1 Department Store Huffy Number one isn’t too exciting. Like many kids, my first bike was a department store Huffy BMX bike. For a bicycle enthusiast, I actually learned to ride a lot later than most kids—it’s actually embarrassing. That said, when I did learn to ride I didn’t stop. I remember seeing the BMX movie, Rad and realizing I wasn’t going to get anywhere with a coaster brake! It wasn’t long before I tried to remove it myself. As a young kid I obviously didn’t know what I was doing and ended up with a back hub that randomly slipped. To be honest, I am impressed I actually got it back together! 2 General Hustler My second bike was my first legit BMX bike. I actually bought it from a neighbor who had “outgrown bikes.” I can’t imagine what he thought was better than bikes! As a youngster the $100 he wanted seemed like a small fortune. Luckily for me this was before Craigslist and ebay—so I had some time. I pleaded with relatives to give me money for my birthday and mowed some lawns in the neighborhood. Soon enough the cherry red General Hustler was mine! 3 Diamond Back Viper Shortly after I got the General Hustler I discovered BMX racing. Even though I had never raced before I convinced myself I was going to need a lighter bike to be competitive— mind you I was about 10 years old at this point. I somehow managed to convince my mom to buy me a bike suitable for racing. We went to the bike shop and I immediately fell in love with the Diamondback Viper, it was chrome with purple and green decals. The catch was that I couldn’t have it until Christmas. On Christmas Eve I spotted my mom bringing the bike inside—it was too dark for me to be sure she got the right one. In an act of desperation I woke up my younger sister and made her go look. “Yup, it’s there” she reported. “Well, what color is it!?” I asked. When she responded with “silver” I yelled “NO! It’s chrome!”
4 Robinson SST As I got a little more serious with BMX racing I discovered BMX Plus! magazine. I would read each issue cover to cover, over and over. I couldn’t get enough. The down side to my new obsession was that now I was reading about the bikes the pros were riding—and all the different parts. Once you are exposed to that it’s too late—my Diamondback Viper wasn’t going to cut it. It took me a while, but I saved up my lawn-mowing money and purchased a Robinson SST. My first full chromoly frame—made in the US too! 5 GT Interceptor You may be wondering why this drawing focuses on the Redline Flight 3-Piece crank and doesn’t really show much else. The reason is that I traded my Robinson SST for the GT Interceptor even though the Robinson was a nicer frame. The GT came with the legendary Redline Flight Series crank—which was my first 3-piece. That was a big deal back then! On a side note, does anyone remember how brutal pedals used to be? 6 Schwinn Predator I’ve always had a soft spot for strange looking frames. The Schwinn Predator Free Form EX was no exception. This frame had extra long chainstays that served as a place to stand for flatland tricks. I have to assume the extra crossbar from the seat tube to the downtube served the same purpose. 7 Cobra Lotus MX-1 In the early 90′s I scored a Lotus Cobra MX-1 at a tagsale for a ridiculously low price of $15 (or something along those lines). The bike was in great condition and dated back to the early 80′s. I remember really liking that bike. I also can’t remember what I did with it. 8 Balance AL550 The story of my Balance AL550 is one of highs and lows. Getting this bike was a big deal—at that point in my life it was just me, my mom and my sister. Money was really tight growing up but my mom always did what she could. To make a long
story short, I was convinced that I wanted to start mountain biking—I even viewed it as an “adult bike” or something like that even though I was still in my early teens. My mom agreed to get the bike for me for Christmas (plus my birthday if I remember correctly). She put the bike on layaway and I remember being really excited to go to the shop and see the bike while she paid down the balance (pun intended) leading up to Christmas. When I finally got the Balance I couldn’t have been more excited. Soon enough though, I began riding it like a big BMX bike or attempting trials moves on walls and picnic tables. Only a few months later I cracked the aluminum frame. The good news was that it was covered under the warranty, the bad news is that it took forever to get a replacement. I only had the new one for a short while before it was stolen out of my front yard… I’m sorry Mom! *Note: I am aware that the bike is drawn incorrectly. The drivetrain was not on the left hand side. I started drawing it from that side and realized you should never show a bike from that side so I planned to draw it and then scan and flip it. However, I started drawing the type and then there was no turning back. 9 Haro Group 1 After my Balance got stolen I went bikeless for a good amount of time. For a while I wasn’t even interested but inevitably the bicycle bug bit back hard. Unfortunately I was a broke teenager so I had to make due with what I could get cheap. A kid in my neighborhood had a really nice Haro Group 1—unfortunately he had accidentally dropped a cinder block off of his roof onto it (I still have no idea why he was on his roof with a cinder block). Luckily, his father was a welder and was able to repair the crack the impact had caused—it wasn’t pretty though. So, he got a new bike and sold me the Haro for next to nothing. I liked the Group 1—it looked unique to other frames with
its wishbone seatstays and curved toptube. I fixed the ugly weld issue with a sticker. This bike is also the bike I started riding brakeless on. My reasoning? I couldn’t keep the back wheel straight enough to not rub. 10 Specialized Fatboy When I finally upgraded the re-welded Haro Group 1 it was with a Specialized Fatboy. I had gotten more into street riding at this point and I wanted something strong. The massive tubes on the Fatboy frame seemed to fit the bill. Apparently I have a thing for non-traditional frames. In the end, the Specialized was heavy, awkward and probably not any stronger than most other frames available at that time. 11 Huffy MJ-12 In the mid to late nineties, Jimmy Levan was one of my favorite BMX riders. He always did the biggest and craziest gaps. For a short while he rode for Huffy (when they made their push to be a respected company again). While there he helped develop the first generation MJ-12, which was nothing like the subsequent models. The original was pretty straight-forward AND it was chrome. I have to say, I loved that bike. I am not sure if the MJ-12 just happened to coincide with a good point in my riding ability but everything just felt perfect. To this day, I’ll randomly search on Craigslist or eBay for one of the originals. Sadly, I’ve never had any luck. There really isn’t much info at all about the first generation frame. It might have something to do with the fact that Jimmy Levan left Huffy fairly quickly. After his departure they picked up Todd Lyons and Cory Nastazio—and their bikes got ugly. Jimmy Levan went on to start Metal Bikes (after a brief stint on a Standard Trailboss—which I always wanted but never had). 12 Huffy TL-88 It’s kind of silly how over-built BMX bikes used to be. Todd Lyon’s signature model, the Huffy TL-88 is a perfect example. Why was this necessary for a mellowed-out dirt-jumper? At the same point in time Van Homan’s Little Devil section came out. Wait, why did TL have a pro-model in 98?
This bike was a tank and that was why I wanted it. Back in those days it was fun to brag about how heavy your bikes were. Times have certainly changed!
through traffic finding the perfect line to maintain momentum. I’ll have you know I started with a front brake.
13 S&M Holmes When I was in high school I picked up an S&M Holmes frameset from my local bike shop. This was the first time in my life that I actually had a local shop to go to, whether it was to shop or just hang out. A couple of my friends worked there and it was almost always a good time. I saved a lot of lunch money to buy the S&M.. but how could I not? S&M was (is) a badass, American-made, rider-owned company. I loved everything about the brand. The Holmes was also the first frame that actually had a long enough top tube to suit my tallness. That took some getting used to.
I ended up piecing together an old Panasonic road frame. It was huge. When I began my search for a bike to convert, finding something above a 56 was rare. I eventually stumbled upon a 64 and scooped it up. Even with old, square geometry that was pushing it. Regardless, I could stand over it (barely). It served me well for over a year until I snapped one of the seat stays right off the seat tube. Damn the BMX background. It’s just too hard not to casually hop up and off curbs. Oops, RIP Panasonic Conversion.
14 DK General Lee After a couple year BMX hiatus I began messing around on my friend Brandon’s Standard STA. Before long I wanted another of my own. This time I was in college—and broke as ever. Brandon offered me his old General Lee frame and I obviously jumped at the offer. Luckily, I still had lots of friends that rode BMX with ample left-over parts. I was able to piece together an entire bike for next to nothing. Doesn’t get much better than that! (and by the way… this was the original General Lee—full chromoly, pro-model) 15 Panasonic Conversion When I first moved to Boston, in 2006, I quickly realized that getting around via public transportation was miserable. My first apartment was in Jamaica Plain—across from the last T stop. Getting to work involved a half hour train ride followed by a 12-15 minute walk. It wasn’t long before I decided a bike was completely necessary. Being someone that came from a BMX background and didn’t use brakes—simply because I couldn’t maintain a straight back wheel—a road bike was out of the picture. I needed something quick, simple and easy to maintain—I’d be riding year round after all. So, a fixed gear it was! I’ll admit, I really liked the idea of riding
Oh, and the commute? 10-15 min total. 16 Dawes Conversion After I broke my Panasonic frame I limped it over to Bikes Not Bombs in Jamaica Plain. They carry a pretty large assortment of used frames and I was hopeful. As soon as I saw the bright yellow Dawes frame with chrome seat stays and fork I was sold. It also had a beautiful headbadge. I bought the frame, put it over my shoulder and road home on my broken, sagging Panasonic frame. 17 Mercier Kilo TT After a couple years on a conversion I really wanted an actual track bike. The problem was—yup, you guessed it—money. I was the perfect prey for that big, online-only shop selling very inexpensive complete bikes. Basically, the anti-local bike shop. I know, I know—I feel guilty. The components that came on the Kilo TT were awful, but what can you expect for the price? The frame however felt amazing after switching from a 30 year old, touring frame. Once I picked up some new wheels and swapped out the flexing stem, the Kilo was a solid ride. My friend Matt painted it for me in his autobody shop. Plum-crazy purple matched with lime-green deep-v rims. This over-the-top color combo (and it’s size) earned the bike the nickname, “The Hulk.”
18 Standard 125R Cruiser While I was living in Boston I decided that getting a BMX Cruiser would be a really good idea. I thought the 24″ wheels would make it much more suitable for getting around. I thought this was the perfect plan—I’d quench my ongoing BMX needs AND be able to get around quickly. I hunted on Craigslist for a couple weeks and found a Haro cruiser and a Standard 125R cruiser frame. The Standard frame was fantastic (as all their bikes are) and the Haro was complete. I did the only reasonable thing I could think of—I bought both. I moved all of the Haro parts over to the Standard and then put the Haro frame back on Craigslist. At the time my friend Matt had an autobody shop and he helped me out with a paint job. He painted it pearl white and then had me draw all over it with a marker before he clear-coated it. The end result was pretty rad! It turns out that cruisers are not that much faster for getting around. They also feel like a slightly watered down BMX. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Standard cruiser—it just didn’t fill the BMX void. 19 Soma Rush After spending some time on the Kilo TT I decided it wasn’t right for me. The size just didn’t work no matter how many different stem/ bar combinations I tried. I guess that is one of the downsides of mail-order. One of the nicer folks at Cambridge Bicycle helped me pick out a Soma Rush. I loved it right away and everything was great….. until I started treating it like a BMX bike. Sigh… will I ever learn? 20 Chubby Waters When I lived in Boston I was a year-round / all-weather bicycle commuter. Coming from a couple conversions and a mail-order track bike I never worried too much about my bikes getting messed up in bad weather—let alone the salt
that gets put down at the hint of snow. When I got my Soma things were different. I had actually picked out the parts on it—and spent a good amount of money on it. After riding it in the first snowstorm of the season I decided I wanted to build a snow / rain bike. I scored a generic “track” frame for about $75 on eBay. I pieced it together pretty quickly with random, old parts in my collection. I rode it though quite a few rainstorms and snowstorms while generally neglecting it. At some point though, I started choosing to take the Soma out even when it wasn’t nice out, it was just a much better ride. I remember convincing myself that a bike is meant to be ridden—not babied. Eventually I broke the ironically named “Bulletproof” crank on the rain bike and never got around to replacing it. The Spring came and I ended up selling it. Oh, and the nickname? The guys at Alphabet Arm wanted to know what the new bike’s name was. With little thought, I said, “Chubby Waters.” It was completely ridiculous, though it made sense to me. I thought muddy waters, because it was to be ridden in bad weather… but it was also terribly heavy—thus “chubby.” Okay, so maybe it doesn’t make sense. 21 MKE Bruiser Prototype My Soma quickly became more and more mangled as I romped around on it like an oversized BMX bike. Not to mention simply commuting in Boston is rough on a bike. Around the same time John Prolly had been developing a 700c, fixed-gear, freestyle frame and fork with Milwaukee Bicycle. It seemed like the perfect thing for me. At the time, I didn’t know John but we shared a mutual friend that introduced us. Before I knew it I was riding one of the initial prototype framesets. I was completely stoked about how the MKE rode. It handled like a track bike while feeling extremely solid. I could hop on and off curbs, ride down stairs and do whatever else I wanted and not have to worry about breaking it. I commuted year-round on the Bruiser and loved every minute of it.
22 WeThePeople Trust In early 2009 it had been a while since I had a BMX bike, and I thought I was over it. I had been riding the Bruiser everywhere—it was fast and I could jump on and off whatever I wanted. That was all fine until the guys at Open had a random BMX bike hanging out in the shop. Ripping around the neighborhood and remembering what it was like to bunnyhop so high you hit yourself in the ass with the back tire quickly rekindled my desire for another BMX. It just so happened that my good friend Clarence had purchased a really nice We The People complete that he was not riding. I more or less hijacked the bike from him and put it to use—thanks Clarence! The WTP took some getting used to. BMX bikes have drastically changed from the days when I was more seriously into riding. BMX bikes are MUCH lighter and way less overbuilt. The bikes I rode in the late 90′s easily weighed 35+lbs—the stock WTP complete was about 25lbs. That is a huge difference. Current setups involve no seatpost, sloping-compact geometry, very short back-ends, steep headtube angles, compact ratios and massive handlebars. Some of it I like, some of it is a bit too extreme for my old school BMX sensibilities. 23 Area 51 The Area 51 came from my friends at Open Bicycle. There is something about this frame that I really like. Structurally it’s not that special, it’s welded and not lugged yet it has some nice details including decorative fake lugs. That said, the Area 51 was always one of my favorite bikes to ride. It has aggressive geometry and is quite stiff for having such thin steel tubing. Each Area 51 frame was hand built by John Knox (in Los Angeles) around 1999/2000 using NOS Columbus tubing supplied by Euro-Asia. They supplied John with 50 to 75 sets of tubing and he developed the name, graphics, and paint colors and that was the end.
24 MKE Bruiser After riding my Milwaukee Bruiser prototype nonstop for the better part of the year the good folks at Bens Cycle helped me out with a production model frame. The differences were fairly minor but enough to make a difference. The current model is a bit smaller and quite a bit lighter—I welcomed both of these changes. This bike was outfitted with a pretty incredible set of parts thanks to some design barter work with Open Bicycle (namely their logo design). The Bruiser was a fantastic all around bike. I ended up selling it to pay some bills when I was laid off from my job. That’s really the only reason I’m not still riding it. 25 Volume Cutter I got the Volume Cutter very used as a quick and cheap frame to ride since I needed to sell the Bruiser. This frame and fork saw a lot of action in it’s day from quite a few different people. I wasn’t expecting much from the Cutter though I was surprised by how much I enjoyed riding it. It certainly didn’t live up to my Bruiser—but I liked it. It had a distinctly different feel all together, the frame was tall, but not very long. The 26″ S&M Pitchfork made the Cutter feel very laid back which was strikingly different from the steep headtube angle on the Bruiser with it’s matching fork. I also had to switch back to skinnier tires which was a bummer. The paint on both the frame and fork had seen much better days. I covered the frame in stickers and then drew all over the fork with a Sharpie. I’m pretty sure a college student in New Haven is still riding this frameset in all it’s punk rock glory. 26 All City Dropout At the moment, I have three complete bikes that I ride on a regular basis. The All-City Dropout is my current all-around, everyday bike. I was a big fan of the Dropout from the first time I saw a sneak preview on the internet. Here’s All-City’s description: The Dropout is a platform for pretty much anything you want to do that involves big wheels and hard riding. It can handle trails, jumps, hardcourt, messengering, whatever. Ride it for transport, ride it for tricks, or do tricks while
riding it for transport, or ride long distances between doing tricks… you get the idea. The only limit is your creativity. Sounds perfect to me! I was lucky enough to snag one of the limited edition frames that has no brake mounts or other braze-ons. The Dropout is definitely one of my favorite bikes ever. 27 Soul Genesis Moving to a relatively small town in CT rekindled my desire for a road bike. I was surrounded by long hilly roads perfect for long rides. Timing was on my side as I scored a really nice Soul Genesis with 2009 mixed Campy parts spec. I never thought I’d have a road bike—but now I can’t get enough. Does that mean I am getting old? 28 FBM The Joint 2 This FBM is my current BMX bike and it’s amazing. I love the FBM brand, especially since they build their frames by hand in the USA. That’s a rare thing these days. I caught the documentary about FBM called, “I Love My Bicycle” at the Bicycle Film Festival and it was rad. Afterwards I wanted to go out and buy everything they’ve ever made. 29 Freeman Transport After picking up the Soul Genesis I was hooked on long road rides. Going on a 50 mile ride in the middle of the day is very therapuetic. I started to realize there was something wrong with the way the Soul fit me after putting in some miles. After getting a fitting done at my local bike shop I found out I have crazy T-Rex proportions—I’m all legs. I reached out to my friends at Freeman Transport to build me a custom frame for my proportions. I have to say it is absolutely amazing riding a bike that was built exactly for my body.