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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 Plus runs hot and cold on 24s

26 04 2010

Although he isn’t the editor anymore,  I will probably always think of John Ker as the face of BMX Plus! magazine. And now because of his magazine’s seemingly hot and cold treatment of cruisers in recent months I feel compelled to write him this (admittedly tongue-in-cheek)  “Dear John” letter.

John Ker: no love for the 24?

Dear John,

I thought we really had something. After not reading your magazine in what seemed like forever, I picked up your magazine at the local store and noticed you had changed over the years. No longer were you associating with Radical Rick or doing “who’s radder” features….you were actually showing some honest to goodness riding once in a while. More importantly, you showed some love for the cruiser with a couple of 24″ bike tests in 2009.

Your advertisers seemed to have noticed this too. One of them rewarded you with not one, but two 2-page ads for their cruisers.

But your self-destructive nature got the best of you, didn’t it? Out of nowhere in your April issue, you featured an article called Cruising into Oblivion: The Death of the 24.

How could you do this? Both to our fledgling relationship and to your advertisers? For the love of God, there’s a 2-page ad for Redline‘s top-of-the-line Flight 24 in the very same issue that you say 24s are cruising into oblivion!

It makes me so mad…and I imagine Redline isn’t any happier. I wrote a post about it, hoping to salvage things, to help you see the error of your ways and to let you know that 24s are not dead yet. After that I didn’t hear from you for a month.

Now all of sudden, in the June issue it seems that the ‘love’ is back with a 10-page race cruiser shootout. While it’s a grand gesture, after declaring our relationship essentially over, to try to win me back with a 10-page article, it seems just a little to late. I guess you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, right?

I know what you’re going to say, that you’ve changed.

But I’m not sure if I can bury the hatchet just yet. I think you’ll have to prove to me that you want this relationship to work.

How you ask?

A full-on 24″ freestyle cruiser shootout.

I think that’s what it will take to win me back.

So John, what do you say?





Redline runs 2-page Proline 24 ad

13 01 2010

Flipping through the latest edition of BMX Plus! recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find a two-page ad for the Redline Proline 24.

So many companies give short shrift to 24s in their ads,  it’s nice to see Redline step up and recognize that cruiser riders want to see “their” bikes in the BMX mags too. For Redline to do so in a two-page spread makes me respect them even more.

What’s more, I love that they chose the Proline 24 over the Flight 24 for the ad. While the Flight 24 is certainly a sought after bike for the hardcore race crowd (with factory Answer Scythe forks, etc.) the Proline 24 is a simple, well-spec’d bike that works: Chromo forks, Redline Flight cranks…everything you need to win races or ride trails…nothing too fancy, but nothing that needs replacing either.

Even though I’m kind of surprised it wasn’t offered in red, or that cool bronze-y gold of last year, I find that this blue version is growing on me. Great job, Redline.

Respect.