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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.

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BMX superheroes at Woodward West

17 03 2010

Looks like Steve Swope is once again gathering the Superfriends (Old school BMX stars) at the Justice League (Woodward West)  to fight the forces of evil (for the Old School BMX Reunion).

The invite list features a “who’s who” of 80s BMX legends. Just check out the list of invitees for an instant Freestylin’ magazine flashback. Should be an awesome weekend…I’m really looking forward to checking out the photos and video from the event.

Former Plywood Hood, Brett Downs was there last year and clicked this sweet turndown on his Model-C to commemorate things.

Turndowns are just timeless, aren’t they?

It’s all going down Friday, April 2 – Sunday, April 4. Check out Kickstand BMX for all the details.

For more pictures from last year’s event, check out b dubbs photostream on flickr.

For the theme music I imagine them playing when they enter the building, click here.