Re-Print: HERESY - My BMX Fugazi

A small fish in en even smaller pond

16 Feb 2018

Heresy Alexis Desolneux Photo Sevisual

Words: Brian Tunney | Photo: Sevisual | Article originally printed in DIG issue 99.5 - Summer 2016

Heresy is a European flatland brand that caters to linear, rolling flatland and fans of ambient black metal. Read that line again and let it sink in just a bit. Now take a step back and look at the bigger picture in the very small universe that is the BMX industry. Then subtract 95% of that to look at the extremely small universe that is the flatland BMX industry.

Flatland-specific BMX brands are not by design money making ventures. There has to be a need, a passion, to want to go down that road, or “path” as Heresy is prone to say. Alexis Desolneux is that person. A product of the French BMX scene, Desolneux is not your average flatland rider — he rides by and large in straight lines, his combinations are insanely difficult and repertory, and he’s stepped up to hang 5 grinds down handrails in the distant past. He’s also a product of punk. Not the Green Day, Hot Topic version — Desolneux grew up idolizing bands and movements that required a DIY ethic, including Washington D.C.’s Dischord Records and bands from the label such as Hoover and Bluetip. “I have a lot of admiration for people who follow a certain way being themselves and just create their own ‘universe’ and aesthetics,” Desolneux told Flat Matters earlier this year. 

Dischord Records started on a whim to release a 7” single from the Teen Idles, the band that label founders Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson were members of. After the band broke up, they took a cigar box of cash containing all of the money they had generated from playing live, got a record pressed and started the label as teenagers, because, according to MacKaye, who was going to put out a record from a dead band made up of teenagers that no one had heard of? Desolneux’s path isn’t much different. Frustrated with the existing brands of the moment, he brought together a group of like-minded friends in 2010 to create the brand that didn’t exist for them.

“Heresy was started out of necessity, in a similar way that some bands put out their own records, just because no one else will put out their records if they don’t,” says Desolneux.

“Heresy was started out of necessity, in a similar way that some bands put out their own records, just because no one else will put out their records if they don’t,” - Alexis Desolneux

The team, consisting of Desolneux, Sebastian Grubinger, Michael Husser, George Manos and Matthieu Bonnecuelle, are as unique as it gets in flatland. They film team edits, they ride in straight lines, they explore unique concepts such as fastplants to hitchhikers, backwards standing one-footed manuals and switch-footed backwards standing double whiplashes, and their video input is done solely in black and white, to music you don’t typically hear in flatland videos.

In terms of flatland competition, it’s even difficult for the collective members of the Heresy team to compete because of the design of flatland events. Typically, flatland competitions encompass small areas because most riders ride in tight, concentric directions. Heresy doesn’t. The brand and team literally didn’t fit within the realm of flatland competition. “Heresy was a positive way to deal with a general situation that could have been frustrating otherwise,” says Desolneux.

Essentially, they took a negative and reformed it into a positive, creating flatland pegs named after legendary Krishna core bands in the process (108 pegs).

Product wise, Heresy produces a frame, bars, pegs, seat, headset and bottom bracket, with plans for a fork in the future. Softgoods are handprinted in Chelles, France by Desolneux. The brand gets product support from Profile Racing. 

Is Heresy going to make millions of dollars as a BMX brand? Probably not. Does that matter? Definitely not. Heresy is more than a BMX brand, it’s a movement that brings to mind brands such as Terrible One and FBM. In plainer terms, it’s the Dischord Records of flatland, and the team is quickly becoming my BMX Fugazi. 

Or Bluetip. Or Hoover. Or Lungfish.  - BT

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