Ferrellize

Another new word…

FERRELLIZE

Pronunciation:
\ˈfer-əl-īz\

Function:
verb

Etymology:
New Blades of English

Date:
2008

1: When a sport or pastime appears in a comedic spoof film that either stars Will Ferrell or is influenced by Will Ferrell’s brand of comedy. Typically, the name of the movie is characterized by a three-word title, such as Blades of Glory and Balls of Fury, but there are exceptions. <Dude, I can’t remember right now. Has the sport of curling been ferrellized yet? And can you pass the bong while you’re at it?>

Netsophrenic

I’ve always been fascinated by etymology, and etymologists in themselves, but I’ve never really felt the need the need to dive headfirst into the subject until quite recently. I’m kinda under the impression that technology is moving too fast for nomenclature, so I’ve been tossing some ideas around in my head for a few weeks. Ideas that didn’t have names yet. The first of which is “netsophrenic.” This happens a lot on social networking sites. A person might act one way online, but totally different in person. I’ve heard it discussed a lot in the past few weeks, but no one’s really had a name for the phenomenon. Until now. Here goes, my first meager attempt at etymology. Feel free to use the term at will.

NETSOPHRENIC

Pronunciation:
\net-sə-ˈfrē-nē-ə\

Function: noun, adjective

Etymology:
New Web English

Date:
2008

1: A psychotic disorder characterized by a personality divisively split between the real world and that of the Internet. <I like him in person, but hate his online personality. He’s so netsophrenic.>

BMX GOES FIXED

(Another story from issue #2 of The Industry BMX Mag.)

cutter-brn-tight.jpgIn recent years, the popularity of fixed-gear bicycles has surged throughout urban areas of the U.S., and many parallel the subculture of fixed-gear bicycling alongside that of core BMX in urban and suburban areas throughout the U.S. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find the average adult BMXer owning bikes outside of the 20-inch realm, including, for many, a fixed-gear bicycle. So it came as no surprise to find several brands in the BMX section of Interbike ’07 debuting fixed-gear completes, frames and components alongside their BMX ranges. Respectively, Volume, Profile and FBM. Volume’s contribution arrived in the form of a limited edition complete fixed-gear bicycle dubbed The Cutter, Profile’s in the form of fixed-gear specific hubs, and FBM’s in the form of a US-made fixed-gear frame dubbed The Sword and produced at their manufacturing facility in Binghamton, NY.

For Volume and FBM, the decision to enter the fixed-gear market marked both brands’ first foray into bicycles outside of the direct BMX realm. For Profile, whom already manufactures hubs outside of BMX, producing fixed-gear hubs simply meant modifying an existing Profile design which could withstand the abuse of fixed-gear riding. As for all three brands, the decision to enter the market varied slightly. According to Volume, the resources to compete in the market were already in place. For FBM, it was simply a matter of diversifying their in-house frame manufacturing and production, while Profile points to multiple requests from existing customers. All three brands are also quick to point out the fact that a fixed-gear bike is easier to get around on than a BMX bike, and that as BMXers get older, their interests can grow outside of the BMX realm while still retaining a core BMX loyalty. In plain English, the fixed-gear bicycle has become the modern nighttime cruiser, and if a BMXer is going to be riding a fixed-gear back and forth to the local watering hole or grocery store, then a familiar brand with BMX roots would be the likely choice.

Currently, FBM’s fixed-gear frame is still in the production stages, while both Profile and Volume have enjoyed some early success with sales despite the inevitable slowdown of bicycle purchases typically accompanied by the winter months. But with spring rapidly approaching and the price of gasoline steadily increasing, the emergence of fixed-gear bicycles in the BMX industry has only just begun. Recently, all three brands were kind enough to speak to The Industry about the decision to enter the fixed-gear market, the initial reaction and what’s next in the way of both marketing and production….

VOLUME BIKES/BRIAN CASTILLO

What made Volume decide to produce a complete fixed gear bicycle?
I think the final decision was that there was a market for us to do it and we already had all the resources to get something out there that we felt could compete with some of the other chromoly track bikes. It didn’t seem too far off base on what we were already doing with our BMX frames.

How difficult was the Cutter to produce overseas? Were the same agents used that Volume deals with for your BMX products?

We used the same the same frame vendor where our high-end BMX frames are made. As for most of the components, it’s the same as speccing out a complete BMX bike. We go to the old TBS book.

What was the initial reaction when word got out about the Cutter?
We had such a good reaction on our samples from word of mouth and online forums that we decided to go ahead with production.

What made Volume decide to do a limited run instead of going into full production on the Cutter?
It’s not a market we really know a lot about and we figured we’d get our feet wet and see how it goes on the limited runs first.

How many were produced? And how quickly did they sell out?
We produced a total of 75. Most of them were sold out the first week we got them in.

Were shops able to obtain Cutters, or was this a direct from Volume only product?
Most of the sales were from Volume dealers. We did deal direct with the public on the bike, but few went that route since they really wanted to ride the bike and see it in person.

What would you say to the BMX purist that might get angry about a BMX company making a fixed gear bike?
It’s just a bike guys. When you get older you get into more than one thing and you actually have an open mind towards other things in life. It beats putting in $4 at the pump!

Any chance the Cutter will make a reappearance?
Yes, we might be doing just a frame and fork for next year.

PROFILE RACING/CHRISTIAN HENRICH

What made Profile decide to produce fixed gear hubs?
We started making fixed hubs because of multiple requests from customers, which led to us researching the market and seeing that there was, primarily, a distinct lack of coloured fixed hubs, and secondarily, a lack of seriously abuseable hubs. Utilizing an existing axle and bearing design of ours, we were able to bring a simple, light, strong hub to market, initially in 6 colours. The fact that it’s Profile Racing making the hubs in the US hasn’t hurt us any either. Our price point is pretty attractive for a made in USA product ($265-275 per pair MSRP 2008 pricing), and they are tough as nails.

How difficult has it been to sell and market Profile’s fixed-gear hubs?
We’ve had more difficulty keeping the hubs in stock than we’ve had selling them. We’ve already shipped about 600 sets worldwide, with relatively little advertising. In 2008, we will launch a Profile Fixed Web site to further promote the hubs, as well as other track bike items we plan to introduce, and do more actual advertising, both online and in print. Our distributors were immediately enthusiastic, and have assisted us greatly in getting the hubs out there, from QBP in the US to Motocross International in Japan, and lots of places in between.

What would you say to the BMX purist that might get angry about Profile making a fixed gear hub?
In my vision, there is crossover between BMX and fixed, because a fixed bike is transportation, too. You can obviously go further faster on a fixed bike, and as gas isn’t going to get any cheaper, it follows that people are going to want to ride to the store, or the bar, or wherever. It’s not easy to get groceries on a 20″, but I do it all the time on my fixed. It’s really about how the BMX rider views bicycles in general. If they love bikes, they will love fixed, too, but if they’re only riding their BMX from the car to the skatepark and back to the car, then they probably won’t get fixed, or any other style of riding, for that matter.

FBM BIKES/JOHN PAUL ROGERS

What made FBM decide to produce fixed gear frames?
Several of us that work here ride them. It’s pretty simple. We are a frame builder. It’s a positive move for us to diversify our frame manufacturing, and it helps us reach our monthly goal for the number of frames the machine shop needs to produce to justify the cost of its existence. Still holding fast to the D.I.Y. frame building ethos the best we can without vanishing into thin air.

What type of demand is there for US made fixed gear frames?
First, you have to look at what we are making, a TIG welded steel frame. There are still hundreds of small frame builders in the U.S. making steel frames, but the majority are making small quantities of lugged frames, and the average base price starts at around $1,200 and sky-rockets from there. You get what you pay for though, a beautiful work of art made by some cycling nutball with love, sweat and a file. You’ve got stuff like IRO’s and Pake’s that are inexpensive, mass produced import TIG welded frames, then there’s a huge gap up to the custom frames. We are in the middle with our production capabilities and price for the Sword. We can produce hundreds of quality frames a month consistently when we are cranked up, other than S&M, there can’t be many small U.S. frame builders capable of that.

Who is FBM trying to reach in the fixed gear market?
Anyone who enjoys riding a bike, the same person that buys our BMX stuff. In BMX, as you get older and you have ridden a variety of parts and set-ups, you know what you like and you don’t need to experiment with all the new stuff, or have your bike just right to be accepted. You also probably hate BMX, BMX kids, BMX companies and what BMX has become; consequently, you rarely buy anything. I think FBM appeals to people who don’t give a shit about what negative, stuffy, arrogant people say is right or wrong, whether it’s BMX or the big time world of cycling. It’s nice to be able to take a step back from all the negativity that is so pervasive in BMX at the moment and deal with people who are stoked on bikes and building a bike that suits their desires. There’s no norm for fixed gear set-ups, it’s all over the map.

How has The Sword been received in the fixed gear market thus far?
It looks to be a hit so far. Having the prototype at Interbike proved to be a huge deal, the response was overwhelmingly positive. We had no clue. It has snowballed from there with shops we have never done business with calling up and ordering. A lot of shop employees are buying them, which is kick ass. You can’t beat positive word of mouth advertising, especially amongst sales people working directly with bike consumers. A couple of our foreign distributors went koo-koo with it. MX Intl. in Japan placed a monster order. Domestic dealers can make a minimum 40% margin without competing with mailorder pricing. That makes life easier.

Does FBM have any plans for increasing their presence in the fixed gear market?
We have started sponsoring alleycats. We already make beer coozies, flask and t-shirts. It’s a perfect fit for us. They are races, but they aren’t very serious, and the people we have worked with so far have been awesome. Without a doubt, that will be our main focus as far as spreading the word about the Sword. We are giving frames to Jim Bauer at Odyssey and Sunday’s Ian Schwartz. Who knows what we will do outside of alleycats for promotion, but it won’t be sponsoring individual riders.

What would you say to the BMX purist that might get angry about a BMX company making a fixed gear bike?
Don’t stress out so much. You’re only a teenager once. If you’re a grown ass man, get a life.

Who designed the Sword?
I came up with the geometry, which isn’t rocket science. A monkey could figure it out. Dave (FBM’s head welder) did the hardest part. Figure out how to put it all together. It’s not too quick and it’s not too slack, and you can’t do barspins with a 700c wheel.

How difficult is it to make compared with FBM’s BMX frames?
It’s a double diamond hardtail, same thing, just bigger. The guys actually have to walk around back and forth to each side of the fixture, doesn’t look too fun. The most difficult part has been getting the fixture finished. We’re rolling now, so give us a call.

Flickr

The move is done, the work is slowing down and I managed to get some photos of both the new place and assorted minutia I found while moving.

Check it on my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/briantunney

Okay, regular updates will once again commence. Thank you for your patience to the two people that actually check this page out…

The Future of Terrible One

(I did this Joe Rich interview for The Industry BMX Mag #2 a few months back. It got printed in the mag, but I kinda like it enough to reprint it here. Enjoy.)

 THE FUTURE OF TERRIBLE ONE

For just over ten years now, the name Terrible One has been synonymous with high quality, US-produced frames made in small batches. The design, craftsmanship and outright willingness to work outside the box quickly transformed Terrible One’s range of frames, handlebars, components and soft goods into a highly respected brand whose supply rarely met the demand. This past year, following some deep thought, T-1 founder Joe Rich decided to change things up a bit, and move away from existing as a strictly US-made frame brand. He took a trip to Taiwan, explored several new possibilities and made the decision to push Terrible One in a fresh direction, one that would allow for more extensive frame production, new component options and in the end, a more affordable Terrible One frame that still retained the same attention to high quality. But the move wasn’t across the board. Instead, Terrible One will continue to offer US-made frames in addition to their new Taiwan-constructed Ruben frame. Following Joe’s return from Taiwan and a nasty bout with the flu, he took the time to discuss the future of Terrible One with The Industry. What follows is that conversation…

T-1 recently made the decision to do some manufacturing overseas. What was the impetus behind this decision?

There were a few reasons actually. For one, I would like to think of T-1 as not having limitations. If a rider has a good idea for something new, then I would like T-1 to be able to make it happen. The initial idea first came when Ruben [Alcantara] started asking me to have his frame made there. He travels an awful lot and meets so many people all over the world. Many of them would like to run his frame, but due to the cost of it being American made, they cannot afford it. Shipping and import duties add a lot to the already higher cost of an American made frame. So if Ruben wants the frame with his name on it to be made so that more people can afford it, then that’s the way it should be. I don’t want to be the one keeping it from happening. Another reason that goes right along with that, is the quality that is coming out of there these days. Over the ten years that T-1 has been around, Taiwan has progressed so much with their quality. They have pushed a lot of boundaries with what is possible with different frame building options. It’s all really amazing. They make a lot of really tech options on frames possible to those that can’t afford to do mill runs of special tubing when needed.
One reason we have remained American made for so long, would be because of the people that that have been behind the manufacturing side of our frames and bars. Peter Barrell, from Maas Specialties, has made our stuff since the year 2000. It’s been a really cool relationship in a lot of ways. He’s a small shop, we are a small company, and we have kind of co-depended on one another for a long time. We are a large part of his business, and that always made it feel like a family. However, this past summer, I talked to him on the phone one day and he told me that at the end of 2007, he was wanting to try his hand at something else for the majority of his work. He was feeling burnt out. He was still interested in doing customs for us, but the way things had been for so many years would be coming to an end. One of the main reasons I had always been so pro-American made was because of our relationship with him. And also with Dave Harrison of FBM for that matter. Dave used to build our frames during the first few years Terrible One existed. Those are two guys that I always felt good about being behind our stuff. I felt that if they were putting their names behind it, then the frames would be the best that they could be made. But if one day either of them couldn’t do it, then I would have to consider other options. Along with the rising costs of steel here, there are also limited options with special tubing. And by limited, I mean, if you don’t have a ton of cash to buy special mill runs of tubing, they either are not available at all, or just simply unaffordable. So you are limited in your options once again. The final factor came last month. I took a trip over to Taiwan and met up with David [Quesada] and Guiri from Fly Bikes. They invited me to join them on their visit and in turn show me the ropes while I was there. I have always been such good friends with those guys and thought it was an amazing opportunity for me to go with them. It was to be a huge learning experience, and I was blown away to say the least.

What frames are going to be produced in Taiwan?
Right now I am getting Ruben’s frame prototyped, and I’ve been working with Sandy Carson on doing a new frame as well.

What frames are still going to be produced in the US?
As of today, FBM are still lined up to make Garrett Byrnes’ new frame, and Peter has agreed to stay on and do what Barcodes and Hickerson/Moody frames we need for the time being, as well as doing some custom stuff too.

Was the decision of where each frame is produced up to the rider?
This is all real new to us so it hasn’t gotten to that point just yet. I don’t feel that it would be good to just move everything over there in one go. That’s too much. I don’t want to put all the marbles in one dish.

Is T-1 going to be producing any other products in Taiwan?
Well, we get our grips and pegs done there already, although the pegs are getting new revisions for this year. I’m also getting some prototype bars in at the end of the month. Two different styles. I’m exctied about that. All the technology there is amazing. And once again, some of our riders really expressed interest in having lighter bars, so I want to make that possible for them rather than telling them no. We’ve also been working on a pedal design for years now and that seems like it’s a bit closer as well. We’ll have to see though. I have a few more ideas, but they aren’t worth mentioning until they are a bit further along.

What’s more difficult to produce, a US made or Taiwan made frame?
That’s tough to say. For me, it’s always been such a hands-on process. I would drive down to Maas in Louisiana for a day or two when we would work on something new. I could be there the entire time and get all the little things figured out right there and then. I could see it tacked up and then decide if I wanted to change it to look the way I was thinking. But we would work together and come up with the best solution for the end product. With Taiwan, it’s quite different. I live halfway around the world. They go entirely off of CAD or Solidworks drawings. That way, there can be no mistake in figuring out if someone made something right or wrong. It’s gotta match the drawing you sign off on. If it doesn’t, they will figure it out til it’s right. So the way I’ve done it for years is so cool because you are taking an idea and watching it come to life right there before you. But the other way, you have to make your idea come to life on a computer screen first, then wait for it to arrive in the mail.

Where do you see the future of US made BMX frames heading?
I think it all depends on a company’s financial situation. Right now, I think we are one of the few BMX companies getting frames done here that don’t actually make them in-house. FBM and S&M/FIT both have a sweet set up. Since they manufacture in-house, they have more room to work with as far as pricing. But it’s tougher for a company like us that doesn’t have that leeway. Also, if you have enough money to buy larger quantities of machined parts and tubing, it can keep the costs down, but once again, if you can’t do this, it seems the price will just keep climbing. Especially with all the special tubes and different options on frames these days.

Where do you see the future of T-1 heading? And what do you hope to accomplish with T-1 this year?
I try to keep everyone involved with T-1 aware of how I am feeling about the company. All of their input means so much to me. So communication is very important. I recently wrote a book of a letter to all of them and the following paragraph pretty much sums it up for me for this year and the ones to follow: “I have come to terms with a lot of different things that I had been holding onto for so long. I was learning and working towards progressing all other parts of my thinking and how I approached life personally, but I haven’t been including the realm of possibility for T-1. When I really started thinking about what I loved about T-1 so much, a lot became very clear to me. I didn’t love the frames the most, I didn’t love the bars the most, or the pegs. Being American made wasn’t the best part of it, and neither were the sprockets or grips. T-shirts weren’t the best part, nor were the hats. The best part of T-1 for me, was just being a part of something that felt good to do. It has been the efforts of so many good people involved coming together in one place, and that place always felt good. This year, I want there to be no boundaries at all. I want to help make good things happen for all of us.”

A Note for The Archeologist That Finds My Remains in 5239 A.D.

Hey, how’s it going?

My name is Brian. Well, it was Brian. You’re probably referring to me as a specimen with a number and that’s cool. I had to do the same thing with humans that died long before me in college. One time, I think scholars gave a dead pre-human discovery a nickname though. She was an Australopithecus Afarensies, but everyone just called her Lucy. So, if you guys go around calling me Homo Sapien #378, don’t be afraid to just call me “Brian.” Or “Tunney,” which was my surname, and how most people referred to me. Just don’t call me Lucy. I know my male sex organs have long since decomposed, but I can assure you, I was a male. And I had a beard too. If you doubt my word though, check out the subpubic angle of my sciatic notch. It’s definitely lower than 68 degrees. And direct evidence of my maleness all the way baby.

I bet you’re wondering about my life, so I’ll get right down to brass tacks. For the most part, I occupied myself by riding bikes and doing stunts on them. For work, I did a lot of writing about bikes for a magazine. And on the side, I did a lot of writing about whatever was on my mind. Most of the time, it was to occupy the few hours each night when I imbibed alcohol. I know what you’re thinking. How could alcohol influence someone’s thoughts? Well, in my time, the human liver took much longer to process alcohol than I’m assuming your evolved liver does. The affects of this inability to process alcohol included euphoria, relaxation and cheerfulness. It also made writing kinda flow a lot easier. I wonder what you guys in 5239 are using to coax the creative side out of yourselves? Actually, I don’t wonder anymore cause I’m but a memory. I imagine you’re very tall with a huge liver though. Unless the atmosphere has proven to be inhospitable and you’ve since moved to underground dwelling, in which case I’m lead to believe that you’re shrinking on account of increased underground pressure.

So anyways, I wrote about things like bikes and music for a living. Some of it got printed on paper (which has long since returned to the soil) and the other pieces were kept on the Internet, which I’m not sure if you guys still have. You see, around the year 2000, this thing called the Internet got really popular, and humans flooded it with digital information of every type. Pretty soon, it got crowded to the point that human’s attention spans were adversely affected. I’m not sure how long the information overload went on for, but I’m assuming it had a dire end. And I’m assuming most of the places where this information was stored couldn’t survive thousands of years. Wanna know why? We stored information on things called hard drives, which were basically made out of plastic, a material invented in the 19th century. It was synthetic, and it was so new during my lifetime that humanity didn’t know how it broke down. The effects, of course, was a lot of plastic strewn about the Earth, some of which I’m sure you’re still finding and scratching your head about. Yup, humans during my time didn’t think too much through. We even invented weapons that would destroy the Earth. Well, not me, but other humans that weren’t too rational in their endless drive to make the world a more volatile place. I’ll stop now, the cynical side of me isn’t something I want to be remembered and studied for.

So, I bet you’re looking at my bones and are wondering what the hell all the arthritic scarring is from. It’s that damn bike I used to ride so much. After over twenty years of riding, it sorta took its toll on my knees, shoulders and wrists. Not to mention my back and pelvic crest (which was broken once.) No epidemics and no shortage of food to speak of here. It was a simple past time which took its toll on my body, if you can believe that. Oh, and in case you’re examining my teeth and thinking to yourself that my lack of sharp teeth points to a herbivorous diet, you’re right. Most humans during my time did eat flesh, but I made a decision at the age of 19 to stop. If the Internet was still around, you could read about the debate, but like I said earlier, I heavily doubt it. In regards to the debate though, to each his own, I say. But I am curious about one thing. Typical carnivores have claws, sharp teeth and short digestive systems. Humans during my time seemed to be evolving away from that. We still had finger nails, and we still found uses for them, but they weren’t sharp. We also had nails on our toes which were completely obsolete, except that females painted them for decoration. Once upon a time, I had told my girlfriend that I figured the obsolete claws on our feet would be the next part of the body to disappear as a result of natural selection, and I was curious to see if my theory was actually right. So, take a look at your foot. If there is no buildup of a hard protein called keratin at the end of your toes, do me a favor and look towards the sky and maybe just maybe mumble the words, “You were right Brian.” The question has been bothering me for eternity.

I should be going now; it’s almost time to die. But I wanna end this on a high note. I had a good life. I lived, I loved and I hopefully did some kinda good in the world. So if my skeleton is up to the task, clean me up and put me on display somewhere. When I lived, I was terrified of being in front of other people, but now that I’m just an archeological discovery, I think I’d make one hell of an exhibit. You can even put a cigar in my hand or dress me in a funny outfit. I won’t complain; I promise. But be careful with my right patella, it’s been dislocated a few times.

Thanks for your time,
Brian Tunney