Flatland seems like you need to put in a lot more hours in than other types of riding. What was it about flat over other types of riding that lead you to become a flat rider?
Well I always rode my bike as a child in the 70′s it gave me freedom to cruz around, jump curbs, and in the 80′s bmx became a sport. My step dad and I changed my SCHWINN STING RAY into a bmx bike, when freestyle became popular in the early 80′s I was hooked!! I didn’t have any ramps or dirt jumps in my neighbourhood so flatland worked best for me……… little did I know it would become an addiction, I never looked back flatland freestyle was for me.
What do you think of flatland today and the fact that it gets a lot less coverage in magazines?
Flatland was a BIG part of freestyle in the 80′s, but when BMX died in 88-94 because of mountain bikes being the new thing on the market, freestyle flatland had to grow again. flatland has been the same my whole career, it is a labor of love and it takes patients to learn those sweet rolling trick’s on flat, the 80′s hoping tricks were history. Most riders need instant gratification of jumping something and if you decided to ride flatland that wasn’t usually gonna happen. Flatland doesn’t have the dare devil, high flying action that most people want to see. Flatland requires a lot of balance and quick reaction time.
You’ve been involved in the BMX business more or less since you started riding and over the years have contributed to the design of the bikes we ride. Where and when was you first BMX related Job?
My first job in the bike industry was at my local shop LAPALMA CYCLE CENTER when I was 15, I still thank the owner and ABA HALL OF FAMER ” TURNELL HENRY” for getting me into the bicycle industry, he was the owner and I worked with other pro riders, KEVIN HULL, TOMMY BRACKENS, etc.
Riders base the parts they buy on marketing, a favourite rider or something that’s been tried and tested. However unlike the majority, back in the 90’s you took it upon yourself to approach Primo and tell them their product range was shit and you could change it for the better. What possessed you to approach them, what reaction did you get and for those who don’t know, what did you achieve?
In 1993 I was working for a SCHWINN bike shop and my TIP PLUS sales rep who would come by told me that there was a job position @ TIP PLUS for a sales rep. I didn’t know much about PRIMO back then but when I started working for them I found out they had a lot of connections in Taiwan and had the ability to manufacture tires & pedals. My friends and I at that time where pushing our flatland abilities and I talked to the owner of TIP PLUS about making some quality PRIMO freestyle products, at first they laughed but it turned out that we got to design PRIMO V-MOSNSTER tires & PRIMO SUPER TENDERISER pedals, that is what started PRIMO in the freestyle bmx industry.
After Primo you got sponsored by S&M and began working on your signature frame “The Sabbath”. Did you feel pressure coming up with a design that was going to be the first flatland frame for a company renowned for dirt jumping frames and did you expect it to appeal to street riders?
When I got sponsored by S&M BIKES they didn’t have anything really to do with flatland but I knew Chris Moeller wasn’t against new ideas for the company and he let me design my own frame. I wanted the frame to have flatland geometry but also be able to take a lick’n and keep on tick’n to all the street abuse we were putting our bike’s thru…………………. the SABBATH was born 1996.
Working at S&M looks like a dream job to any young BMX rider, but figures have to be achieved and bills have to be paid. What’s involved in the day to day job of an S&M Sales Rep. Is it looking for new business to supply or is the phone ringing with shops looking to stock your products?
I have been with S&M BIKES now for 16 years, I have worked in the warehouse, machine shop, customer service, I currently do mostly sales and manage the east coast territory. Every day is fun and yes I am living a dream working for a brand I believe in.
You had a complete Intrikat on show at Interbike this year. It’s been a long process moving from the Sabbath to the Intrikat. Was it hard to find a balance between what Chad wanted and your design experience?
It took me 8 years to convince Chris Moeller that S&M in the flatland industry make a HUGE difference. The last SABBATH frames we sold was in 2002, right about that time is when I started to focus more on my job then riding professionally and bringing Chad Johnston on board was great. Chad was already a well accomplished flatlander and i knew he would work out great for me to pass the S&M flatland torch too……………….. thanks Chad you rule!!!
S&M has grown over the last 25 years and diversified into other brands without any loss of credibility. What have been the highs and lows of the S&M business?
Highs would be would be working here all these years doing what I love. Lows?? I haven’t had any lows being a part of this company, only fun times!!
Whats Flatland Friday and who get’s to ride at it?
Flatland Friday doesn’t happen every Friday but we do throw down some tricks once in a while, Chad Johnston, Ryan Russell, Rock-a-belly Jay gets down too………. hell when it’s Friday let’s get down with some tricks when we can.
You and Keith Treanor go back a long way. Tell us one of you best Keith Treanor stories?
1993 we were in Chicago and Todd Lyons mouthed off to a manager at a night club, the bouncers tried to kill Todd , so me and Keith started throwing blows with bouncers and got him out of there, Keith , John Povah and I always had each other’s back, my homie’s do not fuck around!
Finally, if you could have any one rider’s skills, past or present for one day who’s would it be and where would you go ride?
SHIT that is an easy question…………… MAT HOFFMAN skills and try to hit that mega ramp!!!!!!!