It has been a while since we have done one of these “The Art Of” pieces. The other day when we were going through comments on Facebook, we noticed that people had pointed out how similar a frame we shared was to another frame on more than one occasion. Similar geometry, similar features, different brands. In 2016, it’s safe to say that BMX frames have become very detailed and it’s usually some small changes in geometry or extra aesthetics that really make a frame stand out. That lead to us thinking about how head tubes have been getting taller lately to help clean up the front end a little more with fewer spacers. That reminded us that the Integrated head tube that has become a standard on all aftermarket frames (for the most part) turned 10 years old recently. That lead us to thinking about the detail that goes into the head tube these days between the different shapes, graphics and badges that are currently available. We decided to run through most of the brands websites (we’re sure we missed a few) to get a look at a bunch of the different head tubes and their graphics or badges. Let’s take a look…
Bone Deth – Motor Bone
BSD – Passenger – Limited Edition
The Kriss Kyle signature Passenger frame from BSD was recently released in a limited edition Tan color with special graphics that came from his personal tattoos. Kriss is definitely dedicated to BSD with more than one tattoo on him.
BSD – Soula
Another frame from BSD that stood out is the Dan Paley signature Soulja frame. This frame features a CNC engraved BSD logo that isn’t going anywhere. The CNC machined head tube graphic definitely makes a frame stand out. Also, if you look closely you can see the BSD frame feature a steeper taper than the Bone Deth frame.
Colony – Monash
Like we mentioned before, there’s a couple different styles of Integrated head tubes when it comes to shape. Colony have their Monash frame to show us the Hourglass head tube that features a smooth taper from the center to the edge which gives it a clean look. Digging the Horse graphics, too.
Cult – Dak V3
The Dakota Roche signature Dak frame from Cult is another awesome example of artwork to help it stand out. The rame features a dream catcher that is actually a BMX wheel. Also, if you look closely you might notice that the head tube is a little different than the others we already looked at. Instead of a sharper line where the middle of the head tube meets the edges, it’s a smoother rounded edge with less of a taper.
Division Brand – Lanark
The Lanark frame from Division Brand features a head tube very similar to the Monash frame from Colony, which makes sense since Division Brand is a sub-brand of Colony. The Lanark frame does feature a CNC engraved Division logo that does stand out quite nicely though.
FBM – Steadfast CS & Gypsy 3
We doubled this one up just because the photos FBM had on their website were tall already. On the left we have the Steadfast CS frame which features a badass head tube badge that you can also find on other FBM frames. On the right we have the Gypsy 3 frame that features a more traditional sticker graphic that has a ton of detail. Both frames have the same head tube with the smaller lip on top and larger on the bottom.
Federal Bikes – DLX
The Dan Lacey signature DLX frame from Federal Bikes. This one doesn’t have the best shot of the head tube graphics, but you get a pretty good look at the lions and crown. It’s a unique logo that looks real good and stands out.
Fiend – Palmere V2
Maybe this is what really got us thinking about the head tube graphics? Yesterday Gene Wilder who played Willy Wonka passed away, and the JJ Palmere signature Palmere V2 frame from Fiend features a trippy graphic features Willy Wonka. We grabbed the shirt that also has the logo to give you a better look at it, as well. This frame also features the Hourglass head tube.
Fit Bike Co. – Lewis V2
The latest version of Ben Lewis‘ signature Lewis V2 frame from Fit Bike Co. uses an engraved version of the graphic found on the first Lewis frame that came with the sticker. It’s a hand drawn upside down cross with Lewis going down and Fit going across. As we said before, the Engraving stands out more just because a sticker can be removed.
Fit Bike Co. – Hoodbird
Here’s another frame with a rad graphic we couldn’t find a good photo of. The Morgan Long signature Hoodbird frame from Fit Bike Co. features a badass bird with flames and a Fit logo that was designed by the one and only Eben Fischer who has done a ton of graphics for brands over the past few years. As you can see, these graphics flow throughout the frame.
Flybikes – Fuego
The Devon Smillie signature Fuego frame from Flybikes features a clean and simple logo that features two logs and some fire. Fuego is Spanish for Fire, so it makes complete sense. What’s really crazy is that Devon got this logo tattooed on his wrist, and since then a number of other people have also got the same tattoo. Goes to show Devon has some serious life long fans.
Haro – Lineage
Haro have been doing a lot with the retro look and style in the past few years and it’s lead to some awesome products. If you’re looking for a frame with a feature that really stands out, the Lineage frame with the gusset that wraps around the head tube is just that. No other current frame in BMX has the wrap around gusset (that we’re aware of) at the moment. Rad.
Kink – Mudrunner
If you couldn’t tell, we’re huge suckers for a proper Head Tube Badge around these parts. The Mudrunner frame from Kink features a badass head tube badge with the Kink logo, pick axe and shovel to go with the trails inspired design of the frame.
Kink – Titan
The Titan frame from Kink keeps things clean and simple. This frame has a clean CNC engraved Kink logo that really helps the frame stand out. Unless you’re putting a sticker over that one, it isn’t going anywhere.
Skavenger – El Blanco
The Tom White signature El Blanco frame from Skavenger isn’t actually being made anymore (at least, to our knowledge), but that front end is too damn beautiful to not include it into this list. The head tube features a badge with SKVR designed to match the Love Park monument in Philadelphia. Needless to say, it’s an almost iconic logo and head tube design.
S&M Bikes – Tall Boy
When we were looking for frames with interesting head tube graphics or designs, we had to start out with S&M Bikes since they were the first ones to use the Integrated head tube! Above is the Charlie Crumlish signature Tall Boy frame that actually has a graphic that is different with each color that it comes in. This also features a taller head tube, which is fitting with the name of the frame.
Subrosa – Villicus Infinity
The Hoang Tran signature Villicus Infinity frame from Subrosa is a great example of artwork that stands out. This is actually one that you have to stare at for a minute to really take it all in. It’s a skeleton Wizard with smoke coming out of his face and a big burly beard.
Subrosa – Om
It’s funny how we were just making this list, and then Subrosa dropped a sneak peek look at the Joris Coulomb signature Om frame’s head tube graphics! How rad is that? It’s a space theme with the S for Subrosa and then a paper airplane. Digging that for sure!
Subrosa X Slayer
Here’s one we had suggested after we posted it! Not sure how this one didn’t pop up in our mind when we were doing the original list, but either way… It’s here now! A little while back, Subrosa announced a collaboration with Slayer that included a full range of bikes, a frame and seat. Above is a look at the crazy head tube badge found on the frame! Talk about rad. Check out the full range of the Subrosa X Slayer Collaboration!
Sunday Bikes – Excelsior Frame
The Mark Burnett signature Excelsior frame from Sunday Bikes is probably the newest one on this list to become available. This one features a pretty simple Sunday logo, but they mixed in a space theme within the lettering that looks real interesting. Clean and simple. Can’t go wrong with that.
Terrible One – Barcode
We couldn’t just not include Terrible One on this list. Here’s a look at the Barcode frame with the octopus looking logo with the T1 shield. All of the Terrible One frames feature hand drawn graphics that all look really good. It’s safe to say that Barcode graphic on the downtube is probably one of the most iconic logos in BMX, though.
Mutiny Bikes – 2017 Frames
This was one of the first images we were looking for once we started compiling the list. Mutiny Bikes recently released this sneak peek photo giving us a look at the head tube graphics and colors on each of their 2017 frames. From left to right – Comb, Deathwish, Obscura and Villij
Total BMX – Frames
There’s no doubt that Total BMX have become a super popular brand over the years, and you tend to see quite a few of their frames because of it. Here’s a look at their line up of frames. The Voltron V2., Hangover H2, Sandstorm and Killabee in two colors. Each with some interesting graphics.
United – Mothership
The Nathan Williams signature Mothership frame from United Bike Co. has seen a few versions over the years. For the latest version, Nathan and United teamed up with Two Snakes Tattoo Shop for some badass graphics. Clean and simple, but plenty of detail.
United – Tru
There was no way we could pass up the TRU or Trail Riders United frame from United BIke Co. This one comes with a badass head tube badge that points out that the frame is man made in New York (Shocker, by FBM who are also lovers of the Head Tube badge), Definitely digging the detail that went into this one.
Volume – War Horse
The Demarcus Paul signature War Horse frame from Volume Bikes is a combination of a couple unique features that make it stand out. The CNC engraved VLM logo, the hourglass shape and then that crazy paint job! All three make for a rad head tube that is definitely unique. Shout out to Ride BMX for this photo. Couldn’t find another shot head on like this.
Wethepeople – Sterling
Last but not least, the Pete Sawyer signature Sterling frame from Wethepeople. They went with a super clean and smooth looking Hourglass head tube and simple graphics for this one, but that brushed nickel color with the welds really helps set that whole front end off.
Alright, so that wraps things up. We’re sure we missed a few badass head tubes, so if you know of some, make sure you let us know in the comments! We hope you’re digging taking a detailed look at something that we’re sure a lot of people might passover or under appreciate. It’s pretty crazy how much detail can go into something as simple as a head tube or the graphics or design that goes onto it! Shout out to BMX brands, the riders, product and graphic designers, for putting in the time.
We want to hear from you! Let us know what you think in the comments below!