Thursday, October 21, 2010

2010: The death and dying of fixed specific tricks

i saw this yesterday and i found it a good representation of something i wanted to talk about for a while now. in january i did a write up about how the hill bomber is dead, now it seems to me that fixed specific tricks are next to leave. now going into this, i know it'm going to get alot a flack, and i understand that- i am not turning my back towards the fixed freestyle community, nor is my intent to talking about this condemning fixed freestyle. it is simply just an observation.


above is an edit of nasty of w-base. aside from the skids, most of this stuff originated on a bmx bike (smoothie, 540 cab, nose pivot). when faced with the task of doing a keo spin, he cant do it. torey of WRAHW recalls that wonka cant do them either, but mike schmidt can. what does this mean? let's take a visit back to the "hill bomber" post and look at the evolution of the machine.

this is my bike circa summer 2010. it's a 2008 se lager with an iro mkV fork. it's in no way shape or form ready to huck down some stairs even though it has some components that denote to bmx. it has a shorter top tube than a trick frame, it can barspin, but the clearance is ridiculous (in a bad way). but given the parts and stuff, it's made to do wheelies and keos and pretty much "track" specific tricks. note the high seatpost, now watch nasty's edit. dude doesnt have a high seatpost which helps in stability amidst keos as well as wheelies or whatever.

(via slum)
with progression of where fixed freestyle is going, i feel like we're losing sight on what we began with. i recall on macaframa's credits someone thanked "carbon wheels", which now is unheard of. now let's look at matt's (slumworm) new specialized setup (which i find as a sign of the times, and a good indicator to where the machines are going). with the wheeltalk crew doing some pretty gnarly stuff involving dirt, their setups emulate both DJ bikes (26") as well as bmx (9t drivers, small ratio, solid fork). slammed seat for air- that's something worth looking at. think about everyone who is in the spotlight of FGFS; besides keo curry, who else has a higher than normal seatpost?

KEO for DVS from cadence studios on Vimeo.

the whole concept from fixed trick riding is doing something that shouldnt be done on a certain kind of bike. at first it was going backwards on a track bike. then it was doing spinny tricky things known as keo spins on track bikes. but take the track bike out of the equation and implementing bikes built for doing tricks, you get some sort of cyclic form of evolution going. the limitations of the bike call for better bikes. with better bikes, comes different tricks. with different tricks comes improvement on those bikes. but where are we going with this? honestly, what is the goal, and where did the measuring stick come from? let's face it: it's BMX.

(via eighthinch)

now i see the looks on your faces, that statement made some of you a little heated. let's not forget that before bmx was artistic cycling or whatever, and they got freestyle from that. and before you gut me at the neck, i'm not condemning fixed freestyle, i'm trying to convey the idea that track bike tricks are dead. i can recall when small ratios was in the back of everyones mind, and the fixed gear was the perfect bike for going to a spot and riding. with the ratios becoming smaller, it's becoming a two bike thing- one to get there, one to shred...

"but jmik, i'm riding a track bike, i'm just jumping it off stairs and slapped some pegs so i can do grinds-" well that all depends on what you call a track bike. if a track bike was soley on the idea of a fixed cog, then sure, it's a track bike. my personal idea of a track bike can be legally ridden on a velodrome with minimal modifications (i.e. just slapping some drops on). and yeah, my bike is clearly not a track bike. it's a fixed gear built to do track specific tricks. but that's my opinion, so dont shred me up for that.

Matt Montoya from MACAFRAMA on Vimeo.

but then again, lets get back to the initial concept of doing something we shouldnt do. quoting a good friend Joey Krillz "People got mad when we did tricks on track bikes. Now people get mad that we do tricks on not track bikes." and by the mantra of "if you have haters, youre doing it right" i can successfully say that we're doing it right. sure, in the haze of evolution and development, we lost wierd skids, keo spins (but we still have some cool looking variations), and trackstand variations (i still love trackstand variations, hey if burd still does them, they're still cool to me), but we have even bigger spectacles that shouldnt be done on fixed gear bikes. like tyler johnson blasting himself over 2 sets of stairs, or la marche almost killing himself on a gap.

MACAFRAMA Trailer from MACAFRAMA on Vimeo.

maybe i'm just looking at this all wrong. fixed specific tricks layed out a good foundation into going bigger. just like the idea of no one caring inf you can ollie on a skateboard, but once you can ollie you can shuv it, once you can shuv it you can kickflip, once you can kickflip you can tre flip... blah blah blah (all the non skateboarders are going "whaaaaa?"); you cant set up into standing bunnyhop if you cant trackstand, you cant set up a moving bunnyhop over an object if you dont possess the skills to setup your pedals (skid variation), you cant 180 unless you can get the bike to move where you want it (keo spin). sure, you rarely see these tricks amplified as the star of an edit anymore, but they're there.

track specific tricks are not dead, really. just reborn in variations that emulate bmx riding. and we cant get away with that relation; bmx will always be a measuring stick no matter how much we hate it. but they cant do certain tricks fixed freestyle has to offer, yet they're the most "basic" tricks you can do on a fixed gear- and that's something special.

all this trick talk makes me want to bomb a hill. that's an original track bike trick....

feel free to talk about the subject in the comments, but please post intelligently.



flatty said...

As an older guy who got back into BMX and riding a fixie, I think it's all good. Reminds me of riding BMX w/ my 14 yr old nephew. The kid is a national caliber racer, has tons of jumping skills, etc. After kicking my ass at a manualing contest, I proposed a simple pedal wheelie contest. He got like 3 feet and I went up the block. Chalk one up for the old school and 40 something guys. Is it already time for a fixed gear old school and splinter groups? BMX is quietly divided into dirt/trails, park, street, and racing. Of course many riders dabble in several or all areas. It's all fun on a bike. :)

Enjoyed the post, thanks.

J.mika'ele said...

"fixed gear old school" ha, i like that. especially since general urban fixed riding made its way out at around 2007 (of course, couriers have been doing it forever). there are already splinter groups- take wheeltalk for example, they do dirt jumps; which is quite unheard of considering it's far from the origins of track cycling. of course there are still the die hard hill bombers, and those who are strictly into tricks.

the thing is, the focus on fixed gear's popularity is changing from riding to tricks. much like how bmx has origins in racing, but is now synonymous with doing tricks- people forget the origin. but then again, i cant complain because i do both tricks and ride all the time.

old school fixed gear riding.... yeahhhhhhh!


Anonymous said...

refreshing article. the only mainstream fixed gear articles i've managed to read were the seldom messenger/trackbike rants strewn across a newspaper or two (back when i was one myself).

ever since i've moved on to a real career (cnc prog/mach) my ol track bike (80s pinarello) is still my transportation of choice...

few weeks ago, i was at el pollo loco eating outside, when a few young kids were curious about my bike and it's ability to feel weightless during the pick-the-bike-up-to-see-if-it's-a-good-bike test (common, lol).. they kept asking what tricks could i do? "Um. I can skid and stand still". kid reiterates "what other tricks can you do?!!?"

Apparently drifting was a trick i was unaware of... quick demonstration shut them up and they were on their way.

my arsenal of tricks are merely survival tactics..

once again, great article. touched on many thoughts which stir within my head yet never befall from my mouth....due mainly to respect, and not to upset the younger crowd... hell it's gotta be reducing the overall obesity rate.. more power to them and their tricks.


J.mika'ele said...

thanks for the kind words gabriel! it's funny how basic things transform into trick which then transform into a phenomena. and the bikes are transforming to accomodate this kind of riding- something CRAZY different than your pinarello. that then makes a gray area as to what tricks are what, but we all couldnt have gotten there without the basic stuff.

too bad people arent doing them much anymore.

again, thanks brother!