Roots

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Nothing like a new term in BMX – and it is a trick that is completely over the top. Here’s a photo, courtesy of @odysseyBMX of Jim Bauer and Rooftop attempting a 1-handed backflip on a sidehack into the foam pit. They were at Woodward West for the Old School BMX Reunion. Should be a ton of coverage on this event soon, and we’ll keep you posted here at the ‘Roots.

Ah, video as well, from ShredorDie.com check it out.

Swobo Del Norte

Alright, I’ll admit it, I’ve got a thing for a new bike. Not just a new bike, but a new kind of bike. See, part of the reason I started this site was because I wanted to not only explore BMX in all of its facets, but also bicycling in general. As I’ve said, I never really felt comfortable on my mountain bike that I had for a few years. Grip-shifters, derailleurs and an oversized frame just didn’t do it for me. I need simplicity. So, that led me to the purchase of my 24″ BMX, then to rebuilding my old 20″ bikes, and to the current-day, with a couple of modern-day 20s at my disposal.

So, about four months ago, I bought my first road bike, ever. Seriously, throughout my life, I had the aforementioned mountain bike, one 26″ beach cruiser, and an AMF pseudo-motocross bicycle when I was really young (a very strange beast), but everything else has been BMX. I picked-up a refurbished and semi-modernized early-80s Trek 710. 700c wheels, a bunch of gears and a leather saddle. Very cool, as it is easy-to-ride and nice and tall, so it fits me quite well. I bought it because I wanted something comfortable to ride long distances, as I find myself hopping on the bike to get around town, as many folks are these days. However, that whole “simplicity” thing keeps interrupting my brain while I’m riding – “Do I NEED all of these gears?” “Man, vintage roadbikes can sure flex” “Hmm, how well will it handle this drop off of this curb?”. On and on I go.

Uh, oh, you’re thinking, here comes the old BMX guy with tales of fixed gear fondness. Not quite. See, I cannot give-in to pedaling all of the time, I’m just not comfortable with it, (at least not yet), and frankly, I love bombing the rather large hills of my town, and hearing the buzz of a freewheel behind my ear. So, I think the single-speed roadbike is where I’m headed. And I’ve got one picked out – the Swobo Del Norte. One gear, two brakes, flip-flop hub (freewheel or fixed), loose bmxish-styling and modern parts/geometry. Yes, I am smitten. There’s a new shop in town that carries the Swobo brand, and I think I might just have to go have a look.

I know that to some, this all may seem a bit random as the site is called BMX Roots. However, as with a ton of riders who ride many different kinds of bikes, my personal roots are in BMX. Yet as long as we’re talking about bikes with wheels that are FUN to ride at their core, then why shouldn’t all types of riding be respected?

Oh, and, just as I was working on this today, I hit the Volume bikes site, where they have photos of both their Creedence fixed-gear bike, and the new Sledgehammer. Maybe I have three bike crushes right now.

Related:
My Standard 250S
My Standard 250L
My 1987 Haro Master on the BMXMuseum

A Day of DMC

Dennis McCoy at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark BMX jam 2007. Photo by Thad Allender.
Dennis McCoy at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark BMX jam last year. Photo by Thad Allender.

A short three days after I posted the photo of Dennis McCoy riding at a custom car show in 1986, he pops up in two different places in the past couple days. Thanks to Phil W., Phil K. and KrtSchmidt for the knowledge.

Locally, he’s got a two-page interview in the Kansas City Star. A great history lesson about the man and his 41 years.

There’s another interview on the EXPN “The Endo” blog, by Cody York, as well as a bike check. As many of you know, he rides a FBM PW MOTO, designed by another upstanding Kansas Citian, Phil Wasson.

And finally, he has a video interview with Rooftop over on the ShredorDie site.

Check ‘em out, and give due props to a badass rider, ambassador of bmx and lifetime Brigade member…

Standard 250S

Doesn’t get much more American than the USA-made blue, white and red Standard Bykes S250 that I just built. Yeah, I know, the majority of the parts are imported, but I built this one on the cheap, and American-made components are getting harder and harder to find.

Check the specs over at the BMXMuseum.

My kids and I just dropped about $100 on fireworks, so it should be a looong night of fire, meat and beer. Perfect. I haven’t shot off my own fireworks since about ’95. For the past few years, my boys were still too young and freaked out by the noise. Plus, we’ll be able to see the community fireworks perfectly from my folks’ house.

For those of you in the US, or ex-pats abroad, Happy Independence Day. Oh, and don’t forget about the red, white and blue Skyway T/A wallpaper I posted last week.

I thought we might see more coverage from the Nike SB BMX/Freestylin’ launch party today, and indeed, the info keeps getting better and better. Above, there’s a video that just came up on YouTube, from what I believe to be is Mark Lewman’s (Lew for those of you Freestylin’ Magazinephiles like me) design company, Nemo Design. Note that John Martin, Nike’s Director of Action Sports spearheaded the project, and he gives a very emotional introduction to the Nike BMX work. Cool to know his history of BMX as well.

Vital has a photo album and a great introduction by Mark Losey, here:
http://www.vitalbmx.com/features/Freestylin-Retrospective-Launch-Party,3925

Discuss this over at the VitalBMX forums:
VitalBMX Old School Talk Forum

FBM Owners Group Logo

Have a FBM bike? Wanna show it to the rest of the unwashed FBM masses? Then get on over to the new FBM Owners Group site and submit your ride. As the site says, “The FBM Owners Group is for anyone; industry types, pro riders, FBM staff, and kids everywhere. Basically anyone with an FBM they wanna show off.”

This is a great way to get riders involved intimately with the brand – which is especially important with the rider-owned companies. Fit has a similar feature on their site as well, with the Fit Trust. Dig.

Terrible One Barcode 2008 Colors

Funny, I was just chuckling about the ad on albes.com that says “1988-2008. We’ve been around since the first time neon colors were cool”. See, there was a time in the very recent past when BMX went chrome and black, with a few colors mixed in here or there. I believe it had a lot to do with the fact that not only did painted or anodized colors go out of “fashion”, companies probably cut back on the number of colors available to cut production costs. Pre-X-Games and the recent growth of BMX, companies simplifed yet also fed the desires of the riders who remained at the core of the sport.

Now, there is a virtual cornucopia of colors to be had from most manufacturers. Painted, powdered, anodized – whatever a rider may want, he can have. Or it is common to custom paint the parts, or strip them down to their raw, welded state. Terrible One just released their new colors for the 2008 Barcode frame, and following the desires of their buyers, they’ve got a beautiful robin’s egg blue, and a hot (welded, get it? hehe) clear/raw finish. Their site says that this is just the beginning of things to come for 2008. Also, if you’re near Austin, be sure to head to the T-1 ramp this Saturday for a fakie-air contest. Should be a fine time.

Oh, and I’m right there with the bright colors – I just built a new Standard 250 that was custom-painted a bright jade green. More to come on that…

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.

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.

Winter Sports


See More BMX Videos at VitalBMX.com

I found this video over on the Vital BMX site today. First, it is a rad old-school trick adapted to street – one I haven’t seen many times before – a whiplash (rolling tailwhip) to stair jump. Second, Ryan Harley, the guy doing the trick, and I’m assuming filming, pulled it in Alaska, with snow all around, in a limited window of time because the days are so short this time of year.

I’m done complaining about the 30 degrees we’ve had in Kansas. Look at his face after he lands. Brrr…

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.


Innovators…

RL Osborn and Mike Buff drove around the country countless summers in the early 80s, driving from shop to shop and mall t0 mall putting up their 8ft. wide quartepipe (maybe only 6ft?) and putting on shows, introducing the country to this thing called freestyle. They were a team in the loosest sense – nobody gave signals, or passed a ball, but they were part of a wider-reaching brotherhood that so many of us kids in the time grabbed a hold of. It is all about individual style and how riding made you feel.

My introduction came when the Haro team put on a similar show at Metro North mall in Kansas City. I got a front brake, put away my racing gear and started learning to do kicturns on a ramp my dad and I built from plans in BMX Action magazine. The magazine and these teams influenced how we rode, dressed and spoke.

This 8mm footage from Crabtree Valley mall shows the giant crowds these guys would pull, even as people questioned these growing men riding around on kids’ bikes.

Thanks to Kevin for the link.

SBC Fork Designs

Standard Byke Company Shank and Race Fork graphics by 57 Even.

Well, since I’ve been on a Standard kick, with the build of my 250 over the past few weeks, I thought I’d fill you in on some very cool stuff that I’ve dug up about what’s coming up with Rick, Jess and the crew as we head into 2008.

First up is the news that the new shop that they’re building in Davenport is coming together quite well. I was in Davenport visiting family last week and visited the Goodtimes store, where I heard from Ryan that they’ve built a couple forks and are moving quickly to getting frames into production. Hopefully, I’ll be doing a feature on here about the shop in December.

Hot on the heels of this are some new graphics and apparel that 57 Even has worked up for Standard, and it all looks rad. 57 Even has been making a name for themselves in the bmx/skate/street culture. I’ve been watching their work since I started seeing it on the Standard site – they’ve done the graphics for the parts, apparel and site for the past few years – and it has been great to see them pickup other clients and adapt to their brands, while remaining true to their style, which is based in a hand-crafted collage approach. Have a look, and enjoy. You can see all of their work (I swear they don’t sleep – I think that is part of their mantra, actually) at: 57even.com

Standard Byke Co. Skull T-Shirt Design 2008

Standard Byke Company Skull t-shirt and poster by 57 Even. Check the details with the Standard logos and the textures that build the depth of the image.

2007 Standard 250L Frame

I’m running these on my 250, even though my frame is a couple years old – 2007 Standard Byke Company 250L frame graphics by 57 Even.

My new build - Standard 250

So, my posts have been really lacking lately, and I think it has been with good reason – at least to other riders – maybe not so much to my wife. ;-)

I’ve been building a new bike, and I’m really happy with how it has turned out. It is my first non-complete new(er) school ride, and I’m getting ready to take it out on its shakedown ride as soon as I finish this post.

The frame was raw, but the clearcoat was in rough shape. I sanded it down and sprayed a number of coats of clear, so it has protection and a light shine. I dig how the color combination turned out very hand-made looking overall – dare I say almost traditional hot-rod style.

Frame: Standard 250 (American BB)
Fork: S&M Pitchfork with brake bosses (Yeah, I’m a part of the front-brake revolution – heh)
Bars: S&M Slam XLT
Grips: Odyssey Team
Stem: FBM Protect Ya Neck
Wheels: Haro 48s and Haro Directional Tires (From my Retro Sport – will be switching to some Odyssey Hazards, I think)
Seat, Post, Clamp: Haro (I’ve got a Primo Seat and a Shadow Conspiracy Post on the way), Kink Clamp
Brakes: Dia-Tech Hombre Brake, Odyssey Monolever, Odyssey GTX Gyro
Cranks: Primo Hollowbites
Sprocket: Tree
Chain: KMC
Pedals: S&M one o one

I sold my FST and some other vintage parts to fund this build, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Not to worry, though (I’m talking to you old schoolers), I’ve got a bunch of other builds planned now that old man winter has arrived. Thanks to those over at bmxmuseum.com who sold me parts, and bought other ones, and thanks to eBay for being like a bad addiction…

More photos to come…

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.

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.

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.