John Kovachi, 1965-2011.

We’re sad to report that longtime wheel builder, industry figure, and all-around nice guy, John Kovachi has passed away at the age of 46.

Out of Marietta, Georgia, John started racing in 1976. He won a national title in 1978 in the 12 Expert class, and ranked third at the legendary Jag World Championships.

In 1980 John was diagnosed with the immune disorder Lupus. In 1994, at the age of 28, John suffered a heart attack caused from complications of the disease. After waiting five years, in 1999 he received a heart transplant.

John started Kovachi Wheels in 1989. John built custom wheels for the most famous pros and ams, as well as for kids just getting their start in BMX. His wheels were the best, hands down. If someone had a set of his wheels, they had an advantage over you, they were that good. John’s skills at fixing and truing bent wheels was incredible, he could somehow take the most taco’d rim and make it straight again. John loved BMX and being at the races. You could always find him in his Kovachi Wheels trailer with a spoke wrench in his hand and a wheel in front of him. And he always took the time to say hello and talk.

John will be missed by deeply by the BMX industry, the race community, and riders everywhere who were lucky enough to ride on a set of his wheels or use one of his products.

John Kovachi, 1965-2011.

John Kovachi, 1965-2011.