Davidson S&S BMX: armed and fully operational


Here are the first shots of the S&S BMX from Davidson Handbuilt Bicycles. This is a titanium frame with chromoly steel fork, S&S couplings, a rear derailleur, and disc brakes. The concept is that a BMX is the most fun way to get around short distances and in the cramped quarters of the urban environment, where cars, pedestrians, and random infrastructure hamper the freedom of a road bike or fixed gear. The only thing about a BMX bike is that once you can get a straight shot at open pavement, you spin out of the low-ish single speed gear. But if you add a derailleur…well, then it’s like adding booster rockets to get you to orbital altitude. And if such a bike would be fun in on the streets that my front opens onto, then they would really be fun when I explore other cities.


The bike has SLX disc hubs, an XTR 140mm disc rotor, Shimano mechanical disc brake, right side XT M770 dual control lever, Saint short cage rear derailleur, Thomson stem, Snafu Sissybar handlebar, DA 7700 cranks, and a modified Drive Lite fork.

Actually I rode the bike around Seattle for a couple weeks before I left for Las Vegas. After the first week, I had managed to tweak my right shoulder from relearning how to bunny hop without clipless pedals.

The bike worked great in Vegas since the small wheels are ideal for working your way through the crowded sidewalks. Now I’m in Taiwan with the bike, having opted to use the bike for the organized rides on this cultural and cycling tour of the ROC. I think about two hours straight would be the max that I would care to grind away on a road with this bike, but it would easy work of the road around Sun Moon Lake. The descents were a little hairy though, as the pavement was wet and me not being totaly dialed in on the bike.

More later….until then here are some shots of the bike in Seattle.

D bmx 3:4 view.jpg
shifter on BMX.jpg


I wish more people would give the dual control levers a shot… I imagine they are on their way out.  I didn’t even see a single one on display at the huge Shimano booth last week.

yeah, i think these second gen dual control shifters work really well.  i still like rapid-fire shifters, but these are my favourites now.  on the other hand, SRAM trigger shifters just don’t work for me.

I love this bike. It’s an odd duck, but i definitely can see how it would serve its intended use well. I see that you have disk tabs on the fork. Do you intend to put a front brake on there? It seems like it would make sense for riding in traffic at the higher speeds you’ll be able to reach with the geared setup.

Based on the response to this bike and the [belt-drive S&S Matt](http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathowie/3950331041/) rode, we’ll write more about S&S as a travel bike and solution.

Now you just got to paint the bars to match the frame, get an all-blue King Headset and a blue saddle, and your ride will be “Pimped”.

Nice bike Mark V.  Just wondering though, why not just put s&s couplers on your Gios Minivelo?  That seems to be a better travel bike ti me.

you noticed that minivelos came and went with nary a sale in the US?

Yeah, I plan to mount up a front disc eventually but didn’t want to spend the money on one at the moment.  plus I figured it would be easier to pack without the second cable and the rotor.  I’m in Taiwan at the moment, and on some of these descents I really wish I had that front brake. 1, it would be much better braking. 2, my camcorder must be held with the right hand, so it would be better to have a left hand brake lever for camera work while riding.

two reasons why no couplings in Gios Mini Velo.  1) the frame pieces would be large compared to the wheels because the frame isn’t as compressed. thus not much space is saved.  2) the Gios’ downtube isn’t round, a prerequisite to an S&S refit.

The one question that does come up for a travel bike is why the hassle of discs—seems like a high risk to travel with rotors and seemingly “vulnerable” mechanics.

I thought about that, and if the bike were 700C or 26”, I probably wouldn’t have used disc brakes.  but since it is 20” wheels, there’s a ton of extra space in the travel case.  plus, i’m using only one rotor on the rear and it’s the smallest (140mm), so hides from damage and difficult to bend.

which I just realized if I take the wheels off the pair of Dahons we have, they can probably fit in the S&S case.

hey how did you do the set up of the back wheel with the gear? i always wanted to do it. 
is there a conversion kit out there that i can buy to get my bike to look like yours?

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