This is the new stuff

Oh man, it’s that time of year….

Bike companies are rolling out that new stuff. Shedding the skin* of the previous year’s lineup and getting hyped for the new model year.

Stolen’s updated their popular Spade complete with an appropriately trail-sy colorway.

Subrosa’s upsized their 22″ Malum complete bike from 21.5 top tube to one that is 22″. The raw with a hint of orange anno is super nice too.

 

DK’s back with the iconic 22″ General Lee in two colorways: the iconic orange Duke Boys orange and the Maximum Steel colorway,which sounds a bit like an 80s metal band, but is actually has nice blue/grey finish. The Maximum Steel is a limited run situation so don’t sleep on it if strikes your fancy.

 

Speaking of limited runs, FBM is also doing a run of their beauty 22″ Steadfast frames.…this time in two sizes: 22 3/4″ and 22″ top tube lengths. You can get these in one of three colorways: Sunburst, Tundra Green, Trans Brown.

 

Finally, Big Dave over at PDC collaborated with rider Matt Stahl to develop the 22″ Operator frame. Featuring a steeper head tube and more responsive geometry (than most trailsy 22″ frames). Matt, along with a bunch of other volunteer testers, are currently riding the prototypes and making final recommendations before it goes on the market. It looks real good though.

More on that in a followup post.

 

 

*I guess I got an a bit of a Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” kick there…

Something new, something old

Answer BMX dropped the news recently on social media that they have a OS20 tire in the works.

A welcome development as the only tire game in town these days, OS20-wise, is Tioga.  OS20 tires have been notoriously hard to find in the past little while so another brand option will definitely help a lot of people out.

However, those OS20 outages might be shortlived as Tioga also recently announced that they were ramping up production of the OS20 tires to meet the “huge demand in the past few months.”

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Tioga OS20 PowerBlock S-Spec – We have had a huge demand in the past few months, but don’t fret OS20 fans, we are making these right now around the clock and will have tires back in stock soon! Race proven by the fastest racers from your local tracks to the top Elites, the PowerBlock is faithfully recreated in OS20 diameter. Every detail, from precise dimension of the center blocks to the optimal proportions of its shoulder tread, is scrutinized to ensure the OS20 PowerBlock fully takes advantage of its larger size. 20" IS FAST – OS20 is FAST2! What is OS20 PowerBlock? OS20 is NOT 22". OS20 is 20", but bigger. There are two wheel sizes under the 20" category – the 20" on Jr/mini bikes uses the 451mm diameter wheel in narrow widths (for 20-1/8" & 20-3/8" tires), and the conventional 20" which uses the smaller 406mm diameter wheel but in wider widths. OS20 is 451mm wheel diameter in widths similar to 406mm wheels. OS20 tires are not compatible with Jr/Mini sized rims; OS20 rims are not compatible with Jr/Mini sized tires.

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It’s interesting to see how, when a new competitor appears, Tioga starts to suddenly address the building demand for OS20 tires.

Maybe now, Tioga will keep the OS20 at reasonable stock levels –and we don’t have to go through droughts of availability — if only because they want to maintain their market share.

Yess BMX’s new OS20 experiment

Yess BMX is not shy about experimenting with new things (see their belt drive cruiser or their Project 2024) and it looks like they have cooked up something new again.

Introducing the 20os20 concept build.

The idea is to combine the smoothness of the OS20 steering with the gearing/tire/rollout selection of a regular 20″ race bike.

However, the concept isn’t entirely new.

Similar concepts have been tried in both motocross and downhill MTB.

Closer to the OS20/22″ side of things, United rider Kyle Forte experimented with running a 22″ front end on his 20″ (before making the switch to a full 22″ ride that ended up being his signature model, the KF22)

According to Forte in canyoudigitbmx.com:

This is when I decided to try a 22” front wheel & longer fork on the front of my UTD 20”. My thinking was that it would raise the front end & slack the head angle out & make the bike less twitchy & more relaxed. I tried it & looked a bit odd, but I could feel the difference. The main downside was that it made my bike super easy to loop out. From the success of the experiment, I really wanted to run a 22” on the rear & dial a frame in to suit me.

Will the big wheel in front/small wheel in back combo work in racing better than did for Forte at the trails?

Time will tell.

A modest proposal for Odyssey

If you spend any time at all on the 22″ threads on the various forums and pages, the topic of Sunday/Odyssey joining the 22″ movement will come up.

More specifically, why Sunday/Odyssey hasn’t joined the movement.

Some have claimed that Sunday/Odyssey (let’s just say Odyssey for this post) hasn’t dived into the pool –even though a large number of their competitors have — is because they overinvested in the 24″ BMX scene and were left hanging when their investment wasn’t met with the demand they were expecting. Because of this, they are more than a little gun-shy about getting their feet wet with 22″ BMX. (I’m not saying this is true…it’s just what people are saying)

Another piece of evidence for this line of thinking were some comments from G-Sport in the Bike Guide forum discussing 22″ BMX. He more or less said there was no business case for it.

Granted, these comments were from a 2011 thread when the 22″ scene was far less populated by companies having a go at this new wheel size.

To be fair, there was a similar view expressed in 2010 over on our brother site, Cruiser Revolution, in a 22″ themed post. At the time, only one company Faction was doing anything 22″ related in a meaningful way.  The post suggested that without more industry support it would likely be an extremely small niche without much traction.

Of course, once S&M tiptoed into the scene, before full-on embracing it, other companies now had the “air cover” to try it for themselves. (Which kind of proved the thesis of the post.)

Digression: Felt actually introduced a 22″ complete (pic here)after dropping their new school 24 from their lineup back in 2013.  Kind of ahead of their time you might say, but alas Felt BMX is no more. I guess with that kind of forward thinking, you’re just flying too close to the sun…

Odyssey tends to be higher end, with more proprietary items —Hazard Lite, etc. –so it’s a bit harder to do a cookie cutter entry into the 22″ scene. They have standards (which is also why they are so popular/respected).

So what’s a company to do? On the one hand you have customers begging you to produce something…but you’re worried about misjudging demand and being left holding the bag/overstocked.

I think, my modest proposal is to embrace a tried and true BMX industry practice….copy what works for someone else.

Chris Moeller, of S&M Bikes saw the gap in availability/reliability of replacement 29″ forks for the “raise ’em up” wheelie crowd. Moeller pounced on the opportunity and “Pounding Beer” forks were born. (And, if I’m not mistaken, they sold out immediately).

S&M isn’t a “bike life” company –they don’t even make 29″ frames–but they found a way to make money in an area adjacent to their core business.

Odyssey could do the same.

Odyssey makes some of the best aftermarket forks in the industry.

The 22″ scene is sick with completes with easy to bend forks….see the similar business gap Odyssey?

With a slight tweak the R32 forks could become the R22 fork.

And, if they’re light enough (which the 20″ version are, I think)…you’ve got the small but still significant OS20 crowd who might grab ’em up too.

With just a little effort, they could become the 22″ aftermarket fork.

Heck, S&M already did a second run of the Pounding Beer forks because the first run went so fast.

Seems like a win-win to me.

And, that’s my modest proposal.

 

(Also, don’t forget to send a pair of the first batch this way…I can’t be doing all the market strategy here without a little something, something, dontcha know)