Mar 24, 2010


The "Gravity Powered Vehicle mini craze" was long dead by 1988, but I'm not surprised to find the mantle raised again and burning brightly in Portland, Oregon, 2010, just ten blocks downhill from the Zoobomb pile.

Saturday night, my cousin Trey and I happened upon this fellow parked at Voodoo Doughnut, and I instantly identified his custom "GPV" as a DK SOB.

"It was the heaviest frame I could find," hippie Clint explained (as per the gravity-powered premise).

Although it's a confusing sight at first, the bike is sitting right-side-up, with a seat welded to the chainstay wishbone. The handlebars underneath turn 90 as knee rests, and you can see disc weights hanging down below.

The handlebars (SBC 4-piece Strips) also turn 90 but remain inverted, with curved tubing tack welded in place for additional hand positions. (Also note the vintage S&M Ditchforks.)

Clint says he stopped riding bmx around 2001, and after we waxed bmx-nostalgic for a few minutes, asked if I knew of anyone selling a complete bike for cheap. "Nothing too light," he said. I said I would put him in touch with someone who might be able to help and took down his email address.

(Caleb, I'm looking at you.)

Two nights later, Trey and I were out on another late ride when the red foldie suddenly fell apart in Trey's hands. He avoided crashing, but I confess that his look of bewilderment was priceless, as the bike slow-motion folded in half beneath him. Serendipitously, we were just then directly in front of Voodoo, and so were Clint and his taxi, reggae gently bumping. He was quick to offer his help and the use of his tools. The confusing repair took our combined concentration more than ten minutes to work out, bending and hammering and furrowing our brows, everything finally slipping together effortlessly in one fabulous aha moment. A cotter pin from Clint's tool bag clipped it all permanently in place.

The satisfaction of the experience was palpable, not to mention the value of Clint's tools, the cotter pin, and not having to walk a bike home. We expressed our gratitude and insisted on tipping him a few bucks, against his protests.


  1. I've never understood the appeal of the GPV thing, but I used to get a pretty steady flow of enthusiasts through the door at Bike 'N' Hike. Sold a lot of Animal ASM tires to them.

  2. I think that thing looks pretty fun. You think we should present to him the Kizz, Tony?

  3. @dbz: me neither. you're saying there's actually a "scene" here?

    @caleb: he's welcome to it! he said he was willing to pay something for it, so there's the opportunity for a profit margin...

    i'll email you his contact info.

  4. The few enthusiasts that came in seemed to be in their own world; I don't know if there's a scene per se, but I dealt with about five kids total in the course of a month.

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