Retro

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I got a couple great links from a couple friends this week. You can call them vintage, retro or whatever, but here’s some enjoyable viewing to be had.

First up, from Jason, I got the above video, “Industry on Parade”, featuring Columbia Bicycle manufacturing. A great look at an American bicycle factory in the 1940s. Check out the women who could be our Grandmothers lacing wheels around the 2:40 mark. As Jason said, it is definitely “worth the 5 minutes”.

Airwalk 540s

Next, from Andy, who gave us the behind-the-scenes on the Nike Olympic designs a few months back – airwalkprototypes.com. Ollie pads, lace-savers, neons, and more. The site is a labor of love by a guy with a serious fetish for some rare kicks.  Though I often rocked the ever-popular Adidas hi-tops or Chuck Taylors, I destroyed a few pairs of Airwalks back-in-the-day. The best thing is that you could probably re-create the visual design of many of these by using Nike ID, or Converse One.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some updated ways to help Mike Aitken, as well as a couple of new big bikes I gotta tell you about.

24? Quadangle Looptail from SE Bikes

Okay, here it is – I’m gonna lay it out for you. Cruisers are the new black, and bike manufacturers seem to be getting the drift – or is it making the drift? This is about the fourth post I’ve made in the past month about a cruiser.

For today’s rider – when you’re not feeling it riding your slammed seat, brakeless bike across town to enjoy a beer, you might want an alternative.

For the older guys – when you don’t want to tear up your childhood dream bike, and you need something to ride to shave off the beer belly, (I’m speaking from intimate knowledge here) it is rad to ride something roomy.

So, maybe I’m stretching it a bit by thinking that your beer bike is this limited-edition Quadangle Looptail from SE, but it is damn clean looking, and would be a classy way to roll. I think the chrome rims are what do it for me, personally.

Here are some specs from Todd Lyons at SE:

  • Limited Edition Retro Cr-Mo Double Downtube Quadangle Frame w/ Looptail Rear End & Retro Dropouts
  • Chrome Alex Double Wall DM24 Rims
  • SE 3-pc 48-Spline CR-MO Cranks
  • Retro Blitz Seat w/ Bottle Opener
  • Fluted Seatpost
  • Quadangle Padset & Grip Donuts Included

Only 250 will be available in the US, so get a hold of your SE dealer now if you want one.

Related:
MacNeil Cruisers Coming Soon
Smitten with the Big Wheels
Knight Cruiser

Thrown-back; Bashguards and Twin-tubes
A little of this, and a lot of that…

A couple of new complete BMX bikes have been hitting the web in the past few days that reference earlier times in freestyle. One from the recent past, and one from the very beginning.

Subrosa Bash Bike

First, Subrosa has released news that they’re going to be doing a bashguard bike that is a modern take on the old Bully bashguard frame of the early 90s. As Ryan Sher, of Subrosa puts it on their site, “I can vividly remember seeing a bike that I only wished I could own, or even knew how to use; that bike was the Bully R.L. Inc”. He goes on to say that it was around this time that he was inspired by the progression of BMX, and the street riding “style” that became so prevalent.

Subrosa Bash Bike Detail

Ultimately, he says that it is about bringing the fun back into BMX. A topic that seems to be popping up in a number of places (Thanks, mcGoo – note I meant “sight”, not “site”, ugh). I’ll keep saying it – remember, this is about riding bikes, and bikes should be fun. If sliding on a plastic bashguard helps to get you there, cool, go for it.

2009 Haro Retro 1st Generation Freestyler Complete Bike

Next, there’s news that the retro Haro Bikes Gen-1 Freestyler is  finally happening. After a couple years of speculation, and a few prototypes (one of which was at last year’s Interbike), there are images of the 2009 Haro Bikes catalog floating around that shows what should be close to the production version of the retro Freestyler, based on Bob Haro’s original Haro Freestyler,the predecesor to the ubiquitous Haro Master. As with the Subrosa Bash Bike, it looks like an integrated headtube and “updated geometry”, as they say in the catalog, are part of the package.

Rumor has it that both of these are going to be limited-edition run. With all of the clamor about the Haro, I have a feeling they’ll go quick, but then become available over the upcoming months. This is the third retro model done by Haro, the first was a Dave Mirra-based Freestyler, the second was the 2005-06 retro Sport. For Subrosa, the bash bike is a continuation of what they started with their Letum cruiser.

I’m down with either of these, but of course, I have a lot of heart for the Haro, just because it has been discussed for SO long in the vintage bmx circles. However, I have to dig the Subrosa because it not only has graphics in the vein of the Bully designs, but also because I was right there, watching RL and Chris Day tear it up on early Bully frames at a mall show in Overland Park, KS, during a summer tour. We snuck our bikes in and rode through the mall – good times…

Knight Performer 24? Retro Cruiser Standing Platform

Seat stay/framestand and bologna-cut top tube detail. Photo: George Yang

Looks like there’s already quite a bit of chatter about the Knight Performer – I’ve seen it pop up on a number of the vintage BMX sites over the past couple of days. One thing that’s been discussed is the geometry of the ride, and how it compares, considering it is overall, a pretty modern ride. I hit George at Knight up for some more information, and he sent over pretty much all you might want to know:

Material: 4130 Chromoly
FRAME
Top tube length: 21.5″
BB height: 12″
Chainstay length: 15.25″
Head angle: 73 degree
Seat tube angle: 70.5 degree
Headtube: Integrated
Bottom Bracket: Mid type
Brakes: 990 mounts
Seat post: 25.4mm
Dropouts: 3/16″ thick
Axle type: 3/8 axles
Extras: Coaster Brake plate like the 20″ version

So, there you have it – the top tube length should keep it roomy, yet quick for a cruiser. With the 3/8″ axles, you might need to hookup a set of the Skyway Graphite TuffWheels to go with the frame. Keep a lookout here for shots of the prototype as it gets built-up.

Related: Knight Retro Performer Prototype

Knight Performer 24? Prototype Frame
Raw and fresh out of the jig. Photo: George Yang

The 24″ Retro Squareback Knight released last year was very well received by those looking for a cruiser with vintage styling. Modeled after the Redline squarebacks of yore, it was a fairly traditional cruiser frame, with some really nice detailing.

I think that the new 24″ jam from Knight will up the retro BMX game – other manufacturers should take note. In fact, it is only retro in styling, as it features all of the modern features of today’s BMX bikes – integrated headset, mid-bottom bracket and 990 brake mounts. However, look closer at the photos of the prototype – a coaster brake tab and a standing platform. Yeah, I said it – a standing platform, just like the GTs of yore – on a 24″ cruiser. Knight is calling it the Knight “Performer”, but I don’t know if they’ll stick with that name. They say it is a tribute to one of the most recognizable early freestyle frames, the GT Performer/World Tour, and Eddie Fiola – who helped make GT so prolific early in the freestyle game. Be sure to hit the link on Eddie’s name – there’s a great story on lifelounge.com, with some of Eddie’s personal photos.

If you want one, get a hold of Knight quickly. They’re going to be made in limited numbers, and available very soon. Damn, just like yesterday’s post – did I find yet ANOTHER bike/frame to obsess over? Check more photos over on the Knight blog.

Update: Sounds like the release party was a helluva good time. Ride has a video of the festivities on their site. So good to see the originators of BMX receiving the recognition they deserve. Check the video here. Note that Mark Lewman mentions the limited edition book (only 2,500 printed) will probably be available to view online.

Nike Trickstars

Yesterday, Nike released their limited-edition SB BMX pack in honor of the first Olympics to feature BMX – this year in Beijing. This is a continuation of the participation Nike has had, starting with the Lightning Bolts show last month. The SB BMX collection will feature four different shoes, including a limited-run pack that includes the “Trickstar” Dunk Low and Blazer Hi, as well as a couple throwback Hutch-styled jerseys. Only 600 Trickstar packs were made, and were released at DQM in NY and Brooklyn Projects in LA – both shops participated in the design of this collection. The other shoes will be out later in July, though the Trickstars have already hit the ‘bay.

Also, rumor has it that these will coincide with a Freestylin’ book release, more info as I hear it…

Interesting, because though it is great to see Nike giving major support to the BMX effort this year, they’ve never been known as much of a BMX brand. Recently, they have built a BMX team with Nike 6.0, but in the 30+ years since BMX began growing, their participation has been limited. That said, a big brand getting behind the Olympic BMX effort should only help the recognition of the sport.

Also, I’m a bit confused by the fact that they have released the BMX collection under the SB (skateboard) brand, and not the 6.0 moniker. Probably has something to do with distribution, but seemingly minor details like this unfortunately only add to the little-brother status of BMX riders to our skateboarding brethren.

See other shoes in the colleciton:
Michael Lau Chinese BMX Federation
and
Kuwahara ET

I’m back. After a long unplanned hiatus (life, work, etc. got crazy for a bit). Enough about that, though…

Knight Bikes Inverted Retro Stems

George at Knight just sent news that he’s got some new inverted Pro-Neck-style stems available, as well as the traditional top-loaders back in stock. Right now, the inverted stems are available in silver and gold, with blue available next week. Check ‘em out and order directly from Knight. So, if you wanna drop your bars a bit, and do so with a clean, simple looking, retro-styled stem, you’re set.

I’m interested to hear what you think of these, compared to the other retro-styled products that are starting to crop up. Drop your opinions over at the Vital BMX Old School Talk forum.

Hutch Hi-Performance BMX Logo
I wondered when it would happen. We’ve seen a number of retro products over the past couple of years being pushed out by Knight, SE and other manufacturers. Just yesterday, it was announced on a number of the BMX message boards that John De Bruin, who has been making repro Hutch pedal cages and decal sets, has acquired the rights to the Hutch Hi-Performance BMX brand, as well as CW. He plans on creating new product “reissues” that have at least one detail that is different from the original, and down the road, creating more modern products. Read his full press release here.

This story holds interests me a lot, because I was a Hutch kid. When my department store Columbia BMX (that had been quite updated, mind you) cracked on a jump, my dad and I went to BMX Pros, THE BMX shop in Kansas City in the 80s, so that I could pick out a new frame. They had all the flavors of Hutch Candy. I picked a Candy Metal Blue, had it built with the good parts from my Columbia, hooked up a pair of white Skyways, and so the freestyle story began. I’ll scan some photos over the next couple of days and tell more – that bike was THE nicest thing I had ever owned, and it was absolutely my baby.

Needless to say, with the prices of Hutch parts continuing to climb, Hutch Hi-Performance with be something to watch. Interesting to see if John will build bikes with modern geometry and old-school flavor, a la SE, or vintage-style frames with 1″ headsets. Hell, they’re making “new” 60s Ford Mustang bodies now, so it was only a matter of time until we saw this happen with BMX.

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.

Knight Spider for Profile Racing Cranks

Hot on the heels of their other recent retro/vintage releases, Knight has come out with a vintage-inspired chainwheel spider for Profile Racing Cranks. Made from 6061-T6 alloy, with a 19mm hole, this retro spider keeps it simple and classic. Order it directly from Knight.

Knight Bike Co Retro Stems
Oh, man, I’m drooling over this eye candy…

Knight Bike Co have released their vintage Pro-Neck style stems for all of you who want something truly different for your threadless headset bikes. Featuring an etched Curb Dogs Bulldog logo (courtesy of Maurice Meyer) in place of the old Tuf Neck tiger, and a nice array of classic colors, these would be perfect for a retro-fied modern bike, or even better, on a Knight Squareback – their 24″ throwback frame.

Get on over to Knight and check out their array of vintage-influenced parts, as well as their modern work. Note that George at Knight knows his BMX history – they were one of the primary sponsors of the Tuff Love art show last year.

SE auction package for Stephen Murray

It has been quite a week for news out of the SE camp, as I just got this little tidbit about another great auction for Stephen Murray. So rad to see the continued support of the BMX Community. Go bid now, you know you want to…

SE Bikes, one of the OG’s of BMX, has put together a one of a kind package to help raise funds to assist Stephen Murray in his fight to “STAY STRONG” and recover from injuries he sustained at the Baltimore AST Dew Tour.

These items are for collectors and serious BMX enthusiasts!

The Bike
This is the FIRST production bike of the 2008 PK Ripper Looptail. It’s the same EXACT bike that was on display at Interbike in Las Vegas. All of the normal production bikes have the serial numbers stamped in numerical order on the inside of the rear dropout. But this bike is unique in the fact that it does not have any serial number stamp. Only 250 of this bike will be available throughout the year in the USA. This was the first one made!

The Shoes
These are a brand new pair of the limited edition DC/PK Ripper DC Shoe. This shoe was also VERY limited worldwide and all stores are completely sold out. Size is 10.5. As a bonus, these shows come with a re-release of the “Joe Kid on a Stingray” video with bonus footage.

The Jersey
The most legendary BMX jersey of all time, the SE retro jersey. Made by Hot Shoppe in the USA. Size large.

Get in on the auction at EBay where you can type in Stephen Murray for the item or the listing information below.
Stephen Murray SE Bikes Collectors Package – 200185371813

Special thanks to Todd Lyons and SE Bikes for making this effort to raise funds! Happy Holidays to all!

Also visit www.stephenmurrayfamilyfund.com & www.myspace.com/murraystrong

There is a second auction package that will be released on EBay soon as well that includes a Quad Angle frame and tons of SE goods.

SE Shirt Design
Shirts from SE – click for a larger image.

Todd Lyons at SE just sent over the news that they have all four of their new shirt designs in stock from sizes small to XXL. The BMX shirts come in the classic blues and browns, and they have one representing their single speed bikes which looks rad as well. You can get them through your local SE shop, now, just in time for gift-giving.

Personally, I’m digging the “number plate design”, and I’m a XL if anyone needs to know, heh.

Cool Kids BMX

“I’m on the Dyno with the black mags …”

More proof that, at least in the eyes of the general public, BMX culture is moving beyond giant spectacles like the X-Games. The Cool Kids are a hip-hop duo from Chicago, getting some major play at MTVU, who put them on their list of Freshman Five for this fall, with their video for their song “Black Mags”.

Black Mags has over 140,000 plays on the Cool Kids MySpace page. With a retro vibe that isn’t nostalgic, and solid, yet humorous storytelling, they could be one of the indie rap breakout stories of 2007. Nice to see the SE Bikes/DC Shoe P.K. Ripper getting some major screen time all over the video.

Thanks to “PJ Cruiser” on the BMXMuseum.com forums for the heads-up.

Here’s the official video from YouTube:

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?

Volume Z06 Ad

Ad courtesy of Volume.

Continuing a long-standing tradition of bicycle companies creating bikes named after cars, (see the Schwinn Corvette or the Mongoose Blue Max) Volume Bike company is releasing a limited edition version of its Sledgehammer 26″ cruiser, called the Z06. I’m assuming the name refrerences both the Corvette Z06 (a badass production car in its own right), as well as the infamous Slegehammer Corvette – a twin turbo monster made by Corvette tuner Callaway in 1988. At 898 Horsepower, it was tweaked in every way possible to make it run like hell.

Now, Volume has taken their self-proclaimed “old man bike”, the Sledgehammer, and tricked it out with a full set of Demolition parts, full 4130 Cromo tubing, and custom Volume/Corvette graphics. This one, they’re calling the “supercharged old man bike”, and man is it clean looking. The Z06 Sledgehammer ad above features Volume/Demoliton main man Brian Castillo boosting high on the big two-six.

The Z06 is a limited edition, available in October via the Volume site or Volume dealers. Check it out here. As I know that many riders are also gearheads of different varieties, seems like a perfect combination.

Volume Bikes Z06 Cruiser

Photo courtesy of Volume.


Mat Hoffman’s first 900 – 1990

Last night I was rolling around the driveway with the boys and hitting some old freestyle tricks – building nerve, hopping higher and spinning faster. However, it was the simplest of all tricks that got me – an endo. I was showing my oldest how to do it, and my foot slipped, the freewheel spun and, WHAM, pedal to the shin. It immediately bruised up, started bleeding and hurt like hell. Added to my scar tissue for the first time in a while, and it is throbbing as I type this today.

The night before, the oldest boy had his first big fall on a bmx. He was on his 16″ and got into some trouble with some walnut shells along the sidewalk, after a great hour long session at his school with the whole family. My wife rode my most recent acquisition – the ’86 Haro FST – more to come on that. Anyway, his tires were a bit low as well, so when he hit the walnuts, down he went, hard. He was very upset, and bleeding from his knee. It was just road rash, but his hardest fall on his bike. I don’t know that he’ll remember it, but I’ll remember, for sure.

And I know that if he keeps riding, there will be many, many to come. I just finished Mat Hoffman’s book, The Ride of My Life, and it gives a ton of details into Mat’s career, including major slams and injuries, and how he often had to alter his riding style or actually lost tricks because his body couldn’t move a certain way anymore. Scary stuff, though as the tricks have gotten bigger, the technology of protection has gotten better, with more options for helmets and body armor. Now the trick is to stuff the young riders into helmets at a young age and hope that they keep it on as they roll out of sight…

By the way, Hoffman’s book was co-authored by Freestylin’ Magazine alum Mark Lewman. I definitely picked up on some of his style in the editing.


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.

BMXROOTS

In 1986, I took my first swipe at becoming a bmx publisher. It was the early days of the ‘zine, and I made one of my own, called Motion. At that point, I also had a loose association of bmx and skateboard friends called the Motion Trick Team. We mostly drew logos on our notebooks and talked about what our shows would be like – drawing schematics of the ramps, p.a. setup and music choices. We rode for ourselves, mostly, but man, it was fun to work all of this out. Someday, we hoped, we’d get the gear and make it happen.

Back to the ‘zine: It was pre-computer (at least in my house), so I used a typewriter, the school photocopier, and my 110 Instamatic – I was loaded for bear. I put out 3-4 issues every 6 months or so, getting friends to help produce it, upgrading to an early Mac for typesetting and improving my hand-lettering and illustration, as well as shooting with a 35mm camera. Still, the content mostly covered my friends and our little scene in a suburb of Kansas City. I’ve got plenty of fodder for this site, which I’ll be scanning and uploading over time – trust me, you gotta see some of this stuff.

I kept riding throughout high school and into the beginning of college. I kept shooting photos and learning of this profession called graphic design. I went to school for advertising and photography at first, then switched over to visual communications (design), and as I began working, I stopped riding. My old Haro was in pieces and I found excuses not to ride. Too busy, too lazy, too old, whatever. Hell, I even bought a mountain bike thinking that I would be able to enjoy myself on that – however, when I rode, I missed something. I missed the feelings of throwing the “little bike” around, launching off curbs, and pedaling until you’ve got no more gears.

Last year, I bought my oldest son a Hoffman 16″ bmx for his 4th birthday. And thus it began… Though I had been following the bmx scene via the web, tv coverage and the occasional magazine, I decided that there was no way that I could ride a mountain bike while my oldest was learning on such a cool bike. With the encouragement of my wife (who still doesn’t quite understand what all the fuss is over beat-up parts – “but they’re vintage, honey“), I bought a 24″ Haro cruiser, then a 20″ Haro Retro Sport, and began putting my ’87 Master back together. Buying parts for the Master led me to many sites (bmxmuseum, vintagebmx, os-bmx) and I was amazed to see this community of people building, saving, riding, and racing these “little bikes”. However, I shouldn’t have been surprised. See, there are kids jumping on bmx bikes everyday – more than in years past, even, and there are guys my age and above who never stopped riding.

I became inspired by bmx again, at least that was the simple way to look at it. Yeah, I’m riding a lot more now, and I’ve got a few bikes that I’m restoring, but really, I had been inspired all along. My job is as a creative director for an ad agency, and it was under the influence of Freestylin’ Magazine, BMX Action, and BMX Plus! that I began my design career, and now, I want to bring those influences to the pages of this site. It will be current, yet reflective, and always feature stories that provide a peek behind the curtain – of riders, spots, shops, etc. I want anyone who stumbles on here to add to the stories, and provide ideas for more. I want to inspire others to create, no matter how their creations take shape.

-Jeremy