Here we are…at the end of 2016.
A bunch of stuff happened this year in the cruiser world and while I was planning on doing a standard “Top Ten”…it seemed like four key items stood out to me the most out of all the possible ones that I could highlight.
So, without further ado, the top four cruiser news stories of 2016:
4. The 22″/OS20 wheel size gained some serious momentum this year.
More complete bike, frame/fork, wheel and tire choices made this a more viable choice for many riders to try. Yes, 22s are more sized-up 20s than small cruisers…but there’s often quite a bit of crossover in riders that are interested in 22s and 24s.
With that being said, I’ve been posting about the 22″ phenomenon as far back as 2010 but given that Cruiser Revolution is a cruiser-focused site, I launched Big & Tall BMX in June to do a better job covering both the growing 22″ scene and 20s that are set up for tall riders. Expect to see more stuff there (on B&T) on this topic in 2017.
3. Collabs, Retros and 26″ Cruisers…this year these trends collided.
These trends were already starting to show legs…but this year, we saw two to three of these trends showing up on the same bike! This was clearly in evidence at this year’s Interbike, as well as throughout the year. The Shadow Subrosa collab was one, GT’s 26″ Pro Performer, the SE/Public Enemy Big Ripper…the list goes on.
2. The mellow head angle/disc brake-equipped 24.
Combining the mellow handling of a 26″ dirt jumper with the “flickability” (is that a word?) of a 24, we saw versions of this throughout 2016. Graham Stanley’s custom Curtis was the first one we saw in 2016, followed by Roy Sutton’s custom Invictus. Later we found out that an industry icon, Harold “McGoo” McGruther, had bought into the concept via Commonground Bikes. Then we learned even S&M Bikes had developed a version…which they debuted at Interbike.
1. Yess introduces a belt drive cruiser…and wins a cruiser title with it!
Yess debuted a belt drive cruiser in April and it definitely caught our attention. Belt drives had been attempted in the past…but were quickly discarded (due to middling success) for more conventional drive trains. This time, it seemed a more robust version had been developed. But like most “innovations”, the best way to judge it’s success is out in the field.
Well, Yess did it in the most convincing way possible. Yess-sponsored rider Drew Motley rode a belt drive-equipped cruiser all the way to the USA BMX #1 Cruiser title at The Grands! This was the first time a non-chain bike had taken the title. Hot damn.