Steff Evans – Question Time


Steff Evans (UK Flatland BMX)


51 and a half.

Area you reside?

I’m originally from Llangollen/Wrexham in North Wales and have lived in a fair few places (due to Uni and work), including Nottingham, Manchester, Coventry, and Farnham in Surrey, but now call sunny Preston home. Lots of post-industrial squalor, but with lots of diamonds in the rough. I love it here – it’s the world’s best-kept secret! ;o)

When did you get into BMX?

I first saw BMX in a Daily Express Sunday magazine in 1982 (when I was 10), with a feature from California on Diamond Back bikes. It was like seeing into another universe! We were ‘scrambling’ on Raleigh Grifters before then, and I knew I had to get a BMX bike.

First BMX?

So, it’s Christmas 1982, and my Dad wouldn’t let me get a BMX bike, as I already had a Grifter, which was the same wheel size. Father Christmas was kind enough to deliver a Raleigh Winner ‘racer’ bike, and my younger brother, Tom, got a red and yellow Raleigh Burner.

I stole that Burner from my brother pretty much every day, until my Mum and Dad relented. We went to a second-hand bike shop in Birkenhead, where I landed an Italian bike, a ‘Garrelli’. Looking back the bike was frickin’ awful – drum brakes, cotter pin cranks and grips that would make your hands bleed. It was a BMX bike though, and I was stoked. I rode it solid for two months until the cranks fell off. My Mum and Dad saw how much it meant to me, so it was quickly replaced by a second-hand Ultra Burner in black and gold.

The Ultra Burner soon became a donor for parts on various DP Firebird builds after that. My Dad knew one of their welders, so we got my first Firebird Freestyler for cheap. A second neon pink one came for free from DP when I won a local contest on the first, after cracking it and having it re-welded with a big dollop of MIG. I got a tour of the DP factory before they gave me the frame. Pretty rad for a 12-year-old kid to see how they were made, and a memory I’ll never forget.

After the DPs, it was a string of better bikes – a Craig Campbell Prolite, chrome Hutch Trick Star, then a load of Haros and GTs. Frames (and even my set of early Redline cranks) cracked pretty easily back then, so it was pretty normal to have stuff re-welded or binned a lot!

Kids don’t know how good bikes are these days.

Current BMX?

I have a lot of bikes, I think 15 in the garage and sprinkled around the house now, from lowriders to cruisers to ‘grown up’ bikes. I use a Fairdale Weekender Nomad with a ‘daisy age’ De La Soul-inspired paint job and a super-lightweight Bianchi fixie for my day-to-day rides around the city.

I have two BMX bikes which I ride regularly.

The first is a beautiful 2017 Haro Master in black, blue and chrome. It’s my pure flatland set up with 19” top tube, ‘weirdo’ Reklamation flatland bars, short rake Deco forks, Tree Balsa aluminium pegs (which weigh nothing) and a set of prototype BSD wheels with carbon rims (which I helped to design) and a Revolution freecoaster. Oh, and two brakes, as I’m 51!! I love this bike – super-modern componentry and feel, but it looks like a mid-80s timepiece.

I’ve set up a second bike recently, with more of a park feel, but still great for flatland. It’s a BSD Freedom 20.5” frame with Odyssey R15 forks, BSD wheels with Revolution freecoaster, gyro/rear brake and four steel pegs. I spend a lot of time at various skateparks with Sol, my 12-year-old son, who rides a scooter. It’s nice to roll some flat but hit the mini ramp coping too!

Both bikes are super-dialled, and bounce like a basketball. No rattles at all, thank you very much!

Favourite place to ride?

My favourite ever place to ride was Broadmarsh banks and bus station when I lived in Nottingham in the early to mid-90s. We used to session the banks with loads of riders and skaters at the weekend and spend evenings in the bus station riding flatland. It was amazing. Dry, smooth, well-lit and no bother from knob-heads or security. Flatland nirvana.

I think my best riding was honed there, plus we had a very strong crew with riders from all over coming down to ride. I saw John Yull do a quad decade there. Unbelievable.

Nowadays, it’s more indoor parks. We’re lucky to have Junction 4, Ramp City, and the newly reopened Warehouse within a 20-minute drive. Plus, we’ve got some nice outdoor concrete in Preston, Blackpool, Lancaster and Clitheroe too.

My days of working hard at learning flatland tricks are behind me, although I do want to get proper brakeless multiple whiplashes this summer (and maybe that double decade, Grant!), now that my park bike has lost its front brake.

Top 3 BMX-related memories?

Lot and lots of funny and crazy memories from many, years, but I’ve thought long and hard about this, and come up with these as the ones which really stuck from the early days.

Seeing Dennis McCoy ride for the first time in 1986.

The Haro team were over for the Holeshot contest and appeared on Saturday Superstore on TV for the first time. We went to London the next day to watch the contest – I’d never seen anything like it. Dennis McCoy’s run was amazing – seeing a Gyro for the first time, rocking Adidas Conductors, Beastie Boys and some seriously sick moves that were well ahead of the time.

Here it is – it looks pretty dated now, but it was seriously off the charts back then.

Seeing Kevin Jones ride on video for the first time (‘Dorkin’ 3’ on a very badly copied VHS tape).

After McCoy at Holeshot, this was the biggest jump in flatland I’d ever seen. I was floored after watching this – a mixture of complete excitement and pure guttedness, once I realised how advanced his riding was (and how far behind I was). Modern flatland has developed massively and requires dedication and skill, but it’s nothing on the jump that the ‘K’ made in the early 90s. I even have a framed copy of Freestylin’, signed by Kevin Jones, hanging on a wall at home.

I couldn’t find Dorkin’ 3, but here’s the Dorkin’ 4 version. (thanks Effraim)

Building a million backyard ramps.

In the late 80s and early 90s there were very, very few ramps around. There were even fewer skateparks. We had to build our own, so this meant getting hold of wood, and lots of it. Plywood was a major commodity! As with many teenage BMXers of that time, we never saw ‘liberating’ wood as stealing – we were satisfying a social need!

We ‘borrowed’ wood from everywhere – ‘For Sale’ signs, station handrails, motorway shuttering – if it wasn’t nailed down (literally) we were having it! We built quarter pipes all over the place, and never once got asked where the materials came from. Pretty crazy really.

A big step for us was when my brother (who must have been about 13 at the time), knocked on the door of a pub where he’d seen a huge pile of ply stacked up at the back. Apparently, the landlord had died, and his widow said we could have it all, if we could shift it in one go. So, my Dad borrowed a van, and we had 40 sheets of pristine 8’x4’ 3/8” ply delivered to our house for FREE! We spent the summer building a beautiful vert ramp in the woods behind our house, and many more years riding it. The best, indeed!

There was a super-shonky quarter pipe build at the MKBMX old-school event last year – it brought back so many memories. I still have an itch to build an 8-foot high, 8-foot wide ghetto quarter pipe in the garden, even though we have a world-class concrete vert bowl in the park half a mile away!


There were a lot of flatlanders in the 90s that influenced me – the Plywood Hoods of course, plus a bunch of other riders like Chase Gouin and Phil Dolan to name a few. I’ve never been to York, Pa., but it’s definitely on my bucket list, even if it’s just to stand in an empty car park from a Dorkin’ video.

I was never really a big fan of street riding in the 90s. It was all a bit too crash/bang/wallop for me, but I really like the new generation of street with a heavy flatland twist. That G-turn manual-thingy that they do blows my mind.

Who are your perfect people to ride with?

I’ve made a trillion friends riding BMX over the years and had some of the best and funniest times ever. I could never name (or even remember) everyone, but here are a few – from my early days stealing plywood in North Wales (Kenny Allen and Justin Davies), to trips to Birmingham Wheels on the train (Andy Lawrence, Liam Ward and Johann Chan), to Shrewsbury/Chester/Manchester and elsewhere when I could drive (Jonothan Taylor, Paul Harrison, Alan Blake, Cam Ferris, Ian Morris, Sean Morris, Graham Critch, James Thomlinson, Jim Holder, C. Daden Job, Bill Evans, Paul Rogers, C. Hamer, Mick Arratoon, Tom Loison, Ross Milne), to all the boys in Nottingham (J. Yull, A. Smith and J. Bestwick) and beyond.

Sorry, if I couldn’t remember you, but thanks for making me smile!


Anything really. I like both kinds – country AND western?!

It’s good to see that the early De La Soul back catalogue will be available for streaming soon.

Favourite BMX Video Section?

That’s a tough one – for British videos, it’s gotta be a toss-up between Dorkin’ in Yorkshire or A Kind of Life. Both are seminal (and semenal!) in their own way. (splendid admin: A Kind of Life was made by Steff, and Dorkin’ in Yorkshire by Paul ‘Harry’ Harrison – check them both out if you can)

For the US, it’s got to be the Dorkin series by Mark Eaton. I’ve got the box set. It was very weird seeing a picture-perfect version of Dorkin 2, twenty years after the first grainy VHS copy!

Favourite single clip from BMX Video?

The K’s sections in the Dorkin’ vids. All day, every day.

No idea about anything contemporary from BMX, although I did watch the full live stream from Circle of Balance recently! When those Japanese kids come of age, the rest of us might as well give up.

Other interests?

My son, Sol, who is 12, is my best mate in the whole world. We do tons of stuff together. I’ve tried not to push him in any direction – I’d rather just lend a hand when he wants to try something. He absolutely rips on the guitar and loves riding his scooter, so we get lots of skateparks trips these days.

I’m a massive fan of Wrexham Football Club – you probably all know the story (and if you don’t, just Google it). I won’t bore you with the gory details, but my partner Jenny, Sol and I have had some great times watching them over the years!

Last words?

“Chicks dig scars, but they ain’t so hot on plastic teeth!” 

“If you’re gonna ride vert without wear a helmet, then make sure you’ve got good dental insurance!”