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Know Your Roll – S&M Hoder SkyHigh Bar

BMX attracts a lot of wild characters, and one of the wildest of the last 10 years has been Mike Hoder. If you happened to catch our interview with Mike a few weeks back, you’ll notice that he gets deep on a lot of different scary situations from his past, and it’s great to see someone like him wade through the chaos and make it out to the other side, living a cleaner, healthier life while still managing to kill it on a 20″. Hard living takes its toll, and you can’t contine to progress in the world of BMX when you keep putting yourself in dangerous situations; the irony being that you have to live healthier off your bike to continue to make it through dangerous scenarios while on it. Mike’s evolved as an adult, and that’s allowed him to continue to evolve his riding. With that comes the evolution of his signature S&M handlebar in the form of the new “Hoder SkyHigh’s”.

I can’t say I was the biggest fan of Mike Hoder when he made his first impression on the BMX world in the mid-2000’s, but regardless of his personality, his ability on a bicycle is impossible to ignore. After years riding for a few different brands, he ended up on S&M and got his first pair of signature handlebars, the Hoders, featuring an 8.6″ rise, straight gauge tubing and a sticker featuring a bite of the infamous Hooters breasturaunt logo. As bar height in the BMX world grew, as did his bars, and the 9″ Hoder High’s were born. For 2017, Mike wanted another bump in rise, so now we have the 9.5″ SkyHighs. Still featuring 1.5 degrees of upsweep and 11 degrees of backsweep, the Hoder SkyHigh’s feature S&M’s proven dual radius bend design, which mellows the actual bend of the tubing to create a stronger design while still offering the angles you need. The real important thing to point out with the Hoders is the straight gauge, non-heat treated .083″ thick tubing. In a world where many of the bars you find on the aftermarket feature butted tubing and a multitude of different witty names for heat treating processes, there’s a reason to consider the slightly heavier yet much stronger Hoder series of bars – heat treating and butting, while allowing for stronger and lighter bars, also increases the brittleness of the tubing. It makes it stiffer, but also lowers the fatigue limit, which is why you see people snapping bars on what seems like a regular basis. Making the bars slightly thicker makes them heavier, but by avoiding the heat treatment process you give them a little more flexibility, which means they can absorb more abuse and, if they have to, will bend rather than snap. For someone like me who hasn’t (purposely) landed flat from higher up than 5ft in years, a much stronger bar isn’t a necessity, but I’d rather have the security than the slightly lower front end weight. For someone like Mike that’s 360ing down double sets and doing pegless ledges, risking a snapped grip tube could literally mean life or death.

S&M’s Hoder SkyHigh bars are available now from S&M direct or from your favorite S&M dealer. The Hoder SkyHighs weigh in at 2.7lbs, and the current selection of colors inclue clear gloss, trans black, flat black, trans red, trans gold, and trans blue, and will set you back between $59.99-64.99 depending on your choice of color. At that price, not only are these bars stronger than most, but they’re also cheaper than the majority of their Taiwanese competition. If 9.5″ is too high for ya, the OG Hoders and Hoder High’s are still available as well. For more S&M product info, head over to sandmbikes.com and be sure to follow both S&M and Mike on Instagram, at @sandmbmx and @_mikehoder.