The History Of Basic Bikes // Part 1

Cecil Milligan holding a Basic Bikes Big City Bastard BMX Frame

In the next few weeks we will be taking a closer look at Canada’s Basic Bikes. First things first is a walk thru of the frames they produced. Instead of just posting every frame that they made we touched on the changes to the frames thru the years. We will be posting a massive photo gallery and full length interview thru the next few weeks. If you have any stories or rode any of the parts we would love to hear from you in the comments thru this series.

Basic Bikes Fork with Canadian Mod Brake Mounts

1990/91 // The Canadian Mod Front Brakes:
This idea actually predates Basic bikes. The Bike Doctor was a shop in Saskatoon that would charge the riders to weld on mounts so they could use Shimano cantilever brakes. Greg Axford came up with the idea to drill the hole in the fork sideways so that the cable could feed thru easier. The brakes worked the same way a pair of Bully Power forks would but a lot more effective. The introduction of the cantilever brake was a stepping stone between the Hutch roller cam brakes to the 990’s we use now on forks.

1993 Basic Bikes Big City Bastard BMX Frame

1993 // Basic Big City Bastard:
The first run of Basic’s were the Small Town Hicks & Big City Bastards. These were originally built for Standard by Gardner. I don’t know exactly why Standard didn’t except the frames. The two stories that seem the most prevalent are that Standard denied a batch of frames due to the fact that they were welded a little crooked and had some blemishes. Or that Standard didn’t have the money to pay for a batch of frames early on due to an addiction to Ford Mustangs. Either way a batch of frames, spare tubing and material ended up in the hands of Cecil Milligan and Darcy Saccucci. The first run of bikes was under 150 frames.

The names Big City Bastard & Small Town Hicks came from two Canadian’s: John Stewart who lived in Winnipeg and John Sutton who lived outside the city. They just ripped on each other all the time and thats how the names came about.

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1995 // 2nd Gen Basic Big City Bastard:
The second generation Basics were the start of the bikes being made in Canada. They still were using some of the tubing from the Standards like the gussets, & other pieces they had laying around from the purchase from Gardner. The top tube on these were brand new and a big step to making the bikes look different than a Standard. After that the only real change on these was beefing up the brake mounts to keep up with the heavy braking that was needed at this time since mini ramp riding was so popular.

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The original gussets from the early Standards purchased.

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Oversized brake mounts to handle the heavy brake stress of the day.

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Open ended seat and chainstays.

Basic-sluggo-95

1995 // 1st Gen Basic Sluggo.

As the 90’s hit the half way point freestyle frames were starting to lose the traditional platform and started heading towards a sleeker look and longer frames. The Sluggo was Basic’s answer to the change. I was always convinced that this was supposed to be Dave Osato’s signature frame but Cecil corrected me on this. There were only 3 made this year and Osato was riding one of them at the OKC BS comp when he entered pro and preceded to win it all that day!

Cecil Milligan looking at Basic Bike Company Sluggo BMX Frame blueprints

Cecil looking at the blueprints for the first Sluggo design.

Basic Bike Company Sluggo BMX Frame

A closer look at the frame while talking about how the guys at Basic still kept their signature look on the frames while having to start phasing out the standing platforms.

Dave Thom grinding a handrail on a Basic Bikes Streetfighter Frame

1996 // Basic Streetfighter

The Basic Streetfighter frames were actually made by Greg Allport under the name 18 Wheeler. He made about 20 of them and ended up selling 16 of them to Dom Mach who changed the name to Dark Cycles. Dom ended up only selling one of the bikes so Basic bought the rest and restickered them as the Streetfighter frame and let Dave Thom go to work on it. Rick Jasinski (Pictured above) was one of the only photos we could find of someone riding the frame. This might be one of rarest Basic’s to find. So hard in fact neither Cecil or Darcy have one.

1997 Basic Bikes Small Town Hick BMX Frame

1997 // 3rd Gen Basic Small Town Hick:
By the time the 3rd generation frames started rolling out the guys at Basic had almost used up all the original tubing they had gotten from Gardner. The new frames now came with a wishbone and had moved on to closing the ends on their Chainstays.

1997 Basic Bikes Small Town Hick BMX Frame

1997 Basic Bikes Small Town Hick BMX Frame

Open ended seat stays and closed chainstays.

basic-sluggo-production

1997 // Production Basic Sluggo

Not too many changes from the prototype Sluggo frame that had been floating around for a few years. 1 1/8″ headtube and closed seat and chainstays helped make this a popular bike around Canada and the Northwest part of the States.

1997 Basic Bike Company Sluggo BMX Frame

Seat and Chain stays closed.

1998 Basic Bike Company Aura flatland frame // Andrew Faris signature model

1998 // 1st gen Aura frame // (Andrew Faris signature frame)

Basic decided to replace the Small Town Hick this year with the Aura. Andrew Faris had turned the flatland scene upside down and received the first signature frame thru Basic.

1998 Basic Bike Company Aura flatland frame // Andrew Faris signature model

New plate gusset replacing the old Standard style gusset now became the signature look for Basic entering the end of the 90’s. I remember thinking the plate Gussets looked so good at the time.

1998 Basic Bike Company Aura flatland frame // Andrew Faris signature model

1998 // 2nd gen Aura frame

As orders came in for the newer updated version of the Aura, Basic took their production to Taiwan for samples of the new frame. The company was coming to a crossroad at the time and Cecil was hoping with this move they could keep up with all the demand for this frame especially in Japan. Unfortunately that didn’t happen as the company closed its doors shortly after receiving this prototype.

1998 Basic Bike Company Aura flatland frame // Andrew Faris signature model

Bent downtube for more foot clearance.

1998 Basic Bike Company Aura flatland frame // Andrew Faris signature model

Bullet tip chain and seatstays.

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32 Responses to The History Of Basic Bikes // Part 1

  1. Graham Pye says:

    I’m pretty sure that is my old Big City Bastard in those pictures. Glad to see it is helping educate the masses about one of the coolest brands to come out of Canada.

  2. Matt Barber says:

    Bump!

    Hey Shad, you know I have a Streetfighter but with the original 18 Wheeler stickers on it, right? Is there a chance I have the only one with those stickers in existence? I also have an 18 Wheeler patch. AND, that red Sluggo with the missing seat is Nick Berry’s. It got stolen from a house we lived in in East Van in 1999. Terry Carson found it in an apartment building bike lock up almost 15 yrs later. Amazing.

  3. Dave Thom says:

    Shad I only did a few handrails on my right side…mostly a lefty grinder. pretty sure not me..looks like me tho’.

  4. Jay says:

    Hi I’m chasing information on a millennium stem I have. It is identical but mirror image of all the others I have seen without the BBC machining in the top. Any info would be great.
    Thanks I also have a basic freecoaster and whammy bars but wish I had a small town Hick.

  5. Clint Millar says:

    I rode a few Basics back in the day. A Big City Bastard with the bent TT and platform from 1996/1997 in the Dark Red. Later on in 1998 a proto Big City Bastard with no platform and the large plate gusset at the front. It was painted a special pearl Peach colour.

    I actually started to distribute Basic here in Australia around this time. Only ever had one order though as soon after it was closed down.

  6. Jesse says:

    I was with a small group of riders out of NB. Two friends had the first Small town hick’s frames kind of gold/black splatter color, circa 92/93. I also picked up a few sets of Silencers from the guys when they lived in the duplex on 108th street in Saskatoon. I still have an old new stock Silencers in the package I purchased at the bike doctor around 1999.

  7. Campo says:

    Love that big City bastard , and my whammybars ! Good memories !

  8. stazz says:

    i have a basic frame ..needs some work ..the frame is some what bad shape ..needs some new tubing ..rear end 990 brake boss are .damage brake boss ..

  9. stazz says:

    i have basic frame ..i need bars by basic pegs for it stickers to..it flat land frame ..900 mess up frame is warp lol…i like get one made some day

  10. simon says:

    i’m still running silencers

  11. Nick says:

    Awesome article, great work and pics. My first “custom” build was a Small Town Hick, loved that thing and regret ever getting rid of it. I was the most unsmooth rider ever and beat the hell out of it without it ever failing.

    If there’s anybody looking to sell a Basic frame of any kind feel free to e-mail me – Nick.McCardle@gmail.com

  12. Ctown says:

    for me it was a Sluggo, silencers, prototype whammys(I think they all were), and my favorite part, the maple leaf sprocket. And the best vid ever is still Beer, Sex & BMX(I know it’s a tie with Criminal Mischief, lol) Basic played a huge part in making freestyle bmx what it is today. This is an awesome article. Brought me back.

  13. Highway says:

    I fortunately had a few Basics in the day. 2 BCB’s and actually got to use one of the original Sluggos #3. That was put through the paces and got many miles and was returned to Cecil. where it ended up? God only knows, but i wish i kept that bike…I was also lucky enough to get Hoffman Bikes Condor 1 st Gen. serial # HB00006 that i gave to a Cranbrook local rider Drew. I look forward to seeing more pics and stories about the true Canadian Legend Basic Bikes… To this day i still ask people i see, if they know where any may be?

  14. Ewan says:

    Arf had a streetfighter in Calgary way back around 98-99. Chances are it came from D-Lite cycle, I might be wrong but it was green and possibly had Blanka graphics on it. Super fun bike and light for the time.

    • ARF says:

      I never got rid of my streetfighter. as soon as i knew what i was riding i could never let it go. And it Might be back on the road one day. I got it from Kenny D Mission in 1997.

  15. Richard Gallant says:

    oh man! i only had the whammy bars of them days but i was trying to find a big city bastard i remember.. soooooo goood CANADIAN HISTORY!

  16. Jamie Delaney says:

    Loved basic. So much hard work was put into this. I admire all of you. Loved the Basic Silencers. Wish I had kept mine when I would BMX….. And now I’m riding again.
    Ride on!

  17. jeremy davis says:

    I rode a sluggo, the rear end was really short. I believe it was one on the original sluggo’s built.

  18. justin says:

    heck yeah. I’ve been waiting for this since you had the photogallery last year.
    ’98 or so I went to hogtown in Toronto to order a sluggo in that red. they told they had shut down and I ordered a trailboss instead. so pissed I missed out on that frame.

  19. Joe says:

    What email do you want me to send them to?

    • Shad says:

      snakebitebmx@gmail.com send em thru but Dave is a real close friend of mine and i rode with him when he had this bike. I still would love to see more pics of a rider on a streetfighter since they are rare.

      • Joe says:

        I sent you the pics. email and instagram. I’m not trying to show you up. I’m just pumped to see a good friend from back in the day posted on snakebite. We rode the rail all the time. It was in my home town.

        • Shad says:

          Hey Joe you were spot on so i got ill all changed up in the post!Thanks for pointing it out! If you ever find a nice pic of the frame please shoot it thru!

  20. Joe says:

    The pic of the guy doing the rail on the Street Fighter is Hamilton Ontario local legend Rick Jasinski. That guy was such a shredder back in the day. Where did you find that pic? I have a few more of Rick riding that frame if you want them. That frame was so crooked.

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