02 December 2009

All the same?

This post is the product of a couple days of thought about two things, in particular, which have led to broader applications about the state of BMX. The more that I peruse the BMX media/literature which saturates the internet, the less and less diversity, or freestyle (if you will), I see characterizing much of today's riding. The edit below is an example of what I mean. The style of riding in it is representative of 90% of the other web edits that hit the web this summer: barspins, nose wheelie variations, tuck no handers, barspins, 360 to flat, barspins, foot jam variations, and more barspins. I am by no means implying that the riding is in anyway sub-par, but where are the classic BMX disciplines: mini-ramp, vert, big street or the flat-inspired park that characterized much of the late 90's/early 2000's (such as this). In essence, why is everyone doing the same thing on their bicycles. (Catty Woods reached similar conclusions about the lack of trails riders in a recent post.) This, of course, is only a generalization (generalization only being helpful some of the time) and there are plenty of dudes out there being original and not worrying about what is the trick of the moment. Nor am I implying that there is necessarily one form of riding whic is in some way superior. Judgments regarding preference in art are subjective and will vary from person to person.

In addition to concerns of style, one only has to look at a Dan's Competition catalog to see that the bike of choice is big bars/little seat/one brake (or none)/small sprocket (this description fits 95% of the complete bikes in Dan's.

This homogenization of style can be, I believe, largely attributed to the internet and the efficiency of disseminating what is going on at any moment in the world. I could waste a lot of time laying out the pros and cons of the internet (of which, there are much of both) but I will not. I need to get some school work done. There is much more that could be discussed about this (though I am not sure who would want to join the conversation and if we would reach any significant conclusions).

Anyway, watch the aforementioned video below. It is good, as I said, but it is simply representative of most of what is being produced today.

Hoang Tran Subrosa Villicus Edit from Subrosa Brand on Vimeo.


  1. Amen brother.
    You know what has been concerning me...even more than the lack of diversity and originality going on? After a trip to Incline this past weekend its become clear to me that there are too many people that are TOO SERIOUS about riding. It blew my mind how many people came to the park totally alone, didn't say a word to anyone, and popped on their ipods and got "to work". Hell Scotty Cramer showed up...and that shit is a job to him...but he looked like he was having way more fun on his bike than 90% of the other dudes that were there. I guess I just wonder what happened to the fun. I suppose that's why I've always had a soft spot in my heart for trails. The riding is probably the last thing anyone is worried about, after grilling, drinkin beers, and stacking new dirt waves we don't have time to be too serious haha.
    I guess the only thing you can really do is just keep doing what your doing and hope that BMX pulls thru. Oh and you can also do what I do...I have the biggest list of trails sites in my favorites and I deleted the Come Up and all those other damn sites. The fun can still be found on the trails sites:)

  2. That is an interesting and all too true observation. While Ray's definitely has a different vibe than your typical park and lends itself to a group atomosphere better, there were definitely the "loners" out there when we went a couple weeks ago. It is interesting as well that in BMX's not too distant past there was such a knee-jerk reaction to the "TV riders". In most interviews, when dudes were asked about sponsors, the response was, "Oh, I am more concerned about enjoying what I do." It has, as you said, become more and more pressure oriented with everyone concerned about getting to work and putting in time for the contests (or simply to have the bragging rights at the local park).

    The trails scene will, I think, resist this tendency better than other scenes do to the DIY nature of them; and the fact that trails are so hard to replicate in a contest setting (unless you are Red Bull). Dirt is now almost disappearing from the big contest circuits.

    Yeah,we will just keep doing what we're doing.