Left Hand Drive Bruiser Feb 7, 2010

Yesterday I overhauled my bike. After riding in Milwaukee’s salty streets and the snowy, messy shit we had last week, the bike felt a little too crunchy for my liking. While cleaning out the BB shell and drivetrain, I decided to switch to a left hand drive. Since I can’t do chainring grinds anymore, I wanted to give pedal and crank arm grinds a chance. Jeremiah did this last summer and I know a ton of the Tokyo riders are on it too. No one’s had any issues that I’m aware of. Well, with BMX cranks anyway.

I also decided that I didn’t like the tapered-legs fork. Even though the weight of the two forks are identical, the tapered-leg fork changed the handling of the bike. My guess is that the butting in the crown / bend of the fork blades was thicker than the non-tapered fork. This enabled the legs to be thinner / lighter. Removing weight from the fork ends would totally make the bike’s head tube angle more apparent.

That’s my guess anyway. Maybe if the Bruiser’s HTA was slacker, it’d be fine, but with a 74.5° HTA, the last thing I want is the bike to be twitchy. Last week I went over the bars numerous times doing g-turns and when I’d land fakie off stairs, it was almost uncontrollably twitchy.

For now, we’re sticking the current fork design. I also think with the massive downtube on the Bruiser, the dinky-looking blades were out of context. Anyway, that’s my opinion. I still think this fork looks great on the bike.

  • digdug

    Just picked up a med.production bruiser, will I have any trouble fitting 40c Michelin citys on it?

  • Brendan

    So did you need a different rear hub and/or lockring to run this setup, John? And did you do this because you’re also dominantly left-footed for trick set-ups, or simply for the grinding aspect?

  • I don’t know about making the HT angle more apparent, but if the two forks are indeed the same weight then I’ve got a theory. The tapered fork legs are likely not prebutted, which means that the tube walls are thicker at the tips than on the straight-gauge blades. Although there’s the exact same amount of material there, the tube will be less stiff due to its decreased diameter, which will affect the handling of the bike. This effect is one of the reasons (the other being that it looks cool) that modern frames are built from “OS” tubing. You increase the diameter and decrease the wall thickness and end up with a structure that is lighter *and* stiffer. Unfortunately you sacrifice dent resistance, which for the riding you do can be a real downside.

    Who knows, though – there are any number of factors that affect ride quality. Of course the biggest one is that peoples’ perception of ride quality is notoriously imprecise, but that’s a topic for a behavioral economics book – not a comment on a blog.

    I like the left-hand drive, btw.

  • Tim Jauregui

    Hey prolly, ive been thinking about running left-side drive on my bruiser whenever it finally arrives.
    ill be running a truvativ omnium crankset and wanted to know if it’s possible? any forseeable problems from doing this compared to running it on the right side?

  • alex

    it seems like something would slip. but i guess there’s not enough rolling resistance to really put that huge of a force in the forward direction. if it doesn’t slip when you’re skidding with rhd then i guess it wouldn’t slip when pedaling with lhd.

  • Dima


  • Looks like your getting ready for our box during our event!

  • Rui

    Back in my BMX days, I’d grind pegless on the left. Problem with that is if you overshoot the crank arm, you end up dinging your chainstay badly.
    I killed a Mirra pro frame cause of that. Damn chainstay was so beat to shit is bend ton bailing on a dirt jump.

    This may sound stupid but how come nobody is trying single peg in the rear with these beefy fixed freestyle frames?

  • Tim, I wouldn’t recommend that at all. Your pedals will unthread. If you’re running Omniums, just get a Stout 144bcd guard from MKE and grind on that.

    Brendan, I grind right foot forward and all my tricks are right foot forward as well.

    Spencer, thanks! Makes sense as well..

  • alex

    @digdug, i had trouble squeezing my 40c michelin city’s on there. i have chukkers and the front has 1-2mm clearance between it and the top of the fork. the rear had about 2mm on each side at the chainstays and about 1mm at the seatstay. the back ended up rubbing a ton so i got a 37c conti from my LBS

  • Jerry Likes Bikes

    On the topic of Omniums, a bigger deterrent is the fact that GXP bottom brackets use different ID bearings on each side, therefore you can’t just flip the cranks around.

  • watch out…. yur pedals are gonna fall off!

  • No, they won’t. The crank arms stayed on the same side…