BMX History Lesson

I read this courtesy of BMX Guide (DogBites). Very good reading!

Are bikes getting lighter and stronger, or have we only convinced ourselves of it.A history lesson for the ignorant.
Think back to what you rode two to three years ago. Most people were riding a forty pound bike with Alex triple walls, an 8 pound frame, 3 pound fork, and seat that weighed about 3 pounds. People did stunts like jumping off roofs to flat ground, huge flights of stairs, or any other thing to abuse themselves and their bikes.
Some people have thought I was nuts saying many newer frames were just race frames with thicker drops and 990 mounts. I guess riding for longer than most riders does have some advantages in this case. See I seem to remember race frames built just like today's street frames. Matter of fact, there are several frames that match almost exactly. S&M's first race frame was the Dirt Bike. Currently known as the Dirt Bike Classic, Chris Moeller built it to handle his racing and jumping, while it has gone through a few changes over the years but essentially it's the same frame. The original became one of the first street frames since they could handle the abuse better. Over the years newer, stronger heavier frames became popular for street. Lighter frames stayed with racing. The Fit S-1 uses almost the exact same tubing as this frame. As did the PBR when it first came out.
Funny thing is, this frame was deemed too lightweight for street just 3 years ago. Now it's deemed too heavy. So which is it really? A street frame or a race frame? The Fit Foster came out a few years ago as well; Foster used it for racing, trails, and street before he finally made a new street frame. It was a sub 6 pound frame and essentially the same as earlier S&M Challengers. The first real race frame S&M made. It was discontinued when they released the RV.
Currently the Neil Wood frame uses the same tubing as many street frames. Where do you think BMX first used double butted chromo.. Racers have been using it for years. It's not new. Same for Platinum OX tubing. Aluminum took over before it all got too popular though. Even the mighty Euro BB was deemed too flexy and weak for racing just several years ago. Street riders would have never considered alloy nipples are Ti spokes 3 years ago, yet people do it all the time now.

Point is, all this stuff was there, and people tried it, it simply did not hold up at the time. People thought Hazard Lites were too weak, now we run them in 36, with alloy nipples, and euro BB's. Many people want V-brakes on their bikes, internal headsets, also stolen from race frames. Even while thinking Hazard Lites were too weak, no one would have considered Rhyno Lites. Only a few considered Super 7X rims to be strong enough, and now, again, we run the same parts in a weaker configuration, yet people swear up and down the parts are better and stronger than they were just 3 years ago.
We had these parts 3 years ago. No one would consider them is all. Ti Profile spindles, were a no no. Hell, Profile cranks in general are funny. 3 years ago many people wanted S.S. and Solid because Profile Racer were a bit too weak. Now we run them with the same Ti spindles people though would be too weak.
Guys I know who were destroying Big Cities, now not only run them, but they run them with only 36 spokes. Did the rim change? Nope.
Truth be told, the only thing that has happened is that outdated race technology (air tempered tubing (OX, Thermal, etc..) and double butted tubes were dropped for alloy, euro was rejected even by them, and we now use the same rims, hell we use the same wheels, seats, stems, forks, posts, pedals, cranks, and more that the racers use.

Let's add it up what many people are using…Frame double butted, old race, thermal, old raceInternal headsets, first used on Neil Woods race frameEuro BB, once rejected by racers, then finally accepted, now almost standard on streetOdyssey RACE forksLite stem, as light or lighter than many race stems.Bars are pretty much the sameProfile RACE cranksSuper 7x, Rhyno Lite rims.. Both were for racing and/or too light just 1-2 years agoHot hub is Profile MINI cassette. Meant as a light race replacement. Hence the 28 and 32h flanges.Ti or double butted spokes, most do not have them, but many are looking into it, all race parts.Alloy nipples.. Racers have used them for years.
So what actual street parts are we using to define the bike as a street bike? A peg? A sticker on the frame that says it's a street frame? Everything else pretty much says race.
Back in the early 90's my Holmes classic (21 in, Dirt Bike Classic) had Profiles race cranks, S&M Pitchforks (later they were renamed Race forks, Pitchfork Specials became Pitchforks) 36 spoke Araya rims, alloy nipples, DT spokes, sealed 3/8 axles (hollow front), S&M bars, same Slams as they sell now, Tech 77 lever, add a peg and you could grind. It was a race/trail bike, Street did not have a name, but it weighed 24.5 pounds and is almost the same bike as many of you ride today. Change the brake to a V-brake (it had calipers), and a Aheadset, and you have a modern street bike many of you would kill to have.
Have bikes really gotten stronger and lighter? I do not think so. I think they just stuck a new shiny sticker on it. I guess its ok to ride a race bike on the street, claim its stronger as long as no one actually calls it a race bike. So when you break one, just remember, it does not mean you're hardcore, you only broke a race frame. Frames did not get stronger, we regressed and riding changed enough to allow for it.
The most funny of all.. Some people have stated they want a 5 pound frame, with v-brakes, euro, with thin 3/8 dropouts since they run peg less. That frame already exists. Take a look at a Standard 125, or older S&M Challenger, or RV. Odd, a race frame fits the bill exactly doesn't it?
Own up, face the facts, and quit being ignorant, you ride a race bike with a street sticker, 990s, a peg, and thicker dropouts. On the whole, that is very little to differentiate one from the other.

The parts did not change, riding style, and opinions did.

Note: There is only one real significant exception as far as new material/part strength goes lately is Odyssey Thermal., but it does not make any change to the argument. Besides people run the RACE forks on street with them as well.

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