Productivity - The Complete Story

Subrosa's complete bike history with Ryan Sher

1 Oct 2015

Subrosa complete 2016 Letum Satin Blue

2016 Letum Satin Blue

Interview and photos by Wes McGrath

Remember when complete bikes came with every single part imaginable, front and rear brakes, gyro, four heavy steel pegs, reflectors and a seat so high you never thought of standing up to pedal? Thankfully things have changed and over time simplicity has now become common place for what you can buy in your local bike shop; lightweight, no brakes, and the looks of an aftermarket bike straight out of the box. In BMX today there are a bunch companies, mostly our DIG partners, doing complete bikes the right way and setting riders off on a good path, or getting them back on the right path with the right bike, regardless of age or ability. Subrosa is definitely one of those companies that are out there doing it right and raising the bar with each of their line ups every year. We caught up with Subrosa brand manager Ryan Sher to get some insight into the process and the evolution of their BMX completes.

How long has Subrosa had a line of complete bikes?

We just finished up on our 2017 complete bike range, which will be our 9th year of complete bikes. We started Subrosa in 2006, but debuted our complete bikes in 2007.

When Subrosa was established in 2006, did you two have plans for a line of completes?

Yes, that was one of the first things Ronnie and I knew we wanted to make. We knew that going in.

What have been the major changes that the bikes have gone through over the years. What would those defining moments be?

The first major change for us would be the addition of color to the 2009 line when we first added color. The 2007 and 2008 lines were only black and white. Pretty funny to think the color red would be a defining moment haha. We also started with Dirt and Street specific models with the differences being pegs, gyros, tires, and frame geometry. Recently a big addition has been signature models for Hoang Tran, Lahsaan Kobza, and Simone Barraco.

Would you say you’ve always been ahead of the curve with your bikes?

Well it’s September 2015 and we’ve already finished our 2017 line if that’s what you mean haha! I would say so, but I guess it all depends on who’s judging. With complete bikes there are so many factors involved from the obvious bike, all the way down to how the bike is wrapped in the box before it gets to the store. Can’t let the bike get damaged before the rider gets to shred it! Then you’ve got a price point to consider. At Subrosa, we pay special attention to every aspect of our complete bikes, from designing them, spec’ing them, to where and how they are made, and even onto after they are purchased with our warranty programs.

I know you guys design these bikes for the benefit of the kids who ride them, but how do you incorporate what you like to see in a bike personally, as well as what’s best for the kids?

We all grew up riding, and still do. We use our knowledge, and tap into our team riders to keep our bikes current. You definitely have to have a balance. You can’t always just make what you want, but you also can’t water down your brand and only do what other people want you to make, or your brand won’t stand for anything.

What certain attributes accumulate to make you guys decide on giving one of your Subrosa riders a complete bike?

We debuted the signature complete bikes with Hoang Tran initially. Hoang is the longest running member of the Subrosa team, so it really made sense. It’s very important to Subrosa that our complete bikes are not separate from our aftermarket side. A lot of brand focus on one or the other, but to us, we’re a bike brand, both aftermarket, and complete bikes are very important.

Give us some insight concerning the balance bike and why you decided to offer to such a young demographic.

Cradle to Grave! We want to create lifelong cycling fans, and lifelong Subrosa fans. Not to mention, its just so damn awesome to hear and see kids learning how to ride bikes as toddlers on our bikes. You’re a part of that kids story, you’re the bike they learned to ride on.

Why did you decide to collaborate with The Sword initially?

Ronnie was friends with one of the members, Jimmy, who also rides! We later contacted them while clearing the music for our first DVD “Get Used To It”. Ronnie and Jimmy got back in touch around that time, and The Sword liked what we were doing. What was so cool about that collab, is that fact that Jimmy rode, so while the band was geeking out on how rad it looked, Jimmy was stoked that it was a good quality complete bike! Jimmy and the band had a huge hand with helping create the bike.

Nowadays the industry is the farthest away from brake usage that I’ve ever seen, so how do you guys approach that aspect? Your bikes are shown and stylized as 'brake-less' bikes but I see each complete bike comes equipped with Rant U-brakes. Is this strictly a safety issue, or more of a legal issue?

All of our complete bikes do come with brakes. On our entry level bikes the brake mounts are welded on, and as you move higher up the line they come with removable mounts. We show the bikes with removable mounts without brakes to highlight that feature. While it’s clearly the trend, a beginner should really start with brakes. Besides, you have to learn how to skid, abubaca, and fufanu! Random fact: there’s different laws in different countries about bikes, so in some places our bikes come with front brakes, a light and a bell!

As far as high quality parts are concerned, do you guys feel that you have an advantage with your combination of aftermarket Shadow parts to accompany Subrosa frames?

Of course! I get to use the brand that supported me through my riding career! It’s great for us, because we don’t have to worry about those parts as I know personally what goes into creating and testing them. We are two very like minded brands, and without question will always use their products.

"You can’t always just make what you want, but you also can’t water down your brand and only do what other people want you to make, or your brand won’t stand for anything." - Ryan Sher

Most of the experienced riders today were not able to have access to such an array of complete bikes to choose from especially not with this standard of high quality. How do you feel this advantage could impact the up and coming generation of riders riding your bikes?

Hugely! I mean you already see it with riders now, 16 - 17 year olds with full video parts. Riders have never had to ride clunkers. Part of me is jealous. They don’t even know the struggle of one piece cranks and a threaded headset that won’t stay tight. Haha! Nah, it’s all good to me, more bikes to ride, more places to ride, and with things like the Subrosa Street Rail, the future of riding looks very bright.

Do you guys have a sort of unofficial statement that you stand behind concerning your confidence in your completes?

The unofficial statement is our logo. We stand behind everything with the same attitude, whether it’s a complete, or an aftermarket part. If Subrosa gets to be a kids first BMX experience, so our goal is to make it a great one so they keep riding.

When you’re planning so far in advance do you worry that certain trends will be out of fashion by the time the bikes are available for sale. Have you ever been caught out like that?

We don’t really worry, as you can see trends in after market products and riding, before it gets down to the complete bike level. Trends tend to go out of fashion fast, but style never will and thats our goal. To make stylish BMX bikes at the highest quality and for the best price.


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