Bike Check: Eric Bahlman

Name: Eric Wayne Bahlman
Age: 28
Height: 6′
Weight: 165
Location: Tempe, AZ
Sponsors: Volume, The Shadow Conspiracy

Frame: Volume Cerberus 21″
Fork: Shadow Inceptiv
Bars: Volume Bourbon 8.75″, cut about 1 1/2″ off each side
Stem: Shadow Chula
Grips: Shadow Chula
Barends: Shadow Alloy
Headset: Shadow Stacked with Grande cap
Clamp: Integrated
Seatpost: Shadow Pivotal
Seat: Shadow Slimmer Pivotal
Pedals: Shadow Ravager Plastic
Cranks: Shadow Noctis 175 mm
Sprocket: Shadow Serpent 28T with Disaster guard
Chain: Shadow Interlock V2 Halflink
Front Tire: Shadow Vultus 2.4″
Front Wheel: Shadow Raptor laced to a Corvus rim
Rear Tire: Shadow Vultus 2.4″
Rear Wheel: Shadow Raptor Freecoaster LHD 9T driver, laced to a Corvus rim
Pegs: Shadow Slide or Die plastic x3
Hub guard: Raptor Cro-Mo front and rear

On a scale of one to ten, ten meaning you love it, how much do you like working on your bike? 
I’d say probably an 8? I don’t mind working on my bike whenever it needs adjusting, I’ve always been a hands on kinda guy. But then for some reason when I get a flat, it’s just the worst. Other stuff like broken spokes or turned bars etc. you can still ride, but that flat just kills the whole session!

How long do you typically ride a bike before building a new one? Do you switch out parts as they go? Or just build a whole fresh kit?
I always run parts as long as I can and switch out parts as I go. Even though I get hooked up with parts I try not to take advantage of my sponsors, I think they both thank me for that. Seriously though, the last time I had a brand new bike was my first BMX bike, a Haro Dave Mirra 540 air complete back in 1999 [laughs].

Compared to the more common fatter seats most people are running these days your seat is on the slimmer side, is that a preference thing or just how it worked out?
I’m pretty much one of the last guys rockin’ one! A dying breed I guess [laughs]. I never really had a need for a fatter seat. I don’t use ’em for barspins and I don’t do whips so I don’t need something to land on when I miss the pedals, and when I do hang nothings the fat seat has too much cushion so I tend to bounce around while balancing. Slim seats save a little weight as well as look cleaner in my eyes.

What parts do you change out the most often?
Just the stuff that get’s the most wear and tear like pedals, grips and plastic peg sleeves. I’ve always tore through grips pretty fast. Back in the day I rode Nate Hanson grips (for people who don’t know were super thick) just for the fact that they’d last longer. But now Shadow has come up with a new rubber compound called DCR which is soft but lasts a really long time. Grips used to last weeks but now I can finally ride ones that last months, It’s been awesome!!

Have you ever given four pegs a try?
Way back in the day I rocked four pegs because guys like Jason Enns and Ratboy did. Switch grinds were always a bit tough for me, though. I thought about putting a left rear on soon just to add to larger bag of tricks, so who knows?

I noticed you’re running a sprocket guard on your non-grind side, are you trying to avoid a broken chain at all costs?
Well, Shadow designed a universal sprocket guard which is amazing and now everyone can rock one no matter what sprocket you have. So they gave me a sample to test out a while ago and it’s been really fun cause now I can do sprocket stalls again! Brings me back to the good ol days of 10 mm sprockets with 3/16″ chains [laughs].

Your left grip is creeping over pretty close to the bend. Is that a common thing that you just let happen?
Ya it’s weird, huh? That’s always been an issue for me, left side grip just likes to creep inward for some reason. Just gotta pull it back every so often.

What are you most particular about on your bike?
Overall look. I really like to have a clean lookin’ bike and color way is big factor too.

What are you most specific about on your bike, chain tension, grips—thick, thin, new, or worn-out, tire pressure, et cetera?
I like my tire pressure to be around 70psi, chain tension tight but just enough so the pedals can still spin freely, bars slightly forward and surprisingly I like new grips, most people like ’em when they’re worn in.

Are you concerned with how much your bike weighs? How much does this bike weigh?
Not anymore. I used to be a weight weeny just like everyone else a few years back, but now I just like my bike to last. All that super light stuff used to break pretty easily. I think BMX companies have finally found a middle ground of lightness that will still stand up to all the abuse of everyday riding. I’d assume my bike weighs 25-26 lbs?

Are you willing to experiment with new parts and mix things up, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true?
I’ve been riding for long time so I pretty much know what suits my riding style but I’m also down to try new stuff. Lately it’s been bar height. Over the past few years whenever I get new bars I step it up a quarter inch or so and every time I’m stoked on the results. Next bike check I’ll probably have over 9″ bars! [Laughs]