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RAD, GNARLEY, DUDE BMX Freestyle illustration by Bob Haro, 2008
“Rad. Gnarley. Dude,” illustration by Bob Haro, 2008. Click to view at 3x (1500x1211pixels).

Well, I’m a week late to closing out the week of Bob Haro here at BMXRoots. However, I think this installment and the above image makes it worth the wait. See, after I began scanning a bunch of the previous illustrations from my old magazines, I began digging deeper into the web and I found a couple of Haro’s images that others had scanned, and then I found the image above – a recent illustration that Bob had created and passed along to a guy by the handle of “Wildman” over on the vintagebmx.com forums. I knew I had an week-ender with this image, but because Wildman mentioned that Haro had sent it to him personally, I wanted to see if I could get Haro’s permission to run it here.

So, I fired-off an email and waited. Note that I had also waited to send the email until last Friday, the same day the official Bob Haro week was ending, but anyway, I digress. My email was at least 4 paragraphs long. I had so much to say to him, I mean, this is BOB HARO, c’mon, but knew I should cut to the chase. Seriously, I was anxious enough that I shot the email off and forgot to attach the image. Nice one. Bob was kind enough to write me back, ask to see the image, which I promptly sent again, and then wrote me back almost immediately giving me the okay to post it for your viewing pleaseure.

I love this one because it encapsulates the history of Freestyle in one simple image. As with the other illustrations that I’ve featured, the details are thoughtful and at-times humorous, from the bikes and clothing featured to the brands and sponsors. Unlike the Zipatone shading of the older drawings, this seems to be marker-drawn and scanned (or illustrated with a pen pad, directly) and then shaded on the computer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these illustrations/cartoons/drawings as much as I have. Keep looking here for more features like this, including some bike collections, and even more history from a broader swath of bicycle culture.

Thanks again for the inspiration, BH.
-Jeremy

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 4
Bob Haro week, Day 3
Bob Haro week, Day 2
Bob Haro week, Day 1

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…

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, January 1985
“Ampin’, Rampin…” illustration by Bob Haro from BMX Action Magazine, January 1985. Click to enlarge 3x.

Way before the X-Games, Bob Haro knew that kids were into all kinds of different fringe sports. BMX, Motocross and Skateboarding are all represented in this illustration from 1985. I love this one – the over-vert 2×4 transition quarterpipe really does it for me…

One more day of Bob Haro week – be sure to check in Friday. In the meantime, check out this interview with Haro during the Olympics on CNBC.

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 3
Bob Haro week, Day 2
Bob Haro week, Day 1

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, September 1984
“How to Save Yourself from Going Over a Berm” illustration by Bob Haro from BMX Action Magazine, September 1984. Click to enlarge 3x.

Alright, we’re half-way through the first ever Bob Haro week at BMX Roots, and here’s one that wasn’t a part of “Haro’s Corner”, his semi-monthly feature in BMX Action. Instead, this is a double-page spread for an article called, “How to Save Yourself from Going Over a Berm”. Elbows flying, speed lines and rat-trap pedals. What more do you need?

Also, note that Rider #33, taking the elbow to the head, is running what looks to be a Zeronine plate and Dyno pants – both competitors at the time of Haro Designs soft/hardgoods business, as seen on rider #6. A not-so-subtle shot at the competition? You be the judge.

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 2
Bob Haro week, Day 1
Freestylin Book Launch

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, April 1984
“Factoryman and Yoshi” illustration by Bob Haro from BMX Action Magazine, April 1984. Click to enlarge 3x.

It is the second day of Bob Haro Week here at BMX Roots. Yesterday, I posted an introduction to this feature I’m running this week, and the illustration was of a rider popping out of a quarterpipe, doing some “trick riding” as it was known early-on. Today’s illustration is much more about the race scence of the early ’80s, especially the perception of the factory riders.

The tiny details are what count in this one. For example, the DG sticker on the toolbox, the can of 3M Chain Lube and the lifted box truck, which was, in fact, very much in-line with the motocross (motorcycle) rigs of the day. Also, you’ve got “Factoryman” with a cold drink in his hand, and his “ace mechanic”, Yoshi, representing the team. Again, I believe these caricatures were picking up on the moto references of the time.

Technically speaking, the illustration is done in marker and Zipatone, the preferred shading method of cartoonists in the days before the computer.

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 1
Freestylin Book Launch

Bob Haro feature spread from BMX Aciton
Bob Haro from a feature spread in BMXAction magazine in 1983. Click to see the whole page.

In recognition of the first running of BMX in the Olympics, and all of the build-up and hype that surrounded it, I wanted to share some stuff that is pretty special to me.

One of the best things to come out of this Olympic thing, as I’ve called it, was the re-introduction of sorts of the BMX masses to Bob Haro. Through his contribution to the Olympic efforts by lending a hand to Nike – curating the Lightning Bolts numberplate art show, co-designing the Olympic uniforms and generally being a great ambassador, it has been so good to see some of the spotlight shared with such a major influencer of BMX culture.

On the heels of this, there have been a couple articles about Haro in both RideBMX and DigBMX magazines, and you should take the time to hunt them down. These stories give background on what he’s been up to since selling Haro Bicycles in 1993, and what inspired him to create probably the most successful brand name in BMX. If you don’t know, he’s been running a successful design studio, Haro Design, and launched Axio, a “performance luggage” and “technical pack” company.

What he hadn’t done much was show or talk about his art, which was so inspiring to so many of us BMX kids. That is, until just recently, showing his “cartoons” and photographs in the Bike Curious art show that opened in LA during the 2008 X-Games, as well as a multi-page article in the August 2008 issue of the art magazine Juxtapoz. Seeing those images of his illustrations slapped me back to my 10-year-old self, thumbing through BMX Action magazine, enamored with these black-and-white drawings that showed these exaggerated characters having fun on their bikes. And, true to his roots, Haro didn’t discriminate; he drew guys on tracks and dudes on quarter-pipes, usually with Haro numberplates and pants, JT gloves and the ubiquitous accessory of the 1980s, Oakley goggles.

As I said in my first post ever on this site, guys like Andy Jenkins and influenced me to explore art, photography, and ultimately my career in advertising/graphic design/digital media. How I left Haro off of this list of influences, I have no idea. I’ll be correcting that throughout this week, with Haro’s illustrations scanned from my archive of BMXA magazines. I left them pretty much un-retouched (thus yellowed, torn and faded – look, I flipped through these pages SO many times…), and if you click, you’ll get them at a larger size.

Enjoy the first of these illustrations, from March of 1984. Mr. Haro, this week is for you.

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, March 1984
(Click to enlarge)

Related:
Freestylin’ Magazine Book Launch
Interview from Ride in 2004.