August 16, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I barely had any time to myself, but still found a way to snap a couple of pics. It’s funny how this is becoming kind of a fun chore… if such a thing even exists. I stress out because I need to take snaps, but I really enjoy setting it up every Monday. I am contemplating going over every single picture and setup a short explanation for each… so I can look back at what went on in my year. Maybe next week.
February 11, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I’ve only got one word for this thing: AWESOME!
This marvelously thought up piece of machined aluminum was featured on BikeSnobNYC last tuesday, and from the moment I saw it I knew I had to get myself one. Ahrens made it easy too, you can order a Wisecracker directly from their website and checkout via Paypal.
If you’re like me and only drink stuff that doesn’t come with a twistcap (I sound like such a douche eh?), this is a godsend. As soon as this arrives, my Malum is getting a taste of it for sure, and I’ll be all set to attend all the pompous fixie-riding hipster parties I want.
December 9, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Jared Souneyis a Portland-based photograph and graphics designer who’s done a lot of work in BMX and skate.He has been on both my Twitter friends list and RSS reader for a while now. I can’t recall where I was linked to him, but I do know that the moment I landed on his site, I bookmarked and grabbed a feed: his stuff is tight.
He posted a picture that he took of the infamous Mt. Baldy spot in Cali recently on Twitter, telling us that he was going to get it printed. Upon popular demand from the many BMX/skate twits, he just today let a limit amount of the Mt. Baldy shirts loose for the public to buy, right off of the Yobeat webstore.
The shirt is sick. One of my non-skater and non-biker friends came up to me as I was ordering mine, and asked me what the heck the shirt was. I was expecting the usual “oh… BMX” kind of reply from him as I explained what exactly Baldy was all about, and to my surprise, he actually commented on how rad it look. I agreed, and happily zapped off a couple of dollars from my Paypal account.
Like I said, although I don’t have a number, Jared has said that this is a very limited run, and that it will be the only series, so you might want to hurry up if you want to get one. Buy them here off the Yobeat store.
December 1, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Believe it or not, it is because of Animal that I started to ride BMX. Back in the days in 8th, maybe 9th grade, we used to sneak into the school’s computer lab to watch some random Youtube videos. One day a friend of mine, I can’t recall if he now rides or not, came in and showed us a video entitled “Animal BMX Roadtrip“. I was blown away, and next thing you know I was replacing my stolen hybrid with a BMX, a DK Fury. Ill suited for a freestyle bike, but that’s the best I had access to at the time.
Come to think of it, I never really stuck to Animal for my bike parts though. After talking with bike shop people and other local riders, I was quickly steered torwards brands like Fit, Odyssey, Primo and WeThePeople. The only Animal parts I ever had were pedals: unsealed metal Hamiltons that still are my Kona, and a pair of plastic Hamilton on my current bike setup. That and many pairs of Edwin Grips, which I consider the best thick grip out there. In the non-hardware related, I also emailed an Animal rep about a year ago to get my hands on the wicked Mike Brennan poster they had running a little while ago, which I got laminated and that now sits proudly right over my bed. Otherwise, I’d just check out their site a couple of times of month lusting over the awesome clothes they were putting out, to then be totally turned off by 3ride‘s prices for the stuff.
However I have recently discovered that they have opened a web store of their own, with two extraordinary features: 1) they ship to Canada, 2) the prices are RIDICULOUSLY LOW compared to my LBS and online shops. Without further hesitation, I phoned up a buddy, and we ordered a bit of stuff to try the new e-store out. 96 hours later, I had a UPS box, with no COD border fees (a lifetime first for me) at my door. The contents:
Fine quality products, surprisingly good I’d even say. I knew what to expect from the Flap Ya Jacks, because after all it is a New Era, but for the rest, I had no clue. Turns out everything is solid, made out of quality fabrics and the stitching is clean and solid everywhere; unlike some other BMX stuff I had bought in the past from the now defunct Square One.
Oh and there’s one thing? You’ve probably noticed the INSANE amounts of stickers that was included with my pretty small (100$USD) order. Well I haven’t payed for those… I don’t know if somehow the warehouse guy remembered my name from the emails about the Brennan poster, but holy hell, that is a shitload of free stickers. They even included 3 posters with my order! I was awestruck. That’s what I call kickass customer service.
People (aka Russ from SPRFLS) have kind of been criticizing Animal for going from a respected OG small parts company to a brand that sells almost exclusively clothing. With what I’m seeing in their softgoods… I don’t have a problem with that. According to me, the BMX industry needs brands like Animal who have a respected and established branding to produce stuff that gets attention from the general public.
Anyways, I just wanted to make tender link love to Animal and for making my purchasing experience awesome. If you ever have a doubt on their products, well rest assured, the stuff is legit, and the service is exemplary.
Check out their brand new webstore, buy their stuff.
October 26, 2009 § 1 Comment
If you’ve been following my Twitter, you’ve known it for a while now: I have been craving for a fixed gear for a while now. The interest was spawned last summer when I started reading BikeSnobNYC, which led me to places like Fyxomatosis, Prolly is not Probably, and Trackosaurus Rex. I did my research, look around for offerings other than a Bianchi Pista, because you know, for one it’s pretty expensive, and second, everybody and his grandmother has one. So when Subrosa hinted on twitter that they had a fixed gear in the works, I knew that the stuff was going to be pretty interesting. More information was released about halfway into summer: MSRP was going to be 650$USD, 800$CAD according to my highly unscientific guesstimation. I was ecstatic: a badass fixie from a highly respect BMX brand for under a grand? As soon as the release to public was announced on Subrosa’s website, I immediately inquired at my bike shop.
To make a long story short, there was a pretty important misunderstanding between my local bike shop, Laferte, and Ryder, the biggest Canadian distributor for all things BMX. The price I had been quote was nearly twice the USD MSRP, so I told myself that I’d wait for either the price to drop, or an occasion to go get one in the US. It was out of boredom that I @messaged Ryder in order to verify if I had been quote correctly. They promptly replied that I had been grossly misquote, and were even kind enough to work it out with Phil (the local BMX dude) in order to make my acquisition of the bike more enjoyable. That was 3 weeks ago. Last Saturday, I went to Laf to pick up my latest two wheeled toy.
Super-stiff, all Chromo construction, surprisingly good wheels built out off which feature deep section rims and a sealed hubset, all sprinkled with Shadow Conspiracy branded parts. Ain’t it a beauty?
It feels awesome too: I’ve had all steel bikes before, actually they’re they only thing I’ve ever had, but this one is the stiffest I’ve even TOUCHED. Tall, compact, narrow, I would guess that it’s less forgiving on longer rides but if a minor ass-ache is the cost for feeling literally empowered on the pedals, then make me numb. I wasn’t sure I’d see an improvement on the pedal feel going from an already pretty solid single speed drive train to a fixed gear, but trust me, there is a difference and it’s quite massive. You press harder on the pedals, it goes forward faster, it’s that easy. The new whip hauls ass, no doubt, but one thing I’ll have to get used to is stopping. I realized that I don’t have the tools necessary to mount my brake here in the barracks, so I’ll have to go brakeless for a while, and since I don’t have my foot retention thingies yet, skidding to a stop isn’t all that easy.
All in all, this truly is the ideal bike for a fixed gear noob who doesn’t want to venture in a half-assed 10-speed conversion. It’s really too bad that winter is coming a long quickly, I really would’ve liked to take it out for some longer rides to compare it to my Kona a little bit more.
Check out Subrosa’s product page for more info on the bike, and ask your local bike shop what’s up if you’re looking into ordering one. If a shop nearby has one in stock, do yourself a favor and take it for a spin: it’s a whole different cycling experience that anybody can enjoy.
Again, big thanks to Laf and Ryder for making this happen! I was really blown away by Ryder’s customer service… I’d never expect that kind of customer interaction from a distro, high fives all around.
September 21, 2009 § Leave a Comment
I’ve always considered myself as someone with reasonable goals, means and demands in everything that I do. For example, I’m into computers, yet I’ve NEVER had a flagship PCB product (graphics card or whatever) anywhere near my machine, because it’s just too god damned expensive. Same thing with photography: I consider myself an enthousiast, but I am very contempt with my entry level DSLR and the old hand-em-down all-manual 35mm SLR that used to belong to my dad.
When I bought my BMX bike, I did so in a perfectly reasonable and rational manner. I checkout out how much money I was making at the time, how much money I wanted to put into the sport, what kind of parts I wanted, and then set out to find the best possible bang for my buck, while respecting what I wanted out of my to-be kreigsmaschine.
Up to now, I’ve been pretty good at keeping my original plan as the only plan, and not changing parts for the sake of it. In fact, ever since I called it final, the only slip-up was a set of bars, but that was out of necessity really considering the ridiculous pair of recycled, inadequate grabbers I was using. But now that I have some income again (I had stopped working for a month before starting in the Canadian Forces), I am feeling the urge to spend more and more.
Today I stumbled upon something that REALLY didn’t help my case: ti-upgrade manufacturer BlueSix.
The concept behind the company is simple: it provides the mods that all riders want, but that none of the manufacturers want to give. Now, you don’t have to search these obscure motorcycle modification sites looking for a SINGLE 8×1.25mm Ti bolt that’s the right length for your stem: BlueSix stocks pretty much anything you need bolt-wise. They’ve even got more advanced mods, like female axle conversion kits for some KHE freecoasters and replacment axles that’ll fit just about any popular/standard crank out there. For the color kids: they even stock their products in many colors!
I also like the philosophy that the company has torwards standardization: according to this interview up on BMX Tec, Bluesix also wants to help instore the concept of using 6mm hex keys everywhere (hence it’s name), and converting all BMX hardware to the metric system. It’s about goddamned time that somebody outside of the Commonwealth comes to this brilliant conclusion.
I was pumped on getting a Ti Ratchet axle and some assorted axle bolts, but then reality hit hard. I think this picture is pretty self explanatory:
For those of you who didn’t get it, that’s a 40$ set of Ti bolts mounted on an 80$ stem, which is in turned mounted to a fork steerer held in place by a 140$ headset. This reflects what kind of clientel these products are aimed at: the BMX elite, and weight weenies with lots of money. 40$ might not sound like alot for a cool set of blue bolts, but you know, the stock bolts came free with your stem.
And it gets worst: axles and axle bolts for my Ratchet would cost me a hefty 125$USD, not counting shipping or taxes. I’m really having a hard time convincing myself that this is a useful purchase; do I really want to replace the axle on an indestructible hub that already set me back by 300 loonies? How much sense does a 500$CAD BMX rear hub make? None.
I’m not saying don’t go Ti. Heck, if I were a millionaire, I’d sure as hell be the the first one to build an all Odyssey/G-Sport equipped whip with full Ti conversion and a sick color scheme, just for the kicks and the beauty of the thing. But for me, grams and anodization just aren’t worth the hard earned money that I could be spending on sex, drugs and rock’n'roll.
So anyways, for all you Ti fans out there, let it be known, there is a new sheriff in town, and he’s there to rape your wallet and lighten your bike.
June 17, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Exam period… not much time to update these days. It’s gonna slow down though… hopefully enough so that I can manage to ride my bike and write stuff while working enough to afford a fixie.
Speaking of being able to afford a fixie: I have a new shirt up for sale!
Based off of the éclat logo and font face, this shirt is pretty self explanatory for anybody who speaks French. If not, then éclaté means high. There, you get it.
Get your own printed on demand from my Zazzle store! Just like my other shirt, this comes printed on an American Apparel body-hugging (yet not overly tight) tee. It comes in white for the base price, but add 2 bucks and you can choose from any light color Zazzle offers on this style of shirt! Light blue and pastel green look really nice!
Already ordered one for myself and one for a buddy. I’ll update once I get those. If you order, please do post a link to a photo of you in the shirt on either the comments to this entry, the Zazzle page, or email ‘em directly to me! email@example.com!
Product page is here, base price is a meagre 18.95! You can even customize the shirt to your liking with additional graphics or text or whatever else you feel like!
April 21, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Just in case you don’t read Bike Snob on a regular basis, have a look at this.
After such a mind-blowing video, I dare anyone to make fun of trials. I too have always wondered how urban trials rider got kicks from jumping on stuff all day long, but you gotta admit, it’s pretty darn impressive. This video isn’t your average trials vid either… the dude has some sick street moves, and actually rolls around instead while doing tricks instead of solely going from a low place to a higher one. I’ve never seen anybody do a 180 to ababuca to 180 on something as thin as a handrail with a BMX (2:19), let alone that incredibly sick flair from a tree to flat which would have made Scotty Cramner jealous (3:07).
Trials haters, you’ve been served.
April 19, 2009 § Leave a Comment
I’ve posted something about my Kona Explosif rebuild at the beginning of the winter, right after I had posted a check on what I used to ride as a commuter. Back then, the bike I was building didn’t look like much: the frame looked like shit, which can be understood considering the fact that it’s about as old as I am, but all aesthetics aside, the bike as a whole was pretty much all ass-backwards too; I nearly killed myself about 3 times thanks to my craptasticly inefficient chain tensioner and ridiculously crooked chainline.
Over the winter, I’ve sanded, hacked, spent loads at the bike shop and today, I am ready to present to you the monster that I have created. Lady’s and gents: my commuter.
It used to be a Kona Explosif, an almost legendary XC bike from what the bike shop boys and the internet tells me, but now, it’s a really fast single speed mutant. Here is the parts listing:
Frame: Kona Explosif ’92
Fork: DMR Trailblade 9mm
Headset: FSA Orbit
Crank: Stock Shimano ripped from the Explosif
Sprocket: Blackspire Epic 42t
Chain: KMC 710SL
Tensioner: DMR STS
Pedals: Animal Hamiltons
Stem: 4Rox (generic?)
Bars: Stock Straight Kona’s with Animal Edwin Grips
Brakes: Shimano lever with an almost uncut WTP slick cable and stock Explosif brakes. Back only.
Seatpost/Seat: Stock seat from Explosif
Rear Wheel: 36h Profile MTB cassette laced with DT Swiss spokes to a Sun CR18
Front Wheel: Proper Magnalite 32h (not picture, being built as I write) laced to an Alex DM18
Tires: Serfas Vermin Front, front and back
First thing people see on the bike is the enormous BMX style brake cable. I went on a bit of a frenzy when grinding the derailleur cable stoppers, and without the traditional stoppers to put my cables in, I had to rip the cable off my BMX (which had me running with HUGE bars and no brakes from then to today) and install it on their as best as I could. I cut the cable a bit… but wanting to keep the BMX style brake cable loop, I left lots of it on there. I think it gives it loads of panache.
Otherwise, obviously the paint was redone, the frame in John Deere green and other components in white. All the prep work on the parts really helped: the paint looks awesome and doesn’t chip like other can paint jobs I’ve seen. Take my word for it, the secret for a nice paint job is great attention to prep work, and spraying on several light coats. I got some custom stickers done too, based on the original Kona artwork of the time. Kinda expensive for some totally non-functional decoration, but it gives it a clean look, so whatever.
The only thing that I’m less stoke about on this bike is the gear ratio, at least for now. I’m running 42/14 as of right now. The mathematically inclined will have guess by now that it’s a 3:1 ratio… for someone who just got off the regular urban MTB 36/16 (2.25) gearing, it’s pretty big, so I’m having a bit of trouble torquing my cranks over hills and in strong winds. Otherwise, on level ground and when the weather is optimal, it’s almost scary fast, fast enough to be able to play through moving traffic, which I find is incredibly fun.
Anyways, I’m pretty happy to have been able to recycle my old man’s bike. It cut the costs big time, and I feel that it’s quite special to be riding on something that already has stories of sick rides at local mountain resorts attached to it. Maybe one day I can even pass it on to my youngsters too!
You can check out more artsy photos of my commuter on it’s very own Flickr page.