30 Moments From the 2017 Grands

December 1, 2017 by · Comments Off 

31 Moments form the 2017 USA BMX Grands
Writing the Grands story has always been a grand challenge. SO much takes place over the two days of racing, let along the ROC and the Thursday practice.

Instead of reciting pages of finishes, Romper Room style, we distilled our experience down to the following 30 highlights. Read more

Yess BMX 2017 Grands Concept Frame

November 20, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Yess BMX 2017 Grands Concept

Over the past several years, it’s almost as traditional as goodie bags and gravy to see the release of the latest concept bike from Yess BMX, served up fresh, right here on News, before its debut at the USA BMX Grands.

This year, we had a little appetizer to the reveal, in the form of the UCI rule change for 2018 that will expressly allow belt-driven bikes in BMX competition (but not other disciplines). That restarted the belt drive discussion (boy, did it ever).

That story was a good warm-up act for today’s news, as we reveal, for the first time anywhere, the Yess 2017 concept bike, code named: “Show Stopper.”

It’s a concept that lends itself to belt drive (in that it that does not require a split in the chain or seat stay). But you can slip a chain-driven drivetrain on there just-the-same.

Here is some back & forth with Yess BMX shot-callers Bill and Renny Husada on this project bike, and also the recent online discussion involving belt drive.

Tell us the motivation behind your annual Grands “concept bike.”

With our in-house manufacturing resources, we can contribute to the sport by promoting innovation, not gimmicks. We’ve said this before, but not everything that appears as a “concept” will end up in the marketplace. We like starting conversations about what’s next.

The USA BMX Grands is the “Interbike” of BMX Racing—the time when we showcase what we can do in our shop, and some of our ideas for the future.

We have treated the Grands as such for quite a while now, and seeing other brands showing off their concept work in Tulsa validates our reasoning. Hopefully, it brings things to a new level, both for the industry and the riders coming by our space.

We may or may not have something new to show every year, but we are very excited with what we have to offer this year.

This year, the “Show Stopper” breaks the tradition of what a typical race frame looks like. When critics say “why re-invent the wheel?,” there’s an equal amount of people saying “BMX has no innovation” and is stagnant. From the beginning of time, every inventor has had their detractors, and their fans.

Yess BMX 2017 Grands Concept Bike
Folks will visit the Yess BMX booth in Tulsa to see it in the flesh, but give us a paragraph or two on what you are trying to accomplish with this design?

It addresses few key points that can actually benefit today’s riders.

At first glance, some skeptics may dismiss the design, purely on aesthetic grounds. Just like our Elite World Cup frame, the initial version of which we unveiled as our 2013 Grands concept (the “no seat” bike, BMX News, November 25, 2013).

Today, that model is very successful, with satisfied customers around the world.

For the 2017 Grands design, we evolved last year’s “Jaw-Dropper” concept. The Show Stopper features an “abbreviated” seat stay on the drive side of the frame and, thus, no traditional brake mounts.

Disc brakes are starting to gain momentum in BMX racing, so we committed to building a disc-brake-only frame, allowing us to “abbreviate” this stay, with no separation needed to install a belt.

This design helps Chain drive users as well; you don’t need to separate the chain to remove it. You can carry a spare for popular gear changes without a chain break. Quite handy for traveling athletes.

 What is the one misconception you’d like to clear up about belt drive, as it applies to BMX?

One misconception that needs to be cleared about belts is that they are NOT indestructible. A belt can break, just as a chain can break. The biggest reason belts break is due to mishandling.

For the record, we do not work for, nor are we affiliated with Gates Corporation. Technical questions about the drive system should be directed to them, not Yess BMX.

The belts that Gates makes today are different from the original product initially tested. We’ve already had Gates address one of the initial weaknesses of the system by having them produce a stronger Belt ring. All of these steps will improve the technology, over time. 

There will be more trial and error to come, much like any developing technology.
 Can you give us a peek into any other concept project you’re working on? 

We want to continue moving forward where improvements can be made, but we never make something just for the sake of adding more products to sell. There needs to be a specific performance or ease-of-use achievement in each of those concepts.

There are a few projects on the “finishing table,” back at the shop, but too many items detracts from the “showcase” aspect of the Grands, so we’re focusing on the items that are ready for primetime.

Any final thoughts?

We believe the carbon belt drive has a bright future in BMX racing. Yeah, a lot of people disagree, but a lot of people are keeping an open mind to it.

Building a belt drive frame is not easy. It’s not like building a regular chain-drive frame. It takes a new level of precision and materials-management.

As we mentioned above, the belt drive system, itself, is not manufactured by Yess.  The system is patented by Gates Corporation, an American company located in Denver Colorado. Yess only builds the frame, which uses their system.

What do you think about the comments on the article last week for the UCI Belt Drive released?

We have had a lot of fun reading the comments this-past week, but we don’t understand why there are so many haters. No one is forcing them to use the belt drive, it’s just another option for riders to consider. Of course, we’ve seen similar threads on carbon forks, carbon frames and carbon rims, so it’s to be expected. People are running those items in greater numbers than ever.

Just like in those other cases, haters say carbon belt drive will make riders run, screaming, away from the sport, because it has become too expensive. The reality is that you can get the Carbon Belt “drive chassis” (belt drive compatible frame, tapered alloy fork, and Gates drivetrain, all for around $1,100.00— about the same price as a carbon frame, by itself.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Bill and Renny for giving News the scoop on their 2017 Grands concept. Be sure to stop by the Yess BMX booth when you hit town in Tulsa.

—Mike Carruth

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Yess BMX 2017 Grands Concept