About two years ago, Sunday introduced a new cruiser in their lineup, the Model C. Unlike previous 24" cruisers on the market, the Model C was different in that it was designed to ride like a 20" BMX bike, and in the time since, Sunday's Jim Cielencki has been seen throughout the U.S. doing above average BMX tricks on a big bike. Last month, Sandy Carson caught up with Jim and his Model C in Jim's very floral printed office kitchen for a bike check, and this is the result.Launch Jim Cielencki Bike Check »
ESPN.com: Tell us about your dog.
Cielencki: Actually, that's Jim Bauer from Odyssey's dog named Foxy. Jim spent the month of January out here and Foxy came with him. She's pretty funny, she will happily sit there and let you take lots of photographs of her. Good subject and really likes socks.
What is with the rose-patterned wallpaper at your house?
Let the record show, I would never put this wallpaper up at my own house. These photos were shot at our office which is in a house. Our office is Sunday Bikes, OTX Design and the Full Factory Distro sales office, so we basically don't need a warehouse here. The wallpaper is from the people who lived here before we made it into an office. It's crazy because they wallpapered perfectly over all the light switches, outlets and whatever. It's so perfect that it completely camouflages them. There's a photo of the former resident that we have hanging and the lady's floral print shirt almost matches the wallpaper. It's amazing!
I know you ride your Sunday cruiser more than a regular 20" bike nowadays. Is there a specific reason for this?
To be honest, I go back and forth between the 20" and 24" throughout the year. I run a BMX bike company, so I should have experience in both bikes. Before I started riding this bike in October, I rode my 20" for a whole year straight. For me, it's difficult to switch between the two just because the 24" makes the 20" feel small. The main reason why I ride the 24" is that I like the idea of taking something you already know how to do and making it different. It's like riding bigger stair sets or steeper rails, you want the challenge of taking something you already know and making it different or more difficult.
What made you want to release a BMX-geometry specific cruiser through Sunday?
Originally, we did the frame as an experiment. I hadn't really ridden a 24" or any other bike besides a 20" prior to riding the Model C, so it was foreign territory for me. But after the first day of riding it, I knew we were on to something. After this, I put together a fixed gear and a road bike just because it helped me better understand a bicycle. There's still lots to learn, but riding the Model C opened up lots of doors for me to better understand bikes and therefore make better decisions for Sunday. Besides I just really wanted to do a handrail on a 24" sort of like an opposite version of when Matt Beringer did a rail on a 16". The 24" isn't as tech trick savvy as a 20", but what you gain is jumping stability, better maintaining of speed and more comfort.
Can you explain why the frame is different from other cruisers on the market?
Well the market has changed since we introduced the Model C in 2008. At that time, 24" bikes only had race geometry which meant low bottom brackets and long rear ends. The Model C is totally designed around modern freestyle geometry, it was a scaled up version of the Second Wave, so basically a freestyle 24". It has a higher bottom bracket height and a shorter rear end compared to the 24" bikes at the time. Nobody offered this geometry in 2008. Now in 2011, you've seen every BMX company that does a 24" modify their geometry to be more freestyle. Even the larger companies like Specialized and Mongoose are starting to do a 24" freestyle BMX bike. It's been interesting to watch it happen.
Do you think the cruiser scene will take off anymore than it has (outside of Austin at least)?
Yes, I totally see it growing for a long time. The geometry of a modern 20" BMX bike is so twitchy to a guy who hasn't been riding in 10+ years or a guy who has only been riding a MTB or road bike. We've all seen the random guy who goes over the bars because they want to give the 20" a try. Plus it's a great way for MTB guys to crossover into BMX without making the larger leap to the 20" BMX. The main benefit of the Model C is that it feels just like a 20", but it's more stable. BMX seems to be growing from two directions: new kids getting into it and older guys coming back to it. Check out the Older Guys Who Ride site and you'll see proof. For a long time the age range of BMX was 12-20 something, but as the sport grew older, so did the riders. Some kept riding and for others, life got in the way, but now they are coming back to it. Usually because their lives have become more stable or they have their own kids that have started riding, so they ride with them. I've heard this story countless times. It's really cool to hear guys say that the relationships with their kids have grown so much just because they've started riding with them.
Are some aspects of BMX easier on a purpose designed cruiser, like Sunday's?
It's a yes and no thing for tricks. Jumping tricks, bowls and higher speed stuff is easier on the 24" because the wheel size makes it more stable. There is this berm at the pumptrack in Austin that I swear works so much better on the 24". The size makes the berm easy to pump, so you gain speed through the berm. Besides that, tech tricks like bunnyhop truckdrivers and 540 down stairs will be more difficult. I'm not going to say it's not possible because in BMX everything is possible.
Hollow Sunday dropouts. A lot of people weren't convinced when Sunday released them five years ago, but not they're catching on. Does that discourage you, or are you not bothered? And also, what are the benefits of a hollow, thicker dropout?
Well, this definitely validates our hollow dropout. When we first started testing them in 2005, you could tell instantly that this was way better than a traditional plate dropout. It has the same weight as a normal dropout, but is over twice the strength. Two years ago, I started running 3/8" female axles instead of 14mm because the combination of the female axle and hollow dropout was so strong. I never thought there would be a day that we could get away from 14mm axles, it seemed like a die hard standard that we wouldn't be able to do without. Times have changed. It's interesting to see the other hollow dropouts popping up and for good reason, but ours is still unique from a structural and manufacturing point of view.
You have a few different signature pedals through Odyssey. Why do you ride the Trail mix version?
Well if you know Austin then you know there are lots of sets of trails here. I've ridden more trails in the last year than I have in the last eight years. I figured I better use the pedal with trail in its name.
How does it feel to be able to put together a new bike featuring all Sunday, G-Sport and Odyssey parts?
It feels amazing! All the parts work so well together. My favorite combination is the G-Sport Ratchet hub with the Sunday hollow dropouts. That combination seems so bulletproof. It's just very solid. I couldn't ask for anything better.
Do you have any unseen mods on your bike, or is it fully stock?
Not really, there's one prototype thing on there, but there isn't any modifications besides trim the seat post. The bike is very stock.
I can't figure out what brand it is, but is that an Odyssey or Sunday internal vice top load stem on your cruiser?
That is an Odyssey prototype stem. I can't say too much besides it works really well.
Finally, am I missing anything here?
I guess the only thing to say is that this bike is so much fun, but it was never intended as a replacement for a 20" BMX. It's a logical step in 24" progression, and we're happy to be contributing to the very long history that 24" has in BMX. These bikes are a really good way for allowing more people to enjoy what BMX has to offer. It's all fun and it's all BMX. Thanks to ESPN for the bike check. Go Sabres!