Nigel is a pretty controversial figure in BMX. I’m sure for a lot of the younger generation it’s hard to imagine Nigel in an AM:PM edit, something so raw and cutty and VX. Something that doesn’t make use of slow mo and a sun silhouetting the back of his head in some far away land with helicopter intros and all that glamor he’s associated with these days. There was a period when Nigel was just a very good regular pro.
I’d say he was always pretty ambitious. Not one of those pros who are content with just the lifestyle of being the average BMX professional. His decisions in his career have always had the mark of someone who was trying to achieve greater. Sponsors like G-Shock, LRG, Nike, Nigel has courted these type of mainstream brands barring his brief amateur stint with Wethepeople and his obvious parts sponsor of hometown Animal Bikes. His career choice can be highlighted in being part of the newly formed Mirraco bikes. At this time I’d say Nigel was one of the most progressive riders in BMX as a whole. His barspin tech game was pretty unparalleled. Sure he’s a flat ledge rider like a lot of East Coast riders but check the ice to bar to smith in the edit above. That’s something that’s not happening now. None the less back then. I’d say he’s the type of guy who had a professional outlook on this whole BMX thing. He could’ve easily gone pro for a more core brand like Wethepeople probably but Mirraco was definitely a risk of some sort. To understand the different one would have to understand Mirraco place in BMX. It was started after the most famous BMX rider ever Dave Mirra left his long standing sponsor, the iconic Haro and he was formulating a brand to be mass produced. It was all cookie cutter but that’s way it was supposed to be. Something that can compete with brands like GT and Mongoose. You know where all the real money is. Nigel would just act as the street ambassador to the brand. I don’t think it was ever a real serious decision or maybe it didn’t just pan out the way it should’ve. I’ve never seen any of the Chocolate frames ever in major mailorders. Maybe Danscomp but Danscomp has everything. It could’ve been just a show of street cred, something to tie the whole brand with the rest of the industry which is more core based. I don’t know, but Mirraco didn’t pan out and years later closed down. Nigel hasn’t had a frame sponsor since then. He tried something with the cult brand Brooklyn Machine Works but no news of any serious development has happened in the 5+ years ago it was announced. Nigel has always risked more for more but as nature law is, he ended up on the losing end so far.
His choice in his whole career has always showed wanting more. Feel me…, Pop a Wheelie Fresh, Go!, Pyradice, all these opportunities in branding that Nigel created that all didn’t really work out. I think a big reason for these opportunities not is that Nigel kind of isolated himself from the rest of the BMX industry. Even though he’s definitely more mainstream recognized athlete than most of BMX ever will be, it’s gonna be hard to create something successful using just his name alone. I’d say most of his fans are bike riders still and most bike riders will exist in a sphere outside of Nigel’s influence. Without the support from the very core industry that sort of ignore him, Nigel’s own growth is kind of hindered. Regardless of the resources available to him through his mainstream outlets. Nigel is a BMX rider and that’s not a very serious position in that our real life media based world. He still did acheive a lot more than what most bike riders ever will. That may not be important to a lot pros but BMX in it’s entirety relies on these type of figures to legitimize what we do.
There is the whole argument that BMX doesn’t need that type of real world recognition. That it would be entirely self-sufficient. I think what BMX really needs is a balance of the two. Without people like Dave Mirra, BMX would not be half as big as it is now. With half the market, BMX would not have the Taiwanese factories taking BMX brands seriously. Without Taiwanese markets, parts would be expensive. Without cheaper parts a lot more people wouldn’t be into riding. Is that a good thing or bad thing? That’s entirely subjective but I do think all this would be harder. Let’s not forget a lot of our favorite pros rode these piece of crap Walmart brands in the beginning. The whole self sufficient side is absolutely needed in BMX for obvious reasons such as making it true to itself but the whole other aspect that a lot of more serious riders tend to scoff as wack and what not. Well that serves it’s own function for BMX’s own good. With the good comes the bad, on both ends. I just think that BMX being entirely self sufficient is kind of novel idea like communism. Olympics 2020. I don’t know. I don’t honestly care. The thing about BMX is that it exists in such a large spectrum that unlike more mainstream sports you can choose to care about what you care about. The rest you can ignore. With something like football where it’s about points and winning. You can’t choose to like the Cincinnati Bengals without considering the rest of the teams cause they’re directly correlated with one another. The success of the Bengals relies on the loss of others. With BMX it’s not like that. If you don’t like Nigel than you don’t have to pay attention and it will never effect your idea of BMX ever.
This video represents a period where Nigel probably thinks of as simpler times. Where someone underground like Joey Piazza and someone mainstream Nigel are working on the same project. It’s interesting. Sure Nigel may not have been the best rider ever and got all that we perceived he got but he’s not a bad candidate to get it. Definitely not a bad rider. That ice bar to smith. Woo. That’s something.
They Know by DJ Hotday
am:pm bmx - NO MORE OVALTINE B! (2008)
Edited by Joey Piazza