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Today, BMX turns the big 5-0 (in America)

Published July 10, 2019
SE Bikes continues rolling with the changes.

PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — After 50 years, BMX in America is anything but stagnant. Just ask Todd Lyons.


Lyons, the brand manager of SE Bikes, spoke to BRAIN on Wednesday, June 10 — the 50th anniversary of the sport. 

The landmark year is expected to be a memorable for other reasons at SE Bikes. It is close to unveiling a new website featuring “Click it. Ship it. Rip it” to order bikes online for local bike store pickup.

The company also has two limited-edition bikes coming out this year, one a collaboration with “a very famous rapper,” Lyons said, who added it originally was scheduled for release last year before its parent company, Advanced Sports Inc., declared bankruptcy, creating the delay. ASI was the wholesale business for Advanced Sports Enterprises and is now owned by the Tiger Group.

The other limited-edition model is a second Beastmode Ripper 27.5-plus, designed in collaboration with former All-Pro running back Marshawn “Beastmode” Lynch, who was a BMXer before becoming an NFLer.

"It means a lot to me that BMX is now 50, and the track I called my home track growing up in Santa Monica is credited with running the first official BMX race.” — Perry Kramer

According to “The Complete Book of BMX,” published in 1984, Ron Mackler organized the first race on July 10, 1969, at Palms Park in Santa Monica, California. Two years later, the movie “On Any Sunday” was released, and its opening scene of kids freestyling on a BMX track is credited with lighting the fuse that ignited BMX in America. University of BMX dates the sport’s evolution to the 1950s in The Netherlands.

Perry Kramer — former BMX racer, co-founder of SE Racing and the namesake of the PK Ripper model — fondly recalls racing at Palms Park in the mid-1970s.

“Palms Park was my home track and where I started racing,” said Kramer, now a sales rep for ASI. “I knew Ron Mackler very well. It means a lot to me that BMX is now 50, and the track I called my home track growing up in Santa Monica is credited with running the first official BMX race.”

Kramer, who saw “On Any Sunday” upon release, recalls the effect it had on him. “We all (saw it) back then,” he said. “We wanted to be that No. 2 rider who crosses it up on the first jump, not the other guy who does the ‘unintentional no-footer.’”

Innovation has kept BMX vibrant, Lyons said. With bikes now featuring wheel-size choices like their mountain bike cousins, it’s opened the discipline to more riders.

“For the past 10 years, SE was pretty much the only brand that was making 29-inch BMX bikes,” he said. “We spearheaded this market by ourselves for nearly a decade. It’s about time these other brands jumped on board with us.”

SE Bikes experienced delays with production and delivery stemming from the ownership transition, Lyons said. “But the demand for SE bikes is still strong,” he said.

In May, the company had its second-best sales month ever. “The growth that we have experienced the past couple of years has been crazy,” Lyons said. 

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