Witnessing Chris Childs ride is a memorable experience you'll soon not forget, but beyond his insane riding abilities, his bike is pretty damn memorable as well. Beat up and splattered with all sorts of paint, Chris' Sunday Soundwave frame with Sunday and Merritt parts has been through some battles and is ready to shred anything in it's path.
Frame: Sunday Soundwave 21"
Fork: Sunday Octave
Bars: Sunday (Chris Childs) Jackal
Stem: Merritt Inaugural Top load 50mm reach and 23mm rise.
Grips: Merritt Charlie Crumlish “cross check” sig. Hotness
Headset: Merritt High Top
Seat: Merritt SL1
Pedals: Odyssey Trail Mix (metal)
Cranks: Odyssey Thunderbolts 175mm
Sprocket: Merritt “Chris Childs” signature 30-tooth
Chain: KMC 710
Front Tire: Merritt Brian Foster FT1 2.35"
Front Wheel: Odyssey Hazard lite 36-hole rim, Merritt Nonstop hub, Merritt Tension guard
Rear Tire: Merritt Brian Foster FT1 2.35"
Rear Wheel: Odyssey Hazard lite 36-hole rim, Merritt RHD Final Drive freecoaster, Daily Grind 4140 CroMo drive-side guard
Pegs: Sunday Pipe Pegs 4.5″ heated-treated CroMo
Brakes (when you use them): Odyssey Evo DOS
Lever: Odyssey Trigger
You're rockin' the Merritt Tension hub guard on your front wheel, what are your thoughts on it as opposed to the more common smaller metal or plastic front guard?
The Tension guard is the only plastic guard I’ve run and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It protects both the flange and the spokes themselves while other guards will protect the flange and leave the spokes open to some punishment.
What are some preferences for your bike set up? What makes this bike your ride?
Well, I’ve been pretty particular over the years about how I like my bike set up, but have been dabbling with a few minor changes here and there just to know where I stand. Tires, not too wide/thick, so the BF FT1 tires have come in clutch with the 2.35" samples. They’re 2.35", but not super bulbous like a lot of larger tires these days. PSI will vary between 25-65 depending on the circumstances. On the daily, cruising out of the house and around town I try to keep them around 50, not too hard, not too soft, but most of the time it doesn’t really matter unless I’m riding the park and I’ll juice 'em up a bit
Tell us about your signature Sunday Jackal bars…
I was lucky enough to design a bar that was to my specific specs. They come 29″ wide, (I have them cut to 26 1/4″), 12 degree back sweep and 1 degree up. I like to claim it to be a traditional two-piece bar—comfortable and ready to rip. They're 8.8" tall, which I think is perfect. Everyone’s looking for the next big bar, but I think it’s overkill and starts to look ridiculous. Like all things BMX, it is a preference thing, though. That’s the glory of what we do.
How many pins do you have in your pedals?
I knew this would come up! On my right pedal I have three pins and the left probably about 4-5. I only run pins on one side of the pedal for crank arms and things of that sort and tend to run pedals for a bit since they’re metal so by this point in my pedals life they’ve become one with my feet/shoes.
What's up with the paint job?
Well… I sometimes get these sudden urges to lather up my bike with nail polish. It keeps my hands busy and is more soothing than anything. I go overboard with it, but the final product always has me stoked or gives me a good chuckle. Mixing different colors and pulling certain colors through one another can make some pretty interesting blends. This specific job I dabbled with some glitter for that nice sparkle touch.
You're brake less at the moment, is that something you go back and forth with?
My being brake less right now has to do with my leaving important components on my kitchen table then leaving for a trip. It’s been about two months now and riding brake less that one trip had me hooked. I always go back and forth due to missing the ability to stop or doing fufanus [laughs].
How much do you like working on your bike?
I like to keep my bike as solid as possible, growing up and learning how to work on bikes has made it easy for me to tend to it (or others, leaving me to neglect my own) The slightest inconsistency in my bike will drive me insane so I try to keep it as dialed as it can be.
Setup or part wise, what was the last thing you changed up that you're really hyped on?
Being such a spaz when it comes to where my bike stands/sits I’ve had my bars at the same height for years, but recently put on the new Merritt high rise headset lifting my bars a bit and it’s been the only real change on my bike other than the coaster which seems to be working out, therefore it will remain seeing as my fakies have never been much to admire with a cassette [laughs].
How long do you typically ride a bike before building a new one? Do you switch out parts as they go? Or just build a whole fresh kit?
I tend to ride my bikes for about a season (year or so). I’ll do a fresh build when I get a new frame then once it’s beat up I’ll put my touch to it and go crazy with some paint. The thing that gets switched out the most and this probably goes for everyone who doesn’t ride plastic pegs/pedals is grips. Wear 'em to the bone and throw some freshies on. Nothing like a new pair of Crum Crosschecks.
What are you most particular about on your bike?
Height/width of my bars, and the general geometry of the frames I run. Having a universal frame like the Soundwave is all I could really ask for and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
Are you willing to experiment with new parts and mix things up, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true?
I’d prefer to stick to what I know. Just knowing the specs of something different on my bike will get in my head and leave me displeased with my ride. No one wants that, but again I’m a kook when my bike doesn’t feel as I remember and expect it to be. My set up has varied just slightly over the years and even those small changes took me a bit to become pleased with and now my bike is at a point where it is what it is—and what it is is what I like. That being said, having a preference and knowing what you like to ride is something I feel all riders should consider. Dabble with parts to make your bike yours. It takes a bit of time to hone in on what is actually comfortable and performs well as far as your riding goes, but in the end you will have a bike you’re always stoked on riding—with proper maintenance of course.