Four pegs, two brakes, gyro, grind disk, 48’s with over size axles, and a frame built to withstand a collision with a Mac truck, does this description sound familiar? Until about three years ago, this was a common set up for a “freestyle” bike. Although every now and again you’ll run across someone who still chooses to a ride a two-wheeled fortress, these days the norm has become as simple and light as possible. Front brakes and four pegs are a rarity, unless you ride vert on a regular basis, 48’s are considered unnecessary, small sprockets, titanium spindles, light weight pegs and even titanium pegs, and “wafer” thin frames have become the standard issue.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not discouraging lighter bikes. The merits of a lighter bike are obvious, although he’s a cliché’ example, just watch Ruben Alcantara ride and you’ll see the advantage of a lighter bike immediately! The objective of most bike companies now is to design parts that are obviously strong, but now there’s a greater emphasis on lightness than ever before. Some lightening techniques include different tube thickness’ (like double butted) and new metals (like the Standard OX Platinum frame and forks, magnesium pedals, and titanium spindles and pegs), smaller dropouts, and European bottom brackets.
So are the days of overbuilt bikes over? Apparently so, but what about those riders who are prone to go through parts quickly (after all, there are some pretty big riders out there and there’s also those guys who still choose to drop off roofs, too). In their defense all I can say is, you better stock up on your favorite overbuilt stuff now. Or better yet, don’t even bother, with the latest research and design being applied to freestyle frames and components, you really won’t have to worry about the strength of the new stuff coming out. The strength is still there, only the weight has been reduced. With that said, I guess the days of the “heavy weights” might actually be over.