Reader Letter: Three Kits or One?

April 29, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Reader letter: Three Kits or One?

I am team manager of a new team in the Northeast, and we are thinking about what kind of uniform we want to go with. Some members of the team want a different color uniform for each race day, like many of the factory teams, and I think we should have two uniforms of the same design.

You see a lot of riders, what do you think about this question?

GB – Northeast

Thanks for writing GB, and congrats on the new team. This is a great question, and one about which I have a split-opinion. The uniform of a BMX team is one of the most important aspects of their duty to sponsors, and to their own identity as a team.

Your note did not mention who, if any, your sponsors are, so I will go on the assumption that you have some sort of support, whether a set of co-sponsors or a bike sponsor, or a local business supporting the team.

As a photographer, I love the idea of different kits for every day of racing (as shown above on #NewsTeam member, Bryce Betts at the recent Carolina Nationals). Different kits allow me the opportunity to capture two, sometimes three, different “looks” for the riders who change day-to-day.

2016 Carolina Nationals – Friday
Sam Willoughby rockin the TLD Sprint kitWhen Sam Willoughby changes up his TLD uniform for each race day, the photos I come back with have some great variety. Of course, not everyone is Sam Willoughby, who is among the most recognizable riders in the world. Fans and media go out of their way to find him in the crowd. That can’t necessarily be said for a lower profile rider or team.

2016 Carolina Nationals – Saturday Sam Willoughby rockin the TLD Sprint kitWhen a team changes colors from one day to the next, it IS tough to pick them out. Not so much for the well-known riders, but for teams that are not as well-known, it is easy to miss those riders entirely from one day to the next, so they never gain recognition with the fans, because their identity is a constantly moving target. This is the point at which the “cool factor” that riders dig, bumps up against the “business” of being sponsored.

BRANDING is about consistency and repetition. This concept of consistency and repetition dictates that riders should be rockin the same uniform any/every time they show their face in public. Fans get used to seeing it, and can visually identify riders in the gate and on the track, without benefit of an announcer’s help.

So, to answer your question, as to what is “best,” like most things, it is going to depend on your goals. If emulating the factory stars is the desired outcome, and visual recognition is less important, then the multi-kit would work out fine. If, however your goal is being instantly recognized by the racing public, media, potential new sponsors and announcers, then stick with one consistent kit, and purchase two of the same pants/jerseys.

The riders should have two complete sets of clothing–at a minimum– in case they crash and rip one set, and to ward off the stinky funk of running the same clothes on day three of a steamy national weekend. If you only order one jersey for each rider, and that one jersey gets ripped, or left hanging on the shower rod at the hotel, it could take a month or more to get a new one ordered up from your jersey vendor.

I hope this helps give you some points of discussion within the team. If you’re shopping for your uniforms online, check out the link below for the “Race Wear” page on J&R Bicycles. Use Discount code JRSPOT15 for 15% off non-sale items (orders totaling $75 or more).

Send Your Letter:
Reader letters can be sent to If we use yours, we’ll send you a BMX News T-Shirt.


Racing Apparel at J&R Bicycles

BMX Training and Coaching, Presented by Pro Gate

BlackCrown and Felt Teams to Merge for 2014

September 23, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BlackCrown and Felt Teams to Merge for 2014

Once the spigot of team scoop for any given year opens, it rarely lets up til the last drop of new-color-news runs out–usually around the Monday after Reno in January.

This year, the curtain went up on the 2014 season discussion a little earlier than usual, with big announcements last week that both Morphine Industries and BlackCrown were cutting large chunks of their current 2013 roster, with a “stay tuned for what’s to come” tacked on.

Even earlier, News had heard talk that Felt Bicycles was withdrawing their BMX racing bike line for 2014–something that was confirmed at Interbike last week, when the bikes were not on the floor of the massive Felt island booth.

Which brings us to today’s “peanut butter and chocolate” moment–a tasty pairing that makes all the sense in the world.

Carlos Perez has managed the Felt Factory team from 2003-2009, with a 1-year deal with GT in 2010, and then back with Felt from 2011 to present. That’s the way it works when you are an independent team. Carlos has been the unifying and stabilizing force for the team, and it has remained a rock-solid contender, with an eye for on-the-rise talent, all along.

Rob McAllister has put together a high-wattage squad, himself, since starting the BlackCrown products team in 2010. Lots of main makers in the ranks.

So, when Felt announced they would be exiting the BMX racing market, that left Carlos on the hunt for a new frame sponsor. And that brings us to today.

Rob and Carlos are bringing this scoop to BMX News readers first: The two teams will combine in 2014 to form Factory BlackCrown Products. The resulting team will be under the management of Carlos, with Rob’s company as primary sponsor.

The pre-merge rosters of both teams will get a trim, and the riders who will move on have already been given the option to stay the rest of the 2013 season or, if another offer presents itself, to move before the Grands with well wishes.

The next natural question is who WILL be on the combined team?

Well, the official roster is still in pencil form, as final commitments are inked in, so that stays a “coming soon” point. We should have a better idea on roster after the Disney Cup. BMX News did report last week that Charlie Hunt, and Ryan DeRoche would jump over to BlackCrown from Morphine, so that’s two for the new team. And we’d assume Rob hasn’t cut himself from the team, so three squares filled in.

News spoke to both Carlos and Rob about the team merger. Here’s what they said:

Carlos Perez:
It’s been a a great 10 years for me with Felt and I need to thank Alan Foster and the entire Felt organization for all their support over those years. What a class act everyone at Felt has been. Thank you!

I was given the heads up that Felt would not be back in early May, and began calling out to see if I could find the right frame sponsor for the team going into 2014. So I reached out to Rob several months ago and we had numerous conversations on how we can both make this work. Rob agreed to meet me at the Delaware national a couple of weeks ago to put the final touches on the merger and we were able to work out all the details and came to an agreement that the new Factory BlackCrown Products team would include top riders from my current roster and Rob’s BlackCrown roster, as well as a couple of new riders like Charlie Hunt and Ryan Deroche. I will be the acting team manager with Rob being the owner and title sponsor of the team. I was also able to bring my current financial sponsors to the new team next year ie. Allstate Roadside Services, Coleman Motors and Mariani Gardens, to name a few.

I am so grateful and excited for the opportunity to represent BlackCrown Products for 2014. Now I need to get back on the phone so I can start building a powerhouse team for Rob.

Rob McAllister:
I want to first thank everyone that has represented BlackCrown Products over the past few seasons. When Carlos first approached me about sponsoring his team, I was interested, but simply could not keep my existing factory team and sponsor another top level team. That’s when we started discussing a merger of the two teams. Carlos brings a lot of team manager experience to the team and this will give me more time to focus on marketing, advertising, and product development for BlackCrown Products. We have several new things in the works including our updated “Throne” race frames. I am excited to see what the 2014 season brings and look forward to working with Carlos and the new team.

The new team will retain long-time co-sponsors Profile Racing and Fly Racing, and will ad SNAFU to the mix, plus a few other brands that are on final approach.

Congrats to Carlos and Rob, as well as all the riders and sponsors involved.


BlackCrown Products Website

Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Podcast: Donavon Long on New Devo Team

March 18, 2013 by · Comments Off 


In one of the “hanging out in the lobby” discussions that make BMX travel so fun, Donavon Long and some friends of News got to talking about his new Phantom Development team, last month in Louisville. It is a comprehensive program, with multiple points of entry and participation, and allows riders of all skill levels the aility to join, and become involved in the team benefits.

The benefits, in this case go beyond just jersey, bike and pants. Donavon is bringing a coaching and training component to the team benefits-list. This really steps the program into a higher-strata, the likes of which we have not seen from a non-factory team before–especially when you consider that the advice and coaching is the very same that got Donavon’s Intense Phantom Ontrac team to multiple Factory Team cups, and nurtured more NAG and National riders than any program in recent memory.

Donavon promised to give us some Podcast gold on the Development Team program, once the official website was up. Well that switch was thrown last week, and we sat down with him on Friday for the 4-1-1.

Listen Now

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I’m sure you’ll agree that Donavon has some great plans for the team, and has put a lot of thought and effort into making it happen. We look forward to seeing team updates, and following the Phantom Development regional teams as they get started.

—Mike Carruth

Back Stage Notes: This is episode #72 of the Announcers Tower series. In all 72 episodes, I have used the same USB headset for recording. It started getting buggy on me last week, and seems to have gone punk-dead just in time for this interview, without any indication. It just failed-over to the built-in microphone on my MacBook Pro. I normally use the mute button on the mic while I am recording interviews, so there is not interference from my side of the call. I tend to adjust levels, type new questions into my rundown, and always…always toss my Slinky Junior around all-the-while. It helps me think, and I never work without it.

Slinky Junior - the thinking man's toy
Well, this time, the mute button broke, along with the rest of the headset, so you are going to hear some strange jingling in parts of the recording. You might also hear a few seconds of typing, as I re-arrange some of the questions in the rundown. So, now you’ll know that those sounds are all just part of making the magic happen :)


Phantom Development BMX Website

Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Answer/Rennen Oldsmar Race Report

February 29, 2012 by · Comments Off 

Austin Loebe of Answer/Rennen

Submitted by George Costa

Answer/Rennen Made the trip to what is arguably the most technical track in the USABMX directory, Oldsmar FL. John Sawyer and Crew of Oldsmar BMX not only outdid themselves this year with a monstrous tech layout but at the same time this track is smooth as glass and landscaped better than most individuals homes. This was a very important Race for the Answer/Rennen Team as this is also where our Main Sponsor’s Answer BMX and SSquared calls home. Answer/Rennen went on to capture a Day 2 win with our Sister team Jim Buchanan’s Answer-SSquared-TLD getting the win on day 1, (congrats guys/girls). By the end of the weekend there was a whole lot of Answer, Rennen and SSquared mounted bikes winning race after race.

Here is how your favorite riders finished on the weekend

9X/Cru Nate Coyman Dual cruiser podium spots both days has Nate getting back into the swing of things here on the east coast 

10X Zach Von Bergen was looking to air out on his home track but the high winds kept him grounded most of the weekend despite that he pulled through a impressive 2nd place finish on Sunday 

10G/cru Bailey Brannen nickname is “Bad Girl” and when you call Oldsmar your local track and go on to Double-Double in cruiser and 20 I think the title is very deserving. Bailey also got some local media coverage before the national. Check out the link to see her proud mom and dad along with what Bailey had to say about her bmx racing. 

Check out the Video on Tampa Bay Online

12X Erik Meyer wasn’t liking the wind either, but Sunday proved to be a Great day after some aggressive riding gave Erik the win. 

15X Justin Knapper  came away with a 1st and 2nd place finish in 15 cruiser. Look for a motivated Justin at upcoming usabmx nationals he’s determined and the class should watch out

13G Abbie Macleod our newest teenager has been showing tremendous improvement over the last few weeks and Abbie’s hard work   Is on the verge of paying off as she was just shy of the podium after aging up just a few days before the race.

16X Cody Simson was at the race supporting the team but is still out with his back injury. A few more weeks and we’ll be seeing him tearing up a track soon 

17-27G Shelby Stacy  went on to dominate 17-27 girls all weekend skying the jumps while the rest of her class just watched her pull away. In Jr women she came away with podium finishes 

17-18X Austin Loebe could be found out front leading all of the races he was in unfortunately in both 17-18x mains he ended up on the ground both days. Austin turned 19 the day after the race and becomes our 19-27X in Morristown where he is still chasing that first win of the season.

28-35X Justin Wike Wikeout was busy tweeting encouraging messages to his teammates all weekend from his home in Reno. 

36-40X/Cru Shawn Diprete  went onto win 36-40 cru with ease on day 1 and then in 36-40X main he got a little anxious being in  second going through the S-Turn and wiped out. in doing so he suffered a dislocated pinky finger and we spent the next few hrs in the local ER getting it popped back in place, check out the video! 

A-Pro Max Egdorf was working hard for finishes on the super demanding track and ended the weekend with a 6th place finish on Sunday 

Is this the year of the Dragon? I don’t know but I do know that Phil Delizia is back and is determined to sail through A-Pro and get back to AA. With a 1st and 2nd place finishes on the weekend he’s bound to do so. 

Next Stop Morristown!