Every month I get a couple of visitors to this site that find it after googling the words "bmx sluts". There's some optomistic kids out there - at least you really hope they're kids.

But seriously, BMXtec actually comes up in the no.2 spot for a Google search on the words "bmx sluts". Sorry, just a little harmless keyword repitition there. You've got to put in... bmx sluts... work if you want to... bmx sluts... pull that elusive no. 1 spot.

Actually the no.1 spot is going to be a pretty tall order - they really look quite slutty.

Now do it Properly!

You hear a fair bit of old school reminiscing online. You know: That today's frames are too light, top tubes too low, spokes too few. But it's always struck me as backward - like you want your riding to progress, your life to progress and the world to progress, but for your bike to stay the same? It's kind of like your grandfather complaining that the internet is ruining the world and stubbornly writing letters to anyone that'll listen. That horse has bolted.

Heat treated frames, butted tubing, low top tubes, small drive trains, 36 spoke wheels ,small bb's, integrated headsets, cnc'd bridges, micro dropouts, 14 oz cassettes, offset machining, slammed pivotals and integrated seat clamps - There are loads of companies pushing design and new technology to make bikes lighter and easier to handle. Big stuff is still getting thrown down and they're not blowing up left, right and centre.

Anyway, if you still really want a 35 lb bike, 48 spoke wheels, a 44 tooth sprocket and a big padded seat, just go out and treat yourself to a Diamondback Joker - they're cheap too.

Out with the old and in with the new I say.

Proper Bike Co
have been around for a few years now. They don't have a massive range of parts, but it's all designed in-house and they've got their own style going - kind of plain, no frills, but with a tech machined look that doesn't go overboard. And lots of colour of course to feed the machine.

They've also got a team of new school high flyers like Mike Miller and Max Wood who know how to tuck and spin their way round just about anything and I'm sure ain't complaining that their set ups are too light.

Proper's hubs in particular are crazy light. They've got a 369 gram (13 oz) rear cassette that's available with regular or female axle set up. I think it was the original version of this hub that had some problems with the bearings in the driver, but they've solved that by using a ceramic bushing instead. Which, correct me if I'm wrong, I think is a first for bmx. You know that I know that you know what a bushing is, but in case you don't - it's basically just a porous cylinder that's impregnated with a lubricant and so offers a smooth bearing surface. There's more friction than when using ball bearings, but no moving parts and for this reason Proper are saying that for this application it all but eliminates the possibility of failure.

They've got just one frame at the moment, the TTL which is Miller's sig frame and another street prototype on the way. The TTL weighs in at a respectable 4 lbs 7 oz and features most of the details of a modern all purpose frame that seem to get those internet lurkers fired up - butted tubing, removable brake mounts, integrated seat clamp, some cut outs here and there. But if you check this Miller clip out you'll see that there doesn't seems to be any problems with a quick three down a ten set - maybe it's just that he's got about 5kg less jeans than he would have had riding in the 90s.

Their most recent product release is the Microlite stem, which is a particularly nice bit of kit. It's machined out of 6061 t6 aluminium, has a 52mm reach and weighs in at 249 grams (8.8 oz). A range of little details contribute to an original, light weight take on a classic six bolt stem without having it looking like a space ship. I'll let Dave Lombard from Proper do the talking. This is lifted from an ESPN interview with him:
I think it would be a stretch to say that this stem is particularly unique. We tried all sort of unique ideas with pistons and ultimately decided that unique doesn't always equate to better. We ended up with a traditional 6 bolt front load stem with 52mm reach and all the features we liked. It's smaller than most stems, so we increased the clamping area a little with virtually no additional weight. There is a vertical shaft down the centre. We've seen a lot of stems with horizontal shafts in a similar area but we found the vertical option to be stronger. It has a recessed area around the fork compression bolt that allows the top cap to fit flush with all modern forks. It's much lighter than most stems without looking (or being) particularly crazy.
So there you go - Proper Bike Co - Not reinventing the wheel, but keeping it rolling.

...and BMXtec - Keeping closing sentences corny.

This Week In Colour

Those colourful characters at Odyssey have had a big week.

Checking their Daily Word it can sometimes seem as though they drop a new colour kit daily. But in the last week there's actually only been six new-colour-posts. Well, six in the last eight days to be precise. OK, the Chameleon stuff was a repost. And the brake pads? That's not technically a colour, definitely not a kit, but you get the idea. Fourteen colours in total.

Those Taiwanese powder-coaters must just shake their heads imagining what kind of bikes these American kids ride. And they'd be right.

I was planning on giving a fully Odyssey colour tally, but I only got halfway though the trans PCs before I ran out of juice. So instead, here's this week in colour:

Off Topic

Words not required.
See the rest of the pics here

Military Style

Coalition are back!

Hey that's great news. Although I've got to admit, I never knew they were gone. But apparently they were almost out of business for some shadowy reason that is not revealed here.

Anyway, I'm still excited to have them back. They've even brought some new/updated parts and colours back with them. Like this new fangled pivotal technology:

I don't really go in for the graphics option when it comes to part finishes - It's so hit or miss and it means you've got to like the artwork to like the seat. But it's at least a point of difference, and on another stock standard pivotal seat that's sorely needed.

Next up, their hard anodised aluminium pegs. The full details of the finish are given as "uses mil-a-8625 type 3 hard coating per military specs". That sounds like some hard shit. But you've got to wonder, military specification for what? It could be butter knives. I'm sure the peg is hard and all, but the military thing is just not really saying much - a bit of harmless hype I suppose. Good for the gun nuts.

I like the idea of aluminium pegs, in that you can save a bit of weight over steel, but with much better durability than plastic. And this peg is actually just a little different to the other aluminium pegs on the market in that it has about 2 oz extra material. Sounds like that'd increase the lifespan, but these are machined from 6061 rather than the harder 7075-T6. So they're a softer alloy, but with a thicker wall section, hard anodised rather than 7075, but a few dollars cheaper than other ali pegs - the verdict's all yours.

There's also a V2 of their Povah Stem, which looks tight with some extra internal machining and a new knee-saving rounded rear body. All those revisions have shaved off a couple of ounces and it's down to 9.5 oz. While they had the cnc running they've also had a go at their 7075 sprockets - added some cutouts, subtracted some grams.

If you're into handlebars with holes in them (maybe you prefer slots?), then you've come to the right place. Coalition are the purveyors of the original and the finest holy handlebar - the Holy Cross bars. What's strange is that they come with a sticker that wraps completely around said holes so you can hide your shameful light weight tendencies. Just think of it as a 0.1mm layer of polypropylene that protects your manliness.

So there you go Coalition are back and if you're feeling them, please don't be shy. There's no better way to give a warm welcome back than by reaching into your pocket and showing them a bit of light weight love - military style.

Bite on my Pivotal

Fit's got a lookbook up to highlight some of their remarkably un-innovative new parts. I don't know if they've struck some kind of a deal with odyssey or if their PCP pivotal seat is just a ruthlessly shameless bite on the Odyssey Senior 2 pivotal or what but...

If Nuno from Odyssey's tweets are anything to go by, it's a bite.

If you compare the ribbing on the underside of the two seats you'll see that there actually are some differences. And the molding around the pivotal bolt is slightly different. I think that legally, to avoid a law suit, you have to make seven changes to the design of something for it to not be considered a copy. It's something like that. But basically, it's damn difficult and too expensive to enforce anyway.

But back to Fit. There is also their new PCP pedals. Yep plastic pedals that are the love child of Animal Hamiltons and Odyssey JCs. Apparently they were "Developed from team rider input", but you can't really imagine any of their team specifying reflector mounts on their pedals.

Makes you wonder what a that product designer that Fit was advertising for a while back is going to do there. He'll be sitting in a room with a bunch of catalouges.

Anyway, enough negativity and cynicism. Let this be a lesson: If you want the dirty street kids to buy your dirty street stuff, give it a dirty street name. Them PCPs is dope.

Hard Anodised Sprockets?

If you ride motos then you probably know the name Renthal. You might even know that they used to make some bmx parts, at least bars, back in the 80's.

Well they must have got some new management in that have decided to "diversify their market" or something, cause now they're back having a nibble at the bmx and mtb side of things. I guess you could see it as a natural progression for a company that are already making similar parts and already have the production set up for said parts, or you could take the "stick to what you know" approach.

But "outsiders" could potentially bring new idea and production processes into bmx. Take Renthal's new bmx specific sprocket for example, it's 7075 t6 cnc'd aluminium just like 80% of bmx sprockets around, but it features a hard anodised finish that they use on their road and road racing chainwheels to increase durability. It also creates a unique burnt grey type of colour. As far as I know, this technology hasn't been used on bmx sprockets yet and if it increases the life of the sprocket, then it's only good.

19mm spindles only. Sizes: 25, 27, 28, 30, 34, 36, 38, 40T

They've got a real hard machined moto look to them too. And since plenty of bmxers also ride motos and vice versa, there might just be a ready bunch of riders that already know and rate the brand, like the way they look and are prepared to part with their cash. So it's an effort to diversify (read: cash in) that might actually have a chance.

I don't know about this thing though:

It's a downhill stem, so don't get too offended yet, but don't get complacant either - remain alert, there could be a bmx version around the corner waiting to take your money.

Crash Test - Enjoy Your Dinner

There used to be a cool old site called BMX Test that looked like shit, but was really useful. It was basically a database of loads of parts, their specs and reviews by people that had ridden them. Even if there still is an optimistic listing in the links on BikeGuide's homepage, BMX Test is long dead.

But it's still a good idea, so someone had to come along and pick it up... and they have.

There's a newish site called CrashTest BMX where you can read and write reviews of parts on a site that even looks good. The guy that runs it - Ronaldo - has also added in a whole bunch of other stuff too. Here's what he's got to say about the site:

"CrashTest BMX was created for riders to have a place to give their thoughts about the bike parts that they have ridden. Pictures can be submitted along with their personal experience with certain parts, rating it based how long the part lasted with their riding style. They can also submit their experience with local skateparks and provide basic information such as the parks location, price, and if bikes are allowed.

There is also a "How-To's" where any special instructions can be given on basic bike maintenance or custom work can be submitted. CrashTest BMX also has a message board for users to discuss anything within the BMX community. With the hope of growth of the site in the near future, hopefully we can get some video reviews up soon.

Check out the site and let me know if you have any feedback. Thanks guys."

There you go. Like I said it's pretty new, so if you like it, support it.

You could for example put up a review of Wellgo magnesium pedals.

You could tell everyone out there that in an attempt to save around 100 grams of pedals you ran a pair until one of them unexplainedly shattered as you dropped in one day and ended up reducing the weight of your kneecap by about 10 grams. You know, an unbiased review, let them make their own minds up, maybe add a pic.

Enjoy you dinner.

Get Excited!

Hit upon this the other day. It's kind of corny - maybe it's an old school thing, maybe it's a racer thing.
That said, the Comp IIIs that are around now are only rated at max 40 psi - a kevlar bead, higher pressure version could actually be alright.

They've also got this up on their site - another "confidential" scoop. A pivotal version of one of the ugliest seats that you're ever likely to see:

Get excited! It's a fake shit-stained grainy polaroid of a pivotal version of an old seat - The D-Spyder. Sick!

On the up side, at least it ain't the original:

Living the Technicolour Dream

Ben Ward is a product designer at Odyssey and according to them he's "one of the main dudes behind our R&D". If you take a look at his blog you'll see that he's not only working his dream job like a maniac, but he also lives and breathes bmx.

Anyway, he's got a bike check up on the Odyssey site. Of course you'd expect no less than a top shelf Odyssey / GSport / Sunday decked out whip - and that's exactly what you get.

There's a whole bunch of new shit - gold Ribcages, spokes and nipples, the new Four:four bars, a prototype 9t driver and titanium hardware for the Ratchet hub. And the JC PCs in half black, half white.

I'm really waiting on those pedals. Without having actually ridden them, they seem to combine all the good things about plastics with the grip of a pinned ali pedal. And the black/white combos adds another little function in that you can run pins one side, pedal grind the other side and know which is which at a glance.

I'm wondering how they'll be available. They'll be coming as a full set only ie. four pieces fully assembled, but will you also be able to buy a full set of mouldings only ie. no spindles, or even individual mouldings?

Either way there'll be more colour combos than a pile of clothes at a clown orgy. Definitely not a bad sales ploy when you consider how many kids will be buying two or four sets at once to in order to be living the technicolour dream.

I've said before that I'm an Odyssey fan and it's not because they have endless variants of fruity colourways, but because they keep raising the bar and making improvements to the parts that we put on our bikes. Simple concept, hard to do.

Transit Interface

Came across a nice site a while back called Transit Interface that's worth checking out.
It's run by a guy named Eric out of Illinois. He's a designer and rides bmx and fixies. So as you can imagine there's a whole bunch of bike madness mixed up with a load of design stuff - some nice industrial design, fonts, photos etc. Plenty of good stuff.

Stuff like this:

I would like to add that myself or Eric to not condone the above behaviour.

On that fixie note though: Superstar's umbrella company, BMX Groupement, recently release a couple of fixed gears under the brand name Focale 44. And they are damn slick looking. I can't find the specs anywhere, but from memory they're representing their bmx roots with their choice of pedals - no toe clips just good 'ol Odyssey PCs.


S&M: Seats, Guts, Forks 'n Frames

S&M have got some new product shots out to coincide with all those rumours flying around, but I'll stick to the bits:

A very un-S&M looking plastic seat, the P-Rail. Well, it's unlike current S&M stuff anyway. They've hinted at it's 80's roots so I suppose they're ticking some style boxes there. If you can't handle the techni-colour there'll be a padded version too and I'm sure black will make the cut.

Then there is this little adapter they're calling the P-Guts, that'll let you run a railed seat on a pivotal post. It's not a bad idea and really simple, kind of makes you wonder why, or if, someone hasn't done it before. It'll probably cost almost as much as a new seat post, but at least you'll be able to run your seat right back and out of the way with a pivotal post - if you're that way inclined.

Pitchfork XLT Prototypes: Tapered legs and integrated race. Better late than never. In production at the end of July.

Last but not least, the re-issue of the Holmes frame and forks. The head tube and bb shell look pretty slick in their raw machined metal glory and apparently the dropouts pictured are going to be "doubled up". BUT, original geometry?

Spanish Soap Opera

Darcy Saccucci is an admirer of small bottom brackets. And those undervalued bits of tube have been at the centre of untold amounts of net chatter and drama recently as a result.

Darcy is the product designer at MacNeil and the man responsible for the pivotal seat post - one of the biggest design innovations made by a bmx company. There's actually a nice Brian Tunney interveiw with Darcy on the Dig website where he talks about designing the pivotal and the general ins and outs of being a bmx product designer if you're interested. But either way, he's got credentials.

^^ I've been looking for an excuse to use that drawing ^^

Back to the drama: It all kicked off when Darcy made a blog post a while back titled Spanish BBs are the Shit. He just laid out a few arguments for MacNeil sticking with the Spanish set up over the Mid.

Basically he put it down to saving some grams, about a hundred or so when you include the smaller bearings and bb shell, as well as what I suppose you could call "style issues":
"I think it looks way better. With all of the frame tubing diameters getting smaller in the last couple of years the Mid BB looks a little big and bulky."
I mean, I just don't think anyone else really gives much thought to how their bottom bracket shell looks in proportion to the rest of the frame. But I suppose when you spend hundreds of hours zoomed in modelling all the little CAD details of a bunch of frames it begins to get important. Anyway people went to town on this little piece of MacNeil propaganda. There was a SPRFLS post about it and Darcy got savaged in the comments there as well as on the MacNeil blog. Then Darcy made a retaliation post, then another on SPRFLS etc.

It was like a little bottom bracket soap opera. Those humble little machined pieces of tube that work so hard for so little thanks really got their five minutes in the sun.

And despite some comments from industry types like GSport George and JPR from FBM, and a whole range of anonymous and semi-anonymous people geting opinionated, nothing was really resolved and we still have two bottom bracket sizes. Which, as someone somewhere pointed out, is a damn site fewer than road bikes and similar sub-cultures of bicycle enthusiasts.

Can't really blame Darcy though, he was just towing the company line and all. How much say do designers even get? In my experience they just get orders - mostly to do with "cheaper alternatives". Of course I'm sure that bmx is a selfless industry that prioritises quality product over profits with the good of the brotherhood a in mind.

I run a Spanish and have never really had any problems with it. Mind you I also run a 19mm spindle and in my opinion that's probably a more worthy debate to be having - What's the point of 22mm spindles? Aren't they just a left over from the days where heavier was better? If we stick to a single sized spindle the bb stuff should just work itself out.

People were a little lighter on Darcy for the weight saving stuff. I guess like it or not there is no questions that light weight parts sell.

WeThePeople are even putting out a little adapter kit so that you can run Spanish BBs in their Mid shells to save some weight. Here's what they've got to say about that:
"ah yeah and we're also gonna do a new BB version So we can use a Mid BB shell, Alloy out casing and the Spanish bearings - means you can keep the standard BB, but lighten it up if you prefer or are not so hard on bearings"
Weird. It's all about the bb's.

Same, same - 3 New Frames

Three fresh frames to have a look at. Take your pick.

1. MacNeil: Whitton III - Raw is the new black.

Top Tube - 20.75″, 21″
Rear Triangle - 13.65″
Head-tube angle - 74.5°
Seat-tube angle - 71°
BB height - 11.75″
Stand over height - 8.4
Weight - 4.55 lbs

2. Volume: Rob's Zombie

Top Tube - 20.5" & 21"
Rear Triangle - 13.75"
Head-tube angle - 75°
Seat-tube angle - 71°
BB height - 11.7"
Stand over height - 8"
Weight - 4 lbs. 8 oz

No surprises on either of them, specs are pretty standard. In fact not much difference between the two at all - 0.05" here, 0.4" there. Spanish on the Macneil, Mid on the Volume.

The WTP Warriors is a little more interesting:

It's Max Gaertig and Mike Brennan's new frame. It's not actually out yet and I ain't got the specs, but I can tell you that it comes with 21.3 tt option. And, just like Fly's new forks and their integrated dropouts, the Warriors' dropouts are investment cast. Which looks slick, but in terms of functionality, it moves the welds a little further away from the stress points in the dropouts. If you check the pics you'll see that the welds are much smaller than a regular weld. This is because of the tighter fit you can get between the casting and the seat / chain stays when compared to a regular cnc'd dropout. And a smaller weld = less chance of impurities in the weld = stronger weld = nice.

Superstar Plastic Pedals

Told you designers like plastic!
I think I'm right in saying that these things are pretty new, at least these are the 2009 colours:

Superstar's take on plastic pedals. Of course no self respecting bmx company would dare be seen this season without a plastic pedal. I'm still waiting on Odyssey's JC PCs myself.

That said Superstar do have a version of their pedals that has rows of removable steel pins and, like all their products, they've kept packaging to a minimum to reduce waste and environmental impact. So just think of these pedals as PC +.

molded pins = 360 grams / 12.8 oz
removable steel pins = 410 grams / 14.6 oz

2009 translucent colors :
black, clear, orange, green, blue

Designers Like Plastic

Not bmx, but it is plastic - and that's definitely topical. And apparently it's quite light, so it's checking boxes there. Regardless, it's interesting - in a kind of freak show way:

This thing proves how much designers love plastic and that they will attempt to make everything and anything from it.

The guy responsible for this is an industrial designer named Matt Clark. His idea was to make a bike that uses mass production techniques rather than the laborious techniques of notching, aligning and welding tubes of aluminium, steel or whatever. And to combine that with a cheap material such as polypropylene so you end up with a super cheap bike frame that you could pump out in the hundreds of thousands. Theoretically.

An internal ribbing structure of thermoformed polypropylene is heat welded into each half of the frame, then along with a reinforce polypropylene insert in the chainstays, the two halves are fused together to create a cheap and rigid (?) ride.

Definitely no bmx application and possibly no real application at all, but there you go - designers like plastic.

And thanks to Errol at Everyone for the link.

New Fly Fork with Integrated Dropout

I was just sitting here and writing a post about Fly Bikes when this appeared in the feed reader:

A new fork from fly. I don't know if they had put out any info about it during development, but apparently they've been testing it for a few months and it's set to go into production.

No weights or specs yet, but the most notable feature of the fork is the dropouts. Like the integrated rear dropouts that Fly have been working on for a while, they are investment cast. I plan on doing a post on investment casting soon, so I won't go into detail about that, but have a look for yourself:

They haven't done anything particularly fancy, but kept a nice simple shape that looks similar to a regular cnc'd dropout, but used the more three dimensional properties of a casting to have extra material at the point where the dropout meets the fork leg - just where you want it. All in all a nice, simple, under-the-radar improvement.

So that's a new fork from Fly due for sale in September. And two new blog posts from me that I'll hopefully finish some time before then. Good night and good luck.
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