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Sprocket Making Video from andy chapman on Vimeo.

Nice little video of the making of the world-famous Tree sprocket at the world headquarters of Phil Wasson’s shop, Super Rat Machine Works. Damn, I miss Phil and Courtney, and my hot-pepper infused lattes (heh) from the Songbird.

Found at TheComeUp.

Super Rat Machine Works - New Products and Site

Veteran BMX pro, Phil Wasson, has been running Super Rat Machine Works for a couple of years out of Kansas City (KC Pride!), making parts for a number of BMX manufacturers you know and love like FBM and Solid, and some others just starting up. Super Rat also manufactures prototypes and products for other industries as well. As a pro, Phil was known for having a dialed bike with tons of custom mods, and his love for solving problems with creative solutions shows in the work the shop produces.

Just a few days ago, Super Rat launched their new site with more information about their projects, past and present, and the going-ons of the shop. One of the most interesting bits of news is that they’ll be doing their own line of products, starting with pedals like the prototype shown above. Read all about them via Phil’s post, here. They’re going to be a bit wider than “normal-sized” pedals, and should be available by the end of March.

Also on tap is a new stem from Terrible One (scroll down the news on the left), and a new stem from Sequence, a flatland-focused company – check out the photos below.

Friend of BMX Roots, Thad Allender, redesigned the site, using a modified WordPress theme from his company, Graph Paper Press.

Super Rat Machine Works - Projects

Vital BMX Site Relaunch

Vital Media Network launched the first version of vitalbmx.com back in December of 2006. They’re about to drop version 2.0 of the site anytime now. I was a part of the beta testing, and have seen the changes they’ve got on tap, and I think the community will be pleased. Some really smart functionality that will create a better overall user experience, and keep people hanging around the site longer. Plus, there will be more to come after this relaunch goes live.

Quick Update (February 12, 2007): The site is up, and Vital is looking for your thoughts and any technical issues you might come across via a link at the top of the page: Welcome To Vital BMX 2.0! We’ve listened to your feedback over the past year and put it into this re-design. Click here to let us know what you think or if you have any technical problems. Thanks!

Endless lines at Camp Woodward.
Endless lines at Woodward. Photo from the Camp Woodward site.

The Penn State Daily Collegian has a recent article about the BMX pros who call the area around State College, PA home, so they have full-time access to the Woodward sports camp. The article features interviews with Jamie Bestwick and Chad Kagy and gives some good history on the camp, with insights from Woodward main man, Gary Ream.

Interesting to read all of their thoughts on the popularity of BMX, and how Woodward helps this progression.

Check out the full article: here

They also have a couple of slide shows with audio: here

Fuel TV Videos and Podcasts

Fuel TV, the Action Sports channel available through most cable providers, (unfortunately, not Sunflower, my local provider, though we did have it with Comcast in Seattle, but I digress) has a number of their videos available at their site, or via the podcast menu in iTunes. Quick, well-produced segments from video-makers like Props and Fuel-produced shows like Firsthand, give you some great BMX videos to watch wherever you like.

There is a ton here from other sports as well. Plenty to waste at least a few hours on during these cold winter months. Sorry, we just had our first ice storm in Kansas, so I’m a bit bitter in many ways…

Check it out at the FuelTV site here – click on the BMX tab to the far right
Or
Download the podcasts directly from iTunes

Fit, Animal and Mirraco

The past week has been a big one for bmx industry site relaunches. Two of the growing rider-owned bike companies, Mirraco and Fit, and Animal, the east-cost parts and lifestyle brand, all launched new site designs. All three have built what appear to be very flexible sites, meant for easy updates to quickly feed the hunger of the unwashed internet masses.

Much like many of the bmx sites out there, a flexible design means news in a blog-style, right on the homepage, with deep-linking in these news stories, and bigger areas of focus in the main navigation. This immediate access to news is something that is expected today, whether it is new product information, photos, videos or simply whatever has caught the eye of the sites’ editors. Both Animal’s owner, Shane Rossi, and Fit’s Robbie Morales, keep the updates flowing on their sites. Mirraco seems to have a number of contributors posting on the site.

The Fit and Mirraco sites are loaded with product information and technical specifications on their bikes – especially important as both are steadily pushing complete bikes in 2008. Animal sells direct to its customers, with a large online shop featuring a number of its soft and hard goods, including some limited edition products. All feature team links, though both the Mirraco and Animal sites are still in-progress within these sections.

Ride BMX has an interview with Robbie Morales that gets behind the motivation to redesign the Fit site and what you can expect in the way of updates. Robbie mentions a section to come featuring bike checks of the riders who send them in. More than a “send us a photo of your bike and where you ride it”, bike checks give their customers a chance to show their personal setups, which should be extensions of their riding style and personalities (not just rolling representations of the latest fads, though I am a realist, and I’ve been there before, especially as a youth…)

I’ll post here when I see new sections show up across any of the three.

Albe's Video Contest Image
Albe’s – a great mail-order shop in the Detroit area, with serious roots in bmx – is having a video contest to get its users to make their next commercial for them. The winner gets a $500 gift certificate.

Pretty cool idea, and something I haven’t seen done a lot in the BMX industry to this point. Probably because there aren’t many manufacturers with the kind of ad spending necessary to do broadcast commercials with any sort of reach. However, with more online video outlets focusing on BMX, the short feature/video ads will become more standard practice. A ton of companies are taking this approach on sites like Vital BMX and Ride BMX. This ad will run in the next issue of Props Video Magazine.

User generated video content has been all the rage for a few years now with corporate marketing departments – some have nailed it, some have fallen beyond flat, and some are questionable (regardless of your political affiliation – we’ll see how ol’ Mitt’s campaign does). When user created videos really work is when the creators are passionate about the brand, the brand category, and have a built-in desire to create. In Albe’s case, I think they’ve got all of these ingredients to make this contest work. I’ll update the site with the entries as they come in.

From the Albe’s Site about the contest:
Here’s the chance all you aspiring Spielbergs, Tarantinos and Singletons have been waiting for. Props Video Mag let us know that the deadline for our next commercial is coming up but we’re way too busy to put one together so we’re asking one of you do it for us. Of course the winning submission will be paid handsomely in the form of a $500 Albe’s gift certificate but we’ll warn you that it’s gonna take a bit of creativity to be chosen to represent us. If we just wanted thirty seconds worth of dorks doing turn downs we could do that ourselves, we want something more unique. Silly, funny, mysterious, weird, thought provoking, cool, odd, interesting, whatever…have some fun. Sure there can be some riding in it if you like but in order to cut the mustard it better stand out. Make sure it’s 30 seconds long and has our name and web address in it somewhere. Now get crackin’… the entry deadline is October 26th. The rules are below.

Entries should be uploaded to youtube at www.youtube.com and a link e-mailed to us at albesbmxstore@aol.com along with your name and address so we can check it out.
The winner will have to be able to supply us with the video ad on a mini DV tape within a few days of being notified as the winner.
The best ad (as judged by us) will get $500 credit here at Albe’s
The 3 best non-winning ads will be posted here on www.albes.com
Have fun…don’t get hurt and try not to get arrested
Read the paragraph above to see what we are looking for.
If you have any questions e-mail us at albes@aol.com
We reserve the right to cancel / end this contest whenever we like if people nit pick and make it no fun.