Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010: the quintessential hill bomber is dead.

I remember in high school, I used to bomb down quimby road from evhs on my pink skateboard (before it got confiscated). It was exhilarating. The first day I got my bike (though it was a singlespeed at the time) I took on the milder ruby road and then bombed quimby (which isnt an sf hill, but still pretty steep). Bombing hills has always been my nature and I was never good at anything but going fast. When I was starting out, mashsf released. A lot of dudes ran urban pursuit style bikes built to bomb....

(emi's old bianchi concept, stolen)

(andy's old samson, deceased with a coaster brake)

But now, with the ever growing fixed freestyle community, the hill bomber is put aside. Movies like the revival, macaframa, no cassettes, and stuff like that are killing the once monopolistic influence that was mashsf. Bullhorns are being replaced with risers- I don't have a problem with the growing fixed gear freestyle community, I just want to put out there the idea that there are fewer hill bombers than there once was. Maybe I'm just feeling some nostalgia, maybe I'm upset that the urban pursuit is going out of style; but I want to see more boulevard bombers, see more big gearing and close calls, more "oh my f*cking god that's f*cking ridiculously fast" riding.

(there's waldo?)

I think its because hill bombing is assumed to be an activity calling for little to no skill and therefore, doesn't have that wow factor. but regardless of that notion, hill bombing is still exhilarating no matter what kind of fixed gear the bombing takes place on. risers, and the low gear ratio of a fixed freestyle machine- not all is lost. as long as there are no brakes and there are fixed cogs, bombing has purpose.

(eric's volume thrasher, a sign of the times)

if you look at the volume thrasher you can understand where i'm coming from. now dont get me wrong, i would love to have a thrasher to huck around. it has a longer top tube, spanish bb, and a slack head tube. bow what this means is that the front wheel is farther away making room for barspins without sacrificing the look of a regular bike (no wierd gussets). however, it sacrifices stability under high speeds with the slack head tube because it is so up right. in addition to that, the bottom bracket is a spanish bmx bb- which is fine, if you want to run bmx cranks but those carbon fsa's or sugino 75's, no luck. therefore you have to run whatever the bmx companies are pushing out: smaller ratios. sure you can run a profile imperial, but hey, thats pretty much the only option (i'm being sarcastic, i know that tree makes a big sprocket, and i'm sure volume does as well). i repeat that i'm not condemning the volume thrasher nor any other bike company. i'm not criticizing either. it's a machine fit for a certain function, which is respectable.

i think it's safe to say that the urban fixed gear and the fixed freestyle machine are two different subgenres of the fixed gear scene. many people want to run 2 bikes- one for going hella fast, one for doing tricks.  the emergence of more fixed freestyle specific parts and the recognition of the fixed freestyle community to bike companies is a part of this shift. one bike simply doesn't do the job anymore. of course it's an excuse to buy more bike parts, but why? i feel silly quoting iro, but "you only need one."; and wasn't that why we all came into the urban fixed gear realm anyway? a bike to both thrash and get around quickly on?

believe me, i'm not criticizing anything. however this blog's name does happen to be bomb hills speed kills, and really, i dont come across alot of things that have to do with bombing hills much anymore....

just think of it this way:
2007-drops (most functional for hill bombing)
2008-bullhorns (most functional for skidding/bombing- what i'm running.)
2009-stubby risers (most functional for absolutely nothing)
2010-uncut risers(most functional for jumping sh*t)

eh, maybe it's just me. discuss.



antihero1972 said...

I was going to comment when you have posted statements like tis before. So maybe I will briefy now. I for one am not willing to let hill bombing go away just like that. I have no prob. with FGFS but its doesnt appeal to me at all. I have even considered starting a hill bombing only blog because quite frankly too many are focused on FGFS even this one with the ultimate name. Lets not let it die there are others who feel like i do, i ride with lots. Hell my last 2 bike builds are hill bombers. (yes with risers but not stupid short) 2010 will now be the return of the hill bomber if I have any say on the matter. who is down. ride fast ride hard and bomb those hills. BHSK will not die!!

bhannon said...

I enjoyed your blog entry but I did not enjoy actually reading it. Reading type on a computer screen is hard enough when it's black on white but even harder when it's black on a textured grey background. Not trying to bash you in any way, just trying to give some constructive criticism.


Anonymous said...

well now that you mentioned it I am the only one who is viewing this type blocked by the twitter box on the right?

Anonymous said...

i meant left side

bhannon said...

Yeah, I got a link from Pedal Consumption and it led me to the actual web page. As I am replying it's in a more basic format but I'm only seeing the replies, not the author's entry. Not a major issue but it definitely bothers me when I am trying to read something online and being a designer this bothers mine eyes even more.

Anonymous said...

long live hill bombing. i am really not so into the childish freestyle shit... exept wheelies. bomb a hill wheelie...

Matt Reynolds said...

I also agree with the textured background comments.

HOWEVER, on to business!
It is terribly sad to see fixed wheels turned into big and unfunctional bmx machines... its not even a progression in the sport, it's just plain difficult and dangerous! Get a bmx, or hell get a mountain bike.

But for godsakes, don't take your carbon speed machine and trick it people!

J.mika'ele said...

Hey duders,
thanks for the responses! I know that the blog needs to be fixed, and it will have a facelift sooner or later. I'm getting annoyed with the look as well- it was supposed to be temporary. That said, I can't say much about fixed gear progression. Originally, I thought people should get onto true track bikes over getting on fixed freestyle bikes. Now either machine people chose, they're on a bike period and I never thought I'd see the day where kids actually wanted and chose to be on a bike. So that's a good thing that comes from all this madness. I'm not condemning fixed freestyle however; fixed freestyle is being cemented as the posterchild of the fixed gear segment. It doesn't bother me, I'm just noticing that these bikes are no longer track bikes. These bike aren't even urban track bikes. What we have now is a separation of the fixed gear segment: strictly track, urban track, and fixed freestyle.

And the fixed freestyle part is growing so rapidly it's hard to keep up! I'm all for that. But damn, bomb a hill once in a while lol.


Ps. Once I get less busy, I'll fix the blog!

Panda said...

for me, the urban track bike was just a fun way to commute to school and work. i hate the noisy drivetrains on roadbikes and i like the aesthetic value and the geometry of a true track back. you have the 700 wheels, thin tubes, its so efficient/easy to work on. i would get from point a to b so fast in the city. the bmx was a pain in the ass to ride around. its a natural evolution takin place here. kids on there bmx's are now out growin their small bikes, liking the geometry of the track bike and the fixed cog adds a new element to tricking. to me the look of the new fix/fs bike is not at all a track bike. its a just a bigger bmx with a fixed cog. i was always into biking not necessarily tricking let the kids have their fun though , not hatin on anyone. but to be totally honest tricks look way smoother and better on a bmx bike. you dont need so much room to pull a trick outta your hat.urban track riding started out as a small community and good thing its going back to being a small community of true bike fans. not band wagoneers.

Diaz Aryagung said...

well, im hanging out with ex-BMX riders now riding fixie, BMX riders who also rides fixie, and of course the fixie freestylers EVERYDAY. what does that make me?
still riding on that 46-15.

however, to ride really slow when the friday riding routine comes and, doing NOTHING everytime they stopped for tricks session..
is it my time to build a trick bike?

bhannon said...

Only if you want to. You can still have fun and learn tricks on that ratio, I have the same thing and I'm learning wheelies, fakie and track stand variations. You don't need a beefy trick bike unless you want to jump off of stuff or bang around hard. And if you dont want to do that try and set up a ride thats just for riding and keep the tricking separate.

bhannon said...

Also, I totally disagree with Panda about tricks looking smoother on bmx. That is something that varies from rider to rider. I'll admit I've seen some pretty wonky fixed riders but also seen some robotic and sloppy bmx riding.

Shan said...

I've always been a hard roadie and mountain cyclist, lot of cyclocross racing etc. I only got into riding fixed while in college up in Philadelphia. While I still hit the mountains while visiting home, fixed chaged my life and riding style. Sure, there's that hip appeal...But it's brought me more connection to actually just riding. Going really bloody fast on an open road or weaving through cars, locked in with no brakes, just you and the bike. To me that's what riding's always been about. This is why - and a lot of people will hate me for this - I've always looked down upon the trick scene a bit. Always seemed like pointless showing off, doing something with the bicycle that it wasn't meant to do. Meant to move, not to move back and forth while popping the wheels all over the place. Akin to longboarding vs skateboarding... I say this hypocritically while eying for a trick bike myself.

As for bombing, I've never done it. Only a few places in Philly I've ever come across worthy, and my ratio isn't steep enough for over 25mph or so. However the idea excites the hell out of me. The raw speed and danger. That's riding.

I suppose my ride could take it to if I swapped out the gears:

bhannon said...

"Always seemed like pointless showing off, doing something with the bicycle that it wasn't meant to do. Meant to move, not to move back and forth while popping the wheels all over the place." They do make bikes that are meant for that. And I'm pretty sure a lot of the trick riders have fast bikes too. And I'm not a show off in any sense of the word, but I like to go out with my friends and learn new stuff and sometimes it's in a public area. I don't know who you've seen riding, hell I bet there are tons of show-offs out there but just because someone likes to learn tricks doesn't put them in that category. I've only been riding fixed for 2 years but I know enough to say that there is a difference between fast bikes and trick bikes. And if someone is dumb enough to hit gaps and sets with a Vigorelli then let them. Bicycles have always and still are about evolution, they change with what people want to use them for, we adapt the bike to fit our needs and that is going to happen whether you like it or not.

bhannon said...

Also, for the generation of bikes that got caught up in the middle of track bikes becoming trick bikes (for example the Charge Plug, which is what I own) it can depend on the build. You can throw a set of 23's, some drops and a 52-16 ratio or something and bomb hills. Or you can throw some risers, some Odysseys, set of straps and some 35's and learn tricks! I just have a passion for this kind of thing so sorry about the ranting. I've been riding bikes since I was 5 and I'm not gonna stop anytime soon.