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Editorial: John Paul Rogers Podcast

June 9, 2017 by · Comments Off 

John Paul Rogers on Dale Holmes PodcastEarlier this week, Dale Holmes recorded an episode for his “High-Low” podcast show featuring long-time BMX industry legend, John Paul Rogers.

I was looking forward to this episode since Dale told me about it a few weeks back in Nashville; JP and I just-missed each other in terms of our respective California adventures. If my understanding of the timeline is correct, he got there in late 1988 or early 89, and I pretty-much checked out of the BMX scene in March of 89, returning in March of 2008.

Two-hour podcast episodes are usually too long for my taste; I prefer to keep it to about an hour, both for listening and for our Announcers Tower podcast, here on News.

But, I have to admit, this was one I wish could have gone another hour—JP tells his stories in a way that keeps you smiling between belly-laughs, and provides plenty of useful detail into the outlines of history we have sketched in our minds.

The first hour or so of the episode was good-ol-days stuff, and we strongly encourage you to listen from the beginning; there is some true old-gold there.

But the purpose of this editorial is to give a tick-tock of what he covered, vis a vis present-day BMX Racing, and his opinions on some relavent topics therein.

We include some of our own notes on the points, and will include the embed to the show at the bottom, so you can listen along.

PARENTAL ADVISORY – This episode contains explicit language and adult themes. It may not be suitable for younger listeners.

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Timecode – Topic

1:11:29 – Pro Racing is not an asset; does not bring riders in.

1:12:38 – What Freestylers think of BMX Racing

1:13:54 – SO much potential for BMX Racing

1:14:11 – Why are tracks so big?

1:15:30 – Elite Women

1:17:34 – Dale Asks: “Would Freestyle shot-callers get interested in BMX Racing?”

1:18:13 – On Greg Hill

1:19:15 – The only ones who have done independent events are freestyle guys

1:20:10 – BMX Racing is “Elitist” and exclusive.

1:20:23 – Racing’s Appeal to kids

1:20:50 – USA BMX Develop Pump tracks

1:22:43 – Smaller events

1:23:44 – They should have dirt jumping competitions at pro events.

1:24:03 – 100 pros, 100 amateurs and their families in Dirt Jump

1:26:00 – Reconnecting with the rest of BMX

1:26:19 – Faction Magazine

1:27:41 – Magazines and media

1:30:39 – “The money’s not bad” (in BMX Racing)

1:31:00 – “How can racing get big hen you’re only in 12 cities?”

1:32:06 – Pros should race for “$1000 per weekend x 40 weekends”

1:33:13 – Racing needs to “reconnect” with freestyle

1:34:15 – Talk about the freestyle brands, and bike sales numbers

1:37:24 – Prediction: 2020 will be the last Olympics for racing

1:42:36 – Talked to Mat Hoffman about UCI involvement in Freestyle

1:44:02 – Baffled USA BMX did not take up freestyle in North America
Editor’s Note: USA BMX *did* take up the cause of UCI BMX Freestyle in North America. It was big news last year, which we covered here on News, but we have not heard a peep about it for almost a year. Historically, freestylers want NOTHING to do with anything related to racing–even though, ironically, many top freestylers have racing roots, the rank-and-file do not, and want to stay as far away as possible from racing.

My take:

Many of the points above are JP’s opinion on a given person or topic, and we’re not going to nit-pick those.

Much of this discussion was taken from the pro point of view (talking about the number of stops on the USA BMX tour, and pro payouts, pro events and like-that).

But I felt compelled to weigh in on a few of the points concerning how BMX Racing should proceed in the future.

The concept of bringing the various BMX disciplines together (shoe-horning racing into the world of dirt, vert, park and/or street) is an interesting concept, but the reality is that it never really works in practice. The CULTURE of these groups are so different that it’s an oil & water scenario, with the rough and tumble freestyle crowd— PBRs in hand— dodging in and out of racing families walking to the moto boards or starting gate. Introducing that dynamic into national BMX Racing events would be, in my opinion, the worst possible thing for our sport, from a cultural point of view.

At root, BMX Racing is a family sport. Try-as-some-might to build it into it a spectator sport, an Olympic Sport, a Professional sport, a TV sport, etc.—it can be all of those things—but above all, BMX Racing is a family sport, in a way that the freestyle disciplines never will, or want to, be.

Yes, the freestyle events have lots of spectators, beer sponsors, etc. I’m not knocking the vibe or the setting for those events. But I, for one, would not want to see BMX Racing blended into those events–apart from a few choice instances (Sea Otter, for example, or if someone decided to stage an all-BMX “festival” of some kind).

A BMX Racing renaissance will not be found on the coat-tails of Freestyle this time (JP was correct that, in previous booms, this was the case). This time, we are really going to have to do it on our own, via the grassroots. We know from history that the pro and upper-echelon levels do not work to grow the sport by playing-up its extremes.

Let’s grow the grassroots to 100,000 or 200,000 participants in the US, then use those numbers to take things to the next level, then the next. THAT is the new paradigm that BMX racing needs to devote energy to. Because, by doing that, the culture of our sport is within OUR control, and we are not forced into a “take or leave it” choice by bringing non-racers into racing events, and introducing dozens of freestyle brands into our already-crowded ecosystem. We don’t really need them here; the BMX racing brands have things more-than-covered.

Don’t mistake the difference of my opinion with what was said as being “anti-change.” I think we MUST evolve BMX Racing in order to shape it into a program that works for the modern era. Between JP, Dale and many of the other voices out there talking about evolution, I line up with many of their points. I just think the evolution starts at the place we have paid the LEAST attention to over the years: grassroots. THAT is where we’ll find our 100,000 participants, not via bringing freestyle and racing together at nationals.

Big props and thanks to Dale and John Paul for a very entertaining and enlightening show! Can’t wait for part 2.

—Mike Carruth

Top Photo: via DaleHolmes.com, via Facebook. No photo credit available.

Links

John Paul Rogers Podcast on DaleHolmes.com






BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Greg Hill Announces GHP is Shutting Down

March 14, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Greg Hill announces closing of GHP

BMX frame manufacturers are having a tough time nosing their way to the front of consumers’ minds lately. The massive influx of dozens of garage brands into the fairly-small BMX Racing marketplace over the past couple years leaves smaller slices of an already-small pie for which BMX Racing brands can compete.

Still, it was a big surprise to the BMX community when Greg Hill announced, on Sunday afternoon, that that he was shutting down the GHP frame brand after the current inventory is gone. The brand had seen three appearances on the BMX market, the first dating back to the 1980s, during the heyday of Greg’s storied racing career. This time, it was a 12-year run.

Here’s what he said in the Facebook announcement:

I am getting asked if were blowing out frames to make way for new ones, the answer is no. Basically, with over 150 different brands in the frame market it’s simply not a healthy market to be in.

We’ll be selling out our current inventory and moving out of the frame business and closing GHP down.

I appreciate all of your support this past 12 years it’s been fun, thank you all once again.

Immediately, everyone was writing “RIP” posts like the man, himself, had passed into the great beyond. Thankfully, nothing like that is the case. It’s the end of an era, to be sure. But, as the saying goes, “one door closes, another opens” (or something to that effect).

Greg, did not say he was getting out of BMX entirely-—only that the GHP brand of frames was shutting down. It remains unclear, but he still has his REMIX line of parts, and his Speed Seminar clinics, as many happy customers can attest.

BMX News will keep an eye on what’s next for our long-time friend, as he starts his post-GHP work. He did say, in another post, that he was writing another book about his life, so we will look forward to seeing that as well.

—Mike Carruth





BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

The GHP BMX Racing frame brand is shutting down

Box Components Partners With UCI

February 15, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Box UCI BMX Number Plate

Box plates have been a fixture on the UCI circuit for a couple years now. But this week, their partnership took on a higher meaning, as Box became an official UCI partner. With the UCI Worlds happening here, on home soil in 2017, it’s oh-so-perfect that this new partnership gets started in 2017. Read more

Phil Maxwell is New Box BMX Brand Mgr.

November 16, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Phil Maxwell is Box BMX Brand Manager
There are a handful of guys still involved in the sport today who have roots dating back to the early days of BMX. Phil Maxwell is one of those guys. Unless you were around in the 70s, or happened to seek out a sponsorship more recently with one of the companies he was involved with behind the scenes, you may not know Phil—but trust us when we say, he is one of the movers and shakers of our industry.

Today, Toby Henderson, another one of those “early roots” guys mentioned above, announced that Phil would be joining Box Components as BMX Brand Manager.

Here’s what Toby told News about Phil’s addition to the team:

As we head into our fifth year as a brand, Box Components is proud to announce Phillip Maxwell as our new BMX Brand manager. With all the changes at Box in 2016, such as our MTB Product development and passing the torch of the Promax brand to QBP so we can better focus on Box, we really needed someone in-house to focus 100% on BMX Race, other than myself.

After a grueling interview process only ONE name rose to the top, Phil Maxwell. Although he will be wearing many hats Phil’s primary duties will include Sales, Marketing and Athlete Support.

Box Components’ commitment to BMX Racing has been shown through our financial investment into products, marketing and athletes over the last four years, and Phil will now lead our team into 2017 and beyond.

He will also be heavily involved with product development, as he will have his eyes and ears on what is relevant at the track.

Phil will be supported by the full staff here at CGI and I will remain here are HQ, overseeing the full operation, most specifically, our ongoing development of innovative performance-enhancing products.

More big news will be announced next week as Phil settles into his position officially on Nov 28th.

We also hit Phil up for a few questions on his background and plans for the Box Brand in 2017:

Tell us a little about your history in BMX Racing

My first experience with BMX happened around 1974/1975. Some guy was going around town, talking about holding a Bicycle Motocross race in a local park. Me and my buddy, David Ynzunza, maybe the Smith Brothers also, ventured to the park.

This guy had outlined a course with wooden jumps and a mud hole. I cannot remember how I finished but I was hooked! I raced locally at both Azusa tracks, Covina Valley BMX, Monrovia, La Mirada, Irvine, the Teen Center in Van Nuys, the list could go on. Surprisingly, I did really well, racking up a few hundred trophies and earning a bit of a name locally for myself. In 1977, I was approached by Jag BMX (A division of Mongoose Bicycles) and rode as a Factory Rider, this is where I met Tuni, Sewell, Hopkins, Brackens, the Roker kids, Atherton, Zagers, and more).

I did well on Jag BUT I was more of a soul racer and loved hanging out, and my stint there last roughly three years. I raced on and off through high school and college for fun, never really leaving the sport but hanging out on the fringes.

Over the last 39 years, I have had the pleasure of being affiliated with a lot of brands, either as a racer, employee or in a marketing capacity (Endo Racing Products, TW Racing, Robinson Racing, Brackens Racing Products, GT Bicycles, Redman/Avent/Bombshell, SE Racing, Crupi Parts, 805 Bicycles in Simi Valley, Supercross BMX, Incycle Bike Shop, Bike Alley, KMC Chains, The Hot Shoppe and ODI Grips).

All have played a role in helping me learn the business side of BMX and fine tuning my sales/marketing skills, while keeping my love/passion for the sport burning.

What, exactly does a “Brand Manager” do?
Brand management encompasses all aspects of a given brand. Managing sales, marketing, purchasing and most of all the product exposure. Basically everything relating to the brand. In this case the “Box BMX Racing Division”

What is your vision for the BOX brand now that you’re brand manager?
Toby, Ken, Gregorio, the inside office team and my predecessors (Michael, Michelle, Double D…) have laid the ground work and have/had the vision to make Box the premier components company in the world! I would like to build on this and Toby’s vision for the brand (ie: products, marketing, sales, OEM business, advertising, our BMX team(s), international markets…. to make sure when you want to buy a BMX product; Box is the brand setting the bar and the one you will invest in.

What would you tell a rider or team who wants a sponsorship from BOX?

I know Toby has some plans for the Pros, and we may have some sponsorship opportunities for teams and amateurs to be part of the Box Legacy. I don’t actually start at Box til the 28th, so we’ll have more to say on that after I am officially on the job.

Still, social media is HUGE and getting bigger and better as time goes on. My advice is for an individual and/or team looking for some type of sponsorship support (with Box or ANY company inside BMX or out) use Barry Nobles, Caroline Buchanan and Dale Holmes as role models and benchmarks in making you and/or your team into a marketing/sales/promotional social media machine.

In today’s marketplace, winning is always good BUT having a solid social media presence and following is almost as-important. Stop thinking about the smaller picture (ie: “What do I get”) and start thinking about the bigger picture of what can you bring to the table to help build this company/brand and maximize exposure. I GUARANTEE the rewards for what you bring to the table will pay off for you in the end!

Definitely exciting stuff for Toby, Phil and the whole Box Components crew. Phil, we wish you all the best and look forward to working with you.

—Mike Carruth

Alec Bob Shows off Rexer Rollers

August 24, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Alec Bob and Rexer Rollers
We have been keeping up with the on-track accomplishments of Free Agent’s Alec Bob for the past 18 months or so. He just touched down back at Marian University for another year of advancing the higher mind, AND has been diligently working on his BMX-related company, Rexer Rollers.

The mini rollers he produces are growing favorites among his fellow riders, and he just finished an edit that gives us some of the story behind the brand and its product. We thought this would be a prime opportunity to share it with you, and bring some additional detail to the story.



Speaking with News, here’s what Alec said about how it all got started:

The idea of selling portable mini rollers started in the Summer of 2014, when I sought to create a device I could use to warm-up in staging at the races.

I tested my first prototype at the Derby City Nationals in 2014. It was a great race for the test because I was able to test in both wet and dry conditions.

Throughout the weekend I received a lot of positive feedback on the rollers. I was asked, more than a few times: “Where can I buy a set?”

I thought to myself, “with the popular demand for portable rollers I could make and sell these.” Rexer Rollers were born! The product went on the market at the 2014 Disney Cup Nationals. I started small with ten units I made myself and sold via personal sales.

We asked Alec about the benefits to using rollers at the races. Here’s what he told us:

To me, it didn’t make sense to warm-up before a race, go sit in staging for 15-20 minutes while my muscles cooled down, then go race with cold muscles, which resulted in undesirable results. I wanted to be able to stay warm while waiting for my race in staging.

Many racers are unaware of the benefits from properly warming up prior to a BMX race or any other physical activity. To benefit a rider the most, a warmup should work the same muscles they will be engaging during their race.

A good BMX race specific warmup is a five to eight minute light-controlled stationary spin on a set of Rexer Rollers. A rider will increase their heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle and core temperature. Increased muscle temperature improves their rate of force development, reaction time, strength and power output. Increased heart rate leads to improved blood flow to your active muscles.

The end result is a significantly improved level of performance on the track. It was time to go to work.

Closing out this “mini-view,” we asked Alec how News readers can buy a set, and how much they cost.

Rollers can be purchased via our Facebook page (link below) or via email at Rexerroller@gmail.com. Units are on sale for $159 USD plus shipping and handling.

We only offer US and Canadian shipping at the moment, but we will be branching out to serve international customers in the near future.

Feel free to give us a follow on Facebook or Instagram at Rexer Roller to keep up with product updates.

Thanks to Alec for giving us the first look at his edit, and the backstory on creating a new BMX company from scratch. Well done!

—Mike Carruth

Links

Rexer Rollers on Facebook






BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

J&B Importers Acquires Alienation

August 15, 2016 by · Comments Off 

J&B Importers Acquires Alienation
Back on May 18, BMX News ran an article entitled: “Buy A Brand: Alienation For Sale” which, as the title implies was meant to put the word out to the industry that this popular brand was looking for a new owner to take it to new heights in its market category.

Yesterday, Alienation President, Zach Taylor, announced that J&B Importers of Miami, FL has acquired the brand. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. JBI has been in business for over 40 years, and has played a big role in the bike industry all-along the way. They have a big distribution footprint in the US, with 11 regional distribution centers, strategically placed around the nation. Wheels are a big part of their business, and they build over 6,000 each week–providing awesome potential for a BMX brand like Alienation.

Zach gave News the following info about the acquisition, and his role going forward, in a release:

Alienation will continue to operate independently with myself, and our existing management team. The transaction is effective immediately.

Mitch Gurdjian, co-chief executive officer of J&B said: “We see a tremendous opportunity in the Alienation brand and look forward to continuing the development of TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) products. Moving the wheel build process in-house will allow us to quickly adapt spec, control quality, and provide healthy margins for the IBD.”

Back to Zach:
We started Alienation ten years ago to offer inherently better products. We have had amazing success to date and are excited about joining forces with J&B. J&B has a significant reach within the IBD, making them a natural fit. We look forward to further propelling forward with tubeless within BMX. We have some exciting new developments. We just signed an agreement to utilize Kappius’s rear hub internals for BMX. I am really excited by these developments.

In the 2017 model year, brands including Haro/Premium, Kink and Redline will feature Alienation rims on upcoming models.

I will be attending Interbike, representing Alienation, in J&B booth #8195

A big BMX News congratulations to Zach and JBI as they start their new joint-mission together.

Links

Alienation Website

J&B Importers Website

Letter: Advice on Starting a BMX Frame Company

August 15, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Starting a BMX Company

I have a team that is mostly “regional” in the races we hit. I love working with the kids and want to do more for them next season. I am thinking about starting a frame company after Grands to help pay for the cost of the team. Do you have any advice?

—FB, East Coast

Thanks for writing FB. It’s awesome you are looking to do more for your team riders, helping to make their BMX dreams come true. That said, starting a manufacturing company may not prove to be the fundraising opportunity you hope it to be.

At present, there are 82 BMX Racing frame brands on the market—proof positive that the market is massively saturated. That means it will be more difficult to sell your new frames, and may even cause you to LOSE money, rather than bring funds into your team’s coffers.

Here’s how it usually works:

The owner of Brand-X spends $10,000-$15,000 on frame inventory, depending on the vendor and their minimums. This is sometimes split over a few credit cards, the justification being that it will be paid off as soon as the new Brand-X frame hits the streets.

They reckon they will sell their product at the track and on Facebook, so things like advertising the product and a legitimate website are “expenses” they will get to “once the money starts rolling in.” It never does start rolling in, of course, because their whole reason for doing it is flawed.

If you want to start a business, by all means start a business. But, then go into it AS a business, which means taking the proper steps in the start-up process (setting up a legal entity, branding, marketing/advertising, product insurance, warranty service, shipping/tracking, finance and a significant investment of your own time). Back to our story:

Mr. Brand-X is stuck with 35 frames in his basement for years after the first initial flash of sales (totaling 20 frames of the 56 he bought to round out all the sizes he needed to offer. One was stolen from the pit at a national a couple years back).

Mrs. Brand-X is tired of these frames clogging up her basement, and reminds Mr. Brand X of the cash spent on this venture and the fact that the cards are still being paid off; she is reminded of this daily when doing the laundry. Mr. Brand-X finally unloads them little by little on eBay for $50, then $75, then $100 less than he paid for them.

I kid you not, this is a scenario that has played out multiple times, just in the eight short years I have been back in the sport.

So, to answer your question…

The best advice I can give on starting a frame company in the current market condition is: “Don’t do it!” Sorry if this was not the advice you were looking for, but in a couple years, when you have a clean, uncluttered basement and a smiling Mrs. Brand-X, you’ll know it was the best route to have taken.

There are many other methods to raise funds for your team that don’t involve a large, up front, cash outlay. You might start by looking at some of the fundraising articles we have run in the past (links below).

Good luck to your team for the rest of this season, and into the new year.

—Mike Carruth

Links

7 Fundraising Tips For Your UCI Worlds Trip
(That also work every day)

15 Fundraising Ideas for BMX Tracks

Michael Gamstetter Goes to DK / Airborne

July 29, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Michael Gamstetter Heads to DK/Airborne
Just as we were about to put the BMX News Global Command center into weekend mode, a news flash came across our “Big Ears” ticker. Michael Gamstetter, former Brand Manager at Box Components, has announced he will be moving on from that position to take the Brand Manager role at Read more

Podcast: Jim Moore on “Project Jayhawk”

May 25, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Jayhawk BMX Frame

If you were around BMX in the 1990s, you might remember the Hawk BMX frames of the time. They were the frame of chocie for Brian Lopes and Moses Tillmon, and won a lot of races. One of the partners in Hawk was Jim Moore, who stepped out of BMX in 1994 to work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in So Cal.

Now retired from JPL, Jim decided to turn off Dr. Phil and long lunches in favor of a fresh run at the BMX industry. His comeback product, the Jayhawk frame, is unlike anything we have seen in a BMX frame before.

Instead of using tubing, as most aluminum frames do, the Jayhawk uses sheet stock, coerced into the familiar-form of a BMX Racing frame, using rivets instead of welds in most places–a technique used widely in aircraft construction.

Jayhawk BMX - Top ViewThe Jayhawk definitely gives a powerful first impression–whether you think it’s a thing of artistic and industrial beauty, or a total gimmick that’s going nowhere–one thing you can’t say is that it’s another ho-hum double-triangle.

To learn more about the concepts and inspiration behind the Jayhawk, News invited founder-Jim to be our guest on the 125th episode of the Announcers Tower Podcast. Joining in the fun as guest co-host is George Costa of Rennen Design Group, who tipped us off to the Jayhawk, and was a Hawk BMX fan during his late teen years as a BMX Racer.

Listen Now

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http://bmxurl.com/at125mre

Jim tells us he has sold 10 of the Jayhawk frames so far (actually, it’s a frame and fork set, priced at $800). The Facebook group Jim created (link below) is a central place where questions can be answered, and if you feel like you’re ready to go, Jim will take frame orders via that page as well.

Jayhawk BMX Frame - Bottom BracketWe would definitely like to get our hands on one for some on-track #NewsTeam testing. For now, however, we wanted to bring you some straight-from-the-source scoop on the Jayhawk, and what it’s all about. Keep it here for more, and feel free to leave comments on the Facebook post.

Thanks to George Costa for co-hosting with me!

—Mike Carruth

Links

Jayhawk BMX On Facebook

Rennen Design Group Website


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Buy A Brand: Alienation For Sale

May 18, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Alienation For Sale
By Mike Carruth

The first time I saw the Alienation brand and logo was in the parking lot of the Comfort Inn in East Moline, IL–August 2008. The NBL Speedway National was my first national back in the sport after a 20 year absence. Alienation was one of the first “modern era” brands I saw Read more

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