16 Days until Hoffman Bikes 25th Anniversary
Today, we celebrate one of the most well-rounded Dirt, Street/Park, Vert and Big Air riders: Chad Kagy. In 1997, Chad Kagy drove down to the B.S. finals in Seal Beach, CA. Anticipating to compete in the Amateur class, Chad found out he was too late to enter. So, wanting to ride, he borrowed the extra $25 and competed in the Pro class – Best borrowed $25 ever! After taking 6th place in his first pro street competition and having a vert session with Mat Hoffman, Mat asked Chad if he would like to join the Hoffman Bikes team.
In 2000, Mat offered Chad a signature frame. Chad immediately got to work and offered the Hoffman Bikes design team his ideal bike. After a few proto-types and name suggestions, Chad Kagy’s signature frame the ”Kagy” was released. In 2001, The Kagy Star and Pro Series complete bike, along with aftermarket frame, was available worldwide.
We recently caught up with Chad Kagy for a short Q&A. See Below.
What stands out to you as innovations from Hoffman Bikes and Mat Hoffman?
Hoffman Bikes in the early days had an against the grain image to it. HB would build what the riders wanted because the company was founded by a rider. The creativity from Mat and the people he surrounded himself with produced some of the best bikes, the best events, and the best BMX riders in the world. Mat and Hoffman Bikes stood for doing things a little bit different. Like building a ramp and a bike that could handle a motorized bike to find a way to go higher. Like building the biggest quarter pipe ever imagined and finding the most sketchy way to blast higher than anyone.
What year did you join Hoffman Bikes and what is the story of how that came about?
I joined the Hoffman Bikes team 1997 after my first pro competition. I drove down to the BS finals in Seal Beach, CA with a big crew of Nor Cal riders. We showed up about 2 hours late for amateur registration and Page told me that if all I wanted to do was ride the course I could pay the extra $25 to enter pro and practice for a few days. I had to borrow the money from a friend and went for it. I liked the course enough that I rode the comp, placed 6th and had a ton of fun. The next day my Nor Cal crew went to the RSA skate park to have a session before driving the 6 hours home. We had been seasoning for an hour or so when Mark Losey, Mat Hoffman and the HB crew rolled in for a photo shoot. Mark asked if he could shoot a few photos of me while Mat was getting ready to ride. Mat joined the session and we rode for a little while and then I sat back and watched Mat blast the vert ramp while shooting with Mark. When the session was done Mat said he liked the way I rode and it was cool I was riding his wheels. If I liked them he would hook me up with a set when I needed them. I may have just shit myself a little that Mat Hoffman said he would give me wheels because he liked the way I ride. I exchanged contact info with Page before driving all the way back to Gilroy freaking out that I just sessioned with Mat and got 6th place in a pro comp! About a week later I got a call from Page asking why I hadn’t called to get parts. I replied that my bike wasn’t broken and I didn’t want to ask for anything I didn’t need. Page explained that Mat was offering me to ride HB bikes and parts if I wanted to… when he put it like that I was fully on board to get all the HB stuff I could ever want.
What is one of your best Hoffman Bikes stories?
The opportunities laid out in front of me to take advantage of through my relationship with Mat and Hoffman Bikes changed the direction of my life. I made the choice to travel around the world with my friends, competing in events while representing my rad sponsors, and making a little money at the same time.
I remember being on the unpaid pro team for HB for almost a year before an offer to ride for Ron Wilkerson came in. I had been doing shows for Ron in Nor Cal and said he wanted me to join the team full time with a monthly salary offer of something random like $247.50. I brought it up to Mat and said I was working at a bike shop to pay my bills and $247.50 per month plus demo fees wasn’t much but might help me ride full time. Mat said there was no way I was leaving HB for 2-Hip and although he didn’t have the budget to pay me anything, he would find $500 per month and I was allowed to travel to any contest I wanted to go to all year. I agreed to the deal immediately and that was the moment I was a full time pro bmx rider.
I stopped in OKC to hang out with the HB crew for a few days in between events. I was riding the warehouse and shooting with Big Island. I crashed by not putting my hand back on my bars resulting in my chin connecting with the concrete floor. Me and Bigs searched for a while but couldn’t find my teeth. Before leaving OKC I was given a gift by Mat with strict instructions that I can only accept the gift if I keep the bad joke going. Mat said I needed a full face helmet presented me with his purple helmet. THE purple helmet! I was instructed to do my competition introductions sitting on my bike with my purple helmet on my lap. The joke was to make sure I was polishing my purple helmet on TV. Mat has the desire to laugh about small, inside jokes that are almost 6th grade simple but fly over everyone’s head because they’re not paying attention to the details. I was happy to assist Mat with his joke at the next few ESPN comps.
Here are some photos of Chad during is time at Hoffman Bikes.