A few years ago, a new brand emerged from two legends in the U.K BMX scene. One being the insanely technical and talented rider you know as Mark Webb and the other, a name you younger guys might not be as familiar with, Ronnie Remo. The brand? Total BMX.
Since their inception, the brand has grown into a well known name around the world that is stacked with some of the wildest riders in the world. Between the dialed products, their team riders taking top spots at contests around the world and the constant flow of edits that melt your brain, I figured it was due time we get ahold of these guys to find out what exactly they are all about.
We shot Ronnie a bunch of questions about the brand that I think will give you guys an even better understanding of just what this family is all about… Let’s take a look!
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All right, so let’s start this out from the beginning. When did you and Mark Webb officially decide it was time to start a brand of your own?
We were at FISE contest in France and we were in the bar celebrating an awesome weekend and while drunk I was like “Hey Mark, we should start up our own bike Company”. He just kinda laughed and said can we do that? I was like of course we can. I am drunk right now and I believe we could do anything, ha. I had always looked out for everyone, booked flights and hotels and dealt with contest invites for the younger riders around me and was already kind of Marks un official unpaid manager. Everyone suggested I should do my own thing since I was doing all the work that goes with running a team. We joked that night about calling it Remaco.
Funny as we were sat in the same place this year and Mark turned to me and said “Hey Remo, this is where it all started right here”. We realised how far we had come in the years in between, sitting there with arguably the best Park team in the world right now. If you dream it you can get it with hard work and some help from others and some luck on the way.
Mark and Ronnie having a proper business meeting.
Once you guys had sobered up and got the idea going, how long did it take to get everything lined up from branding, frame and parts samples, to adding riders to the team? I know that’s a pretty lengthy process.
Starting out it was clear being a new brand we needed solid products that didn’t return, we had a limited budget, a very limited budget, so it was key there were no problems. We tested sample frames for over a year before releasing them to the public. I would like to say we set out a great business plan, and marketing strategy but to be honest we just winged it. We were fully focused on getting the products right then we would work out how to sell them later.
So, yes, it was a long time before we actually got to selling products and on our first order we missed the critical Christmas sales which set us back.
We have ended up with a crazy good team, and its hard to say how it happend, it got to a point where pros were emailing me asking to be on the team all the time.
Our original goal was to make enough money to cover trips with the team and maybe make a small wage to help survive in BMX, we are focused on the riders first and foremost.
Why “Total BMX”? Were there any other names you guys considered using?
As above all the guys joked about Remaco but that was obviously too close to Mirraco and my mate Dave Mira would have been annoyed I am sure, ha. Total BMX was the first thing that came to mind as when I was a kid myself and a friend Dejay decided to start our own team, basically we made home made stickers and put them everywhere, each sticker had its own strap line or funny comment. We all went to contests together and it was a great time in BMX for me circa 1991 onward until most of the members of our unofficial team quit BMX. It was always just fun, we were not really a team, just a bunch of kids trying to be like our heroes I guess,.
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So the name Total BMX does not sound original but it has 20+ years of BMX history behind it.
What is your role with the brand? What about Mark’s role?
My role…. My role is everything, ha. I handle design to team manager with a load of things in between, we are a small outfit and I have taken care of all the business side of things from day one. Mark is fully focused on representing the brand as a rider and also helps me with product ideas. He also gets the task of making sure the products are reliable and can get the seal of approval. I want Mark to concentrate on his riding 100%.
Recently I have linked up with our UK distributor to run my International sales, this frees up some of my time to concentrate on the rest of the business. I am not a great sales person anyhow, ha.
Are there any other people who are helping keep the brand going on the day to day or are you guys handling everything on your own?
Apart from the International sales, I run the whole business so this keeps me busy and out of trouble… Hopefully.
When I think about Total BMX’s team, I instantly think about guys doing some huge bangers and really technical ramp riding like Mark’s riding. Was that your initial plan, or did it just happen that you guys ended up hooking up guys with that style of riding?
I had always been mainly a Park/ Vert and mini rider though I did ride a fair bit of dirt when I was younger. In fact, I learned backies on a set of dirt doubles. Mark was always known for his insane ramp tech also so it seemed we should stick to what we know and what we are good at and be true to ourselves.
Obviously most bike companies have gone more to the street image so basically have followed a trend, we are just doing what we we are good at and what know about.
I think this has been good for us too as all the riders that are into park still like our brand and team and support us.
Who is all on the team these days? Care to give us a round up of the pro and flow guys?
We don’t really list the team as flow or pro, were are simply a team and everyone is important, we do as much as we can for each rider within financial means of the company so here is a run down right now-
Papa Peraza (Team Mechanic at events)
Note: There are also some riders that are hooked up through our Distributors in various countries.
Are you guys planning on expanding the team at all? What kind of advice do you have for the kids out there looking to get sponsored by Total BMX?
You know we hook up as many people as we can where deserving and there is a lot deserving out there, but the team has grown bigger than I ever imagined and with this comes a lot of expenses. For the foreseeable future we are taking stock of what we got and not adding.
I think actively looking for sponsorship is not often the right answer, just ride your bike and have fun doing it. That’s the only reason to ride. If its meant to be it will happen by itself and someone will offer to hook you up.
A good example is Chance on our Australian team, I saw an edit he put out and at the time I was looking to up the team out there and to my luck Alex Coleborn had met him before. This meant I had a first hand insight of whether he was a cool guy or not and likely to fit in with the team. Riding alone won’t get you on the team, I need to know you will gel with everyone.
So at this point I know he is a good lad and his edit was awesome, so I email him on Facebook. At this point I see old messages that he sent me like a year before asking me to watch one of his old edits and hook him up. It was fate, the time was right and he ended up on the team.
It seems like the team gets a fair amount of travel time these days hitting up a lot of the major contests. Do you have any team trips or shop visits lined up any time soon?
We are always looking to do trips, we had so much fun this summer with almost the entire International team over at Nass and the BMX Freestyle Worlds in Europe. We actually got 8 riders in the top 9 at NASS and had the entire top 6.
I think we will be doing a UK shop park tour in November, probably a skeleton crew of just the UK guys though, then there is the Rebel Jam in Spain coming up too.
It looks like the product line is growing at a pretty steady pace since its launch. What is the current product line looking like? Any personal favorites out of the line?
My personal favourite right now is the Kaya frame, being a tall person I could never use Mark or Alex’s frames so it was about time this old vert Dawg and the company owner got a Total frame. I am also loving Marks new #GS Bars. We are working on new products all the time and constantly have things in testing. We have a line of complete bikes coming out at the back end of the year in time for Christmas and I am real excited about these.
What do you guys have cooking for next year?
Well we have the Mark Webb #GS Bars, Headsets, New seat combo and of course the line of complete bikes along with some new colour ways of our existing products, next year we have new brake pads, chains and a stem coming out.
Let’s say somebody has an issue with one of your products. What kind of a warranty does Total BMX offer?
On frames, forks and bars we give a (1) year warranty. We strive to always do the right thing and take care of our customers, the good thing is we are bike riders ourselves and we think like bike riders, so you know we got hearts. I am pleased to say it is a rare thing to get a claim and we have been delighted with our products longevity. It’s all in the testing. If Webbie don’t break it… It probably don’t break.
I know one of the biggest headaches for brands these days is finding proper distributors. Do you plan on adding a few more countries to the list of places people can get Total BMX any time soon?
We are constantly adding new distributors as the brand grows, finding good distribution can be difficult but due to the demand for our products we are finding this easier and easier.
Let’s say a shop or distributor wants to get Total BMX in their store or warehouse. Who should they contact to get your products?
If you are a shop then check our website to locate your nearest Distributor, if you are interested in distirbution of our brand in your region / country then contact us through the website.
Since the brand is still pretty new, how are things going from your perspective? Do you still get weirded out when you show up somewhere and people are on your bikes?
Seeing people on our products is so awesome. The fact people spend their hard earn’t money buying our products makes me proud. There is a huge choice out there so every sale is appreciated. I am very happy with the progress of the brand and it has been very hard work getting to the point we are at, but it has been worthwhile. Things are getting better and better.
Creating a successful bike brand is very difficult, that I can vouch!
Where would you like to take things with the brand the next few years?
Every improvement is aimed at having the ability to do more and more with the team. I am extremely keen to do a shop / park tour of the USA. I can imagine kids being pumped on the Total team turning up at their local park. It really is a lifestyle company and as owner, I am at my happiest riding some park with the team guys, forgetting about the business for a bit and just riding and having a blast. The brand will hopefully help us move on and step up the amount of people we can reach on a face to face level. Getting out there at parks meeting people is key but this takes a lot of money, so we need build the range and get the sales going even better.
I am really proud of the team and their efforts, and appreciate how hard they all rep the brand.
Total BMX is clearly rider owned. This is a shot of Ronnie and Mark from a recent interview in ART BMX Magazine.
What’s the link to your website? Are you on Faceboook, Twitter and all the social media sites?
We work Facebook hard and often do giveaways, we would love more people to like us-
If somebody has a question about the brand or one of your products, what’s the best way to get ahold of your guys?
I would say Facebook is the most direct way. I answer 99% of the Facebook stuff personally, so any questions feel free to fire away.
So that should cover things pretty well. Did you have anything I missed you would like to add or say?
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the Total Team riders for helping me assemble such an awesome family team of shredders who make me proud. Also, thanks to anyone who has leant an ear when I needed to know something, and anyone who has given us a leg up here and there. And not forgetting the awesome people who buy our products making all this possible, our customers who are also BMX shredders.
Thanks to you all