The year in BMX technology, 2012
The year in BMX technology
Another year, another Interbike, another "the freecoaster will be available in just a few months." It's the end of 2012, and we're looking back at some of the highlights of the year, such as Clint Reynolds (pictured) designing and welding his own frame for S&M Bikes.
Tire diameters increase
Fly Bikes may have started the move to larger diameter BMX tires several years ago, but Odyssey and Chase Hawk decided to go all in with the Chase Hawk signature tire in 2012. Hawk's slick-style tire debuted in 2.20 and 2.40 diameter sizes. "The 2.40 fatty size (the biggest we make) is amazing for carving," says Odyssey. Will we see a 2.50 diameter in 2013?
Bonedeth reintroduces 48s
The 48-spoked wheel was introduced in the late '80s to withstand the demands of riding. As the lightweight trend of the early '00s kicked in, 48s fell by the wayside in favor of stronger rimmed 36h wheels. Some held true to the 48 though, including Bonedeth's Sean Burns. After giving 36s a go, he worked with Bonedeth to reintroduce the 48 spoked wheel in 2012. Will it return to its former glory? Probably not, but it's great to see brands doing what they believe in.
Freecoaster technology has been an evolving topic of focus for several years now. This year though, instead of brands throwing their logo onto an existing hub design, clat and ezra have attempted to remold the idea of a freecoaster. clat's uses pawl mechanism driver with three varying slack preferences. And if that wasn't enough, ezra's new freecoaster offers the rider to choice to go either freecoaster or cassette-style. (Like the ACS freecoaster of old, but much lighter.) Both are now on the verge of a release date.
The designers at Wethpeople have never been afraid to push the envelope on innovative frame technology, and this year, WTP introduced hydro-formed tubing to their 2013 Scorpio frame, which creates unique gussets for the top and down tube. Though stronger, the appearance may take some time getting used to, and will most likely boost the price of the frame up a bit.
The S&M Credence range
Clint Reynolds turned heads this past summer when he entered into a partnership with S&M Bikes to create a line of Credence frames through S&M, while also riding for the company. Clint's first run of S&M Credence frames, dubbed the CCR, is now in production, with trail-friendly geometry, a weight under 5 pounds, and personal welding techniques added by Clint during the first production run.
Subrosa debuts bike lock
At Interbike 2012, Subrosa debuted a new grenade-shaped bike lock that should fit in your pocket and protect your bike on short jaunts to the convenience store. Subrosa might actually be the first BMX brand to approach the issue of bike theft ever, while also making it entertaining at the same time.
Hard foam helmets
Following Brett Banasiewicz's crash in August, focus on helmet safety evolved from "put on a helmet" to "make sure you're using the right type of helmet." Soft foam, skate-style helmets (the type Brett was wearing), was certainly better than nothing, but the Athlete Recovery Fund wants more pros to start using hard-foam helmets, which offer more protection. Currently, Bell, Pro-Tec, Poc and an assortment of other brands offer hard-foam helmets made for BMX, and in 2013, CPSC-certified helmets will be required at all contests.
Fit introduces 24mm spindle cranks
Years ago, Solid Bikes attempted to redefine crank technology by utilizing a larger diameter three-piece crank spindle. The idea didn't exactly catch on, but in 2012, Fit Bike Co. refined the idea a bit and introduced their Indent crank set in a 24mm spindle option. The larger diameter hollow spindle increases strength without adding weight. Fit also designed new sprockets and bottom brackets to work with the new crank set.
SD compression technique
In November, Cult filmer/editor Ryan Navazio detailed instructions on how to properly compress standard definition video during exporting for a Vimeo video. "I set up a 1280x720 HD timeline and dropped the original uncompressed SD version into the HD timeline and exported it using the same Vimeo settings I would typically use for any HD video," said Navazio. "It is noticeably sharper, has less artifacts and seems to be more consistent with a DVD version," he added.
Wax on for 2012
While not the most exciting topic to explore, 2012 definitely felt like the year when every BMX brand in existence turned some of their focus to better grinding. And the next visible option was wax, a cheap, easily manufactured product that got the job done. Animal debuted theirs in a deodorant style package, Hoffman Bikes went the reusable tin route, and Subrosa took inspiration from Public Enemy.
Flatland geometry goes big
For years, flatland geometry focused on short top tubes, steep head tube angles and incredibly short chainstay lengths. In 2012, thanks to Matthias Dandois' influence, some flatland riders decided to experiment with longer, more traditionally constructed BMX frames. The result: flatland top tube and chainstay lengths have increased, and some, such as Dandois, are not even riding frames constructed for flatland. Look for 2013 to be the year of the 20-inch plus top tube flatland frame.