Colony's EXON flatland line was a joint effort with long time Colony team riders Simon O’Brien and Shane Badman to help address the lack of available brands in flatland the last few years. According to Colony's owner, Clint Millar, "It’s by no means a money making range, but more so just wanting both Simon and Shane as well as any other riders that like what we do to have access to well designed, affordable and available flatland bikes and parts." The line consists of the EXON frame, fork, and bars with other items like the pegs, stem, seat, seat post as well as the flatland specific 22s cranks and Cadiz sprocket. There's also the Colony Apprentice complete bike, which is a complete flatland bike designed to entice more riders into flatland and not break their bank while doing so. We caught up with Simon O’Brien during his recent stint in California and got a first hand look at the entire EXON line, along with a full bike check and interview…
Colony's Exon flatland line was a joint effort with input from you and Shane Badman. How did that process work? Did you both have similar ideas/preferences, or was there a little give and take?
The process was between Clint Millar, Shane and myself. And Cooper [Brownlee] when it came to the stickers. We communicated all our ideas through email so they were documented and everyone was kept in the loop. We basically had the same ideas about what we wanted and we then went back and forth about the finer details. Shane and I had very similar ideas about the range—from the frames angles and lengths all the way to the pegs. It’s good we had the same vision.
The Exon line consists of a frame, fork and bars. But Colony also offers flat specific pegs, stem, seat, post, cranks, and a sprocket. Did you have guys have input on those parts as well?
All the flatland products are considered part of the EXON Flatland Range. The parts don’t have specific names. Clint worked on the sprocket design. But yeah Shane and I had a large say in how we wanted the products—we designed most of them. I’m really happy how all of it turned out.
Colony is one of the very few non-flatland specific BMX brands who are still making flatland products, but they've gone as far as a complete flat bike with the Apprentice. An entry-level complete flatland bike seems like a game changer for anyone who wants to get into it…
Yeah, this bike is not far off from what I ride. It’s got good frame, fork, and bars. All the other parts are good quality and are more than adequate for a beginner. It’s a great bike for someone who wants to get into flatland, but isn’t quite sure what goes on a flat bike. Good thing about this bike is that it’s the frame, fork and bars that a pro would use. All you would have to do as you improve as a rider would be upgrade parts if you wanted to.
With flatland being such a niche part of BMX nowadays, what's it like riding for and working with a non-flat specific brand?
It’s good riding for Colony as Clint used to ride a bit of flatland himself. It’s good that Colony is open to supporting flatland other than just sticking to street and park. I feel as if flatland is slowly moving away from being so niche—it seems as there are more flatlanders than ever now and flatland has been crossing over into street also with front wheels tricks for some time.
Explain your front brake setup and why you run it like that…
I have the double front brake set up. Years ago I saw Paul Osicka with the set up and I wanted to try it. I liked the set up and it’s stuck with me ever since. You run a single cable from the lever to the front brake as you would then mirror the same path on the other side and clamp the cable in the opposite lever with a narp / clamp.
What are some preferences for your bike set up? What makes it your ride?
I don’t like my bike too short or too long, I think it’s a great length at 18.9″. I have my bars straight up and down pretty much and I don’t like my seat to low or too high. I run my tire pressure around 90 psi with the 1.85" size tire—I think this is perfect, not too big and not too skinny. This set up with the bigger bars gives me a bit more room, which is nice—it doesn’t feel like such a squashy flatland bike.
Setup or part wise, what was the last thing you changed up that you're really hyped on?
My whole set up! My signature bike was a bit smaller—bars were smaller, pivotal seat gave me less room and pegs were shorter and rounder. With this set up—a more BMX style frame—bigger bars and more space with a normal seat. I’m really enjoying a new look and color to keep things fresh.
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 rarely change bikes. Riding flat, things don’t get damaged too much so it’s not often I change parts besides grips, tires and brake cables. Spokes would be the other one that breaks every so often. It’s always nice to get a complete new set up, but then you have to wear it in and get used to it. It’s taken me some time to get used to this bike because of the bar size, pegs and more space overall, but now that I have I’m loving it!
What are you most particular about on your bike?
I always find myself checking whether the bars and front wheel are in alignment—that does my head in sometimes. Also, the position of my levers, I like them a certain way. Also the angle of my seat sometimes gets to me, feels like it’s easier to grab at a certain angle.
Are you willing to experiment with new parts and mix things up, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true?
I like tried and true, but sometimes new parts really are better. You can always go back to what you know, but if you don’t try something new you will never know. This new set up was quite different to my old bike with bars and seat space, but I’m stoked on it!
Check out exactly what Simon rides below…
Weight: 156 lbs.
Location: Erowal Bay, Australia
Sponsors: Colony, Biggest & Baddest
Frame: Colony EXON
Fork: Colony EXON
Bars: Colony EXON
Stem: Colony EXON
Grips: Colony Much Room grips
Barends: Colony Konka bar ends
Seatpost: A no name seatpost so I can run a non-Pivotal seat.
Seat: A $5 seat from K-Mart
Pedals: Colony Fantastic plastic pedals
Cranks: Colony EXON 22S flatland cranks
Sprocket: Colony Cadiz sprocket 22-T
Chain: A basic cheap chain
Front Tire: Odyssey Frequency G (1.85")
Front Wheel: Contour rim, Wasp hub
Rear Tire: Odyssey Frequency G (1.85")
Rear Wheel: Contour rim, Nankai coaster hub
Pegs: Colony Exon flatland pegs
Brakes: Transformer brake set
Levers: Colony Transformer V2 brake levers