2hip is another company that can trace its roots back to a time before most riders today were mere twinkles in their parents' eyes. Company owner Ron Wilkerson is one of the genuine founders of this thing we call BMX freestyle -- one of the very first riders to figure out just what the hell there is to do on a 20-inch bicycle. From the pioneering days of Haro Freestyle Team Shows, to 2hip contests, to Meet The Streets, to King Of Vert jams on floating barge -- believe me, we have an awful lot to thank Ron W for in this game.
As a character and personality of our beloved sport, there's a long and varied tale to tell about Ron -- so we may leave that till another time; for right now, we're going to look over his bikes for 2010, here at 2hip Bikes. 2hip was born as Wilkerson Airlines, which in itself was one of the numerous successful bike companies to be started by ex-Haro professionals from the late '80s, and through the years has progressed from a frame-only company to what it is today -- a solid line of 2010 complete bikes. In the past 2hip may have produced the odd piece of head-scratching products like a pink aluminium freestyle frame (or its chromoly equivalent with no attention paid to the weighing scale), but in all honesty it's a BMX company that now produces great bikes and which moves forward at Ron's own pace and on his own terms. And you know what? I kinda like that.
How long have you guys been making complete bikes for?
Completes? Seven years.
Do you still have any of the original range still around your office?
Haha, funny you ask, because last year we bought one of our first generation high-end bikes, The Soul, back from our then-UK distributor -- Shiner Ltd.
What are your thoughts about those old original bikes, now?
Haha, the quality of our spec and price and look of bike has increased fifty times over.
"With myself being a rider for almost 30 years, I know what's good for a BMX like the back of my hand.
So when it comes to your completes, who does what at your company?
I work with Kelly, the Office Destroyer, to see what's moving and what makes our shops and riders most excited for each bike, then choose the price-points and spec, then work with out CAD-guy to get the frames all drawn up, and then work with our product-guy to get the bikes spec'd to be at the prices we need! Then, I work with our art-guy to choose the colors and design the graphics for each bike. Then I work with our product-guy to get the bikes produced correctly out of Asia. Then I make the orders. Then I pay for them! Phew.
Does the team get involved along the way?
Well, we don't get the team much involved with completes. As with myself being a rider for almost 30 years, I know what's good for a BMX like the back of my hand. But we do get the team input on the high-end bike parts and configurations.
And how many bikes have you got in your range this year?
Do you have more or less bikes compared to 2009?
We add a couple pretty much each year. Some of the changes this year are that we added a brakeless Playboi bike, along with the Team bikes having removable brake mounts and double-butted tubing.
Can you run us through your range for this year then?
The Team features a new double-butted 4130 Team frame with integrated headset, 48 spline two piece 4130 cranks, sealed mid BB with 4130 spindle, KMC hollow pin chain, 25/9 gearing with one piece driver. 4130 2hip Wack bars, Animal GLH tires, 2hip Pivotal seat with a slammed post, double-wall rims with chrome rear, sealed 36h 3/8 front and 14mm rear hubs, 20.75 toptube, 13.25 rear end.
The Playboi has a 4130 frame with integrated headset, 2piece 48 spline tubular 4130 cranks, 25/9 gearing with one piece driver, 4130 2hip WACK bars, 2hip Pivotal seat with slammed post, 20.6 toptube, 13.25 rear, while the Brakeless Playboi has a 20.75 toptube.
The Soul features a 4130 main frame with integrated headset, full 4130 fork, 4130 heat-treated tubular crank, 2hip Pivotal seat with slammed post, double wall rims with chrome rear, sealed 14mm rear hub, and sealed mechanism 3/8" front.
The Bizzle also features a 4130 main frame with integrated headset frame, full 4130 fork, 4130 heat treated tubular crank, 25/9 gearing with one piece driver, 4130 spindle platform/peg pedals, 2hip Pivotal seat with slammed post, double wall sealed mechanism 3/8" front, and a sealed rear hub with chrome rim.
The Mack features a 4130 main frame with integrated headset, 4130 fork legs, 4130 heat treated tubular crank, sealed mid BB with 4130 spindle, KMC nickel chain, 25/9 gearing with one piece driver and 4130 spindle platform/peg pedals.
The Forcedown features a hi-ten frame with sealed mid BB, 4130 steerer tube forks, 4130 heat treated tubular crank, 4130 spindle, KMC nickel chain, 25/9 gearing, 4130 spindle platform/peg pedals, 2hip seat with 8mm rails, 36h sealed mechanism 3/8 front rim and a 14mm rear.
The Counterstrike comes with 18 inch wheels, hi-ten frame, 4130 steer forks, Mid BB with 4130 spindle, 23/9 gearing with one piece driver, DX-type platform pedals, 2 piece bars, KMC chain, 4130 heat treated tubular crank, 2hip seat with 8mm rails, 6061 36h rims 3/8" front, 14mm rear, gyro and front brakes, and four pegs.
Finally, the Cyclone is our 16" complete, with a 6061 frame, a Gyro and front brakes, and four pegs.
Which was the toughest detail this year?
Time -- always -- is the factor.
Which is your favorite bike, which one are you most proud of?
Oh yeah, the brakeless Playboi is a sick lookin' ride, the price and colors are spot on.
When did you start working this year's range -- how long does it take?
We started late last year, and after seven years, I still lag on getting started! That is the most difficult thing for me with all that I got goin' on, getting things started in time to get produced in time!
Which of the whole line would you ride straight out of the box?
I could take a Forcedown to the Team, adjust a few things, and ride straight from the box. But of course, the better models will feel better and more dialled with higher quality parts.
Have you got anything else in there -- fixies? Cruisers?
We been planning some real cool beach cruisers, just for kickin' it and cruising, for the past couple years! See, there's that time-thing again. But we're gonna have them ready by Spring 2010. And they're gonna be really cool, but really, BMX is our deal.
Have you already started work on next year's 2011 bikes? Anything you can tell us about those yet?
Haha, you're funny, really funny -- I'm just designing the 2hip 2010 catalog now -- we've had the bikes done for months, but I just been waaay too busy. But for reals, we're gonna take our design to a different level in 2011, with both a full range of parts and bikes.
Finally, what about bikes coming from other companies -- which other complete bike ranges do you rate? Which one would you ride yourself?
The companies that are run by real riders. I really can't understand why you would buy a bike from anyone else than a rider-owned company. Chris Moeller's got it goin' on. Jon Byers is crankin'. Zack Phillips is the man. Jim Ford is not a rider, but he's still the man also.
For more information on 2hip, check out 2hip.com.