Moving right along with our year-in-review themed blogs, today we look back on select BMX brands that either shut down or went quiet in 2012. Some are big, some are small, and some are sorely missed.
Giant Bicycles' time in BMX has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Years ago, the brand created a unique sub-brand called Mosh that boasted team riders such as Chase Dehart, Ian Schwartz, Corey Bohan and Mike Ardelean. Eventually, Giant shuttered the Mosh program, and focused on the Giant team, which went on to include Corey Bohan, Taj Mihelich and Heath Pinter. That era ended in 2010. Former Kink team rider Chris Arriaga stepped in, and assembled a small team that included Ohio's Tony Cherry and Troy Merkle. The end of this month, that program will end. "I'm sad to see this year come to an end as well as the Giant BMX program, but I'm excited to see what the future holds! I would like to thank Chris Arriaga for giving me the opportunity to ride and be a part of a great team filled with awesome friends for the past few years. It's been a great ride," said Tony Cherry.
Cardinal Bikes, the brand fronted by Nate Moroshan out of Tip Plus BMX Distribution and known for their vertical slot approach to BMX dropouts, was phased out by the owners of Tip Plus and Primo in March of 2012. According to a post on the Cardinal Bikes Facebook page, "We got killed by the owner of Primo who owned us and shut us down -- it sucks for everyone involved. Tip Plus might have a few [frames] left in the warehouse if you call them." Cardinal's team included Jackson Ratima, E-Man Cantero, Anthony Flores, John Heaton, Nate Moroshan, Eric "Barney" Cuiper and Miles Simone. Team rider Jackson Ratima was recently added to Stolen Bikes team.
In June, Australian BMX brand Pilgrim officially closed its doors after selling the last of its complete bikes. World records were set on Pilgrim frames (including Jed Mildon's triple backflip and Dane Searls' Giants of Dirt jump), X Games gold medals were won on Pilgrim frames, and the brand seemed to be enjoying momentum. According to Pilgrim owner John Buultjens, an order for complete bikes was mistakenly doubled with his agent in Taiwan, and he was forced to pay the bill off. He chose to the shut the brand down, and instead pursued a new job route: BMX brand manager at Haro Bicycles. "Riders need to realize if they don't support the brands who are BMX, more of us will fall. I don't want to see any of my good friends in the BMX industry go under," said Buultjens.
Following the death of team rider Rickey Bates in September of 2011, the Sputnic team slowly began to unwind. Tony Neyer left his spot for Verde, David Grant moved from Sputnic to BSD, and in February of 2012, Ben Hucke left his signature frame and team spot at Sputnic for Diamond Back. According to Hucke, "I don't think any of us knew how to move forward without our original crew that was sadly torn part when Rickey passed away. There are definitely more changes to come and I think it's best for everyone." Sputnic has not released any new products, and the website is now just a placeholder for the brand with a link to warranty claims at Sparky's Distribution.
In early 2012, Orchid Footwear lost Van Homan to the Ipath BMX program. Not long afterward, Orchid began to revamp everything. They redesigned their website and promised that new shoe models would be arriving in June. They also revamped the team to include Brian Hunt, Matt Beringer, Brandon Reith, Dan Conway, Dave Krone, the Ginch brothers, Micky Marshall, Chris Childs and Brian Histand. The new shoe models were to include a Brian Hunt signature shoe, and special color ways that would allow for Orchid to donate money to causes such as Mike Tag's cancer fund and the Catty Woods insurance fund. As of this writing, the Orchid website has not been updated since May, and no new shoe models have arrived.
Since Metal Bikes continues to update their website, maybe it's a little inaccurate to say that Metal has gone quiet in 2012. The brand has not released any new products in quite some time now. There are still legions of Jimmy Levan fans out there in the BMX world, eager to ride an updated Metal frame for 2013. Older versions of Metal's Rebel Contender, the Jaguar and the Moon Unit frame remain on sale at Dan's Comp.