Letter: How Do I Promote A New BMX Company?

August 11, 2015 by · Comments Off 

10 Tips for BMX Brands

Me and my Team Manager are planning on starting a BMX frame and parts company, and launching it at grands. Do you have any tips for a starting-up BMX company to help us get the word out? Tips on free ways to get the word out would be the most helpful because we are working with a shoestring budget.

—Anonymous (don’t want to give away our plans)

Thanks for your letter, and congratulations on your first steps into the BMX Industry. It’s a very crowded market right now, with 80 (yes, eight-zero) frame brands in the racing segment alone (worldwide), and an uncertain number of BMX racers globally to purchase your products. That rider base is divided very thin, in terms of what frames are most-often purchased. Depending on the kinds of parts you plan on manufacturing, there are some powerhouse brands occupying that space as well.

I say this, not to discourage you, but to “calibrate” your expectations on what it’s truly going to take to get your new brand noticed by consumers, and picked up by retailers to sell it out in the world. If your only option is free promotion, your expectations should be much smaller than if you have a marketing war chest for your startup.

Here are 10 tips to help get you started (not in any particular order).

1). Have a website. Yes, we know, Facebook is supposed to eventually BECOME the internet, with all of us living our online lives inside of it, like some kind of stale-air biosphere. But that probably won’t happen. So an actual website for your brand is essential, for a lot of reasons. We’ll cover those specifics in another article, but suffice it to say, one of the first things you need is a domain name (.com preferred), and a basic site, with real content online (not just a bunch of “coming soon” pages) to begin rooting your search engine presence. Problem is: dot-com domains are tough to come by these days. Don’t settle for odd spellings, or domains with dashes (hyphens) in them. If you’re at an early stage, you will be better off changing the name of your new company to line up with an available dot-com domain, than trying to shoe-horn your brand identity into a name like, or similar. Afterall, how do you say that to a customer so they will remember it?

2). Add contact information to your Facebook page. If you also create a Facebook page for your brand (and you should–not in place of a website, but in addition to), it’s important you make it as easy as possible to contact your company for info on the product, or what you’re up to in general. This info is helpful for customers and media alike, who may want to contact you. Making it a mystery as to who’s in charge keeps the company’s name in total darkness, apart from their close circle of friends at the local track, and we assume they’re already buying from you.

3). Media introduction. BMX Racing has a handful of solid websites and magazines that keep the national and global racing community plugged in to new things happening. Posting only to your Facebook page, or even to your brand’s website is not enough to roll-hard on public awareness of your brand. Did you know: only a small percentage of your Facebook fans actually see your posts? We wrote about that last year. Develop a list of media contacts, and send an introductory email with information on what you have going on (ours is Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get published on the first try, or the second, etc…but the best way of guaranteeing you won’t get covered is to not reach out at all. Don’t do it too early, either. Wait til you have product to sell before pulling the trigger on a media rollout.

4). Create clear ways to buy your product. Some brands are great at the hype, but once a customer is interested, there is no infrastructure in place to seal the deal. If your goal is solely to set up and sell out of the back of the van at the local and state races, it’s all good. But if you want to sell product across the country, or around the world, you’re going to need a way to make those sales beyond “Facebook me.” That could mean creating your own online shopping cart as part of your website, or starting out by developing relationships with major mail order vendors, to whom you can point sales leads. Everyone wins.

5). Don’t release news on Friday. In the mainstream media, when government agencies or political campaigns want to “bury” news from the public, they release it on Friday. That’s when people are “tuned out,” and have their eyes on the weekend. This applies to the BMX community as well, and add-in the fact that many families are on the road to nationals on any-given Friday, or are heading to local races over the weekend and have other things on their minds. Release news on Monday-Wednesday for best effect. Exception: “Breaking News” that has a clock on its freshness. Picking up a new rider is not breaking news, by the way.

6). Use caution when spending big on tricking out a pit, buying a new truck and/or wrapping a trailer as marketing priority one. We understand that this is one of those “feel good” things that helps make the venture real for you. The problem is that your pit can only put-down in certain places across the country, on certain weekends. You need representation and sales 24x7x365 to build a brand and generate full-price sales.

7). Invest in professional product photography. Quality photography is key in piquing consumer interest, and giving media outlets what they need to cover your product. A shaky iPhone shot using a bed sheet, draped over the back of a couch is not the way to debut your product. Investing in professional studio shots doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it will pay for itself, and then some. Be sure the photographer also “outlines” your product shots, so you can use them on a variety of backgrounds.

8). Limit bro-deals for non-bros. It’s one thing to cut the people closest to you a hefty break on your product to put some goodwill into the universe, or to get some riders repping you out there…But for all the others, set your prices fairly, and stick to them. Bro dealing outside the bro-circle is the fastest way to devalue your product, at precisely the time you need to build up your brand. Say this with me now: “The deals are two doors down, at the flea market.” Exceptions: team riders, limited “friends and family” programs for team riders, local track volunteers,

9). Be very careful with deposits for pre-orders. A lot can happen in the manufacturing process, and things always, always, ALWAYS take longer than expected. Accepting someone’s money today for a frame or other product to be delivered in 30 or 60 days is a big risk, because it’s likely the quoted 30 or 60 days will turn in to 90 or 120 days by the time it’s all over. And by then, the kid probably grew out of the size ordered, dad is PO’d and lighting you up on every social media outlet since Friendster. There’s nothing worse than getting half-a-dozen chargebacks on your merchant account, or having people badmouthing you at your own local track. Sell what you have in stock, or can get within a week. Sounds easy, but not doing it can cause a lot of trouble.

10). Ask for the sale. In many cases, BMX company founders are more comfortable tending to the “marketing” details and creating flash and factory flav, versus SELLING the product, itself. There’s a difference between marketing and selling, and the old adage “tellin’ ain’t sellin’” should be top-of-mind. Get out there and sell some product, at full price. When someone expresses interest, be sure to ask for the sale.

11). Bonus: Advertise your product. Definitely toward the top, in terms of importance, but we didn’t include it in the main list, because we have an obvious stake in encouraging you to advertise your product. Do you own research in selecting the best outlets to place your ads, but be sure to do it. BMX News, Pull Magazine, BMX Mania, BMX Plus! are all respectable outlets you should consider (we’re obviously partial to one of those, in particular). That is the “24x7x365 salesperson” we were talking about in #6. Banner and button ads work for you while you’re asleep, around the world. Since we’re here, get with us on that by emailing “Ask for the sale,” right?

I hope these tips have answered some of your questions and helped you, and other budding BMX brands get (or keep) sales flowing.

The 2015 Grands start 108 days from today, so you have a little more than three months to get your game going, if you want to launch there. That’s 9,331,200 seconds (ok, less now), so make them all count!

—Mike Carruth

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Industry: Rick Moliterno BMX Union Sit-Down

January 30, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Rick Moliterno on BMX Union

I have known Rick Moliterno since we worked together putting on some of the first freestyle contests in Illinois (Spring 1985, when he hosted one of my “WFO” contests at Bike & Hike, where he was a manager). Rick became a runaway freestyle star soon after that, leaving behind his shop apron for a team Hutch Read more

Reader Letter: “We Tried That Already”

October 23, 2014 by · Comments Off 

BMX News Reader Letters
Our track had a meeting of volunteers and parents last week to talk about the 2015 season starting up next spring. When we started to talk about promotion ideas, it seemed like every idea that someone put out there was met with “We already tried that–didn’t work.”

After about 10 minutes of that, the ideas started slowing down, until nobody wanted to speak up anymore. A few of us stood around taking in the parking lot after the meeting broke up and a lot of us asked “if they have tried everything and nothing worked, is our track doomed?”

I saw your article on fundraising ideas a few month ago and was hoping you could do one of those on track promotion.

RJ, East Coast

In 1899, US Patent and Trademark Office director, Charles H. Duell reportedly said “Everything that can be invented, has been invented.” What you said happened at that meeting reminds me of that quote, as relates to promoting your track. You’re right! Certainly not every marketing idea that can be tried has been tried.

It’s understandable to learn from mistakes, and steer clear of promotional ideas that truly did not work–like that time a track brought flyers to the local nursing home, in the hopes that grandparents would bring their grandkids out to the track. “A” for effort, D-minus for strategy. Not all ideas are going to be big winners, but that’s no excuse for shying away in the future. “Fail fast” is a popular maxim in the startup world.

That said, the best idea in the world is worthless without a strategy (“what do we want to accomplish, and why”) and solid execution (“how will we achieve it”). The concept of “ideation” (or idea iteration) means that ideas once tried and failed could yield big results with some tweaks.

Small businesses, in general, which would include BMX tracks, often “throw spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks.” In the quest to get even the slightest “win,” they tend to go out before a clear goal is set, and try marketing ideas that are, at best, “half baked.”

A popular method for tracks is passing out flyers. USA BMX has an awesome program to print promo materials for tracks–at no cost to the track. But where the track puts those flyers, and how they approach the effort is the difference between success and calling it a “we tried that…didn’t work.”

Did the track just blanket windshields in a Wal Mart parking lot with those flyers? Or did they hand them out, person-to-person, to families with kids, and invite them out to the track next week–and get a nod “we’ll be there” from them? Big difference. And the former definitley not executed well enough to say “we tried flyers…didn’t work.”

Based on your request, we’re going to do a “track promo ideas” feature in the coming weeks. But before that happens (and this goes out to every track with similar “tried-and-failed” promotions), take every single idea floated at the meeting and run it through the following process:

Get a pad of paper (Yellow legal-sized pads work best).

1). Start a page for each previously-tried promotional idea.

On each page, begin to chronicle the background of that idea.

2). When was it tried?

3). What, if any, was the expectation?

4). How, exactly, was it executed?

5). How did the track measure the results (if at all)?

6). What were the results?

7). Were there any “tweaks” and re-attempts? If so, what were they?

8). Are there any after-the-fact opinions on why the promotion did not work?

Moving forward —>

9). Start a new page for each of the previously-tried ideas.

10). List 10 adjustments you can make to that idea. It has to be 10–no fewer, but it can be more. Don’t get jammed up by the “perfect idea” curse. In this exercise, you’re not looking for perfection, you’re looking for quantity–which you will soon refine down.

11). Take those tweaks and begin getting more specific about them. Which methods could truly work, and which might be too far out of reach financially, or not feasible for other reasons. Circle the “actionable” line items.

On To New Ideas —>

12). Start a new page. List three specific goals for recruiting new riders to the track next year. One small goal (“two new riders at every race”), one medium goal (“bring back five riders who have not been back in a year”), and one big goal (“what do we have to do to be the biggest-attendance track in the state?”).

13). Start a new page and rock-out 20 new promotional ideas that are not on the above list of previously-tried, or tweaks thereof. There are no “bad” ideas at this stage– write, and write, and write! Then you can take several of those ideas and begin to research and validate them–ultimately ending up with two or three that will be your “key initiatives” for next year. Then, as a group, you develop a strategy and an execution plan for each.

Thanks for your letter. Once you apply this process, your track will have the method and hopefully the motivation to improve on this year’s numbers in the 2015 season.

—Mike Carruth

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RAD: Behind the Scenes

September 25, 2014 by · Comments Off 

RAD Behind the Scenes

RAD the movie was released nationally in theaters on March 21, 1986. It’s an underdog story of how a hometown kid goes up against the BMX factory stars and dirty-pool corporate types to finally realize his dream of topping the podium and getting the girl.

A couple dozen BMXers (racers and freestylers alike) were up in Canada in late 1985 riding and doing stunt double parts for the film’s stars, Bill Allen (as Cru Jones), Bart Conner (as Bart Taylor) and others.

Among those BMXers who played a central role in the film was Martin Aparijo. Martin rode as himself in the climatic race scene, and also stunt-doubled for many of the main characters throughout the film. Martin will be inducted into the National BMX Hall Of Fame this Saturday night, along with five other early-BMX headline makers.

RAD did not enjoy much success at the box office (About $2MM against a $3MM budget), however it has been red hot as a cult classic for BMXers ever since, and was reportedly a top-ten video rental for two years after its release. Still, the film was never released on DVD, so VHS and laser-disc copies are all you’ll find in the marketplace (the VHS is selling for a much as $60 on some eBay stores). The good news is that it’s also available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

Recently, old school BMX photographer and 80s-era magazine staffer, Tony Donaldson got the RAD band back together to produce an independent audio track that you can listen to with the film, to give you a running-commentary of all the behind-the-scenes goings-on and insider stories.

Tony told News the following about the project:

The genesis of this project was a few conversations I had with Eddie (Fiola) over the years. Then he and Martin sat behind me at the screening at the RAD 25th anniversary at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. They were telling me behind-the-scenes stories that surprised, entertained and amazed me. I’m a fan of the movie, BMX rider and former BMX magazine editor, and also have known Eddie and Martin for decades. I thought I knew a lot about my favorite movie. But there was so much more I didn’t know. I was hooked, and I knew we had to bring this experience to the fans.

We didn’t know how to do this, since there was no chance to make it as a special feature for a DVD. Eddie came up with the idea of recording it and selling it on iTunes. I got it right away.

If you’ve ever heard of playing Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” while watching “The Wizard of Oz,” where the film syncs up perfectly to the music, you get how this works.

You buy this track on iTunes, Amazon, etc. and play it back from your phone, music player, computer, tablet, phablet, smartwatch, game system, mp3-enabled hearing aid, digital Victrola, Google Glass, or whatever player the future brings.

I wanted it to be spontaneous. The feature starts out in real-time with the movie–from the first moments, the guys riff on each other with amazing stories–but there are a few times when the guys will want to go into more detail about something. Eddie will tell you to pause, you’ll also hear a tone, then you pause while they expand on something. Eddie describes what is on-screen during the pause and after, so whatever way you’re watching the film, you can sync it up manually and exactly.

I gathered together the stars and players from the film in a room (top photo), sat them on couches, put microphones on them and had them record behind-the-scenes stories of the making of this film. Funny and amazing stories that even the most hardcore of fans never knew. This was the first time in 27 years they had all been together in the same place.

Bart Conner and Bill Allen of RAD the Movie
Most of the guys live in the Los Angeles area, Eddie and Martin still ride together, Jeremy works with Eddie to promote his EF Proformer bikes, Sam still writes movies, Bill still works as an actor and musician. But Bart lives in Norman, Oklahoma with his Olympian wife, Nadia Comaneci. Jose (Yanez) lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

We set up the recording at Eddie’s house (aka Club Ed). He had enough couches for everyone, and a big TV. Recording Engineer Kyle Hoffmann had microphones on everyone and even panned all the mics so in headphones, you get a feel for where everyone is in the room.

To our knowledge, this has never been done before. We may be breaking new ground, and you’re in on it. It’s a great special feature to go with your favorite film (be honest, how many times have you watched it?)!

I’ve sat down with friends and fans with the raw recording. Some who didn’t know anyone involved in the movie. They all said that they will never, ever watch the film the same way again. It gives it a whole new dimension. It makes it more real.

We had a blast producing it, I know you’ll really enjoy this program.

RAD Behind The Scenes Group Shot
The Players (Above, Left to right)
Martin Aparijo (played himself and stunt double for main characters)
Jeremy Moser (played himself and runs
Eddie Fiola (played himself and stunt double for Cru and others)
Bart Conner (played Bart Taylor)
Bill Allen (played Cru Jones)
Sam Bernard (created and wrote the film)
Jose Yanez (inventor of the backflip, and the only person who could do them at the time)

“Behind the Scenes” Crew
Recording Engineer: Kyle Hoffman
Dialogue Editor and Mixer: Hermann Thumann
Craft Services: Mindi Fiola

I would like to give thanks to Recording Engineer Kyle Hoffman and Dialogue Editor and Mixer Hermann Thumann for their incredible talent and hard work on this project. Also to my wonderful girlfriend Shirley Stahl for all her support and help with this. To Mindi and Eddie Fiola for being the gracious hosts for this recording, and to Bill, Bart, Eddie, Martin, Sam, Jeremy and Jose for getting together for this. To my friend Mike Drolet for the help, support and encouragement. To the friends and fans that listened to the early versions with me to shape it into the fun that it is, and to all my fellow fans that love my favorite movie.

At the time, “Helltrack” represented the most extreme, almost “science fictional” version of what an impossibly-tough track might look like. Contrast what you see in the film with the London-replica Supercross track today’s BMX stars will be racing on this weekend. It almost seems tame, by comparison. Trivia: the no-gate starting hill in the movie is about the same height of today’s Supercross start ramp. Coincidence?

With a four-hour flight to Chula Vista tomorrow, we will be listening to the audio track as great prep for Hall Of Fame weekend. Check the links below to get yours today. A big BMX News thanks to Tony and all the people involved in bringing this awesome program to RAD fans of every age.


RAD Behind The Scenes via iTunes

This Article is presented by Time2Shine BMX

This Article is presented by

10 Takeaways from Interbike 2014

September 16, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Interbike 2014 Takeaways

So much of the time, a trade show like Interbike boils down to a tidy list of tips, trends and never-do-agains. Here are ours from Interbike 2014, in no particular order.

1). More than a few companies missing from the show floor this year. Redline, GT, DK, all kept their exhibits in the warehouse for Interbike 2014, opting instead for more hand-to-hand dealer experiences before the show, hosted on their terms, where the hospitality coffee was not $50 a pot.

Speaking of which, the expense of doing a booth at the show is cost-prohibitive for many BMX companies these days–upwards of $15,000 when all is said & done. With the number of dealers carrying BMX racing products always a challenge, many BMX companies have opted, instead to display product with the distributors who rep them to dealers. Household-name companies like Supercross, Speedline, Yess, Alienation, Profile and Tangent all buddied-up with either Fly/WPS or QBP. That worked out very well, as it turned out, since it was a “BMX Central” of sorts, and show-goers got to meet company representatives, then sit down to write orders with the distributor.

2). Fat tire bikes were everywhere. We have seen them growing in popularity at the past few Interbike shows, but this year, fat is where it’s at in terms of innovation. Could BMX tracks leverage the fat-tire boom by having dedicated races for them?

The Godfather of Mountain Biking, Gary Fisher, told it true to

Ssquared Strider bike
3). Lots of companies doing co-branded Strider bikes, catching the wave of getting the 5-unders on their brand early. Ssquared was one of those showing a Strider, and we expect those will be featured prominently on the new Oldsmar dedicated Strider track next year. Some companies also doing their own balance bike, such as the Staats “BBX.”

Speedline Carbon Cranks
4). Carbon BMX componments. We’ve seen a lot of carbon race frames come into the scene, but there hasn’t been much focus on carbon components. With Speedline, and RaceFace pushing carbon cranks into racing, as well as multiple companies dabbling with carbon rims, its likely we will see a lot of carbon come Rio 2016. On that same point, it was nice to see the “carbon” issue of Pull Magazine available for the taking on the magazine racks in the show lobby.

5). We are still trying to get used to the “new” show location at Madalay Bay. We definitely liked the food court adjacent to the show space, offering something other than the haut-cuisine or snack bar grub at the Sands. Still, we got lost a lot this year, ending up half-a-mile from the end of the hall where we wanted to be.

6). BMX Industry Gathering. BMX racing needs an industry-gathering at Interbike so we can all get together in one place. We missed seeing so many people in the sky-scraper-lined aisles of road bikes, fat-tire bikes and MTBs. We’ll see many of them at the Grands in just nine weeks, but the others? Just feels like a missed opportunity to catch up in person for once.

Tram to Mandalay bay
7). Stay near the Bay. If you’re not staying at Mandalay Bay, Luxor or Excalibur are the best alternatives. There’s a free tram between the three MGM properties, which really helps curb the cab fares. Still, it took 40 minutes to walk from our room to the show floor, even with the tram. The scale of these resorts is massive! Three weeks before the show, rooms at Luxor were $58. Warning: Excalibur does not have in-room Wi-Fi, but does have a wired connection, if your laptop still has a port for it.

8). Dead Tree Edition. Printed brochures at the show are going the way of the do-do bird. We usually see people toting heavy tote bags around the massive show floor. Not so much this year, as folks opted for the free-hands approach, and told exhibitors they would check out their products online. The “badge capture” system, where an exhibitor scans the attendee’s badge into their system is an essential aspect to not letting those leads get away–especially important with the amount of investment the show requires.

9). Cell while you sell. For as big as the show floor was, cell coverage was surprisingly good. We had lots of dead spots at the Sands, where even texts could not get out.

10). Tires. With Alienation pushing tubeless, Tioga working on a new tire, plus their O/S 20 format, we are seeing many more options spinning-up for BMX racing tires. Vee told News that Cisar is riding a tire that is different from those on the market today. Could “tire choice” soon become a “thing” at different tracks?

We had a great time covering the show this year, and wish to extend our thanks to Interbike show management for their hospitality, and making it easy for us to bring you the coverage. Also to the BMX Industry companies, whether exhibiting or “co-showing” with their distributors. Everyone took the time out of the busy show schedule to walk us through their latest and greatest, and we really appreciate it.

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BMX News Interbike 2014 Day One

BMX News Interbike 2014 Re-Cap

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Interbike 2014 Re-Cap

September 15, 2014 by · Comments Off 

BMX News Interbike 2014 Re-Cap

By Mike Carruth and Bryce Betts

Interbike 2014 is officially in the books. The last hand has been shaken, the last brochure handed out, the last chip cashed in (both figuratively and literally). For the exhibitors, it was a grueling week of setting up, talking to every buyer, seller and bro-deal-seeker in the world; then tearing down and heading home to sort through the opportunities the trip yielded. For attendees, there is the information hangover–so much to see, so many messages flying in your face, so many people bashing into you in the aisles, that you really have to sit back and digest it all before you can act on anything you may have seen.

BMX News spent two solid days on the show floor, and another day culling the list of headline makers, new-fangled concepts, gadgets and giveaways to net-out the following set of photos and choice-bit bullet points.

Hyper BMX Jet Fuel Mission 1.0

Hyper BMX was a popular stop for all the BMXers in the place–whether freestylers or racers. Hot with the racing crowd was the “jet fuel” finish Hyper is bringing to market later this year. That thing is…slick.

BOX Components at Interbike 2014

On the wall of various BOX forks stood the new X5 fork. The “5” represents “1.5,” hinting to the 1.5-inch tapered head tube. Although tapered head tubes are just coming to market, we talked to a lot of companies at the show who are expressing interest. Will the frames come to market first, or will riders put pen to paper, demanding that taper?

Haro's retro

Haro was handing-around this hot item to those with an appreciation for the vintage flavor. Nic Long re-popularized the “stadium” sized plate last year when he ran the giant 64 on an original 80s plate. People started asking about it, and here we are–a new series being issued for both new school riders and old school builders who can’t find the rarer-than-hen’s-teeth old stock. The new 1B has a “stamp” on the backside, cut right into the mold, indicating it is retro product. Look for it in January at an MSRP of $39.

Answer BMX to Rep ANSR Apparel in BMX market

Just as the curtain was coming up on the show, Answer BMX made an announcement that they have struck a distribution deal with ANSR Motocross to offer ANSR’s “Syncron” race wear and helmet lines to the global BMX race market. News will have more on this in a stand-alone piece, but lots of buzz on it at the show.

Tioga BMX at Interbike 2014

Tioga is still firmly behind the concept of the the O/S (or “oversized”) 20 tire. They told News that consumers will see it on the market soon. New at Interbike for Tioga was was a foldable O/S 20 tire, as well as a “secret tire,” which News got a sneak peek at. If a tire can look “fast” just sitting on a table, trust us: this one does. GT riders have been testing the new tire under super-secret conditions in So-Cal, and Tioga is hoping to do official unveil of this new rim-skin at the Grands.

Caroline Buchanan and Michael Gamstetter at the Interbike awards

Interbike Awards: Caroline Buchanan won “BMX Athlete of the Year” and BOX Components took home “BMX Product Innovation of the Year!” for the BOX Delta Stem & Maximus Bars. Michael Gamstetter, designer of the winning products accepted the award. A big congrats to our friends for their big wins.

100% Gloves and Goggles at Interbike 2014

The appropriately-named goggle/sunglass/glove brand has been pushing 100% into the BMX market. The booth included an interactive “glove island”, where you could try on their various line of gloves, definitely a crowd-pleaser!

Profile Racing to produce the "Golden Crank" trophies

The coveted USA BMX Golden Crank award has a new look, and was shown for the first time at Interbike. The days of the classic, gold-painted one-piece cranks are gone, replaced by a super-trick gold-plated set by Profile Racing, atop a wooden base and custom-machined alloy armature.

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Interbike 2014 Survival Guide

September 9, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Interbike 2014 Survival Guide
By Bryce Betts

Another year has blown-by, and it’s time again for the bicycle industry to come to Las Vegas. Manufacturers, suppliers, team managers, star athletes, media types and bike enthusiasts alike all head to town for the largest industry trade-show in North America. Although the main show doesn’t officially start until Wednesday the 10th, many have already made the journey to the 702, and are setting up their exhibit space, or trying out the latest and greatest gear at the Outdoor Demo, currently underway (the BMX industry doesn’t really participate in the Bootleg Canyon event, so BMXers are putting time in on the crossover).

Interbike may be known as the annual industry meeting place, but they now have a “customer appreciation day” on Friday, allowing anyone to experience the industry gathering for only $20. While us at News wait for Wednesday to arrive, we thought we’d put some of our past experiences into an official “Survival Guide.”

Jumpstart the Day
With the show floor opening at 9AM and not closing til 6PM Weds and Thurs, it’s a workday on the run. Start your day with a hearty breakfast that will help fuel your deal making and glad-handing through the long day. Partake in some of the various energy bar samples on the show floor to give yourself a mid-day boost.

Dress For Comfort
Although you may want to dress to impress, remember that Interbike is HUGE. If this is your first time, you cannot grasp how large the show floor is until you’re handed the road map outlining all of the booths in the exhibit hall (link below, if you want to get a jump on it). Wear comfortable shoes, fit for a few miles of walking, because you will literally be on your feet all day.

Plan Ahead
It’s not too late to plan ahead, even though tomorrow’s the big day. As stated above, Interbike is colossal, and it’s very easy to get lost. It is all-to-common to get back home and realize there were a handful of booths you really should have visited, but didn’t. Having a plan can easily prevent this. Use your breakfast time to jot down the exhibitors you NEED to see that day, and stick to the plan. In your list, be sure to leave some time for exploring. There will be tons of exhibitors you have never heard of that can make your trip psy off in a big way. From mega brands like Specialized, to smaller companies, there are tons of booths with interesting “why didn’t I think of that” products, outside of BMX racing, that can be useful.

Download the Interbike App
The free Interbike app is an absolute-must if you are attending the show. This app has a useful interactive map, that helps you find exhibitors, learn about demonstration times, and even shows you featured products that you may have missed. If you have been to the show in previous years, be sure to download the 2014 version of the app.

Don’t Be Shy
There are a lot of people at the show, from company owners, to cycling icons, to media types (hint, hint). We’re all at the show to interact with like-minded industry folk. Plenty of contacts and deals get made in the aisles of the show, so have your antennae up for that kind of thing. And if you are star-stuck by a megawatt athlete or industry legend, don’t be shy to ask for a photo, or even chat about how you might get some business going together. You gotta give action to get action, afterall.

Be Patient
Remember that exhibitors are at the show to sell product. Exhibitors are sitting down with domestic and international distributors and dealers, giving their big pitch to write orders. Although you may want to say hello to Toby Henderson over at BOX, or John Sawyer at Answer it’s important to pick your moment. Make sure you’re not interrupting an important meeting. The savvy thing to do is to ask if they have a minute, or when they would be free to chat. If you have an order in mind, set an appointment to come back, so you can be the center of attention.

Bring Spending Money
Although the purpose of Interbike is not generally for companies to sell product right off the show floor, some companies do–especially on Friday, as the prospect of loading it back in the truck starts to loom large. The product for sale may be prime, not-yet-available hardware, or in-season stuffs that are offered at a last-day-of-the-show deal. It’s always wise to have a little extra cash in-pocket, in case you see some shiny new spd shoes that match your kit. Try to resist the blackjack tables with that flash-roll!

Breath of Death
Since you’re going to be in close proximity to others all day, grab some gum or mints at the gift shop on your way in to the show. Keep that going all day, and watch your lunch. The most popular quick-food at the food vendors in the exhibit hall is traditionally a hotdog. Hot dogs are chock-full of garlic, which will put your personal pew-factor on high about 10 minutes after you get back on the show floor. Same for the Caesar salad. Don’t do it.

Visit a Local Track
Las Vegas is the home of US Olympian Connor Fields, and has three great tracks to offer. Ed Fountain Park is the closest at just 10.3 miles from the show site at Mandalay Bay. We have a feeling the local race Thursday night could see some unfamiliar faces taking laps. See the link below for more info on the tracks in and near Vegas.

Enjoy The City
We all go to Vegas in September to see the latest and greatest products our industry has to offer, BMX and otherwise. But don’t forget where you are. LV is a great tourist destination, with some of the world’s best food, live performances and epic people watching. With the exhibit floor closing at 6PM on Wed-Thursday, and 4PM on Friday, there is plenty of time to eat at your favorite celebrity chef’s restaurant, or watch an awesome show (whether in a showroom, or right on the strip). Downtown is a great destination too, especially if you have never been to town. Cab fare from Mandalay Bay: about $22 each way.

Lots of BMXers also visit the “Gold and Silver” pawn shop at 713 South Las Vegas Blvd, home to the popular “Pawn Stars” TV series. Go get an Instagram with Chumlee.

Emergency Printing
If you run out of business cards or brochures (or the airline loses your bag), you’re in luck. One of the top digital printers in the country is close by, in Henderson. Digital Insight Printing can do same-day turnaround (link below). Phone: 702-792-3396

Have a great show, and watch for the BMX News team creepin the aisles and sniffing out all the show scoop. We will be posting from the show floor each day, and tweeting on @bmxindustry and @bmxnews with as-they-happen updates.

Interbike 2014 Interbike Show Schedule
Wed. Sept. 10 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thu. Sept. 11 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Fri. Sept. 12 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Mike Carruth contributed to this article


Interbike 2014 Exhibitor List/Search

Follow @bmxindustry on Twitter

USA BMX Tracks Around Las Vegas

Digital Insight Printing

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Why Your Free Facebook Reach is Over

March 18, 2014 by · Comments Off 

The Days of Free Reach on Facebook are Over

As you might imagine, we talk to a fair amount of budding businesses here at the BMX News Global Command Center. A few dozen advice requests come in each week, asking things like: “what do you think of our new logo?” “Should we trademark our company name before launching?” and “How much should I expect to pay for a ‘good’ website?” We respond to all of them, and are happy to do it.

More and more lately, when the talk turns to the topic of how to create a website for their brand, small business owners are saying “we’re thinking we’ll ‘just’ use Facebook as our website…you know, at first.” Big mistake, guy.

You know there’s going to be trouble when someone interjects “just” into a sentence like that. Second, someone who would say that needs an Internet intervention–STAT!

At first blush, it’s hard to blame them. Facebook is free, easy to update, and (presumably) has a built-in audience of friends and fans who will gobble-up all the content you can serve up. Or does it?

Many people make one tragic mistake when assessing their Facebook game: they think the number of friends or fans they have on their page equals their audience. Not necessarily true (or at least not as clearly as “I post it, they see it”).

People who are unfamiliar with how Facebook works often think that if they have 5,000 (or 50,000, or 500,000) Facebook page fans, and they post something on their wall, everyone will see it. That is called “organic reach,” and it ends up being far-shorter than the fan number you keep your eye constantly-fixed upon.

In fact, your posts only reach a small percentage of your total fans, and that reach is getting shorter all the time.

The company has been trimming organic reach over the past two years (the percentage of your total fans who see your posts on their News Feed). From greater than 50% in late 2011, to 16% in early 2013, to 12% in October 2013, to as low as 6.15% in February 2014, according to a new study by digital ad agency social@Ogilvy.

Charts by social@Ogilvy, via and, respectively

In an article published on this month, writer Ewan Spence said “the unofficial advice from Facebook sources to community managers noted in the report? Expect (organic reach) to approach zero in the foreseeable future.”

This can be plussed-up a bit as fans share your post, or people comment on it, as Facebook’s algorithm gives a little more juice to posts that receive “engagement.” That said, the sure-fire way to goose your reach is via paid “boosting.” This can get expensive real quick, as you fork over cash to reach fans you worked hard to get in the first place.

Facebook has a market cap of $175 Billion, and has enjoyed an earnings explosion of +566.66% in the past year. You do not get that kind of performance giving stuff away for free. Hence the trimmed-back organic reach, and increased prominence of paid reach– to your own fans, don’t forget.

Accumulating fans is a compelling way to “keep score,” because it’s a number, and it’s right there for your viewing pleasure. When it goes up, we feel good. In fact, some *drugs* are measured by the impact and satisfaction they deliver to the user. Facebook fan collection and watching post “likes” is kind of like that. But don’t be lulled into thinking you are making huge reach into your customers’ consciousness on this basis alone.

If someone is a fan of your page, they already know about your brand. It’s good to keep those people informed, but we need to be striving to attract those new prospects–people who do not know about our brand, or don’t know enough to have made a purchase decision yet.

As a companion to–and not a replacement for– your regular .com web presence, Facebook, and all the social tools will do a fine job driving traffic to your place on the Web. But you must not neglect or, dare I say, abandon the use of your .com web site as the primary place for the most up to the minute info on your brand.

Take a quick look: How current is the content (stories, product listings, photos and videos) on your website?

Here are five reasons you should not rely on Facebook (or any site other than your own) as your primary Web presence:

1). Control. Your website, your rules. Nobody can move your cheese, tweak the algorithm and cause your audience to disappear (of course, there are dozens of ways to screw that up all on your own, but that’s another article). When you do it right, you speak, all will listen, or at least hear, what you have to say.

2). Seach Engine Visibility. Relying too heavily on a third-party site for your content tends to put your brand on a path to obscurity on the search engines. When a customer searches your brand name on Google or other search engine, your .com site should be the first result on the list (and maybe a few other of the first-page results, if you do it right). Learn a little about optimizing your site for certain key words and phrases that customers may enter when trying to find you.

3). Market Credibility. Giving your web presence over to another party (whether Facebook, Wix, Weebly or other service where the user goes to some other is the modern equivilent of listing a PO Box on your business card–it just isn’t professional. It costs as little as $1.99 for a .com domain name (with godaddy coupon), and as little as $12 a year to host it. WordPress is free, and you can get a template for less than $50. If a company does not have at least that much in place, any customer or industry on-looker would be right to question the commitment, if not the smarts, of such a business owner.

4). New Customers. It is a grave mistake to assume that new customers will find you exclusively via your Facebook page. It may happen, but you must not discount the power of the organic Web search. Put your brand’s footprint in many places, but your .com site should always be the “anchor.”

5). Longevity of Content. Social media platforms are, by design, all about the here and now. Content you posted last month, or last year is likely never going to be seen again when posted on Facebook. Posting this content on your own site helps to develop the “legacy” of your brand. What were you doing three years ago? Five years ago? 10 years ago? Each piece of content acts as a lawn sign for the search engines to recognize you, and serve you up to potential customers. It’s a big world out there, and billions of web searches are made every day get in on that! When your content is lost under the “silt layers” of social media, the richness of that legacy content is, essentially, nil.

I could go on, but we are already over-time on the attention span meter.

This isn’t to say that you should take a “protectionist” posture to your content. It boggles our mind when a brand says “we want to put this out on our Facebook page first.” Why would you want to do that? Cozy up to your favorite media outlet (BMX News, as one example :D), and work with them to leverage their audience to get more eyes on your story. Then, yeah, post it up on your Facebook page too. But, this way, you have given the media guy a “win,” and he’ll be stoked to work with you again next time. Just make sure that the ultimate place the user ends up is on your real estate.

The days of free reach on Facebook are over. More to come as it develops–and it is always developing. Just know that, where your Facebook audience is concerned, you are on a stage, blindfolded, and someone is whispering “you are speaking to 5,000 people!” in your ear. Only, there are 250 or so actually in the room to hear you.

—Mike Carruth

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

BMX Industry Gig: BMX Sales at QBP

March 17, 2014 by · Comments Off 

BMX Industry Gig: Sales at QBP

Whether you’re a rider in need of a day job, or a BMX mom/dad who wants to put your career on a new track, a BMX Industry gig could be just the ticket. If you have the gift of gab, and a passion for product, a sales gig could await you at big-time distributor QBP.

Here’s what they told BMX News, in a release:

Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) of Bloomington, MN is hiring a full-time Sales Representative to join our BMX team (QBMX). Love BMX? Love sales and have experience? You might be the right fit, and we want to hear from you! Help connect the best dealers in the country with the best brands in BMX. See the details and apply at the link below.

QBP is a leading distributor to the bicycle and outdoor industries. Committed to advocating for the bike industry and creating safe places to ride, we are a center of bike culture in the Twin Cities. Many of our employees are deeply passionate about cycling and participate in every discipline, from fatbike to freeride (and BMX race/freestyle, of course).


Read More and/or Apply

Interbike 2013 Wrap-Up and Photo Galleries

September 20, 2013 by · Comments Off 

By Bryce Betts, with Mike Carruth

Day Two of the 2013 Interbike show was another great chance to see what cycling consumers of all disciplines will see on store shelves in the coming year. There was literally too much to write about, but we got some photos of the highlights on the show flow and in the aisles.

In the coming days, we will bring you individual stories on products from Redline, Staats, Ciari, Chase BMX, BOX Components, Promax, Solution and Strength BMX (part of the Answer/SSquared family), Supercross and more.

Here were some of the final day highlights.

Stealth Hubs at Interbike 2013
There are lots of rumors of companies working on instant engagement hubs going around, but Stealth truly is the “Original Recipe” of the instant engagement hub movement. This year, they were showcasing their all new 20mil rear hub. This hub retails for $385 and is available to ship in an assortment of colors today. To go along with the stealth hub, True Precision is also adding separate 20mill axles to their line, and these axels will fit into any 20mill hub/fork combo.

Haro Clutch Carbon Frame at Interbike 2013
The new Haro Clutch seemed to be the star of the show this year, stopping just about every other person who walked by it. The frame comes in four sizes ranging from a 20.5″ pro, a 21″ pro xl, a 21.75 pro xxl, and the “Nic” Long which is the 21.75 frame with it’s monstrous back end. On the Clutch frame, you also see a prototype carbon CLiQ fork. This fork has a tapered steer tube, but they are also coming out with a 1 1/8″ straight head tube. DB44 is looking at a January release date for this $285 20mill fork that weighs in at only 1 lb 3 ounces. Also take note of the hubs, if you look closely you may notice the prototype 20mil CLiQ version.

Identiti BMX Frame and Halo parts at Interbike 2013
The British bike company Identiti had a bike on display that showcased all of it’s Halo parts. The Halo tire stood out the most to me on this bike. This is a brand new tire so the distributer didn’t have the details on weight or sizes, but the extra foldable tire they had laying around felt extremely light.

Tioga O/S 20 Rim and Tire combo at Interbike 2013
Tioga still had their O/S 20″ tire and rim on display. Things seen to be slowly be falling into place with this tire. Pete Dylewski, who was the first person to race the oversized set-up in Louisville, informed us that in 2015 two large companies will include O/S 20 frame bikes in their line up. If the O/S 20 wheel interests you, stop by the Chase Bicycles both in Chula Vista and test ride it for yourself.

Leatt Brace at Interbike 2013
On the protection side of things Leatt debuted their new brace at the show. This new brace is low profile, and includes a redesigned back. The back of the brace now has a split design to help take some of the load off of the spine during impact. I know they aren’t the first to do this, but it’s cool to see something new from the first name in neck protection.

Excess LSP crankset from BMX Racing Group at Interbike 2013
Chase/BRG had a few new products to showcase this year at Interbike. The complete bikes we talked about on day one made a strong showing, but Pete wanted to emphasize the new Chase RSP 2.0 frame and LSP crankset from Excess.

Chase BMX RSP 2.0 Frame at Interbike 2013

The RSP 2.0 features a new headtube, lighter bottom bracket, internal brake cable routing and bold new graphics. Street date: end of October or beginning of November.

Excess is expanding it’s product line with affordable sprockets and cold-forged 2 piece alloy cranks that start at 160mm and go all the way up to 180mm. Those should be ready for the consumer in time for Christmas.

CLiQ Components Helm and Maverick handlebars at Interbike 2013
Back to Haro for another hit: CLiQ has a lot of products in the works. On top of the new fork and hub, they also were showcasing Nic Longs signature “Helm” handlebar, and Corben’s signature “Maverick” bar. They didn’t stop with only pro size bars though, CLiQ also was showcasing 5″rise expert bars and 3″ rise junior bars. Derek also introduced a sleek new CLiQ stem to clamp your new CLiQ bars into.

Rift BMX Racing frame at Interbike 2013
It seemed like everywhere I went I ran into TJ Johnson or Rich Pelton. In the giant Fly/WPS booth, the new Rift frame and various tangent parts were shining in the far corner below the framed picture of Riley Stairs new BMXPLUS! cover. The Rift bike on display looked great and according to TJ they will be ready to hit the market on Halloween. Also showcased on this bike was Tangent’s new flat pedal, and their stylish new pivotal seat.

Keep your eyes on BMX News each day for individual “quick hit” stories on more of the products and people we encountered at the show.

If you just can’t wait, check out the photo galleries from our two days of walking the show.


Interbike 2013 Day One Photo Gallery

Interbike 2013 Day Two Photo Gallery

Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

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