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


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

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rare Photo of FBM's Steve Crandall

Everybody knows Steve Crandall, the wild, wooly, motorcycle ridin', rootin', tootin', red-bike-tabletoppin' HMFIC of The FBM Bikes BMX Empire, Inc. And we all love him. But what few people don't know is that Steve is actually quite a scholarly fellow. And for this exclusive post, I have managed to unearth a rare photo of Steve at his 8th grade graduation. In 1958. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My BMX videos - rehashed once again!

Seriously, Dave, are you still milking your decade-old footage of New England BMXers? Nah, not really. But there are people who read this blog (roughly 2 people a day, awesome huh?) who might not have searched Vimeo. So what the hell, I'll play regurgitate-a-video one more time. If you're looking for a specific BMX rider from Massachusetts, I've listed the names above the videos. Enjoy...again.

Kevin Valentine

Mark Rainha

Bill Bachman, John Maul, Max Lee, Kevin Valentine, Sean Jordan, Sean Maher, Mike "Weasel" Still, Tony Long

Dave Muggleston, Angel (Anjel?) Tejeda-Sanchez

Tom Masterson, Ryan Worcester, Seth Holton, Dave Leib, Larry Bakke, Jared Zorawski, Dave Muggleston, Jared Souney, Charlie Ronayne, Steve Wight, Team Ugly, Joe Grimaldi, Mike "Burger" Burgamaster, Mike Macisco, Brian Yeagle

Mark Rainha, Steve Kneeland

Crashes, Sean Rudzinsky

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mid-school BMX: "Real" Huffy Handlebars

1990s Huffy Chrome BMX Handlebars

In the mid-1990s, Huffy mounted a fairly admirable BMX program, hiring such luminaries as Todd Lyons (current SE retro powerhouse), Jimmy Le Van (Metal Bikes owner and street riding legend) and McGoo (aka "McPoo", RIDE letter answerer). The result was a line of reasonably high-quality "real" BMX bikes, and a much more credible aesthetic on the crappy Huffy BMX bikes at Wal-Mart. As you'd expect, the program was eventually abandoned (because no real BMXer wanted to ride a Huffy), but not before these chrome Huffy BMX handlebars rolled out of the factory in Taiwan. They're not department-store junk; in fact, they're pretty well-made, with nice welds, beefy tubing and useful knurling at the clamp area. I'm not sure if they're chromoly; at two pounds, I doubt it, but then again, the tubing is probably .065 or maybe .083, as was the trend back then. This is a pretty good set of bars, and it's evidence that for one brief blip in the 1990s, Huffy BMX meant a little more than mild-steel junk.

1990s Huffy Chrome BMX Handlebars

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BMX Video: Dan Southwell TCU Edit

Dan Southwell sent me a Facebook friend request today. I don't know why people do that, honestly I don't use Facebook for anything except confirming friend requests from BMXers. But keep 'em coming, it makes me feel popular. [Update: I've kinda semi-embraced facebook. It's fun. Fuck you.] Anyway, Dan's an old BMX buddy so I decided to look him up on YouTube and see if there were any videos. It turns out there is one, called "Southwell TCU Edit", so here it is. (There are also some others if you look for them but I don't get as stoked on BMX skatepark edits as I do on street riding videos.) For those of you who don't know Dan, he's one of those kids who's amazingly good on a BMX bike. Way better than this video would lead you to believe, and that's not a knock against the video at all. I'm not sure if Dan's a natural or if he secretly rides eight hours a day, but every scene has a local who gets talked about by awestruck BMXers at the skatepark, and around here, Dan's that guy. The video's also fun for me to watch because it has a lot of my local spots in it. On the downside, the song's played like a worn-out copy of Monopoly, and the clips are a little old; Dan hasn't driven a Mini Cooper in years. No big deal though, most of my stuff on Vimeo was taped in 1998! Behind the lens is a guy named Bob, I don't know if I've ever known his last name but he's made his share of great Dan Southwell BMX videos and he's a hell of a guitar player too. I have no idea if anyone cares about any of this information, so just watch the video already, it's Dan Southwell riding BMX in upstate New York and it's good! Via YouTube.

Bonus trivia: Dan used to be scared to ride at half of these spots, but he managed to "ghettover" it. (Get it? They're in the ghetto. Never mind.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Video: Enjoy The Trick Jam 2010 (flatland BMX)

I lost track of flatland trick names after learning to scuff a gerator in two circles. But we definitely used to have a great time hosting jams in Massachusetts. This Jason Alexnewicus video of the Enjoy the Trick Jam 2010 keeps the spirit alive. The edit could have used a couple brief rider interviews or dork clips to break things up, but beyond that it's a pretty cool watch with great riding by Jesse Puente, Pete Brandt and others. The song works perfectly too. Via Vimeo.

Monday, March 8, 2010

One reason I always wear a helmet while riding BMX

Riding BMX is fun. Crashing and hitting your head isn't. Here's one cautionary tale about why I always wear a helmet:

It was a warm sunny day here in Newburgh. I was riding south on Fullerton Avenue, just past the North Street curve. I decided to bunnyhop from the pavement onto the sidewalk. It was a diagonal hop up a six-inch curb and over a two-foot-wide patch of grass, so easy I could do it in my sleep. I pulled up on the handlebars, and the next thing I knew, I was on my back. I'd made it onto the sidewalk, but somehow I'd caught my rear wheel at an angle and been thrown sideways. At least that's what I think happened. The back of my head had hit the concrete so hard that if I hadn't been wearing my helmet I probably would have woken up in the hospital. I wasn't grinding a big rail or jumping a set of monster doubles; I'd slammed my head into the sidewalk on a simple six-inch bunnyhop that any novice BMXer could do. Luckily I was able to get up, shake it off, and finish my cruise with a half-hour headache and a bit of whiplash. I'm not going to tell anyone to wear a helmet, but this story is just one reason I try to never ride without one.

It isn't BMX, but it is the best thing I've ever seen (this week anyway)

I spotted this while doing some "research" on YouTube for another blog project. I don't know what it is, where it came from, who's the guy, what's the song, or why he looks like a homicidal maniac. And it has nothing to do with BMX, so it really doesn't belong on a BMX blog. But it is fucking awesome.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How to Pack a Bike for Shipping

how to pack a bike for shipping

I wrote an eBay guide a while ago to show people how to pack bikes for shipping. It's had 35,000 views, so it dawned on me that I might want to host the guide myself and make some AdSense money. So here it is: how to pack a bike for shipping. Enjoy.

Mid-School BMX: S+M Next Generation Dirt Bike

s+m next generation dirt bike

After breaking every frame he rode in the 1980s, Chris Moeller decided enough was enough and designed the first true dirt-jumping frame, which became the Dirt Bike. It had beefier tubing and thicker dropouts than other bikes of its era, and Chris's company, S&M, used its underground image to develop a loyal following.

Rooftop Demolition Video

In the early 1990s, there was a 16-year-old kid helping to redefine street riding. That kid's name was Rooftop (née Mike Escamilla) and he put tricks like fence stalls, roof drops and rails to barspins on the map. He also backflipped over the spinning blades of a helicopter for MTV, did the world's first (and probably only) rail to backflip, and appeared on LA Ink pouting on a date with a hot chick. Rooftop is a legend, and I've always been a fan. This Demolition edit shows that he's back and riding as hard as ever, and he's one of the few guys still using front brakes. For some reason though, my favorite part of the video is at the beginning when he pops up from behind the old guy. Via TCU.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One reason I kinda miss Massachusetts...Bone Deth premiere at Dick Maul's Bike Shop

I love living near the banks of the mighty Hudson, but stuff like this makes me want to head east on I-84: the Bone Deth premiere at Dick Maul's Bike Shop. I missed that, I'm gonna miss Maul's Brawl tomorrow, will 2010 be the year I take a road trip and do a feeble at Copley? We'll see. Via TCU.

FBM Video: The Flying Ginch Bros.

I'm not sure which Ginch Brother is which, but there are some awesome turndowns and a gorgeous slow-mo turndown-three in here, plus a guy jumping over a bush. What more can you ask for? This edit of Adam and Garrett Guilliams (and Kenny Horton) makes BMX look the way it should: fun as fuck. Via FBM.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Vintage BMX: 1991 Redline 720

1991 redline 720 bmx bike - full view

This was probably Redline's top-of-the-line BMX bike in 1991. And it has plenty of great features. 100% chromoly frame and fork, Forklifter handlebars (with mounting tabs for a Forklifter number plate), Flight 401 cranks with Flight chainwheel, and Odyssey Pitbull brakes and lever. I bought this on eBay a couple years ago so I could part it out and make a few bucks. But it was such a nice bike that it took me until now to get out the wrenches.

1991 redline 720 bmx bike - front view

1991 redline 720 bmx bike - frame detail

1991 redline 720 bmx bike - redline flight cranks, flight chainwheel and odyssey triple-trap pedals

Early Jim Cielencki Wallride Footage

When I taped this footage at Tony Zanni's ramp complex in 1996 (or was it 1995?) there were two things going through my mind: "who's this weird-looking old guy doing wallrides?" and "wow, this weird-looking old guy is really good at wallrides!" Today, Jim's a legendary pro and company owner, and I want to buy one of his frames. Still, no matter how well time has treated Jim, some things never change: street riding on a cruiser is as gay in 2010 as it was fifteen years ago. Sorry man.

Bonus info: the band in the background is Moment of Truth, fronted by Greg Walsh of Coalition.

Vintage BMX: Redline 320

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - full side view

This Redline 320 isn't exactly the cream of the crop of vintage BMX. It's in rough shape, I got it for free, and since it dates to 1991, it could be argued that it's not "vintage" at all. But it's definitely a good example of the way bikes were built in the good ol' days. Thin tubes, nice welds, quill stem, threaded one-inch headset, no 990 or V-brake mounts. And in 1991, a kid would have been just as excited to get this Redline as a kid today would be to get the latest Fit complete.

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - full front angle view

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - frame detail

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - front view of handlebars and stem

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - stem detail view

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - seat post clamp detail

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - rear hub, freewheel and dropout

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - front end, stem, headtube and gusset

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - rear dropout

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - seatpost clamp detail from left

1991 redline 320 bmx bike - front hub, dropouts and axle pegs

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ralph Sinisi - BMX makes it to "World's Dumbest Daredevils"?

ralph sinisi - bmx on world's dumbest daredevils

Even if you've been living under a rock for the past ten years, you've probably still seen Dave Parrick's epic BMX video Nowhere Fast, in which Ralph Sinisi breaks his leg, and (according to Greg Walsh) keeps on riding because he's so stoked to be taping for the video. Somehow, the footage ended up on World's Dumbest Daredevils 9. It's pretty ridiculous to hear a C-list celebrity try to make Ralph sound like a boob on national TV, but hey...seeing BMX on TV is always cool. I hope someone got paid though. And for the record, Ralph is not dumb, he is awesome.

ralph sinisi - bmx on world's dumbest daredevils

ralph sinisi - bmx on world's dumbest daredevils

ralph sinisi - bmx on world's dumbest daredevils

ralph sinisi - bmx on world's dumbest daredevils

ralph sinisi - bmx on world's dumbest daredevils

ralph sinisi - bmx on world's dumbest daredevils

Randy Taylor Tailwhip, Kareem Williams 360

This is old as hell, but writing about Walter Pieringer got me thinking about his cover phot of Randy's tailwhip, so I looked it up on YouTube. It's still amazing. Has anyone gone bigger yet? I'm not sure what's scarier, Kareem's 360 or Randy's whip. I'll say the 360, he looks like hes going super fast. Check out the clip.

OMG, I'm on ESPN (or "The Demise of Turtles: Boston's Best BMX Spot")

larry bakke tailtap at legendary bmx spot turtles, photo by jared souney
(Larry Bakke tube-tap. Photo credit: Jared Souney)

No, I'm not nearly self-serving enough to use a photo of myself for this post. So check out this awesome Jared Souney shot of Larry Bakke tail-tapping the tube at the legendary (and long-since-destroyed) BMX spot called "Turtles". This is significant because a) it's a great photo and b) it took Larry quite a while to get this trick dialed, and he was pretty pumped when he pulled it. Now if only I can convince him to sell me his vintage Redline RL-20II. The point of all this is that Jared wrote a piece for ESPN about Turtles, and Turtles was the best BMX spot on earth before it got plowed, and the story includes a killer photo of Sean Rudzinsky boosting and tucking. And oh yeah, I'm in there somethere too. So go check out the story already!

Some of my favorite BMX photographers

an 'artistic' rearrangement of the dig bmx photo issue cover

Dig BMX Mag recently released their annual Photo Issue. And by "recently" I mean "two months ago" (what can I say, it's from the UK and I buy it at the newsstand). The issue has some fantastic shots. Standouts for me were Ricky Adam's photos of Jim Bauer jumping over a Lamborghini Countach and Rich Wilson airing the roof of the Little Chef restaurant; Jeff Allen's piece about his Polaroid Land Camera (I'm an eBay guy so I like valuable old stuff); Dolecki's shot of Shad Johnson next to a General scooter in front of a vintage BMX magazine collection (!); and Joe Rich's photo of Tom Dugan stylishly tucking over a big rail. In the spirit of Dig's celebration of BMX's lensmen, I decided to post a rundown here of some of my favorite photographers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

BMX in the Snow - Part 1

Last week, New York got walloped with more than a foot of snow. I don't know what was worse: two days without electricity, or four days without cable and internet. At least let me read TCU by candlelight, right? But the crisis is over, my creature comforts are restored and the five-foot-tall drifts are melting fast. Winter weather doesn't really stick the way it used to.

But when I was a kid in New England, the snow started falling in November and the last piles didn't disappear until April. We had a big shed in the back of our yard, with an eight-foot roof. In front of that was a mountain of snow, the result of several snowstorms worth of driveway-plowing. There really wasn't enough room on top of the shed to pedal a bike, so I did the next best thing: grabbed a spare set of handlebars, pretended I was riding, and jumped off the roof into the snow. It was goofy. It was fun. And as a kid, it seemed like a huge leap.

25 years later, I only go on the roof to clean the gutters. It's therapeutic and necessary, and it's kind of cool being able to walk on my own roof whenever I want, but it's just not the same as doing a gnarly handlebar-air and ending up waist-deep in snow.

Sundays with Davey 3

Just saw this on Vimeo: a cool edit featuring Ryan Paulson, Davey Watson, Austin Gilmore, Darin Reid, Genarro Nappo, Kevin Toth, Auzzy Chris, Ryan Majetski, and Travis Lyons. The vibe is friends-having-a-good-time, with some interesting manuals (yes, I love manuals!) and trails that look really fun. Standout clips for me were the 180 to reverse manual to 180 over the ledge, even if he dabbed his foot; the curved ledge manual to quick drop to 180; and the quick manual to wooden rail ride.

screen grab from 'sundays with davey' bmx video

screen grab from 'sundays with davey' bmx video

screen grab from 'sundays with davey' bmx video