Old School

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For the past four years, one of the good guys of the vintage bmx scene has held a party at his house in New Jersey. Brian P and his family let a bunch of BMX kooks invade their yard, street and home for a day of fun. Folks bring out their bikes for show, and to get their kick-turns on with the wedge ramp. Enjoy the video from this year’s 4th annual Summerjam.

This is what “roots” are all about, indeed.

Oh, and you KNOW I mean “kooks” in the best way possible. Heh.

Dennis McCoy 1987 at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO

I’ve been using the new scanner a lot over this weekend, so here’s some samples of the goodness I keep digging up. Click on any of them to enlarge.

Above is a shot of Dennis McCoy doing a lookback in 1986 during a Darryl Starbird custom car show at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, MO, taken by Mike Haefner. I say ’86 because he was riding an early fluorescent Haro Master, a color that was released on the ’87s. I remember people were going nuts for both the ramp and flat, and Dennis, always the showman, was feeding off of the crowd, blasting consistent 8-10 ft airs on a shady quarterpipe.

Tony Schrag, can-can out of a ditch in Lenexa, KS, circa 1989

Tony Schrag, one of the crew I mentioned in my first post of old photos. In the midst of either a candybar or a can-can, at a ditch in Lenexa, KS. I’m sure the DANGER sign behind him mentions not “playing” in the ditch or something.

Jeremy Schutte - Bar Endo on the Trickstar, 1987

Here’s another shot of me on my Hutch Trickstar, with a bar-endo, circa 1987. I stripped the candy flake blue off of the frame and repainted it grey with Freestylin’ Magazine stickers, pink griptape, and a duct-taped numberplate.

Jeremy Schutte, Hang-5

Yours truly, hang-5 in Shawnee, Kansas - 1989. Nice bent seatpost – I always had to run a layback because of my height, and the short top-tubes of the day.

19 years ago, growing up in Shawnee, Kansas, I rode with 3 guys pretty consistently – Scott Haefner, Mike Alexander and Tony Schrag. We met when I moved from Kansas City, KS and searched out anyone I happened to see on another BMX bike. Back then, it didn’t matter if it was a race bike, a freestyle bike, whatever – just seeing someone else on a bike was enough to open up the possibility of cameraderie. We rode flatland, “street”, ramps (though they were few and far between, until Mike got more into skating, and had an amazing 6′ mini ramp), anything was a possibility, and we didn’t see any issue spending hours at the same concrete banks – there were NO skateparks within 200 miles at that point.

Though Scott, Tony and Mike were a few years younger (which for some reason, can seem like a big deal in high school…), we became good friends and rode together consistently from ’87-’91, when I graduated high school and left for college. We would ride off-and-on until about 1994 or so. I’ve kept up with Mike through the local music scene, and Scott occasionally via email, but haven’t spoken to Tony in years (where are you, man?).

Part of the reason I started this site was to share the photos and stories from this time. A time when freestyle, especially, was so raw and still fairly young. My other love was photography, and in fact, we all took photo class in school, and shot photos of each other. Well, I finally got a new scanner, so look for a bunch more of this stuff to come. This first batch is me, Scott and Mike. Tony will be in the next batch.

Discuss these or post some of your own over on the Vital Old School Forum.

Mike Alexander, wallride, Shawnee, KS

Mike Alexander, curb-to-wallride with Johnny Rotten sticker in full-effect.

Scott Haefner - Front Yard

Scott Haefner – spinning frontyard. Adidas high-tops, 2-Hip shirt and a General RL Hustler Pro.

Chris Moeller, 2004

Chris Moeller, 2004. Photo from sandmbikes.com

Just got word from Steve over at OS-BMX about a huge interview he and a couple of the other fellas from the forums over there just completed with S&M’s Chris Moeller. It is an excellent read, giving Chris’ thoughts on the history of S&M, the current state of BMX, and for the vintage guys out there, a bunch of info about the different models of bikes over the past 20 years. Check it out, now. Oh, and while you’re there, sign up and spend some time digging around. Some good people on that site.

Also in S&M news, they’ve got some new chrome parts out – Slam XLT bars, Race XLT bars, and Race XLT forks, are avialable now, with Pitchforks and LTFs coming soon. Just saw Ryan Guettler’s new bike on the Mirraco site as well, looking straight outta 1986, with purple, pink and chrome – is this the 2nd (3rd?) coming of chrome?

S&M Race Forks in Chrome

KHE, the German BMX company with roots back to 1988, has a couple of new products out that remind me of how the BMX industry should always look back at its relatively short history for ideas that worked before, and can still work today. Both their Centaur handlebar/stem combo and 1pc seat combo refer back to products that were popular some 20-odd years ago.

KHE Bar/Stem Combo

KHE Centaur circa 2008.

Vector Pro Bars

Vector pro bars circa 1984 – photo by “oldmetal” on the bmxmuseum.

The influence of the Vector bars and Troxel seat are immediately apparent, though with modern geometry, technology and materials, KHE has created something totally new in today’s bmx market. For example, with the seat, by removing the seat guts, they were able to significantly lower the weight and the price will be comparable to a standard saddle alone. With the bars, KHE wants to again create the purest form of a handlebar and stem, again to reduce weight and simplify the number of parts on your bike. The Centaur bar/stem will come in a couple different angles, though the seat will only come in one angle.

KHE Seat/Post Combo

KHE prototype seat/post combo prototype.

Troxel seat

Early ’80s Troxel Comet combo seat/post – photo by “bmxr68″ on the bmxmuseum.

Both of the KHE products should be available in Spring 2008. Will be cool to see how KHE continues to reference the past while offering something new.

Dennis McCoy, 1988 AFA Flatland Finals
Dennis McCoy grabbed from a video by krtschmidt.

Kurt Schmidt has a great site with a bunch of vintage freestyle info, and a ton of videos that he has put on YouTube. His most recent videos feature Eddie Fiola, Woody Itson, Dennis McCoy and Rick Moliterno at the 1988 AFA Finals in Wichita, KS. I wasn’t at this contest, though it was only a few hours away from my home in Kansas City, but some of my friends went, and I remember how stoked they were when they got back. You can hear the crowd just LOSING it over the tricks being pulled, something you don’t hear as much on the televised spectacles of today, even as guys are pulling triple-tailwhips – perhaps because the tricks are just SO big today…

Interesting to see the different styles between the four riders. Moliterno and DMC just fly through so many of the rolling tricks that were becoming popular at that time, whereas Woody and Fiola pull more of the power-moves that helped progress freestyle past the balance tricks and hopping of the early-80s.

I believe Schmidt filmed these videos, as he was deep in the freestyle scene of the mid-80s and 90s, and has the knowledge, history and footage to prove it. In 1991, he formed Standard Industries with Rick Moliterno and Bill Nitschke.

Check out krtschmidt.com, and then jump over to his YouTube collection. Make sure you have some spare time available. You’ll be there a while.

Dan’s Comp - Support Jimmy Levan

Jimmy Levan continues to progress well after his fall and head trauma that occurred a couple of weeks ago. He’s not healed, but he is healing.

Over the past week, a couple more chances for you to help him as he heads into a rehabilitation facility have been announced, and both give you opportunities to get a little in return. For the vintage guys, Profile has dug into their warehouse and has an auction running on ebay for a NOS 1985 Profile ProStyler Frame, Fork, Ladder Handlebars (Still with original warranty card), Padset (Still in original packaging), and old style Profile polished seat post clamp. For those of you new-schoolers, Dan’s Comp is offering a chance to win a new Shitluck Magnolia frame signed by Shitluck main man, Leland Thruman.

Click here for the Dan’s Comp Levan page.
Click here for the Profile auciton on ebay.

Oh, and the auction for Jim Bauer’s bike ended, raising $1,025 toward Jimmy’s recovery fund.

Vintage Profile package for Jimmy Levan

Andy Shohara, airing at the Krause Family Skatepark in San Diego

Birthday Boy, Andy Shohara. Photo by John Leonard

As we noted a little over a week ago, a skatepark jam went down in San Diego, celebrating the 40th birthday of longtime rider, Andy Shohara. Sponsored by Black Lighting, about 30 riders plus some of their kids, showed up to the park which was reserved for this event. Andy (on his new Black Lightning bike), Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Todd Andersen, Lee Reynolds, Woody Itson, Xavier Mendez, Alvin Mullins and others all ripped up the park for a few hours. Mullins has posted about the event in a couple of places, and has a bunch of images John Leonard shot, on his Photobucket (note that you may need to be a member to see all of them).

Happy Birthday, Andy! Damn, California Dreamin’, indeed.

Mullins’ post on the OS-BMX message board.
Photos on Mullins’ Photobucket.
Quick write-up on the event by Lee Reynolds on Fat-BMX.

Flyer for Andy Shohara’s Birthday Jam

Just received this bit of news from Kevin at Black Lightning, a new BMX lifestyle/apparel/frame(?) brand, featured in the Cool Kids video I posted last month:

Black Lightning presents the Flyin’ Hawaiian Andy Shohara’s 40th Birthday Jam.
Where: Krause Family Skatepark, San Diego, CA. 8:45-10:45 sat. nov 24th
Riders attending: Eddie Fiola, Woody Itson, Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Lee Reynolds, Tony Murray, and more. Show up and have a blast with riders from the past.

Shohara competed in a number of the King of Skatepark contests in the mid-’80s and continues riding today. If any of you in San Diego go, send me pics and I’ll post them here.

BMX Old School Custom Toy

“BMX Old School” created by Israel Chavira, image from Custom Toy Lab.

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of custom toy makers, creating vinyl/metal/plastic toys rich in detail and creativity. Much like BMX, there is an obsessive community that surrounds this very cool culture. I became aware of this a couple years ago via Kid Robot, and I am lucky enough to have a Lettus Bee figure signed by Andy Jenkins. My very cool former-team in Seattle gave it and another piece of Andy’s artwork to me as a going-away gift.

Today I found a toy that, unfortunately, is a one-off, but a rad one-off nonetheless.

Israel Chavira is an artist and designer from Guadalajara, Mexico and he’s created a character called “BMX Old School”. I dig the details of the the scarred helmet, JT gloves and matching shoes. I think a bunch of us riders need to come together and order enough so that Israel can get them made. He can be contacted via his website.

There are a bunch more photos and details on the Custom Toy Lab site. Check it out.

Chris Drake’s Schwinn Predators

Chris Drake of Independence, MO brought out a nice collection that included these two Schwinn Predators.

This was the second weekend in a row that I got to take my boys to an event focused on bikes. Never a bad thing. Sunday, we headed over to Independence, MO to go to the Peddler’s bike shop swap meet and show. Traditionally, this has been more of an balloon tire or track-style antique/vintage/collectors show (as with many bike shows), but as BMX collecting gains momentum, these shows have begun to open up. Through the influence of a few riders, including Chris Drake (above photo), there were a few guys who showed up with some nice bikes for sale and for show.

Though I think the rain/drizzle kept some folks away, it was great to meet some of the people I’ve previously only met virtually through the message boards, and meet a couple of new guys as well. At the next of these type of events, we need a ride or a flatland/dirt/street session as well. You can see a few more shots and more info about some of these bikes over on the BMX Museum as well. Check back here for more events like this around the midwest.

Skyway T/A

Jeremy Johnson, of Kansas City, MO, showed this survivor Skyway T/A. It is owned by his uncle, John Hershey, who raced it for years, though this was the “street” setup, with the white mags and skyway pegs. It has been in Johnson’s grandma’s basement and hadn’t seen the light of day for 8 years.

S&M Daily Rider

Johnson’s S&M daily rider – pure street.

S&M Holmes

Jake Gatschet of KCMO brought his S&M daily rider out as well – a meticulously restored 1990 S&M Holmes trail machine. It was recently featured in the news section of the S&M site.

Skyway T/A Frame and Fork

Yeah, you read that right, hot on the heels of the Tuff Love art show, I’ve got some more news about Skyway.

First, at Interbike, there was a Skyway Team 20th anniversary reunion. Xavier Mendez has some great photos and stories over on the Vintage BMX forums. Very cool to see the 1987 Skyway Trick Team together. That team toured constantly, and featured a bunch of diverse riding styles, setting the groundwork for the types of bmx tours still going today.
Check out the post on the Vintagebmx.com forums

Also hot from both the BMXMuseum.com and VintageBMX.com forums is news from coloredtuffs/planetbmx main man, Ed Ferri that there will be 150 Skyway T/A frame and forks made, as well as retro-styled 20″ and 24″ frames in celebration of the T/A’s 25th anniversary. I’m only guessing here, but I assume this will follow the trend of other retro bikes of late, with threadless headsets, modern geometry and vintage-inspired paint/graphics – which is cool enough. Even cooler, the first 150 “originals” will use original True Temper Skyway tubing and have the exact geometry and design of the original ’82 T/A. Rad … The T/A was a badass race and early freestyle frame lusted after by many a kid back in the day (including this one), but it always freaked me out to see someone running it with spokes – never seemed quite right. Pro Maurice Meyer has a great account of rebuilding one to his original specs on his site. A serious freestyle history lesson there.

Spike Jonze Was A BMXer Sticker
Well here’s a new one, for me, anyway … a Spike Jonze Was a BMXer sticker, from DigBMX – have a look, and enjoy a brief history lesson – featuring a small who’s-who of ex-Freestylin’ magazine guys.

Anyone have any idea where these came from, or where they might be able to be found?

Head First Video - 1991, Mat Hoffman

A week or so ago, I posted here that the entire video of Aggroman was available on Google Video for all to enjoy. However, the real news is that Eddie Roman created “The Trilogy”, with Aggroman, Head First and Ride On all on one DVD. Looks like it is a limited run of DVDs, available only in a select few places – directly from Eddie via Aggroman.com and also from Sidewall Distribution – Hoffman Bikes distributor – let me know of anywhere else.

These are some of the earliest rider-created Freestyle videos, leading the way for so many of today’s bmx movies, regardless of format – VHS, DVD and most recently, the Internet. Granted, as I said before, some of the plots, especially in the case of Aggroman, are, well, a bit cornball. However, the riding is just so damn good, and it still holds up even today.

I’ve got my copy on order, you should too.


Link courtesty of watchbmx.com and thecomeupbmx.netWell it’s 1989, okay? All across the USA… (Apologies to Iggy Pop).
Awesome riding footage and absolute zaniness as well. Oh, ninjas, too.


See More BMX Videos at VitalBMX.com

A cool concept for an art show was held yesterday in LA at the SLB store. Called Tuff Luv, it was billed as “A celebration of the Skyway TuffWheel from today’s leading bmx companies”, sponsored by Knight Brand.

Vital BMX has coverage on their site (nice work, guys) – looks like a good time, and an excellent concept. The wheels were all done up by a number of bmx companies – I personally dig what Stolen and S&M did with their Tuffs. I’m really happy to see the bmx community participating in something like this. The skate community has been doing art shows and other celebrations of the culture for a long time, and it is time that we see this from the bmx set as well. It would be rad to see this show on the road and growing (which the organizer, George Yang, from Knight, mentions in the video). I hope I get to catch it.

Any other shows like this out there? Post in the comments and let me know.