Just five months after the official launch of Cult, Robbie Morales and company are in production overload, working on their first team video, taking team trips to visit bike shops, and bringing their idea of a BMX company down to a more personal level. Cult is a new beginning for Morales and the crew, and they're doing things differently at every level of the company, from manufacturing to team decisions to marketing. Knowing that Robbie and the Cult Crew are always down to chat about their latest projects, we hit up Robbie to recap on the first few months of Cult. Here's Robo.
Name: Robbie Morales
Location: Santa Ana, Calif. via Long Island, NY
Web site: http://www.cultcrew.com
First, could you explain your history as a pro rider and in the BMX industry. At this point, I don't think people know about your earlier days as a racer, the fact that you designed the Trail Boss or attempted that one road gap that Jeff Tremaine still wants to see you pull.
Going way back, I raced for 13 or so years. I really enjoyed it. It took me five years before I really started to get good. Racing is hard and teaches you discipline and how to go fast obviously. I was always a heavier dude, so I enjoyed beating riders who were in better shape. I learned how to travel, stretch a dollar and be professional. I made it to the AA ranks, did good one season and got killed in another. Right around that time my focus was riding for fun; trails, ramps and street. Clipless pedals came into racing and I was out. My peers like Brian Foster were over it as well and we concentrated on riding trails. I had a lot of sponsors through that period of time like S&M, Standard and DK. Standard was fun and I helped work on the 125R race frame and my signature frame the Trailboss (which was well received.) After Standard, I had a chance to be part of Terrible One around the Road Fools 1 era. This was an amazing time, learning business with friends and being part of a true DIY company. Things were hard but I loved it and have a tattoo to remember the times, shouts to Joe Rich and Taj. Then came FIT, a brand I put my heart and soul into for ten years. Things happen. Now I'm blessed to work with my close friends on CULT, a brand we all believe strongly in. That's the quick version, but I can tell ya this: being a part of BMX for 25 years has taught me more than I could ever ask for. It teaches you how to be hard and never quit. BMX is so crazy from the riding to the industry, it takes a special breed to stay true.
The big question: What made you and the team want to leave Fit to start Cult?
Respect and friendship.
Were you and the team riders that left Fit working on Cult for a long time before the split, or was it more sudden?
No, we started the day we left.
What's different now?
Respect and friendship.
How difficult was it to step away from the brand you built for ten years and start fresh with your own resources?
One of the hardest things I ever had to do, but like Chase Hawk said, "We've got our own thing goin on now."
Did any other brands inspire you to do your own thing?
Not so much brands but individuals. People that believed in us and who we believed in: Adam Roye, Neal Wood, Chris Cole, Steve Buddendeck, Rodney Smith, Jim Anfuso, Tina and Tom, Rebecca Schofield, Jamie Thomas, Ian Morris, Don Brown, Crazy Chris, Luis Calderin, Dave Tindale, Joe Rich, Edwin Delarosa, Stu Dawkins, John Paul Rogers, Pete Kearney, Ben Horton, Ian Berry, Joey Shigeo, Ernesto Rodriquez, Ryan Navazio, Mark Dayao and more.
BMX is so crazy from the riding to the industry, it takes a special breed to stay true.
Who's on the team? And is there anyone you'd still like to get on the team?
The team is broken down into Leaders, Suppliers and Connects. Each division is handled individually and taken care of to the best of CULT's ability. I have tried in the past to do pro, am and flow. BMX is different from skate, where there are very distinct differences between the levels. In BMX, the lines are blurred, so with CULT each level will get as much as the brand can sustain. It's a big reason why we do CULT. It is also obvious who is a "pro" and who is on their way to being one. There has been talk that the team is big, but we feel strongly in who we support, and there should be no limit to that. It should motivate riders and brands to do more for each other. Leaders are Alex Kennedy, Bobby Simmons, Chase Dehart, Chase Hawk, Dakota Roche, Russell Barone and Trey Jones. Suppliers are Dave Krone, Floyd, IZ, Luke Santucci, Jon Peacy, Joe Vee, Joe Molina, Jordan Murdock, Steven Mack and Timmy Theus. Look out for NY, German, Australian and French Connects soon. As well as Shawn Swain and Sebastian Keep.
What does Cult offer the BMX market that other brands don't?
Passion, style and experience.
Cult's range of frames includes frames handmade by FBM and Solid. What inspired you and the team to want to get back to basics, working with trusted friends instead of manufacturers?
We believe in these shops. Combining CULT designer Neal Wood's experience with FBM and Solid, we know we are getting the best American made frames possible. It feels really awesome to be able to offer quality American made frames at a good price. We constantly work to keep costs down, to help both the consumer and manufacturer.
How has the reception to Cult been so far?
Really good. Two logo bites and one complete Web site bite after five months. We must be doing something right. Thanks to all who are a part of CULT.
What's the most important part of running Cult?
Being able to provide a company that people can believe in. Everyone involved is passionate and cares about BMX and doing it right as a whole.
What's something you never expected to learn from running Cult?
How every aspect of running a brand counts.