How to make BMX racing big again

29 07 2011

If you spend any time at all on the BMX racing forums you’ll notice that inevitably, before long,  the subject of “How to grow BMX” will come up.  Another variation of this thread is “Why isn’t racing as popular as it was in the 80s?”

People will argue that you have to one thing or another…from doing presentations at local schools to embracing the whole Supercross track phenomenon.

The trouble is, none of things is doing much to grow the sport.  Yet time after time the same ideas keep getting trotted out.

The solution might be simpler than the collective BMX racing community thinks.

Get a friend hooked on BMX.

Wasn’t it Chris Moeller who said back in the early 90s that the way to make BMX grow was to build up a bike and give it to a friend? (Actually, I’m not 100% sure on this quote but the  research department is out on a patio somewhere right now enjoying a pint so let’s just go with it, ok?)

Matt Shelley got Malcolm hooked on BMX

Matt Shelley, from BMXActionOnline, employs a similar strategy. He chats up folks at the track, all the while with the agenda of getting them out racing.

Check out Matt’s latest success story:

 I met Malcolm at the Fresno Nationals last year. His kid races 13 challenger. We got to talking and he loves bikes, but never considered BMX until he saw us gray beards having so much fun. I dropped some science on him and figured he would do what he will with the advice.

Fast forward to the start of this season… there he is with a craigslist bike, a license, turning hot laps, and getting a ton of encouragement from his son. He admits to having a long way to go (his gates are horrid, natch), but through sheer force of early (and maximum) participation–He is currently leading the state series in 50-54 cruiser!

Nice going Matt (and Malcolm)!

Could it be that easy?

I think so.

I’ve had a few instances myself where friends and friends of friends have approaching me and inquired about getting a bike. Usually it starts with, “I see how much fun you’re having…”

So if you’re concerned about “growing the sport”…talk to your friends about BMX…and build them a bike if you have spare parts lying around.

Spread the word and get your friends out riding. Once you do that, this “growing the sport” business will take care of itself.

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Custom forks: now available from S&M

27 07 2011

After the success of their custom frame program, and more recently the introduction of custom handlebars, S&M has added another part to their custom lineup: forks.

Brake mounts, no brake mounts, different finishes, XLT and classic styles…you name it they’ve got you covered. (There’s even a 22″ version available…if you’re into that sort of thing.)

If the off-shelf options don’t work for you or if you have very specific needs or preferences…this is great news.

Check out the S&M Bikes site for more details.






(Really) old guys who ride

22 07 2011

Spotted this on the Red Division blog: a post about the 61 & over Cruiser class!

Talk about inspiration…I’ve gotta hand it to these guys…I hope I’m still out there mixing it up and having fun on my BMX bike in my 60s.

Here’s a couple pics of the guys in the article.

Craig Page (61)

George Williams (63)

It kinda proves the old adage:

We don’t stop riding because we get old, we get old because we stop riding. 

Cheers to all the (really) old guys that ride…it’s awesome to see you guys on your bikes having fun and proving that the thrills and excitement of BMX never gets old.





4130 Subway Series set to hit Vegas

20 07 2011

This September, the 4130 Subway Series is going on the road and hitting Las Vegas. The ride is happening the same week Interbike is in town, on September 17.

With a who’s who of BMX and bicycle industry types in town, you never know who might show up.

And it’s Vegas.

This might get rowdy (in a good way).

The 4130 Subway Series is pure BMX. Believe it.





Friday flashback

15 07 2011

Back in the 80s,  freestyle-oriented 24″ bikes just weren’t available.  The only 24″ cruisers on the market were pure race machines.

Fortunately, that didn’t stop the  BMX Action test team of RL Osborn and Mike Buff from taking the race bikes they were testing, like the Robinson 24″ Pro Racer, out to the quarter-pipe to “get better idea of their handling characteristics.”

Check out this spread of Mike Buff from the November 1983 edition of BMX Action. Pure style!

It would be more than a decade after this magazine came out before freestyle/jumping oriented cruisers would make their entrance to the BMX world. Could pictures like this have played a part in planting the seed? Makes me wonder…

If you’re into this type of “back in the day” stuff, be sure to check out Ed Koenning’s excellent, When are you going to get a real bike? blog. A must read, especially if you were a typical BMX kid in the 80s and lived for the day each month when the new issues of BMX Action and BMX Plus! would hit the newstand.





Tested: 2011 SE Floval Flyer

12 07 2011

By Ed Vandermolen

The SE Floval Flyer has been around, in a variety of forms, since the early days of BMX. And despite its long legacy and being produced by one of the iconic brands in the industry, it’s not resting on its laurels. The 2011 version may just be the best incarnation of this classic bike yet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After checking out the wide variety of race completes this year, the Floval Flyer caught my eye. It appeared that SE had really stepped things up this year with the Floval Flyer (full specs here). The classic lines were still there but it was souped up with some great updates that resulted in a lighter overall weight than previous years, upgrades in components and better handling.

A test drive was in order. Or maybe a full-on test?

Yes, that was the ticket. So with high hopes, I contacted SE with my plan. Thankfully they were onside. With the assistance of Todd Lyons and Brett Downs I was able to get a hold of a Floval Flyer to test.

Rocks out of the box

Pulling the bike out of the box, the first thing you notice is the attention to detail. The white parts really pop against the new-for-2011 plutonium frame color. It comes complete with double-walled Alex rims paired with sealed hubs. The hollow axles and flush axle bolts are a nice touch too. Cro-mo 180mm 3-piece cranks, Landing Gear forks and nice front load stem round out the package. After assembling it and taking it for a quick spin around the block, I was already liking this bike…it handled great.
Track testing

However, the best place to test a bike like this was “in the field” at a BMX track. With the first Ontario ABA Provincial Qualifier just a week away, it was the perfect opportunity to see if the Floval Flyer had “the stuff”.  (Full disclosure: I did switch out the bars for a pair that was taller and wider, along with a slightly longer reach stem…I’m pretty tall and would probably do that with any new race bike…the rest of the bike was bone stock.)

When I parked the bike in the pits, people started stopping almost immediately to check it out. Most were stoked on the look of this bike. A number of impromptu test rides ensued, and almost every rider–many accustomed to big name race bikes like Intense and Redline–all dug the bike and how it handled.

Seconds away from transferring to the main aboard the Floval Flyer (pic by Nicky Pearson)

The bike rides bigger than you might think based on the 21.25″ top tube. I grabbed a friend’s  Redline Flight 24 with a 21.7″ top tube for a comparision sake and the rider area felt very similar. The Floval Flyer has a slightly steeper seat angle than other bikes in its class, so when you’re out of the seat it feels similar.

Out on the track is where it really…uh…flys.

People were commenting throughout the day how smooth I looked on the bike. It felt great. Everything stayed straight and true, it was confidence inspiring.

As mentioned earlier, the Floval Flyer has dropped some weight this year–and it was noticeable–it’s not that far off from pricier race bikes with carbon forks. In addition to the light weight, the bike comes complete with 1.75 Tioga Powerblock tires (front and back)..a further indication that this is a serious race machine. I usually run a slightly wider tire in the front for stability but the way the Powerblocks hugged the corner I’m not so sure anymore…their low rolling resistance also made them feel extra speedy.

SE really did a great job on this bike. If you’re taller guy, you’ll probably want to go with taller/wider bars (and perhaps a slightly longer reach stem) but that’s about the extent of the changes you would need to make. If you’re a weight weenie, a couple of easy upgrades can take this already light bike to an even higher level of light-weight race readiness. In terms of race-ready completes, this bike is hard to beat…all you need to get out on the race track is a number plate. And wouldn’t you know it, SE has thought of this too, and included one with the bike.





If you’re going to San Francisco…

7 07 2011

If you’re going to be in San Francisco area next week…be sure to check out the second annual Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) Ride!

Organized by Trent Brocker, it’s going down July 16, starting off at the Clocktower (aka Ferry Building) at 11am.

Join Trent Brocker for the 2nd annual Golden Gate Bridge Ride

And it looks like it’s going to be a blast! There will be giveaway prizes for best endo, longest manual and longest bunnyhop.

Bring your A Game for the endo contest though…Trent has mad bar endo skills (see above) and will be tough to beat!

Contact Trent at chfrcka@yahoo.com for all the particulars.