Mar 11, 2010

Project: Free Bike.

Caleb and Ben approached me with a radical proposal in November: would I accept the gift of a complete, custom, modern bmx bike, to replace my unreliable-but-unkillable warship built at the peak of the heavy bike trend almost ten years ago?

36 lbs. Details here.

I did not say "Yes" immediately, for a few reasons. Firstly, I was uncomfortable accepting their generosity. My bike's fabulous obsolescence was due financially not to lack of funds, but to my paralyzing aversion to spending--and it didn't seem fair to accept for free what I could honestly afford. Caleb and Ben countered this point by assuring me it would be done at approximately zero expense, just drawing parts from the existing local surplus, since basically any change would amount to an upgrade and a savings in weight. They also pointed out that, furthermore, while I might be able to afford the upgrade (certainly a free one), the true roadblock was my own inertia and lack of time. And they convinced me that they would enjoy the project and the opportunity for an act of service.

After some deliberation, I handed over my bike and what spare parts I had laying around with the instructions to use, keep, sell, or donate it all. I just wanted one complete bike and no more extra parts taking up space in my closets. I resolved to detach completely from all expectations and embrace whatever I received, which was hard at first, but then thrilling. I told Caleb and Ben that the most important thing to me was that they have fun.

I am amazed. Here is the breakdown:

Frame: Caleb's 2004 S&M Stricker, mountless, 20.5"

Before (stream-of-conscious paint pen & sticker job):


Castillo Bars from DBZ. I think the orange spray over maroon is genius.

Redline Device fork. Blue spray over navy. Also genius.

Solid headset, circulating through Caleb's friends since 2003.

Odyssey Griswald grips. I bought these new at Goods and love them. They're the thickest grips I've ever seen. Designed by Ben Ward.

Shadow Attack front-load stem. Caleb did make the disclaimer that he wasn't sure how I would feel about running a Shadow Conspiracy product. He was right to wonder, but I just find it funny, and I like how it resembles the old Death Neck. I think the bolts are hollow.

Profile 180's. So pleased--I secretly hoped Caleb would keep the orange and black.

My old Cielenski pedals.

KMC 510 HX chain. Pieced together from spare links by DBZ. I think it's the chain endorsed by Sean Burns, which makes me feel safe.

Shadow Crowgora sprocket. 30t. Another Shadow product??? Yep, and it's even purple.

Metal Bikes Pivotal seat & post. I think DBZ was going to give these to me out of pity, but he actually made me trade him a pack of Newports for them.

When my Kink Empire was stolen in 2002, I was able to build 90% of a replacement bike out of spare parts from the garage of old riding buddy Dave Brown. That makes this Primo Viking seatpost clamp the oldest part on the bike. Years later I sawzalled it in half.

Front tire: Fit FAF.

Rear Tire: Odyssey Plyte Path.

Rear Wheel: Poverty 48H 10T cassette laced to Alex Supra E-lite.

Front Wheel: Crupi high-flange 3/8 36H laced to no-name single wall. It's a race wheel, so I guess pegs are out of the question. I'm fine with that.

28 lbs. The seat is ever-so-slightly lower than it was previously, and the bars have been pushed forward in line with the fork, and neither is changing. My only plans are to grind down the axles and possibly trim the seat post.

See also: video footage of the new bike, posted last week (via Caleb's blog).

Thank you, Caleb. Thank you, Ben. Thank you.


  1. You really used a sawzall to slice that clamp? That's a gnarly way to cut something so small. Awesome. :)

    Oh and I should probably mention that the cranks came with the LAF I bought. It just turned out somebody else likes their cranks to have a paint job similar to mine.

    You're welcome!

  2. Fuck yes!

    I still have that seattube sticker for the Kizz frame, wherever that's ended up.

    I just got done replacing a destroyed rear tire and taking my brakes off… there's a PT Cruiser piloted by an inattentive soccer mom out there somewhere with my name on it, I just know it.

    Did you ever give that Pleg a try?

  3. @Caleb: That's funny, the paint job on the cranks is perfect.

    @DBZ: Still got the Pleg, but the old gSport bolts were too big to fit--conspiracy!--so I never had the chance to try it...

  4. Totally psyched on you running your bars in line with the forks, too; I stayed in Bethlehem for a month in 1997, and all the trail kids there had their bars angled way back like your Kizz. I thought it looked fucking horrible then, and still do. Fashion police!

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