Credence Bikes is the brainchild of Texas via New Hampshire BMXer Clint Reynolds. For years, Credence simply existed as bikes built by Clint for his friends and himself. Clint, despite numerous offers from some of the bigger names in BMX, has continually kept Credence as his frame "sponsor." Recently though, Clint struck up a deal with S&M Bikes. Not only will Clint be riding their S&M "Credence" frames, but Clint will be traveling to S&M headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. to help oversee the production of anything with the Credence name on it. Recently we got a chance to catch Clint on the phone to talk about this new deal.
ESPN.com: First, is S&M making Credence frames or will it be an S&M "Credence"? Reynolds: It's going to be an S&M Credence. It's not going to be presented as a whole other company other than S&M but if I wanted to, let's say I wanted to make some Credence stuff on my own, like print some Credence shirts on my own, I can still do that. Credence is still alive. [laughs]
Is there a contract?
This first year we are feeling it out and just seeing how it will work out, really. I just went out there for a week and hung out with Chris Moeller. I stayed with him and went into the shop and built these three prototype frames in their shop. It was pretty sick, the shop is dialed and it's a pretty big step-up from my dad's garage, you know? [laughs] I'm really stoked on them. The whole shop out there is pretty impressive. I think I'm going to go back out there later in the summer and finalize the design for a production run of the bikes. I'll have a part in making each bike. I won't be welding every single frame because that would be a lot of welding [laughs]. But I will have my hands on every bike doing quality control, putting it through the straightener, welding a head badge on, just doing something hands on with it.
I heard part of the deal was you wanted to work on the bikes.
Yeah, it sort of was. I'm totally into that. I think it would be weird if I was like "Okay, you guys make the frame" and me not be super hands on and involved with it. I would just feel a little weird.
Right. Some people will remember you had a similar deal with FBM awhile back which didn't work out. What made you decide to try something like this again?
It was a little different. The FBM thing was like, I basically placed an order for I think 50 or 100 frames. At that point in my life I wanted to make Credence a legit business, you know and focus on that. Basically I never made any money with Credence at all. [laughs] I wanted it to be how I make money and put food on the table. [With FBM] It was kind of weird too because people would get the frames and be like "Aww, I thought you made this frame" and they would be bummed on it a little bit, which was kind of weird.
It's a little unrealistic to think that though too, no?
Yeah, for sure. But basically it wasn't working out, I guess. So I turned it back a notch. For the past, I don't even know how long, I have been just making frames for my friends and I would lose money on every bike I would make. It wasn't like "I gotta make some bikes to make some money here!" it was more "I have to work a random welding job to buy tubing to make some bikes." It wasn't progressive. I came to the realization that at this stage in my life I didn't really want to run a bike company either. There's a lot of BS that goes with running a business and it can turn into this monster. My riding would suffer. I wouldn't be able to make it down to the trails all the time so I was just making frames here and there and working random jobs and still able to ride everyday. I kept it real simple so I could ride all the time.
I came to the realization that this was an awesome opportunity to get the bikes out more and work with Chris on some cool stuff. It seems like such a waste to not try and do something with it.
And then S&M came up?
Yeah Stew [Johnson] mentioned this to [Chris] Moeller. I had never met Chris before and he saw me ride at the Texas Toast last year. He kind of called me up one day and asked "Do you wanna do this thing?" At first I was really into it and then I went back and forth with it. Then I thought about it again and talked to Matty and Nutter and they were kind of turned off by it. They were like, "we've been doing this our own way forever." Their thoughts were, you know, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Then I came to the realization that this was an awesome opportunity to get the bikes out more and work with Chris on some cool stuff. It seems like such a waste to not try and do something with it.
It sounds awesome. I had heard a few years ago that you had opportunities from big sponsors and you always seemed pretty content doing your own thing. Is this the best of both worlds for you?
Totally. If it was any other company I wouldn't even bat an eyelash. But it's S&M and they have this background and history. And the bikes are just so dialed. The product is going to be the best it can be. That was a humungous part in this whole thing too.
Awesome. So Matty Aquizap and James Nutter are obviously part of the team. Is there any possibility for growth?
Yeah totally. I think this first year we are just shooting at the hip. We're kind of figuring out exactly where everything falls into place. I'm going back there to hang out with Chris and do some more work in the shop and figure out all the little details. It's going to be two models for the frame.
I assume the frames are a classic design?
Yeah, very classic and simple. Kind of catered to trails and tranny. I'm pretty stoked on them. My bike had just got stolen before this too so it came at a good time [laughs]. If it wasn't on its way I would have to buy tubing and find a shop to make a bike [laughs]. The bikes are sick, though. We've been riding them for a month -- one of the sickest bikes I've ever had.
Credence has one of the coolest histories, who else do you consider part of the family?
Well, the whole New Hampshire crew. Joel Miller. We started it together working for my pops. It just grew into the BMX thing. We built some BMX bikes and all of our friends were stoked and that's how Credence was born. But Joel for sure. Joey Grogan, another New Hampshire dude. Josh Heino and Brad Jameson. A couple other dudes, like Brian [Hunt] and Zak [Earley] and Aboy [Aaron Smith] went off to ride for different companies, which is totally understandable, Credence is just a bro thing and they were getting offers to travel and get paid. Those dudes went that route which is awesome but they are definitely part of the family.