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Is chrome done?

15 03 2019

S&M Bikes owner Chris Moeller may have just sounded the death knell for chrome bmx bikes.

A staple of the bmx scene for decades, a chrome frame was de rigueur for BMX riders in the 80s and remained popular for many right up until the present day.

But with more stringent environmental regulations hitting many chrome shops it’s getting harder and harder to make the business case with continuing to offer chrome bike parts.

This is especially true in California where S&M Bikes is located.

Moeller dropped the bomb on his Instagram last night:

More bad news from the chrome shop. As of April 1 pricing is going up again, and it’s way up this time…50% increase on chrome frames. Get your American made chrome @sandmbmx and @fitbikeco parts ASAP because we’ll probably phase chrome out after March.

Granted, some companies that source from overseas may be able to make the numbers work for a little longer….but word on the street is that regulations are tightening up all over these days.

What does that mean then in the end?

Chrome parts are going to get rarer, what will be available will get more expensive….and if you have plans to get some chrome parts, you better jump on it like right now!

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Thruster makes a comeback…sort of

15 02 2019

Just as the West Coast CABDA show brought some new cruisers for our perusal…the CABDA Midwest show has brought something new (or is it old?) for us to ponder and reflect on.

Case in point, the reappearance of an early BMX brand with a — some would say — iconic frame design.

If you haven’t been tipped off already, I’m talking about Thruster BMX.

But don’t get too excited.

If the early reviews on this new version of the brand are any indication, it looks like this brand’s “reinvention” leaves much to be desired.

Check out what Chris Moeller (of S&M) had to say:

Or industry veteran Scott Towne’s take on it:

A bit sad, considering what could have been…if this was made in to more of serious cruiser (vs. a dressed up beach cruiser).

Oh well, we’ll always have those old school memories…won’t we?





S&M soups up the Speedwagon 24

6 04 2017

Chris Moeller wanted a little more clearance to run bigger sprockets on his race cruiser…so as any good bike company owner would do…he redesigned S&M’s flagship race cruiser, the 24″ Speedwagon!

We got the first inklings of this when Moeller teased a sneak peek pic of the prototype on his Instagram page.

He said wanted to be able to run 42-18 gearing, so he incorporated a monostay into the frame to let him do it (making it somewhat similar to the old 38 Special design).

He followed that up with a closeup pic of the monostay a day later (love me some trans red!)

Now, word on the street is…they’re already available!

You can get them in clear, black, trans blue and trans red!

A chrome option is also slated for arrival in a few weeks.

Hot damn.

 

(Pics: Chris Moeller, Cheap Goods BMX)





Something new, something dusty

26 09 2016

Well, here we are.

After a whirlwind trip to Vegas for Interbike, your intrepid reporter is back with highlights from the annual industry shindig.

You might think I had a list of things I wanted to check out ahead of the big show…and you would be right (I am somewhat professional)… this priority list got blown out of the water when I saw Chris Moeller post a picture of a new 24″ that S&M would be showcasing at the Bootleg Canyon outdoor demo and Interbike later in the week.

As I was in Austin during the outdoor demo, I was a little worried that I might not get to try out the new 24.

When I finally waded through the convention show floor and found the S&M/FitbikeCo booth, it was there…still covered in dust from Bootleg Canyon.

sm-slack-24-right

Strongly reminiscent of what Commonground Bikes is doing, this 24″ features a slack 69 degree headtube, lower-than-typical bottom bracket and a disc brake.

According to Moeller,

A buddy of mine asked us for a 24″ that would ride similar to a 26″ DJ hard tail. He wasn’t into the steep HA and tall BB all BMX 24’s have. So we built an extra for us (and you) to ride

sm-slack-24-left

Now, some companies are a little picky about you handling the displays at Interbike so I wasn’t sure if I should ask to try it out…but then I thought again…this is S&M…if anyone had a blatant disregard for the convention rules it would be them.

So asked.

And they said sure.

So I promptly pulled it out of the stand and took it for a spin at the back of the booth.

sm-slack-24-top-left

I didn’t think I would like it…I typically prefer the steeper head angle and higher bottom brackets of new school 24s…but I kinda dug it.

Returning it to the stand, the rep (his name escapes me) said that they went a little too low on the bottom bracket on this prototype and if they do decide to go into production with this particular frame/style they would probably go a smidge higher.

Pretty interesting.

With S&M jumping on the bandwagon of this style of frame (that Commonground is currently championing) we could be…as I mentioned in the writeup of Sutty’s custom Invictus frame (set up in a similar manner)

on the cusp of a bona fide trend in cruisers with slacker head angles for the dirt-jumping crowd

It might seem a little presumptuous to say that now but with a couple of companies experimenting with/selling this style and a handful of customs  adapting this style…it certainly seems like something is in the air.

 

More Interbike coverage, all this week.

Keep it to this Bat channel.

 

 

 

 





S&M joins the 22″ movement for 2012

7 03 2012

BMXUnion posted a great interview today with Chris Moeller of S&M Bikes talking about his company’s recent foray into the manufacturing of 22″ frames, forks, wheels and tires.

According to Chris, the motivation to create the new line was simply due to friends nagging him to do it:

If my friends hadn’t been so persistent about it, it would never have happened. Once I had one built up I thought it was cool and I had fun riding it

Earlier in the interview, he also said:

The idea of a slightly larger, more stable trail bike for older guys coming off an extended break from BMX or larger riders coming off MTB’s made a lot of sense to me.

In terms of geometry, while still being fine-tuned,  Chris said:

The geometry is about the same as a 20” but with a little more kicked back seat angle. The tires are 22” X 2.125” for now. It wasn’t too difficult scaling it to the larger wheels and we kicked the seat angle back for raising the seat up high to actually ride the bike. Since there are no preconceived TT lengths people are judging it by we didn’t have to worry about that. And if you go to the trails with the seat down it won’t make a difference anyway.

The release date for the 22″ Holmes (fitting name for it’s larger size, natch) is set for mid-summer along with a Revenge wheel-set and tire combo that will be sold separately.

Be sure to check out  BMXUnion  for more on S&M’s new 22″ gear and related musings from Chris Moeller.

Dan Closser airing out the S&M 22" prototype (Pic from BMXUnion)

For related discussion on the 22″ phenomenon, check out these earlier Cruiser Revolution posts:





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.





Dee Snider just wanted to ride

7 06 2011

After rock stardom with Twisted Sister in the early 80s, Dee Snider had to find his kicks in other ways.

One of those ways was BMX.

Snider was a local at Coral Springs BMX in Florida in the early 90s and could be found there, week in and week out, getting his race on.

Dee Snider getting his race on

At the time, Dee was riding a Hutch cruiser but when Chris Moeller at S&M got wind of the rocker’s involvement in BMX, the two ended up collaborating on a signature frame called the Widowmaker (that I posted on recently).

Kind of crazy when you think about it.

Imagine getting up on the gate…and Dee F’n Snider (!) is lined up next to you?

Madness.

(Photo credit: Planet BMX/Color Tuffs Facebook page)