The Internet's Official BMX Magazine.
Q&A December 1999

Q: Hey guys. Me and some friends want to build some dirt jumps. Where would the best place be??
--Justin Perry

A: Anywhere with dirt will do you fine. Seriously though, find a place that's kind of remote and not on private property. If no one knows you're there, then they won't bulldoze them. Or you can ask your town council to set aside some land for you. That may work!

Q: I live in Framingham, Mass and they took down 1 of the best jumping areas in the woods. Now me and my friends have to go to another town. Is there any where else to jump and is a GT Pro Series 98 good cause I want to race and I want to know should I get a 3 peace. And how you do a 360?

A: Sorry to hear about the trails bro. I'm not sure where the closest trails to you are, but why not build your own? Find a good spot and get the shovel out. The GT Pro Series is a great bike, but I would recommend 3-piece cranks. They don't flex so you won't lose any power and they're also a lot stronger. And you won't get made fun of at the track for running one-piece cranks. If people make fun of you for other reasons, at least it's not because of your bike. To do a 360, Christian said it best in Rad: "Lead with your head." Try learning on a hill by doing 180s like you're on a vert ramp. Then find a nice table top and just go for it. You don't have to go fast, and if you land on your back tire, the momentum should take you around if you don't do the full 360. Good luck!

Q: Please help! Every time I go off a big double I can't clear it. I go fast and still don't get over. Also could you tell me how to do rhythms 'cause I always case 'em.

A: Hmm... that problem sounds famiar to me! If you have the speed to clear big doubles but aren't making it, then the problem's in your head. Just be confident and go for it. Clear small ones and get good backside, then go bigger a little at a time. As for rhythm, doubles in rhythm are tighter, so it requires more confidence and precision. Try building a small, tight double -- just one set -- like found in a rhythm section. Get it dialed then build another one right after it. You'll get it. Just practice!!

Q: I have a GT Show and it makes all the noise in the world... The freewheel clicks every so often and it feels like the chain is going to snap off the 3 pc crank... do they really make the bikes that bad or is it just me. I have the chain tight so it will stretch out. I dont think that's the case. Also, I ride flatland and there is something in my back tire that sound like a bearing rolling around in my inner tube. Is that normal or do you think some one is probable spying on me??

A: OK, first let's conquer the drive train problem. Sounds like to me (based on what you've told me) that your sprocket and chainring are not aligned properly. This will cause undo stress on the freewheel, the chain will pop off, make noises, etc. Stand behind your bike and see if the chain is straight from the freewheel to the chainring. Chances are it's not. To fix, either add or remove spacers near the chainring. If you still have problems, take it to a bike shop and they'll take care of it. Now, for the government bike spies...they're everywhere! Are you sure the sound is in your tube? Perhaps the valve pin fell into it. Trash the tube and get a new one. If there's still noise, get it checked out.

Q: Hi. I was wondering how to do a tabletop I've tried but I was unsucessful can you help me out?
--Michael Erickson

A: Watch as many videos of Brian Foster as you can! Find a good jump that gives you plenty of air and just tweak it more and more each time. It will come.

Q: Hey this is a 12 year old starting BMXer this year and thinking about buying a Specalized Fatboy Vegas T.J. Lavin dirt jumping bike. What do you think about it and if it's a good choice?

A: Hey Devin, welcome to BMX. I think you'll be very happy with the Specialized. TJ wouldn't put his name on a product that wasn't good. So go out to the trails and bust some big ones!

Q: I've been practicing manuels for over 2 months and I still can never keep my balance long enough to really call it a manuel. I've tried using my brakes but I usually forget and moving my tire foward did'nt help much what should I do?

A: Tyler, you don't want to call it a "manuel" anyway. It's "manual." But to answer your question: learn to finger the brake lever. Which means, keep one finger on the brakes at all times. This will help you to remember to use it. Also, set markers and try to make it to each mark. Start of with 10 feet, then when you hit that consistently, go to 15. Then to 20, and so on. Also, purposely flip back a couple of times to get your feet used to coming off to save yourself. This will give you more confidence.

Q: If you bend your back rim is there any way to bend it back the way it was before?

A: It depends. If it wobbles back and forth, then yes, you can true it with a spoke wrench. But if it's ovalized, it's trash. Bring it to a bike shop and they can evaluate it for you.

Q: Hey, I was wondering. I have a Schwinn Automatic Comp. and have upgraded, (Alex Triple Wall 48's, S&M Pitch Fork, Primo Stuff....ect) and need to find out what kind of headset I should get. Something sealed preferably. I mostly ride street. I ride hard (Feebles, roof gaps, wall rides, stairs, rails....ect) and need a good headset. Please help. Thanks.

A: You may want to spend the $$$ and get a Chris King. They have like a 5 or 10 year warranty on them. So it's a safe bet. And you should also get a Head Lock system. Your headset won't come loose with one of those!

Q: My name is Greg LeBlond and i am 14 years old and just bought a new Specialized Fatboy 415 PRO and i was wondering what is the first step to becoming a freestyl vert/street bike rider? And what might be some tricks I can start doing or to try to work on to make me better at tricks and other topics to do with freestyle riding?
--Greg LeBlond

A: Greg, congrats on the new ride. I would start off by learing manuals and bunny-hops. These are the foundation of a lot of tricks. Make some friends who street/vert ride and you all can teach each other things and push each other. From there, you can try barspin manuals, barspin bunny-hops, and then take it to the air. Good luck.

Q: Hi. I'm from England and I would really like it if you could give me some tips on how to do quite easy tricks. Please Help!
--Ben Taylor

A: Ben, since you're from England there's probably nothing I can tell you that can possibly make you a good rider... just kidding. See the above answer. That should help you.

Q: I was wondering what Pacific Bicycles website url is and is buying a brand new Pacific Banshee for $70 a good deal?
--Ben Taylor

A: Pacific's web site is, but it's still under construction. I don't know much about Pacific bikes to say if a $70 deal is good or not. Sorry.

Q: What inspired you to become a BMX rider as a job?

A: Racing BMX isn't my job. But I can tell you my inspiration for this web site is simple: I love BMX.

Q: Hi I'm wondering how can i get higher with my bunny hops?

A: Get some cardboard boxes and hop over them. This will give you a visual height to go for. Cardboard boxes are good because they collapse if you don't make it.

Q: I am a 15 year old rider from MA that is interested in racing, could you pleas send me some info on where to start of who to contact. Any help will be appricieated.
--James Folkard

A: James, I looked in to your question and I have good news and bad news. The good news is, there are tracks in MA. The bad news is, you only have one sanctioning body to pick from. The ABA does not have any tracks in MA. The NBL has a few! At least there are a couple of tracks to choose from. I am including two links. The first link is to a list of all the tracks and thier phone numbers. Choose the track closest to you and call them! They will help you." The second link is to the NBL home page. Here you will find a good bit of information on getting into racing. I believe they explain equipment requirements and things like that.

Q: How do you get better air on rhythm sections.

A: Practice. A lot. Ride with others who can help you. Learn to manual and jump tight sections. This will all help you.

Q: Can you help me? I would like to know if there are any easy ways to get sponsors, even if you don't go into any competitions.
--Brenton Spear

A: You want a sponsor and you don't compete? Hmm... I don't think so. You may try a local bike shop, but I don't know why anyone would give you stuff if you're not going to pimp it in a competition.

Q: Please help me. My allen bolt on the top of my 11/8 kink stem is stripped. When i wiggle my bars my stem moves a little. What can i do?

A: Replace the bolt.

Q: When I get in the air I can get my bars around 90 degrees but then the bar hits my knee. How can I prevent this from happening?
--Jeff Francis

A: Jeff, you need to either bow your legs out or lean back a little. Get your knees out of the way! You may want to practice doing it with manuals first, then take it to the air.

Q: Could i make up a move and get money for it?

A: Sure, if you use that move to win the King of Dirt.

Q: Right now i have a unsealed bearing hub and i was wondering if i can change it to a sealed bearing without changing hubs... i have the 98 schwinn automatic comp

A: The answer is maybe. you would have to look into getting a different set of cones. the new cones could come with seals. i doupt it though. the problem is the the hub would have to have been machined to accept a seal. i would suggest buying a new set of hubs that are sealed or use cartridge bearings with the same dimensions as the hubs you have and just moving all the spokes and the rims to the new set. or i would save up some money and buy a better wheel set that has a better hub already. the reason one hub set is better than another is the bear suface or the "cup" is machined better and the hub is lighter and better balanced. i would ride the wheel set you have until it dies then buy a new wheel set from your local retailer.

Q: Hi, I was wondering what you thought of the new GT Pro Performer. I was wondering if you, being the man and all, knew if it was a good bike.

A: The all-knowing and great individual, The Man, shall give his answer to you, Doug: The GT Pro Performer is a good bike. Is that all you wanted to know?

Q: I have this 4 foot dirt ramp in front of my house and its about 5 1/2 feet wide and some times i jump it and want do try a few trix but i am afraid too take the ramp full speed. I once took the ramp pretty close to full speed pulled back came down my feet slipped of the pedals and i fell in to a nut cruncher. Now i am scared to take the ramp with speed but i got a couple of extreme videos and every time i watch them i wanna jump but i got nervous about the fall. I even wear all my equipment. So what should i do?

A: Jay, usually when I try a trick I don't go full speed. I concentrate more on height than speed and distance. And with a 4-foot jump... do you mean gap or height? You should only go as fast as you need to clear it, unless you want to work on staying low for racing conditinos. Just go faster and faster each time. And wear a cup!

Q: Just wondering if any BMX santioning body or bodies is/are working individually and/or collectively to make BMX an Olympics Sports? It is a sport in its own right, right?

A: Good question, John. From what I've heard, BMX racing may become an Olympic sport. But I'm not sure when. I'll try to find out more on this.

Q: How much would it coast to build a skate park? We would like a big skate park made of cement, and would like the price estimate, and the amount of labor estimate. Thanks for your help.

A: Lots. Try contacting the Aggressive Skaters Association. They may have some info for you. I think insurance will be the big thing to worry about. Maybe you can get your town or county to front it.

Q: What are you supposed to do in the winter when you can't ride outside?

A: Ride rollers, go to skate parks. You may want to also find an underground parking garage to do sprints and ride street in. They're fairly warm.

Q: Do you like the Technique aluminum monocque?

A: I have never ridden one, but a friend has one and likes it a lot. It's all about geometry preferences. Check it out for yourself.

Q: I was wondering how that you guys make your trails and jumps so nice and hard? Usually i can get them ok but it takes a little while to let them harden (like a month or two). usually i just put a pile of dirt let it sit for a day , then shape the lip , and start to pack it with my bike and foot. It is a pain in the ass though. please help me out.

A: You are on the right track. If you can build when the ground is somewhat wet that should help you out a bit. Jumps only get good after they've been ridden on awhile.

Q: My nephew is 4 years old. When can he start raceing. Doyou know of eny tracks in Mass.

A: I believe your nephew is old enough to race. As for tracks in Massachusetts, see our answer above.

Q: I'm a fat kid and all of my friends dirtjump. Naturaly I want to do what they are doing I was wondering if my weight will affect my jumping.

A: Just how much overweight are you? If it's just 10-20 pounds, probably not. Besides, dirt jumpers are a bunch of derelicts and you don't need to be in top shape. But I can tell you this: If you are in good shape, you'll ride and jump much better and you won't tire out so easy. But if you ride all day, you're bound to lose some weight. Go for it!

Q: I am getting a jester by torker for Christmas. It comes with freestyle wheels.i want to know if i will be able to jump dirt with these wheels.

A: By freestyle wheels do you mean 48 spokes or mag wheels? Either way, it'll handle the dirt. I would go for knobbied tires if it comes with slicks though.

Q: I run a 46. I'm 13, 110 lbs. Iis that too big?

A: If you have a 16 tooth freewheel it is. Drop to a 44. You'll love it.

Q: Hello my name is Justin. I would like to know how to build the best dirt jumps for beginners and advanced people. If you have time to write back with the answer can you please do so.

A: Justin, if you want to build a jump that will suit both a novice and advanced rider, make it a table top. This way, if the newer rider doesn't clear it, he'll still have his head.

Q: I have reecently bought a new k2 shovel for dirt jumping but i want to race should i get a new bike to race or should i just bust out the k2???

A: Justin, race the K2. If you decide you really like racing and want to get something lighter, something made for racing, then do it. But see if you like racing first.

Q: How do I overcome my fear of when I hit a ramp? I don't know whats going to happen.

A: The answer is simple: Find out what happens! You're too worried wondering, "What will happen if I fall." Instead wonder, "What will happen when I make it!" And chances are if you wipe out, you'll get right back up. Just make sure to wear all your protective gear.

Copyright 1999. All rights reserved.