29: Samson NJSPrevious: 30: 1984 Hetchins | Next: 28: Durcus One
Blotto: Mike, thanks for joining us once again to feature another bike. You’re back in Keirin mode, what was the motivation?
Mike Hernandez: No doubt! I’ve always been a fan of Keirin geometry, aesthetic and overall craftsmanship. Strong and delicate are one in the same with a Keirin frame. It's just straight sex! Considering a Keirin frame is constructed by hand it literally has a soul invested into it, to me that is very attractive and fascinating. From what I overstand Keirin standards are strict and attention to detail is crucial. That means money is not the motivation, quality is. We don't really see too much of that in North America. Brooklyn Machine Works is great example of craft-before-cream, you don't see their frames just anywhere. That's attractive and speaks volume in terms why Joe is in the bike game.
B: Are there certain aspects of the Pista Concept that you miss?
MH: With the Concept, the reduction in weight was good, also the geometry was decent.
B: If you went back to a Concept “type” design and construction, would there be anything in particular you would miss about NJS stamped metal?
MH: Aside from all the elements I described answering your first question...a different riding dynamic manifests out of each respective frame. With a concept "type" or aluminum frame you can handle the bike with less input because the frame is stiffer, lighter and the wheel base is tight, also you can top-out velocity quicker but have to maintain it. That translates into a razor and it doesn't take much to cut shit it up with a razor!
Now when riding a Keirin frame more input is required, because it’s a steel frame and there’s not as much transfer-of-energy. You work harder with more input, however riding style is subtle and smooth, while still having a tight wheel base. Velocity can be gradually developed and you can actually not work as hard when topping-out that velocity, because weight can be an advantage in that respect. When it gets moving, its moving! That translates into a sword, which will chop your s&%* right off!
B: What years did you race BMX? Do you believe your BMX roots and skateboarding have (positively) affected your bicycling-ways as an everyday commuter in New York City? And, What is the matrix?
MH: That’s a good question..I'd have to say yes they have all had a positive influence, definitely! I think I started racing BMX between 78-80? Somewhere around there…
Looking back I guess racing BMX was ultimately a segue to skateboarding, into snowboarding then back to the essence which is riding bike again. At the end of the day it's a game to me and I'm just having fun while going from point A-to-B. You decide how quick and how much fun you want to have getting from point A-to-B. But you can't reset because the game is real stakes!
The 'matrix' or as I like to spell it 'MAYTRICKS' can be interpreted/described in more than one way. For instance, what’s going on in your immediate environment can manifest into what decisions you will make in your life and which direction you may go in life. Which in theory is not always really your choice, but in fact the group think-tank's choice that's indirectly made for you. You can get on the wagon, join a band, or be a soloist. Are you on some class-clone-s*&%, or on your-own-s*&%? The NYC environment MAY play TRICKS on you..
B: Since hanging out in New York the last couple of days, I’ve noticed a significant rise in bicycle “lanes.” Has the city taken notice of the serious bicycle use and somewhat molded a European type system of to accommodate both motorized and pedal powered vehicles?
MH: Oh definitely! It's been an increasingly crazy bike-commuter frenzy here in NY. More than I have ever seen. Apparently there has been a 35% increase in cyclist commuting. An estimated 75,000 cyclist are commuting daily in NYC. I guess they have to make some sort logistical structure to somewhat organize the flow of bike traffic. But I don't think there's enough room in Manhattan for cars, trucks, bikes AND bike lanes. If you go to places in Europe like Berlin, Paris, Copenhagen, you can see how efficiently it works in those cities. Those places don't seem to be as densely populated and as chaotic as NYC.
Blotto: Break down the frame, fork and componentry on this Samson:
MH: Frame/fork, stem/handlebars seatpost all Keirin NJS .. D/T Swiss bladed spokes all around, Phil high-flange hub in the rear/low-flange hub in the front, Continental Gator skin tyres and of course my favorite parts are in the drive-train; Dura-ace NJS cranks, Sugino Zen NJS chain-ring with a HKK Vertex NJS chain.....straight drive-by s*&%