah, what Will (only nicer) and Robert said....good stuff.

Mark Westlake said...

I'm pretty sure that with a life as interesting as Taj's, if he's got to blog about something there's got to be something more interesting to talk about than rehashing what all the other BMX internet blogging types have said over and over again (And even magazines). Yes, bikes aren't like they used to be. No, they aren't going to become like scooters. It's the same with all the other "Bikes will be like this, lol" posts - if you're trying to talk about something, but only swing to extremes, why bother? It achieves nothing. At first, I'm sure it may have amused some people, but now even people like Taj are jumping on the whole 'low bikes of the future' bandwagon it's just past it.

If you actually think that low bikes are going to become massively popular, look at how much the UKBikeCo (Ironically titled...) Revolution frame has bombed. They're weak, they break, and not that many people are buying them. Tierras are slightly more realistically proportioned seat-tube wise, and even they're not that popular. Just because something's on the market, it doesn't mean that they're going to become massively popular. Suicide Rollerpegs, anyone?

Regarding the weight-saving shorter rear ends, I genuinely don't think that is a weight-saving gig. The lower seat-tubes are primarily, but a lower seat-tube doesn't dramatically change how a bike rides compared to lopping an inch off the chain-stays. Bikes in general are getting more twitchy by design (Such as 75° head angles and higher BBs), and the shorter chain-stays seem to fit in with that. Again - they're not all super short, there are still a majority of frames that fit into the 13.75" range which seems to be the more accepted, generic CS length, it's just that there's actually choice now. If you want a park nibbler bike, you can build that up and tweak to your heart's content. If you want a more stable trails bike, you can build that up and flow around and appear to be slightly down the whole time to your heart's content. And so on.

I can appreciate that Taj's post was light-hearted, but I was replying to it as well as all the other clone-posts like that seeing as they seem to be getting out of hand at the moment. On the plus side, at least Taj didn't make some weak comment about riders following mainstream popular fashion trends like certain other blogs have been. There's only so much stating the obvious that can be done, surely?

L. Vernon Haig said...

The problem with these "younger" set-ups is that FBM, S&M and even Metal are producing bikes like this.

This is something that effects everyone in BMX. I don't want to ride a 4 lb frame. My frame weighs 7 lb and that is as light as I want it. But no one makes a 7 lb anymore, I have no options. I guess I'll just ride a used frame or something.

I'd break the fuck out of a 4 lb frame doing a huge feeble to no footer.

Anonymous said...

shit.. i remember when i was the "young kid" and got smack for not rockin a front brake, riding a coaster for no good reason other than wanting to half cab outta everything...fuck, i remember hearing about how pegs destroy your bike, kink chains will eat your drivetrain. bla bla bla.... still, rode like a bastard, got my props, and faded out... i wake up to this shit... faggit shit talking about setups.. who the fuck cares??

bad mouth a style or something, someones shitty flow..something even less productive..... who the fuck cares what the bike looks like..and what the fuck happened to being a filthy fuck rider.. all you faggit kids dont crash enough.. yall be too fuckin clean..ALL the time!

trends are trends... remember street riders with full armor, rector knee pads and ugp shin guards, remember Handgrenade pegs on hoffman peg bosses, yea i do.. that shit was corny looking too, but i was a part of it.. if you pop back to it..just another trend.. so now its all about the new circus set up.. i remember people giving me shit for the low-ish (no where near todays standard) seat after a day session riding trails... yea i get it, its not practical, but it made tucks nice, not gonna go pedal to 7-11 like that but thats what fuckin allen keys are ment for... got my street setup, got my dirt setup, got my park setup.. all in the same fuckin bike... bars back, seat down.. bla bla bla.. whatever makes ME comfortable...

my point is.. who the FUCK cares.. bikes a bike, and if its your bike, just ride it, you like the seat on the tire.. fine.. you like the bars 9 ft tall.. fine... you look like a kook to me, only because i look like one to you... im more pissed that theres soooo many people who ride now and are all sick fucks, 12 years ago there was like 15 riders total in nyc.. now.. theres like 15 pros.. 15 come ups.. 15 progressors... etc etc.. im embarassed to come out

if they could just come out with a working lhd coaster with a 10t id be soooo psyched.. and they WILL.. because theres soooo many riders these days... the sport(??) is blown the fuck up, well beyond.. do any of you know who ron wilkerson is anymore?.. every fuckin rider is a jock now.. i rode cuz it was wack and wasnt accepted by the jocks and guidos...

10 years ago, you only had 1 choice... 16 tooth piece of shit freewheel and 45 tooth dinner plates...you fucks have every flavor of anything you want.. and theres 20 of EVERYTHING...you have all the dopest parts i could of ever of dreamed of... but back when.. you made your shit work

Luc-e rep... wish he was still around... you fuckin new school fools, old AND young dont fuckin know style at all... riding style... make shit look easy..

get over this market shit... just build a bike you personally can dominate on and let your skills take over...

fuck this shit... russ, you take it too seriously.. its all corny... were grown men on tiny bikes... and grown men trying to make money on that fact... when we dont need anymore parts... 14mm axles solved EVERYTHING....

Anonymous said...

No offence or anything Mr. SPRFLS, but a few weeks back, weren't you talking about how you could just adjust to any geometry in a matter of minutes anyway?

Anonymousishating said...

This blog is getting boring.

It's all whine whine whine about what kids want to ride and what you want everybody else to ride.

You are powerless to change it. So you bitch and whine.

Pointless, boring and SUPERFLUOUS whining.

Yes. This is what this blog is becoming. SUPERFLUOUS.

AnonymousIsWhining said...

In a world where every new BMX "blog" is met at best with praise and at worst with a whine, there needs to be a voice of whining. SPRFLS is that whining voice. Make no mistake—we welcome whining, provided it actually IS pointless superfluous whining.

You are not the word count of your whining.

Nate J said...

I read this blog just to see what new parts Russ makes fun of. This shit is funny. If I wanted to read praise about a bunch of lame companies I don't give a fuck about I'd pick up an issue of Ride. Why the hell do people keep coming back here if they don't like it? Get lost...

Anonymous said...

@ nate

few years ago, the mtb world was run by people who had a 26" in the front and 24" in the rear and huge 3.0 tires everywhere. now people have come to their senses. hopefully, bmx won't come to 20/18 comboes

Bone said...

Mark Westlake, quite opinionated for writing a shop's blog aren't you, way to turn off those customers.

Taj's post was class, but I don't understand how a clone comes first. Cheers for the traffic though.

Anonymous said...

I'm definately not a kid, but ride a pretty light setup and have my seat two fingers high. I used to ride to street spots 100% of the time, but now I drive to parks pretty much 100% of the time. I only ever sit down to coast anyway.

I still pedal around for its own sake, but it's not like I'm going to change around my bike just for that purpose. If I wanted to ride a reasonable bike for my height/weight/whatever, I'd get a department store mountain bike. Isn't that the whole idea? "Don't hurt yourself on that little thing", the passersby tell me. Suck my balls.

If I were to change my setup at all, it'd be fronts only and four piece bars; yeah, I'm thinking about that. We'll see.

Smitty said...

I don't have a problem with peoples' set ups. Seriously I don't. Run your seat where ever you want it. And when I ride at the skatepark, I never get vibed by kids - or at least I am oblivious to it (new blog? OBLVUS?) So I think they generally could care less about my set up.

But here's what I have a problem with. Who buys most of the complete BMX bikes out of bike shops? 10 - 14 year old kids. How do 10 - 14 year old kids get around? On their bikes.

Look at that little icon picture of Russ. Does that kid need a 1" stubby seatpost? No, he needs something he can sit his ass on as he pedals home from school.

But I worry that the only cool choices kids like that will have are bikes totally purpose-built for tailwhipping.

Glad that Redline still offers the T&T series. I hope there will always be a place in the market for a general purpose, do anything, go anywhere BMX bike for kids.

Product Managers that read this blog: Give the kids some real seat posts on your bikes.

(not) Russ said...

just as all of you that found your "perfect moment in time" set up and continue to preach that your way is the right way do you consider that those with the "perfect set up" of this era will still be riding these bikes in ten years claiming it to be the "right" way? my bike looks like a page out of 1999 and my skateboard has a squared tail and rounded nose, but i'm also not doing the tricks that would require anything different.

i guess my bottom line is that the bike of today is set up to do the tricks of today. i don't think anyone is doing a hop whip-grind up a rail-to whip of on an Angel of Death with a 3/16 chain and Alex wheels

MWM said...

can we all agree that Taj fucking rules?

i have fun on 20's said...

^ yes

and Will, your spreading the disease
OG's don't give a shit
tajs blog is lighthearted fun, get into it

aL said...

absolutely, taj is the shit!.. and hes been for a super long time, you could consider him the dmc of the mid school, even dmc rides a new school bike, those dudes just ride, they made a living on being good riders, regardless of what bike brand they were on, just put their bikes together, added their lil tidbits and hucked themselves

always remember these lil kids (and you kids at heart) want what the hot shit, latest of the lastest the pros are riding, so "completes" are gonna look just like what the rubens and edwins are riding so they sell, and keep bmx booming.. your always a few tools away from adjusting your bike to just how you and only you want it to feel like...

the cheddars want to buy the components to rep their favorites and set their stuff up to mimic their idol pro

thats the market, so and so rides with these sneakers, with this hat, this shirt, this frame, this wheelset, this fork, these bars, from these companies... lil kid that has idolized said rider wants exactly what they have so they can ride just like them..

but i get russ's take on it, is there really any need for 5 different companies badging the exact same part, is there a point where the lite craze goes too far, how many variations on 2pc bars do you really need! and how can you justify 90 dollar ubrakes??

Taiwan frames were supposed to be cheaper than usa welded frames, but they didnt carry a warranty, so you spent 50 bux more and got something you could keep nearly forever...

there has to be a point where the madness kinda stops and we just resort back to a bit simpler, why is it so wrong for someone to ride brakes these days?

russ, make fun of the stupid, there has always been super irony in bmx, and a market glut, than a crash, than a underground... than a resurgence... here we are all over again...

its all good, let the kids ride, i just wanna see attitudes change back to when you see a rider, you were just psyched as hell to see someone on a lil bike, and without an introduction, you just joined up and started to session... not this "hes sponsored by this, rides that, can do this" nonsence.. cheddars and pros used to get along just fine.. what happened to being a united scene???

i always wanted a yellow lengthy...

Mark Westlake said...

Actually Bone I usually leave my opinions out of things, but I didn't in that one case. You may notice that in general, I talk about stuff on there that I like, and that was one instance where it was something that I didn't think was right, and wasn't even in any way related to sales at Pijin. I doubt that my feelings on your blog are really going to affect any sales for the shop. Equally, I'm pretty sure that people can make up their own minds on what they want to buy, and that my opinion about something completely unrelated won't really have an impact on it.

Russell W. said...

quick release is the best idea ever and definitely being done...

http://www.standardbyke.com/blog/?p=709
(the link to the ride bike check doesn't work anymore)

that's an older bike, but the frame is still going strong. i think it was one of the first freestyle frames out of the new shop. it's got some custom tidbits and it definitely has a full, furious seat post sheathed in the seat tube, haha.

Skid Mark PDX said...

Maybe we'll see a 20 front/19" rear combo like a trials bike. Someone should just put a BMX bar, stem, and fork on a trials bike and be done with it.

G.S.GUCCILIFE said...

Word to that "Al" dude,few posts above....


verification word:skylai

Bone said...

Wetlake: "look at how much the UKBikeCo (Ironically titled...) Revolution frame has bombed. They're weak, they break, and not that many people are buying them."

Now, do you sell UKBikeCo frames? I can't comment on the first two bits (though I've heard the rumours), but I know a couple of bike shop owners and them things are flying out the door.

Anonymous said...

UKbikeco frames are breaking because they had piss thin walled tubing, not 'cause of geometry.

Tierras ARE popular.

Anonymous said...

I've run a qr clamp on my bike for ages,(much to my reciept of due heckling)and I've never had a problem. Raise it for the rollers/training, lower it for the park, a bit higher for the trails and racing, raise it a bit for the ride home. Case closed. Want pics to prove it?

Fear said...

I like turtles.

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