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...


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.)


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Well I Otter...

I think I've finally figured it out.

Not life or anything. Lord no. No clue what that's all about. The way I figure it, you probably do get total consciousness when you die (everyone, not just Carl Spackler), but, um, then you're dead. A lot of good it does you then. Thanks, Lama.

No, I'm talking about figuring out why normally sane companies like Odyssey insist on making their products in more and more ridiculous colors. (Although those pink rims will come in handy when I decide to turn my bike into a Woody Itson signature replica.)

It's all about turning your bike into a giant Otter Pop. What the hell, right? After all, it is summer. Almost.


As an old guy in BMX myself (well, around the corner from BMX, at least), I like to keep up with the other old guys when I can. You know, support the other Geritol chuggers. So here's two things that you probably already know about:

• Scott Towne is one of those "vintage BMX guys" who happens to also still shred. He might have an affinity for old bikes, but he's not one of those lunatics who thinks an '88 Haro Sport was the pinnacle of BMX technology. He's got a rather long interview on In The Gnar.

• Back in the day when kids were mack daddies, FREESTYLIN' mag was the only place to go to get your BMX fix. No, really, it was. There was no Props, no Vital BMX, hell, no internet. A couple years back, some of the bigger names from FREESTYLIN' got together with some people from Nike SB (sigh) to put out a commemorative book about those days. Right now most of them are either on eBay or buried in some sneaker boutique owner's closet. (Luckily, the entire thing is online here.) Well, one of the smaller names from those days, Steve "White Bear" Emig, didn't get invited to the party. So he started a blog to tell his own side of the FREESTYLIN' story, where he's already offended Andy Jenkins and written an entire entry about Windy Osborn's gigantic tits. If you were raised on FREESTYLIN' (as I was), this is a must-bookmark: FREESTYLIN' Mag Tales.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Get Fixed

My new goal is to try not to think too much when I post here. Because when I do that, I tend to get all preachy and condescending and stuff. I'm probably better off just letting half-formed thoughts slither out like afterbirth out of Octomom and see what happens. At least that way I won't be taking a month off between posts.

So let's talk about fixed gears for a moment. I've got one. I've got two, actually—an old Bianchi Pista that looks like it got trampled by a herd of angry wildebeest, and a new-ish Mercier Kilo TT that I bought off of Bikesdirect when I realized it was a cheaper option than buying a new fork and wheelset for the Pista. Of course I hadn't counted on the inevitable desire to upgrade, but c'est la vie.

BMX companies have been dipping their beaks into the fixed-gear market for a while now—FBM makes the Sword, Volume sells the Cutter and the Creedence, Profile makes parts and SNAFU picks them out of a catalog. In fact, Volume, FBM and Profile all have separate sites for their fixed clientele. Guess the fixed-gear guys don't want to even acidentally look at some stupid kid's bike.

Well, now Subrosa has seen fit to enter the fray with their own fixed gear, the Malum Fixed, due out in July:

And then there's SE Racing, already churning out as many no-budget Drafts as the market can bear (or that you can stuff into a shipping container), aiming more upscale with a super-limited DC Shoes collabo PK Ripper Fixed (self promotion, holla).

To be honest, the Malum looks really cool. Can't say I'd want all that Shadow stuff—I'd get rid of that chain before I even bolted the front wheel on—but all in all, it looks like a nice bike. The SE is aimed more at the sneaker-obsessed downtown crowd, so of the 2,500 they're making, roughly a dozen will actually be ridden. Still curious to see a real photo. It might kill Perry Kramer, though. Unless he's getting royalties.

I suppose as long as "fixed-gear freestyle" keeps going, BMX companies will try to get a piece of that market. And who can blame them? Price points start higher, and the labor and material costs are more or less the same (insert JPR correction here). Make that money. Although I might think differently when someone orders a 700c STA.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cooke Ones

Maybe this will satisfy (at least temporarily) all you content-cravers out there. Well, for 15 minutes at least.

I've had this "Allan Cooke Named BMX Brand Manager at Haro" tab open on my browser for God knows how long. (No earlier than May 15th, I suppose.) It's a pretty pointless "article," because it's just the press release. In other words, EXPN doesn't even tell you whether all of Haro's riders will have to learn Cookebacks in order to stay on the team, or whether Allan will have to start dressing like an adult at some point. But I did greatly enjoy the following paragraph:
"I am very excited about the addition of this bright young talent to our BMX group" said Joe Hawk, Haro's Chief Operating Officer. "Allan brings a fresh new approach and a unique collection of skillsets; when combined with the talents of the current Product Development team, it will ensure that Haro maintains its edge as the leader in BMX for years to come."
Now, I don't know who Joe Hawk is, although that sounds like a hell of a porn name. What I do know is, in order to maintain your edge as the leader in BMX, you have to be the leader to begin with. And, unless I woke up in 1986 today, I have my doubts.

Death to False Metal!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cardinal, Official?

So apparently Nate Moroshan has started his own bike company (featuring basically everyone who used to ride for Volume up until recently), and designed his own frame, which has one major difference from your typical BMX frame: Vertical dropouts.

The reasons given for the change are solid—your wheel can't move up (or back) in the dropout, and you can run your chain as tight as you can get it and still get the wheel out. Yet, as always, whenever there's a change that seems too obvious, I wonder why it's never been done before. Vertical dropouts have been around for an awfully long time now. They've even been used in BMX before (I can't remember who it was, but a company used Campy road dropouts way back in the '70s). Someone's had to have thought of this before, right? The only real drawbacks I can think of off the top of my head are a) you can't run really weird gear ratios, and b) you'll probably have to replace your chain more often, because if it stretches, you're fucked. Otherwise, I'm as curious as anyone to see how they work out.


If you've spent the last couple years dreaming of a frame you could never have—like, say, an FBM Angel of Death with an internal headset, Euro BB, uncapped stays, an angle-cut seattube, and 16" chainstays with room for a 2.3" tire—WAKE THE FUCK UP. All you need is a dollar and a dream—well, or $450 and the patience to wait a couple months—and FBM will make you more or less anything you want. Cool beans. (If you prefer to get your bespoke BMX from the Left Coast, Aaron Huff and Solid got you covered—I'd like to know what the "outlandish weight requirements" are.)

Hey, can you guys do vertical dropouts?


EDIT: Just felt like bumping this up now that the comments are more open.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Light Street

I'm pretty stoked (on being pumped) about the new bmxfeed layout, and not just because this blog somehow occupied two of the four "most popular" spots last week. So thanks to whomever of you keeps reading despite the sporadic updates—I promise I haven't been clicking on my own links over and over and over again. Figure I should save that particular tactic until I really need it.

Anyway, out in the real world, which is being overrun by pollen and swine flu as we speak, the weight savings beat goes on. Take Odyssey, for example. They might not be able to re-invent the wheel, but they sure can keep messing around with parts of it. This time it's the spokes, allowing you to save a whopping ounce per wheel.

(I can hear you already, so don't even say it. OK, go ahead. I'll even say it with you: "BUT IT'S ROTATING WEIGHT!!!" Hallelujah!)

What confuses me more than anything is the admonition that these spokes are intended for racing and "light street." I Googled "light street" and got this, none of which seems to apply. What is "light street," exactly? No grinding? What about 360s? Or tailwhips? Is it a weight thing? I suppose the best way to figure it out is to build a wheelset with these spokes. If you don't break them, congratulations, you're riding light street. Which means you're a pussy.


Somehow I find it hard to believe that any Snafu product would be forced to return by 'popular demand'. Also, McGoo himself is on Twitter. Follow at your own risk.


I think I'm going to risk it and unrestrict the comments again. Enjoy your weekend.