Sunday, January 23, 2011

An old Kenan Harkin wallride photo at CT Bike Exchange

Kenan Harkin. New York rider. Bicycle Stunts contest announcer. TV commentator. The first guy to pull a 360 backflip. Someone who deserves my respect and yours for pushing and promoting the sport of BMX.

But you could have learned that (in a much more coherent form) on Wikipedia. Why would I regurgitate it here?

Simple: I was cleaning a shelf in my house today, and I found this photo of Kenan tucked into a frame behind another photo. I'm assuming that I shot it (because it's improperly framed, poorly detailed, and slightly out of focus), but I might have gotten it from another 'zinemaker. It's dated June, 1994. Kenan's doing a pretty burly wallride out of the mini ramp during a jam the CT Bike Exchange skatepark in Bristol, Connecticut.

So there you go: an old photo of Kenan Harkin doing a wallride. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The middle-aged BMXer's dilemma: sell my NOS BMX parts, or live in a cardboard box?

It's tough paying a mortgage every month. Especially since I don't have a job. But I'd rather live in my comfortable suburban ranch than a cardboard box on the streets of Newburgh. So I recently made the tear-jerking decision to sell some of my choicest NOS BMX goodies.

I was never going to use this stuff, and I made a hefty profit on the deal. So the end of the world, it ain't. But it was painful anyway. I'll miss basking in the joy of ownership of these unused high-zoot 1980s BMX parts. Don't email for prices; everything's already sold, packed and shipped. Sigh.

NOS A'me Dual grips in grey and white with original box. I always favored Unitrons, so this wasn't so this wasn't much of a heartbreaker.
nos a'me dual grips grey and white

White NOS Viscount Dominator freestyle seat with black GT BMX logo. I liked black race seats, and later black freestyle seats, and even later, padded black "street" seats. In 2011, maybe I'll get a black Pivotal. A white Dominator? It looked good in my stash but it'll look better on someone else's bike.
white nos viscount dominator freestyle seat with black gt bmx logos

NOS Mushroom II BMX grips in white and teal. I've used ODI Longnecks since the 1990s so I understand appeal of Mushrooms. The box and sticker are a nice touch. Goodbye, my 1980s-hued friends.white and teal nos odi mushroom 2 bmx grips in box

With this NOS red Kashimax Aero seat we enter the realm of the painful. It's not painful to sit on these seats, but it sure is painful to sell them. Especially when they're NOS. Wait 'til you scroll down, I'll really be needing a box of Kleenex.
nos red kashimax aero bmx seat

This NOS black Cycle Pro Shotgun II BMX seat is rare and valuable. I hated to sell it. But I never used one in the 1980s so I won't lose much sleep over it.
nos cycle pro shot gun ii 2 bmx seat

Heres a piece of ridiculously cool 1980s freestyle saddlery: a white NOS Viscount Dominator seat with gold GT BMX logos. Bon voyage.nos white viscount dominator seat with gold gt bmx logos

Send me a sympathy card. I'm about to cry myself a river. I rode a black Kashimax Aero seat throughout my 1980s BMX "career". In 1985 they cost $9.95 in any bike shop; NOS examples today sell for 25 times that much. But I had two NOS black Aeros in my stash, and I'm keeping the other one. So while selling this seat left an aerodynamic hole in my old-school BMXer's heart, I'll live.
nos black kashimax aero bmx seat

As a kid, I dreamed of owning a pair of KKT AMX pedals. But I went straight from Team Murray Rat Traps to Suntour XC-II's. I still have the scars on my shins to prove it. While I never did own those coveted black AMX's in 1983, this NOS gold pair brought some sunshine into my life 25 years later.
nos gold 9/16-inch kkt amx bmx pedals

NOS gold-anodized KKT FMX Lightning BMX pedals with 9/16" spindles are worth good money. And that's why I sold them. Reluctantly. Sigh.
nos gold-anodized kkt fmx lightning 9/16 bmx pedals

Blue is beautiful, and if these KKT FMX Lighting pedals were used, I'd rebuild them for a survivor bike. They have 1/2" spindles, and I prefer Takagi one-piece cranks on 1980s builds. But I never use NOS parts, so these are just sweet aluminum alloy eye candy, anodized blue. Now that I sold them, I'm blue too. Boo hoo.
nos blue 1/2-inch kkt fmx lightning bmx pedals

To me, this NOS gold-anodized Dia-Compe MX-900 brake caliper is a "never woulda used it then, never gonna use it now" part. So it wasn't too hard to put it in a Priority Mail box and let the next guy enjoy it. It sure was pretty though.
nos gold-anodized dia-compe mx-900 bmx brake caliper

My first BMX bike--a Team Murray X-20R--had front and rear black Dia-Compe MX-1000 brakes, which was a big deal for a cheap toy store bike. And the MX-1000 brings back a lot of fond memories. But like its little brother above, this NOS gold-anodized MX-1000 caliper served only to bring me the joy of ownership. So I took it out of the stash, sold it and sent it on its way.
nos gold-anodized dia-compe mx-1000 bmx brake caliper

Last but not least, these NOS red Shimano DX pedals with sought-after 9/16" spindles are gorgeous. I didn't uses DX's in the 1980s; I could never believe that they'd grip the bottom of my shoes as well as my beloved Suntour XC-II's or SR Beartraps (I've since learned that the secret is the little pins). My friend Mike had DX pedals on his Dyno; to me they always felt weird. So although every BMX pedal on the market today owes the legendary DX a debt, I didn't see myself doing anything with these, except drooling over them. And with a tear in my eye, I set them free. Goodbye, beautiful.
nos red-anodized shimano dx bmx pedals with 9/16-inch spindles

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finding Vintage BMX Treasure in the Trash

Take a look at this vintage BMX bike. It has all the hallmarks of a low-end 1980s ride. A chrome frame that looks like every other chrome frame. "Welds" that make a pile of goose poop look good. One-piece steel cranks to go with the one-piece steel sprocket and one-piece steel seat post clamp. Cheap CW-style knockoff handlebars that are quite obviously bent. I've been told that it might be a Schwinn Predator; I won't argue with that. It does have style. It has "the look". But it is what it is: bottom of the line.

cheap vintage bmx bike with white freestyle tuf neck

However...

Those of you who know BMX history, the ones who have a sharp eye, will know instantly why I bought it (at a metal recycling yard for a whopping five bucks). You will see what I saw and you will say "damn, I wish I'd found that."

cheap vintage bmx bike with white freestyle tuf-neck

What am I talking about? What makes this wobbly mild-steel relic worth pulling out of a pile of discarded tractors, lawnmowers, car fenders and washing machines?

cheap vintage bmx bike with white freestyle tuf-neck

This does.

white freestyle tuf-neck

In case you don't know what that is, it's a white freestyle Tuf-Neck. In pretty good condition. Worth exactly $52.77 on eBay. (Yeah, I sold it; I tend to build race bikes so I didn't really see myself using it for anything.)

Of course, I didn't forget about the white braced lay-back seat post (also, I think, by Tuf-Neck), but unfortunately that's bent. The seat is generic, but it isn't too bad; I can use it on something else.

cheap vintage bmx bike with white freestyle tuf-neck

And if you're really paying attention, you will have noticed that while the front wheel was probably stamped out in a factory in the Midwest, the back wheel is an ACS Z-Rim laced to an ACS Z-Hub. Even the grips were real Mushrooms; unfortunately they'd deteriorated into sticky black goo so I had to cut them off and throw them away.

Here's one more photo of that sweet Tuf-Neck. Not bad for five bucks.

cheap vintage bmx bike with white freestyle tuf-neck