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‘Rad Rides’ Book Review | Where It All Started For The Bmx Bike

If you are a fan of any kind of off–road bike then I think you will love this book. In short ‘Rad Rides: The Best BMX Bikes of all Time’ is 160 pages thick and features hundreds of photos of classic and iconic BMX bikes, bikes that are part of cycling history…

From Dirt Issue 124 – June 2012

Words by Mike Rose. Photos courtesy of Rad Rides/Laurence King Publishing.

Modern day BMX’s are great, but it is really the pre–1990 models that I am interested in the most. If you go right back to the start, and bikes like the 1975 Kawasaki BX200 or the Redline Monoshock, it is hard to see where off–road bikes would go at that time. Those two machines look more like the modern–day mountainbike than a 2012 BMX. Of course they were modelled on motocross bikes, with a motorcycle style swingarm, adjustable shock, integrated stem, banana seat, slack headangle, braced riser bars, rear coaster brake, etc. But don’t believe everything you see, as the book states, “although the black rubber boot on the forks (of the Kawasaki) give the appearance of suspension, the front forks are in fact rigid”.

From ’75 onwards the BMX developed to such an extent that by 1980 the design and form was pretty much there. It was a great period for the BMX, names like Cook Bros. ‘S’ Bar, Redline ‘Palfreyman’ Looptail, JMC XP–2, Roger DeCoster, DG–1, G–Boy, SE Racing JU–6…to me they are all so evocative, conjuring up images of the early days of the sport. That is why I see BMX and MTB as very much the same, back then it was all about ‘getting RAD on the dirt’. It has changed now of course, but we still have the bikes, and we still have the memories, and books like this help keep that alive.

Rad Rides is available from www.laurenceking.com and all good bookshops.

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