Here's the deal. I bought my last complete bike in the 90s. It was pretty standard fare for time, for general freestyle riding. I did a little bit of street and a little bit of flatland. Two brakes, a gyro, four piece bars, 48 spoke wheels, oversized drop-outs, aluminum pedals, etc. I rode this thing until it was pretty much completely destroyed, and then I got a road bike and sort of forgot about BMX.
Same, I rode a 92 GT Vertigo, red with white mags, wieghed 45 pounds with bolt on frame/fork mounts and steel pegs, I think aluminum hadnt been discovered yet.
Years later, I'm thinking how much fun it would be to have something to mess around with. I dug up my old bike, and it needs so much work that it would almost be cheaper to get a whole new bike. I go online to see what's available and what the kids are riding these days, and I feel completely out of my element. Here's a few things I'm wondering:
Post pics of your ride, Im dying to know. Also, not only has the rides changed, but how they ride them as well, case in point ask anyone under 19 what a cherry picker is and they probably wont know.
wheels: I see a lot of new bikes with 36 spoke wheels. in my time, the standard was 48. why the change?
Double and triple wall rims being stronger, you can run less spokes hence lighter? Drilling holes into rims is easier? Frankly I loved 48s, I ran everything 28 and up, and 48s always felt bombproof, I wonder if anyone makes triple wall 48s now? Peregrine all the way!
Brakes: it's rare enough to see anyone running a brake at all these days, but when they do, it's usually on the back. Doesn't that severely limit the trick possibilities? Am I just looking at it the wrong way?
I dont think it limits them at all, they use their feet, like when we burned out all those van lows bitd, although as I said the tricks have changed. Some dont exist, some got changed, and a couple are still the same (cherry picker, tailwhip, bunny hop).
dropouts: By the late 90s, it was pretty much universal practice to have the rear dropouts overhang to protect the freewheel. It seemed to make a lot of sense, but now nobody does it anymore.
Freewheels are smaller, tougher. Also, most frames dont have much leeway in wheel placement, chain length, and brake mounting, it might make for a stiffer ride and a weight saving.
Do a lot of these differences just reflect a change in the way they are being ridden? In my day, nobody cared how much a bike weighed. Now it seems like there's a lot more priority towards getting it light. Is there anyone who rode in the 90s that still rides now that can explain to me how this shift happened?
The riders changed the ride, or did the ride change the riders? To me it all started with the big buyouts and dieoffs of the 90s, a GT wasnt a GT anymore, a mongoose was suddenly garbage, and a thousand other companies just died. The kids stopped riding and started playing Excite Bike. Then I think the X games, and other media brought 20 inchers back. Weight shares the light with strength, these guys are beating their bikes like rented mules. I bet alot of old parts like our 1 inch quill stems would shatter in most of these guys hands, threadless headsets seem crazy stonger than our old ones, forks seem bigger and stonger, while being lighter. When I go ride the pipe downtown, the kids all freak becuase Im running a 45/18 ratio, and my bike wieghs 40+ pounds, but one thing has come back, they love the flouresant pink/white combo?!?!
So, in closing, if your going to ride like you did bitd, then fix your ride, ebays cheap and chinese repos look and feel just like old stuff, but at a fraction of the cost, or check craigslist, I use a free CL reader that lets me check every CL in the states, searches like GT BMX, or REDLINE hurt the most, I wish I was a millionaire.
If you want to try out riding new school, some of the new bikes are awesome, Redline still makes a mean ride. Although just like bitd, a cheap bike, is cheap, steel and plastic.
My plan is to buy a low end RL and just replace the drivetrain, grind the bar clamp paint off, and pull the front brakes. Aluminum or real chromoly frame, NO HI-TEN.