1980’s OLD SCHOOL BMX RADNESS | FREESTYLE FLYIN’ & STREET STYLIN’

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Full disclosure — I was the kid with the crappy bike.  No Haro, no Redline, no Mongoose.  Not even a brand new POS Team Murray.  Mom bought me a brand new bike from Pep Boys the summer before 5th grade.  I picked it out.  I didn’t know diddley yet–  I was a kid from Rochester who listened to Van Halen. I just knew it had red rims and looked like the bikes the cool kids were ridin’.  It had that tiny sprocket that couldn’t keep up.  Tiny sprockets suck. No worries, it was stolen.

I didn’t get schooled in bikes until we moved to Anaheim in 1980, and it was all about BMX… and Blondie.  Thought I’d finally made it when I bought my friend’s used Rampar with heavy duty rims. Damn bike was stolen three days later while I played Tron in the local Fry’s.

No, I never was that fly freestyle guy with the rad bike.  But I can still dream.

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Kettering, 1986. via

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Old School BMX/Freestyle –All rights reserved by vincent frames

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“The Condor” Mat Hoffman, mid-flight, Oklahoma City. –All rights reserved by TenEyck Media. via Snapshot from the old Hoffman Bikes HQ in Oklahoma City. Hoffman’s contests were an annual pilgrimage for serious freestylers back in the day.  Between competitions, Hoffman would get towed via motorcycle up to speed, hit the giant quarterpipe and soar. Everyone in attendance held their collective breath until he landed.

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Big Air, Hartsdown Park, mid ’80s. –All rights reserved by DJ Bass via

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Rick Moliterno, Hutch demo, 1986.  –All rights reserved by hutchphoto via

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Mat Hoffman attempts a backflip at the 1990 2-HIP King of vert at N’Orbit in Indianapolis. He crashed, but this was back before anyone pulled flips in contests. via

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Dave Voelker, demo in Indianapolis, 1988. –All rights reserved by hutchphoto via

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Jason Lunn –All rights reserved by Oldskool BMX & Skate by Fuller via

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Rick Moliterno, Hutch demo @ Schwinn shop on South Madison, Indianapolis. 1986.  –All rights reserved by hutchphoto via

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Demonstration put on around 1988 by Freestylin’ Inc.  –All rights reserved by Hot_Rod_Gal via

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Harrow Skatepark, 1983. All rights reserved by Oldskool BMX & Skate by Fuller via

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Jay Miron “The Canadian Beast” Oklahoma City, 1993.  –All rights reserved by TenEyck Media. via Taken at the old Hoffman Bikes Warehouse ramp in Oklahoma City. Each Labor Day for several years Hoffman held a huge competition at his place in OKC. Riders from around the country came out the see the legends battle it out on Vert.

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“The Condor” Mat Hoffman, mid-flight, Oklahoma City. –All rights reserved by TenEyck Media. via Snapshot from the old Hoffman Bikes HQ in Oklahoma City. Hoffman’s contests were an annual pilgrimage for serious freestylers back in the day.  Between competitions, Hoffman would get towed via motorcycle up to speed, hit the giant quarterpipe and soar. Everyone in attendance held their collective breath until he landed.

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Steve Swope, Hoffman Bikes HQ, 1993.  –All rights reserved by TenEyck Media. via

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More Air.  All rights reserved by Hot_Rod_Gal via

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1985– David blundell doing a “can can” at the Rathbone Rd. skate park.  via

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Big Country, Columbiana, Ohio, 1990. Photo by Bob Burbick via

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1990s Streetstyle via

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Rick Moliterno, 1986.  Don’t know what’s cooler about this pic– Rick, or Grandma and Sonny gawking in the background.  –All rights reserved by john4kc via

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Streetstyle bar ride  via

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Old School MMX/Freestyle “Aggressive Denim”  via

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Death Truck via

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Framestand on GT Performer, circa 1986. via

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35 thoughts on “1980’s OLD SCHOOL BMX RADNESS | FREESTYLE FLYIN’ & STREET STYLIN’

  1. Never thought this shit would be cool again. And maybe it ain’t. In junior high, 1985 or 86, I had a Royal Enfield BMX bike — a moniker I didn’t know at the time but would later recognize as I got into motorcycles (and guns) more heavily. Enfield and Royal Enfield are different companies. One made rifles, and the other made motorcycles and bicycles. I think.
    Anyway, I was the geek in school: Glasses, red hair, good grades and (seriously) a briefcase to school. No kidding. But when alone I surfed on my bike’s top tube and handlebars, cruising along like nobody else I knew. It wasn’t a public thing, just a way to “relax” before going back to work mowing grass to pay for my first car.
    And I believe I may have been the first to pull off a “nothing” on a dirt ramp — meaning taking both hands and both feet off the bike while in the air and putting them back on to successfully land on the other side. However, I never managed to get anyone to take photos. At one point in the mid- to late-80s, some bike magazine had a contest for people to successfully complete that particular stunt, and I was too shy and too much of a nerd to persuade anyone to take pictures.
    I like to think I’ve matured, but I’m 38 now and still don’t like stunting in public.

  2. The Enfield rifles of which I believe you speak were named after the designer – Lee/Martini/Snider – and the location of the factory in which they were designed – the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield, Norf (sic) London.

  3. Great to see some BMX on TSY!
    You should seek out some old school race shots – that’s a whole other angle on it.

  4. RAD! I never had a real deal BMX in the day either. I did have a busted Murray I think it was. My last one I actually did get something more reputable, a Diamond Back. But it wasn’t a good one I don’t think. My uncle used to get old bikes donated to him and he would fix them up and give them to less fortunate kids in Nashville for Christmas. I remember the news coming out to our neighborhood, which was out in the middle of nowhere, to talk to him and film him and my cousins working on the bikes. Later after BMX wasn’t so hot and I after I gave up on skating too, I got the DB out and rode it around and couldn’t believe how heavy it was compared to my Trek road bike. Still not sure what model it was, race bike or freestyle.

  5. My first real bike was a Hutch my dad bought used from a guy who worked at a bike shop.It had bear-trap pedals, a laid back seat post, Araya rims, and Snake Belly tires. I was the shit. Every month I bought Super BMX & Freestyle, BMX Plus, Freestylin’ and BMX Action magazines.
    My walls were covered with Bike Porn.Martin Aparijo (flatland king) ,Eddie Fiola, R.L. Osborn, Ceppie Maes, Dennis McCoy, Woody Itson. The first freestle show I saw was put on by the GT team.There were probably 30 people there including parents.

    • same with me, i got to know some of the pros and still to this day ride…and i’m 38! i’ll never quit, haha!

  6. All I ever really wanted in life was a uni seat, some checkerboard flite pads, a pro neck, CW bars, redline three piece cranks, and some Z rims.

  7. Bad ass! I too had a crappy bike. Some Huffy with red rims, and red handlebars. Heavy as a mofo. You grew up in Anaheim? Where’d you used to ride? I grew up right next to you in Buena Park.

  8. I must have an entire shoebox filled with snapshots much like the ones featured in this post, fun times. The Hoffman documentary is great and highly recommended. Another film well worth checking out is “Joe Kid on a Stingray”, a documentary covering the origins of BMX including some excellent freestyle footage from way back.

  9. Great post! Like so many others here, I never had a fancy bike, but I’d add pegs and do the same tricks as the kids with GT Dynos and whatever. Like you, I had a couple of bikes stolen or severely damaged, so I can’t blame my parents for not wanting to spend much on them.
    I did finally get a Haro when I was in college (and had a job), but by then I couldn’t keep up with the high school kids I was riding with because I was afraid to get hurt and miss work. I still ride some, and it’s funny how much the bike styles have changed (low seats, no mags, small sprockets, matte colors). And I’m amazed at how many “old guys” are still throwing down at the X Games and Dew Tour.

  10. happy to see this-TSY is becoming almost the only thing i view with interest,they knocked down the harrow skate park last year,i took an army truck full of riders and skaters up to ride one last time,we all got horrible drunk and caused havoc-it was just like the early 80,s/

  11. JP, I did have a new Team Murray around 1977 or so. I was constantly stealing little upgrades from Bill’s Bike shop in Tujunga, CA to replace the crappy components. The greatest day of my young life was when I asked for more parts for the Murray for my birthday and instead got a brand new blue Webco with yellow Tuff Wheels. Not a Haro or Redline, but not too bad.

    I couldn’t afford alloy stem valve caps for the bike (only a dork kept the plastic ones that came with the bike) so my friends and I would stalk the neighborhood at night for those chrome valve caps from cars that were easy to take off. Those things were as good as money back then, well, that and the sticker that said “Gas, Grass or Ass, Nobody Rides For Free” that we stuck on the head tube. And of course the number plate with a number 69 for good measure. Good times.

  12. Damn. I didn’t think that many of the readers would’ve responded. Guess I’m not the only one who grew up on BMX. Recently, I had to pursue my childhood dream: Completing a SE Quadangle 24″ equip with Skyways and Redline Flight cranks. Thanks, TSY.

  13. No disrespect to the dirt tracks, but Freestyle was in a class all its own and worthy of its very own post.

    These images remind me of my first long ride with a group of friends. We all took our bikes from my neighborhood on top of the hill to a bike shop about 5 miles away to see Team Mongoose do a demo in a parking lot. This was in the late 80’s before x-games, before the internet. An event like this was spread word of mouth from a kid who happened to be at the bike shop at the right time to see the flyer. It was a privilege to even know of its happening. The demo was cool, but being on that the ride with my friends was what I remember most. We felt like the coolest people in the world. And as far as we were concerned, we were.

    Thanks for posting this one.

  14. awesome abubaca pic, LOVE this post! BMX forever!! have so many more like these too from the glory days of freestyle…thanks for reminding me!

  15. great POST!…my son and I are all about BICYCLES and BMX!!! (also huge fans of the site!)…before my son went to college a couple years ago we spent most weekends on short roadtrips to bmx friendly skateparks…Mom went along too!…even in the car we were watching BMX vids(RAD!)…when we weren’t at the skatepark we were hitting the fleas and looking for “Old School” BMX and skateboard stuff…we really got into the history part as well…I sure miss those days!…move ahead, Zach is a junior in college, just finished his first summer with the Dew Tour riding Vert, he got to realize a dream, meet many of his childhood hereos, and he still keeps it “Old School” with an occasional “Candybar” or “Decade” during comps…in the off season he buys and sells vintage bikes for extra cash (lucky dog bought a complete Hutch Trick Star at a thrift for $2.50) and makes an occasional visit home so we can squeeze in a “Ratrod-Bike” ride…

  16. Thanks for posting these up and for posting one of our Vincent Frames images (the second one).

    The rider is Adam Dudley, he rode for my dad’s Factory Freestyle team over here in the UK in the early 80’s when the scene was really starting to take off. My dad, Bernie Vincent, designed and manufactured his own frame & fork sets, towable quarter pipes and trick ramps which any rider in the 80’s who rode a comp in the UK would have ridden one of his quarter pipes.

    I’ve spent the last year collating loads of images, magazines and info about Vincent Frames and the UK scene, it’s quite big over here. I even managed to get the first ever VF freestyle team back together for a reunion ride, check out the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0Hifsp33No

    We’re currently getting the original workshop back up & running and will be prototyping the Vincent Frames Freestyler, Airzone and Cruiser in the New Year.

    If you wanna know more, check out the following:
    http://www.vincentframes.co.uk
    http://www.facebook.com/vincentframes
    http://www.twitter.com/vincentframes

    Thanks for a great post and awesome images!

  17. There was this regular in a bar I used to work in who was a pro BMX rider in the 80s, but he was British, so isn’t remembered as much as the US guys, his name was Dave Young. The lads I lived with at the time used to ride, so we had this framed photograph of Dave riding some sick ramp back in like 86 on the wall in our front room. I took it in to work once to show him, and he was lost for words, that a bunch of 20 something guys would still looked up to him for that. I’ve been trying to get hold of a digital version of the image, but no one seems to have one, the only one we can find is this http://yfrog.com/h4q7j which was captioned “Worlds, 1987″.

    Another great post JP.

  18. I was at the local TGI Fridays and saw a Skyway TA hanging on the wall. Here I am, 40 years old and getting hammered at the bar and see hanging on a wall, the object of my adolescent desire. So glad old school BMX culture making a return.

  19. In ’82/’83, we were just starting to mess around with freestyle, mostly in skate parks. Many of us also skated. I remember buying one of the first Haro freestyle frames they made. Skyway wheels were strong, but too heavy, so we laced Z rims instead.

    There was a skate park in Tulsa we got crazy in most of the time, just coming up with new sh|t. No videos or magizines to learn from. Then when the term “extreme” was applied to various sports (abused, actually), us ol’ schoolers just laughed.

  20. I had a chrome moly team mongoose with Z rims (the plastic kind with metal spokes). You could do kick-outs and bend the things in half on a hot Houston, TX day. I lived on my bike and went everywhere on it, all over the west burbs of Houston. I wasn’t much of a trick rider, mostly used it for transportation.

    so time to fess up — the only reason I had a goose was because I ripped it off. that was pretty much the story of many of my friends too. There were lots of rich kids around then (Houston was a boom town in the early 80’s) who would leave thier expensive bikes unlock outside arcades. Not sure what made us think we could just walk up and take something of someone else’s like that.

  21. Great thread, and pleased to see my friend Smoovebert shredding in an old freestyle shot above; as well that so many selvedgeyard readers love BMX.

    I run an old school BMX site and wanted to mention that we are right in the midst of our annual “Bike of the Year” online bike show. I think some of you might enjoy seeing what the BMX collectors have been up to this past year.

    http://bmxsociety.com/forum/128-bike-of-the-year-2010/

    And for the record, this is not just a click by self-promotion. We are fans of The Selvedge Yard… we’ve admired this blog in our own threads for a while now.

    Happy Holidays & All the Best in the New Year

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