When you think about all of the gnarly shit that a BMX bike gets put through these days, it’s easy to get worried about parts snapping, cracking and popping. One dude, who I know has been putting parts through hell and back for years is The Daily Grind‘s owner, Jon “Gremlin” Betchtold, who has heard and seen all of those things happen and that’s why he went into business to create some products that are built to withstand the hell you can put them through.
We figured it was a good time to catch up with Gremlin to take a closer look at his setup that he is currently working with these days! She might be a little rough around the edges with scratches and dents, but that’s nothing but character and proof that it’s been put to the test. Let’s take a closer look!
Name: Jonathan “Gremlin” Betchtold
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Sponsors: Standard helps me out.
Years riding: 16 years
Frame: Standard STA-L
Bars: Daily Grind Century Bars
Fork: Animal Barret Fork
Stem: Madera Mast Stem
Grips: ODI Longnecks, Daily Grind Bar Ends
Cranks: Cult OS Cranks
Pedals: Animal Hamilton pedals
Chain: KMC 410H
Sprocket: Daily Grind Millennium Sprocket Test #2
Seat / Post / Clamp: Stolen Kushion Pivotal seat, Primo post, Animal clamp
Front Wheel / Tire: Daily Grind front hub with guards, Stolen rims, Animal TWW tire
Rear Wheel / Tire: Cult Coaster, Primo rim, Animal TWW tire
Pegs: Daily Grind Test #2 Pegs
Hub guards: Daily Grind Drive-Side guard, LT Guard and front guards
Brakes? Not since I was 17
Modifications: Cut down bars
What’s the newest part on your bike?
Daily Grind test pegs
What’s the oldest?
What do you usually go through the fastest?
Does your setup change much? More pegs, less pegs, brakes, etc. or are you pretty consistent with what you like?
Pretty much stays the same.
I feel like owning a parts company makes it pretty easy to keep your bike all dialed in. How often do you try and swap things out?
I try to ride it until it’s absolutely broken, especially Daily Grind parts. I still ride mostly test parts just to see how far they can go. Makes me feel good to push my products as far as I possibly can. So far most of them are stronger than I have pushed, haha.
How are things going with The Daily Grind these days? Do you have anything cooking for 2014 that you can tell us about product wise?
We are currently trying to get our quantities to a level that our prices will go down. Mainly so we can make our parts more available world-wide. But we are pushing some pegs that might make the cut soon too.
You guys have always taken pride in creating products that are built to take a shit kicking. Care to talk a little bit about the process you guys go through to create something like the hub guards?
For sure, my crew has been riding longer than most of these young kids have been alive. We grew up when hub guards weren’t an option. Before guards, you had a 3/8″ thick piece of metal bent over your drop out to protect your spokes and not make you hang up on rails. FBM has been in the guard game for a while now, Ryan Howard was the king of dremmeling out an FBM guard to make it fit over a 9-tooth driver and chain. He had a guard planned out before the Daily Grind was even an idea. I just gave him a place to take it. We tried and come up with the best guard on paper that we could, then get a test sample and try to wreck it. If it lasts, and doesn’t need adjustments we will make them. If not, we change them and test again.
Is it weird riding something you created? I feel like that would be a little surreal.
It’s pretty wild. Anytime you do something that seemed to be impossible and you make it possible, it’s a great feeling. Just like doing a new trick on your bike. I’m really excited that the company is growing as fast as it is and look forward to seeing how far we can take it.
I know your whole crew works and it can get a little tricky to travel, but you seem to make it work! Do you have any trips or videos in the works you can tell us about?
We are trying to figure out a winter trip, but long trips are way harder with everyone having conflicting schedules and grown up responsibilities. Atlanta was the start of filming for our second DVD. DVD’s are a ton of work, you may go on a week long trip and only get one clip you actually approve of DVD quality.
Photo: Devon Denham
What are a few of the things that keep you motivated?
The biggest motivator is seeing a super pro riding your products. I saw a Corey Martinez bike check and he was rocking the drive-side guard.
One thing I really respect is that you are still working a real job to pay the bills, right? What are you doing these days when you aren’t riding or running TDG?
I work for an excavating company running heavy equipment, driving low boys hauling equipment, dump trucks, Read Mix trucks and whatever else they need me to do. It’s pretty miserable work, but it pays the bills.
Photo: Troy Merkle
Have you been able to film much lately? I feel like the Ohio winters can be a little rough when it comes to riding. Can we expect a Gremlin edit again soon?
Winter has been in full effect since thanksgiving this year, but we still take advantage of the warm days. I have an edit in the works, but I really want to get a few more clips that I got kicked out of or that I couldn’t get done the day I tried it. So I’m hoping for some decent days in the near future.
Outside of riding and working, what are you doing these days? Any new hobbies you have been into?
No new hobbies, but I do have a two year ld that gets the rest of my free time. He’s awesome. I can’t wait to be able to take him riding. He has a Strider and another little bike but he isn’t really into them yet. Hoping come spring, he’ll be at that age to push it around.
With 2014 just a day away… Do you have any goals set for yourself?
As for goals right now, I just want to push my riding limits and grow the brand. No huge goals right this second.
Photo: Devon Denham
What kind of advice do you have for the people out there looking to start a BMX brand?
Honestly, I would go with your second choice. BMX, at least right now, is a very competitive market. I have noticed some corporate brands falling off, finally. So may by the time you’re ready to do it, BMX will be in a better place for new brands.
What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
I’m not real sure about movies and songs, but I have been cruising the web to see what sites posted the latest DG edit.
How can people keep up with you these days?
My Instagram is @XGRMLNX or @DAILYGRINDBMX. Not big on Twitter, I check Facebook a lot. I try to stay in the social media game, but it’s like a second job sometimes and just miserable most of the time.
Anything else you want to say?
Treat yourself to a good hub guard!