First of all, if you haven’t watched the muddy, messy hell that is the Hack Bike Derby video, you should do that first. Ok? We all caught up? Now, there’s a bit of chaos involed in this event, but there are still rules.
Seventeen builders from the UK were invited to compete in a day full of muddy shenanigans in the woods. Each of these builders had to adhere to the same rules during the creation of these dirt abominations:
All builders were given the same brief; builders must race the bike they have built, stock car rules apply (if another builder thinks you have an unfair advantage you have to be prepared to swap bikes for a race), all bikes must conform to the event rules:
– Frame and forks must be made by the rider from steel, specifically for this event.
– The bike must be made cheaply (under £300, all in)
– Dropouts must be made (“hacked”) by the rider
– The bike mustn’t be painted but it can be clear-coated, raw or painted using pens, paint brushes or rattle can, by the rider (basically – no expensive paint jobs!)
– All bikes must use the same tires (and hence wheel size) Bontrager have provided 26” x 2.35 XR4 Team Issue tires for every rider
– The bikes must also be built according to this year’s brief; 1 x gear, 2 x brakes (1 x front + 1 x rear, no hydraulic or disk, ideally, no V-brakes), and the bike must look like a klunker or cruiser.
This is Andrew from the Bicycle Academy’s bike in a several-month patina, still covered with mud from the venue and surprisingly, this beast still rolls. Mostly. While I was tinkering around at the Bicycle Academy, I wanted to shoot some of the bikes on display, as a way of documenting, albeit a slice of, the kinds of creativity at play.
Andrew’s bike utilized scrap tubing, a horn, a saddle that looks like it’d explode at any moment, a mud guard that is welded onto the fork legs, Azonic BMX cranks and super sketchy drum brakes. He event went as far as to utilize an internally-geared two-speed rear hub, although he never was able to shift it during the events due to its suicide placement.
Events like the Hack Bike Derby encourage plenty of creativity while keeping it fun and yes, affordable. All I want to know now is how many of these bikes are still being ridden by the builders and who’s signed up for this year’s carnage?
See more on the Hack Bike Derby at the Bicycle Academy.