MONTREAL—American BMX Company (ABC), the parent company of Race Inc. Quality BMX Products, signed a long-term licensing agreement with Jeff Bottema, adding the iconic BMX fork brand Jeff Bottema Forks to its portfolio. ABC announced it bought Race Inc., another legendary old school BMX brand in June.
Bottema is a BMX racing legend whose career spanned the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s. In 1979, he launched Jeff Bottema Forks with a heavy-duty fork design that featured thicker tubing and legs that extended about one inch below the dropouts. The look was unique, and the forks immediately found a place in the booming BMX market. Unfortunately, a series of relationships with shady business partners doomed the fork along with Bottema’s dream of having his own company.
“It has been my dream for a long time to sell my forks. I know there is a market for them. A lot of people want them, and they sell for a lot of money to collectors,” Bottema said.
Today, the obscure forks are coveted by collectors, so much so that a number of people, including Bottema, have tried selling replicas. Bottema has worked with several frame builders to reintroduce the forks. Most of those agreements, all done with a handshake, proved unsuccessful for the former racer.
Marc Côté, the owner of Montreal-based ABC, wants to help Bottema finally achieve his dream of selling BMX forks and, in the process, make some money.
“It’s a real shame that Jeff was never able to turn Jeff Bottema Forks into a successful business. Hopefully he will finally make some money off his idea,” Côté said.
“We’ve been busy creating a line of BMX racing bikes and frames. But we’ve also been working on a line of retro bikes. We will use Bottema forks on some of the retro models. We also will offer a line of after-market forks in 26-inch and 29-inch sizes for the booming retro BMX cruiser market,” he added.
Although the new Bottema and Race Inc. forks share the design language of the originals, they have been redesigned for today’s consumers. They feature 1 1/8” threadless steerer tubes, oversize 1 1/8” legs and innovative dropouts that fit 10- and 20-millimeter hub axles. In another nod to the past, both fork lines will be made by Tange.
Race Inc. plans to sell its BMX racing frames and bikes consumer direct using a unique on-line sales platform it is developing. The retro bikes and after-market forks will be sold online as well as through retail shops.
“As everyone knows, the current retail landscape is complicated. Consumers want an exceptional customer service experience wherever they shop. Our goal is to provide our customers with a great buying experience, whether it’s online or at a shop,” Côté said.
Côté is using his expertise in robotic engineering, digital graphics and gaming design to develop an interactive buying experience for the consumer. The Race Inc. B2C website will feature gaming-style, customizable 3D bikes that will allow buyers to build the bike of their dreams.