We continue the 25 year celebration with an amazing letter that we received from the Plywood Hoods. – enjoy
From the Plywood Hoods
I first met Mat Hoffman on the summer 1987 Skyway tour after my friend had just gotten picked up by the team. I had seen photos in the magazine and watching him ride in person was unreal. What sticks out in my mind was noticing he had one piece cranks on his bike. After the show, I remember telling him that he should just get some good three piece cranks at the next shop and put it on Skyway’s tab. In typical fashion, Mat just laughed me off and said he was fine with the cranks he had. About a month later, it was reported that Mat broke his one piece crank, slashed up his shin and had to get stitches.
What does this story have to do with Hoffman Bikes? Well, if it weren’t for broken parts, there may never have been a Hoffman Bikes. We’ve all seen the old videos of the broken frames, forks and bars under the transition of the Secret Ninja ramp. If it weren’t for the riding surpassing the product’s limits, BMX would have gotten stale. Instead, the riding progressed so the bikes had to evolve as well. I’ve always said the genius behind Bob Haro was he thought of something that didn’t exist and made it a reality. Along those lines, the genius of Hoffman Bikes is they took something that wasn’t working and fixed it.
Walking into Jeff Phillips’ Skatepark in January 1992 I was overwhelmed by the site of the first Condor frame I had ever seen. I studied the construction and saw it was well built and purposefully designed. There was an excitement at that contest over Hoffman Bikes. Things were going to be different. One of us was going to step up and turn the page from what was to what could be. The once mighty AFA contest were gone and a new generation was ready to push the limits and Hoffman Bikes were what they’d be riding.
Hoffman Bikes was experimental in the early days. With a great team of riders, fearless employees and friends around the world, new ideas were common place. Classics like the Big Daddy frame, built to last and push the progression of flatland, the Super Fork with the one piece steerer tube and clamp on stem to keep teeth in mouths everywhere and oversized axles foreshadowed the bikes of today. With in house design and construction, new product ideas went from the conference room to a ramp in one day. While the designs were serious, Hoffman Bikes kept things fun with names like the Patriot and Scud bars, Loc’d pegs, the George bike (named after a cat) and the ep, a smaller sized flatland frame. The business was getting bigger but the fun spirit of BMX was always there. Eventually, business got bigger than the HB crew could handle in Oklahoma so they expanded into Asian manufacturing. Again, this wasn’t a new concept in the industry but with the Hoffman Bikes staff designing products at all price points the brand could expand to the newest riders who had seen Hoffman Bikes on the big television contests or at their local fair as the Sprocket Jockey team spread the passion behind the riding. Current team rider Morgan Wade will tell you, it was the Sprocket Jockeys show that inspired him to ride.
If you look at the last 25 years, Hoffman Bikes is intertwined with every aspect of what BMX presently is. While Hoffman Bikes was started by a vert rider, the brand never neglected any type of BMX riding with bikes like the Taj for Dirt Jumping, the Butcher for street riding, the Momentum for flatland and even the Flash for racing. With all these types of bikes, generations of riders grew up on Hoffman Bikes inspired by an ever growing team of legendary riders. Contests have been won, world records set, backyard glory achieved and wide smiles created on Hoffman Bikes over the last 25 years.
Since the beginning in 1991, one continuous trait of Hoffman Bikes has always been the integrity of the brand. HB has been pushing the envelope and always had what is best for the riders and BMX as a whole as the focal point. Today there are more brands than ever but you can be assured that when you choose to ride any of the Hoffman Bikes products you are part of a legendary company and your money will go toward making BMX better for all of us, no matter how we choose to express ourselves through our riding.
Happy Birthday Hoffman Bikes! Time to drop in for your next 25 year run.
Here are a few rare Plywood Hood Photos that were sent along with the letter..