Eclat dropped a great bike check with Shane Weston the other day that is absolutely packed with prototypes- some of which; like the 25.4mm 4pc Strangler bar, we have posted before but these samples of Bruno Hoffmann’s signature Predator tyres are a new sight to us. Following in a very similar vein to Animal’s GLH tyre (of which Eclat are reportedly big fans of) the Predator keeps a simpler, more traditional tread pattern from tyres like the Fireball or the Ridgestone while keeping it as grippy as possible with surface knurling and adequate tread depth. These are set to be released in a few months time so keep those peepers peeled for more info as it comes.
Fresh from the offices in Cologne, Wethepeople have revamped their Patron frame for 2016. Not to be confused with their Patrol trails line; the Patron is a super responsive, hight tech street machine with short chain stays, a medium/high- height bottom bracket and a tight head angle to keep it nice and nippy. Other smart features include the super stiff D-shaped chain stays, double head tube gussets and integrated chain tensioners. These badboys are out now so check out the full specs below and get onto your local shop to order you one up or head to Wethepeople‘s site for more pics.
Tubing: butted, seamless Japanese 4130 chromoly tubing
Top tube length: 20.75 “or 21.15″ TT
Chainstay length: 13.25 ” with 25-9 gearing, 13.1″ slammed
Head tube angle: 75.5 °
Seat tube angle: 70.5°
Bottom bracket: Mid BB, 74mm width, 11.75 ” height, cnc machined and heat-treated
Head tube: cnc machined and heat-treated, integrated head set, drilled for gyro tabs
Dropouts: 7mm, investment cast, 4130 crmo with integrated chain tensioners
Features: Slim profile integrated seat clamp
Top and down tube gussets
D-shape chain stays for dent resistance
Single butted top tube with integrated threads for cable guides (removable brake hardware not included)
Wide rear triangle allows clearance for a 2.4 ” tyre.
Colours: Gloss black, translucent brown
Weight: Aprox. 2.31kg/5lbs (21.15″)
2016 looks like it will see a fair few classics coming back, starting with this little gem; the re-issue of FBM’s USA made Gypsy frame. While FBM continued to make the Gypsy in a 16″ wheel size, we haven’t seen a ‘20 inch‘ version since the Gypsy 2 in 2012. Updates include a top tube/head tube junction gusset, steeper 75 degree head angle and shorter 13.5″ chain stays. Be sure to get your local shop to bag you one via FBM’s many distros.
Featuring Artwork by Thomas Hooper, and a smooth but aggressive geometry, it will be available in 20.5″. 20.75″ and 21″ top tube length, with a 75 degree Headtube angle, 71 degree seat tube angle, 11.5 inch bottom bracket height, 8.75 inch standover height, 13.5 inch Chainstay (rear end) length and removable seat stay brake mounts.
RideBMX put up this bike check feature spec’ing Grant Castelluzzo’s Mutiny steed where they give a brief glimpse at Mutiny Bikes’ prototype 29mm offset forks that Grant is testing out right now. With 4mm less rake than the Wand fork, there’s a small recess in the bottom of the investment-cast leg/dropout junction to accommodate plastic pegs while still keeping them more responsive than the Wand fork.
Hopefully they keep the rad Wand top-caps…
Fitbikeco have dropped a flipbook on the newly revised version of their Shawn McIntosh’s signature MAC V2 frame in time for Christmas. This year’s model features longer chainstays (from 13.35″ to 13.5″), a slightly higher BB shell (from 11.6″ to 11.65″) more conventional top tube sizes (from 20.625″, 20.875″and 21.125″ on the V1 to 20.75″, 21″ and 21.25″) and a bunch of rad graphics penned by popular BMX freelance artist Eben Fischer. Get onto your local shop about snapping one of these USA made badboys up.
The guys at RideBMX posted an article on the new Wethepeople Supreme hub, of which has been revamped for 2016 after a brief hiatus from making it. This year’s model features WTP’s very own female axle system where 12mm axle bolts with 14mm ‘shoulders’ or ‘built-in adapters’ thread into a 17mm chromoly female axle, the hub comes with two sets of bolts, one with longer shoulders for pegs and one with shorter ones for those without so you’re covered whatever the weather. WTP have been messing around with the concept of 12mm axles for about 10 years and it’s good to see it cross over on a female hub, word on the street is that no one has come close to breaking one during testing.
The Supreme also features their L/RHD switchable Q-lite driver (the pawls are mounted onto the hub shell and the ratchet teeth are on the driver instead of vice-versa) IGUS driver bushing, dual non-drive side bearings to dissipate the largely ignored leverage on that side of the hub. Even the bolts have some crazy styling to them, and at a mere 391g, well, someone at Wethepeople clearly knows their sorcery…
SUPREME – FRONT HUB
Material: 6061-T6 alloy refined hub-shell
Axle: 4130 chromoly female axle – 3/8″ thread
Bearings: 2 high quality Japanese sealed bearings
Features: Alloy CNC’d cones
Weight: 262g (9.24oz)
Colors: Black or Polished
Hub Guards: Alloy available, Nylon coming 2016
SUPREME – CASSETTE HUB
Material: 6061-T6 alloy refined hub-shell
Axle: 4130 chromoly female axle 12mm thread bolt with 14mm extension shoulders
Bearings: 3 high quality Japanese sealed bearings
Driver: 9t only
Full IGUS bushing driver system
Q-Lite system. Ratchet is machined into 1pc driver for maximum strength.
WTP-unique 12mm female bolt system.
Two bearings on non-drive side to increase hub life
Switch drive LHD/RHD system, new one piece pawl & spring system
Weight: 391g (13.79oz)
Colours: Black or Polished
Hub Guards: Alloy available, Nylon coming 2016
Head over to RideBMX for more photos.
The Union posted this product feature on S&M’s eighth (?) incarnation of the classic 1992 Redneck stem; the Shredneck. While it’s essentially just a slightly shorter Redneck LT with a top cap recess machined from the top of it, that’s not a bad thing, heavily machined stems akin to the XLT are rapidly losing popularity as bikes are generally starting to look a lot more ‘traditional’ again.
CNC machined 6061-T6 aluminium
7mm rise (24.75mm inverted)
Available in matte black and raw
The Union posted an awesome article on the evolution of the BMX fork featuring a plethora of examples of some of the defining designs of the old-to-mid school era. Some of the more wild examples include Kasta’s Uniblade fork, Hutch Trickstar forks and the S&M Ditchforks shown below with peg and AD990 mounts. I’ve totally still got a pair of those Terrible One forks in my shed…
Chromium plating (usually known simply as ‘chrome’) has been a staple finish for BMX bikes and parts pretty much since the sport’s inception when I was little more than a glint in the milkman’s eye. Everybody from yours truly to your little brother has run chrome plated parts; rims being the steady favourite for generations (you can’t deny that it’s a classic look) partly due to being a harder wearing brake surface than anodizing. While it’s nice to have nice things, the horrible truth is that although chrome plating has aesthetic advantages, it has a far darker side behind the scenes.
The biggest structural flaw with chrome plated parts is in the structural steel components like frames, bars, and cranks and is caused by something called ‘sacrificial metals’. When electroplating a steel component, it is first negatively charged by an electrical source before being immersed in a chromic acid bath with a sacrificial zinc or carbon anode; of which is positively charged. The anode is (in layman’s terms) used to prevent the iron in your part from losing it’s electrons thus attracting oxygen molecules and turning into a lump of rust in the acid/electrolyte bath. The anode loses the electrons instead and it oxidises in place of the iron; this is a good example of a ‘sacrificial metal’. This technique is also used on cheap zinc-covered town-bike spokes, roofing and even for ship hulls.
Unfortunately there is a bad example too. If the necessary pre-treatments of stripping, cleaning, sanding, polishing, multiple layers of copper and nickel plating etc, etc aren’t done properly then there will be flaws in the chrome when it comes to chrome plating eg. porous texture, poor adhesion, perforations etc. While I use the word ‘flaws’, don’t think of them as cute, minor little flaws like a bubble in your grips or a small buckle in your rim; these are disastrous flaws that, if unchecked over long periods, can and may well maim you. Chrome plating keeps water away from the iron contained in the tubes of (let’s say for argument’s sake) your bars and preventing them from rusting as a barrier layer but the problem is that iron is anodic to the nickel in the same way that zinc is anodic to iron. The slightest perforation in the plating (of which can easily be caused by manufacturing or rider error; defective chrome plating, grinding, crashing, even simple installation can damage the plating if you’re not careful- chromium is plated by the millionth of an inch) not only makes the tubing vulnerable to rust but because iron is anodic to the plating itself, the rusting is actually accelerated by the chrome plating that’s supposed to be protecting it- the steel literally sacrifices itself for the chrome. This is why you’ll see old American cars with rusted out bumpers with the chrome peeling away where the steel has corroded underneath to the point where it’s barely there any more. This site is a good place for more information about chrome plating as a finish.
It doesn’t end there though, while searching for distribution info on the FlyBikes website last week, I stumbled across an interesting section on their frequently-asked-questions portion of the page;
While the structural (and weight) disadvantages of chrome has been more or less clear to me for years and usually steered me away from actually spending money on it, I had no clue of the environmental or the human cost of a mere finish.
Spotting that Flybikes FAQ explaining their wholly righteous reason for not offering chrome colour options prompted me to do some good old Google trawling on the negative health affects of chromium plating; there was a lot of material. This report by the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention was the most reliable literature I could find on the subject; being the CDCP is a government agency and the fact that the US chrome plating industry is pretty damn big so they probably know what they are talking about.
There are two different types of decorative chrome plating, trivalent and hexavalent; the stuff that made Erin Brockovich a household name. Unfortunately I can’t tell the difference scientifically because I only have a very limited understanding of these things but trivalent is basically ‘modern’ chrome, it has more of a nickel tint whereas hexavalent is the classic ‘old school’ stuff; harder wearing, blue-r tint but heavily regulated by the state and for good reason, hexavalent chromium is hugely toxic. It’s trivalent counter part is not quite as harmful, has less stringent exhaust regulations and is easier to waste treat; spilling a small beaker of it’s hexavalent counterpart on your garage floor has the potential to poison any nearby wells and land you in some deep trouble.
The gases emitted by the chromic acid are the super dangerous part about hexavalent chromium, without adequate fume-extraction or personal protective equipment, a chrome worker is subject to some horrific illnesses including but probably not limited to; cancers of the lung, trachea, and bronchus, contact dermatitis, skin ulcers, irritation and ulceration of the inner nasal lining (nasal mucosa) as well as perforation of the nasal septum- a symptom commonly associated with prolonged cocaine abuse. The CDCP findings also report of kidney damage, liver damage, pulmonary congestion and edema, epigastric pain, erosion and discolouration of teeth, and even perforated ear drums. In the case of the nasal ailments, on average the symptoms start manifesting within the first month of employment with a chrome plating shop.
This passage from the CDCP report was stood out to me as the most troubling though;
..11 male employees in an Ohio electroplating facility reported that most men had worked in the “hard-chrome” area* for the majority of their employment (average duration: 7.5 years; range: 3–16 years). Four of the 11 workers had a perforated nasal septum. Nine of the 11 men had hand scars resulting from past chrome ulcerations. Other effects found during the investigation included nose bleeds, “runny nose,” and nasal ulcerations..
*Hard-chrome is often known as ‘engineering chrome’ and is used for lubricity or oil retention in things like car engine parts and gun barrels. Although essentially the same as it’s decorative counterpart, it’s applied in thousandths of an inch rather than millionths like decorative chrome.
So what can be done? It depends on how much you like your chrome bike I guess, you could hassle your favourite companies via social media into telling you whether they’re using hexavalent or trivalent chrome (to the untrained eye it’s hard to tell the difference) and only buy trivalent if like me, your conscience is getting the better of you. You could even boycott using chrome parts altogether until there’s better identification of whether they’re using trivalent or not, there are plenty of adequate alternatives including fine polishing, anodising and even certain types of chrome-look paint that look great, come in more colour options, weigh less, are less harmful to the environment and are better suited to people who live in wetter climates. If you already have chrome parts, you can take better care of them by spraying something like J P Weigle’s Frame Saver into the inside of the tubes and generally keeping the outside of them clean with soapy water… and by not grinding. The choice is yours at the end of the day; vote with your wallet.
Devon Smillie’s signature Flybikes Fuego frame underwent a few significant tweaks for 2016, the most notable being the addition of external head tube gussets as well as the existing internal ones that Fly utilises and the shift from Fly’s proprietary Spanish BB to a larger Mid;
For 2016, Devon wanted to make a few changes to his Fuego frame. The first thing you will notice is that we’ve added external gussets. These gussets are an addition to the internal integrated gussets we already utilize on the frame, making for an extremely strong front end. Next, we’ve raised the seat tube height a half inch to 9.25″ and shortened the back end to 13.35″ making for a strong frame that’s built to take on the streets. We have also added an additional top tube length for those of you who are looking for a smaller frame. This year, the Fuego will be available in 21″ and 20.5″ top tube lengths. We have also switched to a Mid bottom bracket to accommodate our new 24mm Dolmen cranks, the spindle size was too large for Spainish bearings, and our traditional Dylan removable brake mounts for a clean looking frame for brakeless riders.
Top tube: 20.5” / 21”
Head tube angle: 75.5º
Seat tube angle: 71º
BB height: 11.75”
Stand over: 9.25”
Chain stay length: 13.35”
Weight: 2.531 kg. / 5.57lb. (21″)
Colours: semi-translucent brown, flat grey, trans black.
The Fuego bars are also now available in a higher 9.5 inch rise for those of you on the tall side. The Fuego bars and frame are out now in some countries with others following close behind, get your local shop to grab a set if they are your bag.
Rise: 9” or 9.5”
Weight: 796g / 1.75 lbs. (9″)
Colours: semi-translucent brown or trans black