Department store bicycle review

Today I saw a flyer from Big W where they promote their bikes. I remember having one of these 4 years ago so let me dig up some old photos and share my views about these. 

Department store bikes are shit. We all know this deep in our hearts but somehow we still want to believe we can get a decent bike for low price. With this post I’d like to discourage everyone to buy a bike from department stores. 

I had one from Big W called the Repco Commuter for $160. It wasn’t even the cheapest one but they made sure that quality still sucked. The rear hub had a 1 mm play from day one but I decided to live with that. A week later the pedal fell off when I was cruising around. Inspecting the part I learned that the whole pedal body including the thread was made out of plastic.
In the same time my brother purchased a Repco Random for $99 from Big W which is a super simple beach cruiser. Even if it’s simple a lot of things can go wrong. We took it for a ride around the block for the first time and the rear hub developed a massive 20 mm play. It was dangerous to ride like that so we walked the bikes home. Then suddenly the tube blew up. It was inflated to 35 psi which is not much so I assume the tyre or tube wasn’t seated properly when they assembled it. At the end of the day we had 5 minutes of fun for $99.

So we took the bikes back and had a nasty argument with customer service. Finally we got our money back. 
The build and part quality is terrible and these bikes are completely unusable. In average you can get 10-100 kms out in total then you can throw it away. Same story for Dunlop, Huffy and other shitty brands. 
It’s completely beyond me how these company operate. What’s the point of wasting resources and produce something which is not functional? These bikes are a waste of money, space, resource, time and everything. 



I have checked the Repco site just for giggles. I came across the following quotes: 
"Designed by Australians to Australians" 
"Built for toughness, engineered to last"
"Safety, affordability, quality&reliability for the whole family." 
This is pure bullshit and lie. Fuck them. They better change their bs to something sensible like “Our bicycles are shite and dangerous” 

Don’t make the same mistake as me. Don’t trust these brands and do not buy a bike from Big W, Kmart, Aldi etc They are much-much worse than you expect it to be.
Do yourself a favour and buy a bike from a bike store. Spend at least $300-400 so you’ll end up with a bike which is functional and you can enjoy riding. Or buy a good quality second hand.
Department store bicycle review
Today I saw a flyer from Big W where they promote their bikes. I remember having one of these 4 years ago so let me dig up some old photos and share my views about these. 

Department store bikes are shit. We all know this deep in our hearts but somehow we still want to believe we can get a decent bike for low price. With this post I’d like to discourage everyone to buy a bike from department stores. 

I had one from Big W called the Repco Commuter for $160. It wasn’t even the cheapest one but they made sure that quality still sucked. The rear hub had a 1 mm play from day one but I decided to live with that. A week later the pedal fell off when I was cruising around. Inspecting the part I learned that the whole pedal body including the thread was made out of plastic.

In the same time my brother purchased a Repco Random for $99 from Big W which is a super simple beach cruiser. Even if it’s simple a lot of things can go wrong. We took it for a ride around the block for the first time and the rear hub developed a massive 20 mm play. It was dangerous to ride like that so we walked the bikes home. Then suddenly the tube blew up. It was inflated to 35 psi which is not much so I assume the tyre or tube wasn’t seated properly when they assembled it. At the end of the day we had 5 minutes of fun for $99.
So we took the bikes back and had a nasty argument with customer service. Finally we got our money back. 

The build and part quality is terrible and these bikes are completely unusable. In average you can get 10-100 kms out in total then you can throw it away. Same story for Dunlop, Huffy and other shitty brands. 
It’s completely beyond me how these company operate. What’s the point of wasting resources and produce something which is not functional? These bikes are a waste of money, space, resource, time and everything. 
I have checked the Repco site just for giggles. I came across the following quotes: 
"Designed by Australians to Australians" 
"Built for toughness, engineered to last"
"Safety, affordability, quality&reliability for the whole family." 
This is pure bullshit and lie. Fuck them. They better change their bs to something sensible like “Our bicycles are shite and dangerous” 
Don’t make the same mistake as me. Don’t trust these brands and do not buy a bike from Big W, Kmart, Aldi etc They are much-much worse than you expect it to be.
Do yourself a favour and buy a bike from a bike store. Spend at least $300-400 so you’ll end up with a bike which is functional and you can enjoy riding. Or buy a good quality second hand.

Super 8 film effect with Adobe Premiere without plug-ins

Introduction
The first time I saw Super 8 footage was when I was 8 and my grandpa dug up the old projector and we watched films of family trips and gatherings from the 70’s. My parents’ wedding was also shot on Super 8 and I’ve seen that footage countless times. So for me and I think for almost everybody, super 8 film has a nostalgic effect. Apart from that I think the vivid colours, the grain, burns and other things are also special.
I wanted to get into shooting super 8 and here is what I learned.
Actually you can still buy secondhand super 8 cameras and film stock, but it’s a lot of research and headache. Not to mention developing and telecine(scan) of a 50’ film (~2.5-3 min) costs around $60 in Australia. It can become a really expensive hobby quickly so you might give it a second thought before jumping onto Ebay and start bidding. 
Even if you acquire a working Super 8 camera from your grandparents’ attic for free, you still have to buy film stock (~$30), which needs to be developed and scanned (~$60) so you are looking around ~$90 for a 2.5 min footage.
For me it’s way to expensive so I looked into how to mimic the look on digital. I have read tutorials and experimented a lot with this so here’s my guide how to add super the 8 look to your digital footage with Adobe Premiere without third-party plugins. 
Tutorial:
These are my settings but of course you can go nuts with them to achieve extreme results. 
  • 1. RGB curves
    RGB Curves

  • 2. Gaussian blur: 2.0

  • 3. Saturation: Under “Fast color corrector” set “Saturation” to 80

  • 5. Frame-rate
    Super 8 camera frame rate is usually 18 fps. NTSC system is 30 fps, PAL is 25 fps. An easy way to achieve a lower frame rate:

  • PAL 25 fps to 18 fps is to:
    A. Change your footage’s speed to 200% and export it
    B. Import the 200% speed video, and change the speed to 36%

  • NTSC 30 fps to 18 fps
    A. Change your footage’s speed to 200% and export it
    B. Import the 200% speed video, and change the speed to 30%

  • 5. Film grain 
    There are number of plug-ins for this, however the simplest thing I found is to download a film grain video from here: http://gorillagrain.com/
  • Place it on top of your video, and set the opacity to “Overlay” 
Optional:
I found adding these effects distracting, however if you are after a certain look you might find it useful.
  • 1. Vignette mask:
    Vignette mask
    A. Create a vignette mask.
    B. Place it top of your footage in Premiere, set its opacity to Colour burn

  • You can also create a gate mask depending what look you’re after.

In the attached little video I was trying to keep it simple and not to be over the top. Try 

Soundtrack: Zoo Kid-Getting out ribs

Mini Simmons surfboard thoughts

Looking at the Mini Simmons movement it seems it became the fixie of surfing. I do have my own and have two good reasons why I love it: 

1. It’s unbelievably fun to ride
2. The quirky look. 
It is indeed a hipster board but who cares as long as you are having fun.
In case you are not familiar with these boards they resemble  a coffee table. We can even say it’s ugly but that’s a positive right? They are short, wide and thick, twin or quad fins, almost flat rocker and has grown more popular in the past few years. Apart from the looks these boards are attractive for a reason. They are unreal fun in small/mushy waves and it makes sense to ride one of these, as most of us are ride below average conditions most of the year . 
My quiver consists of a 8’6 longboard, 6’10 quad and a 6’6 thruster. Since I got the the Mini Simmons I hardly surf with the others. A little bit more volume never hurt so I ended up getting a 5’11” x 23” 5/8 x 2” 7/8 . This board is fat and chunky just like myself. It’s a twin fin setup with a very small rocker.
Catching waves is effortless and in terms of ease it’s comparable to a longboard. High wave count guaranteed. Once up, it speeds down the line like a locomotive. Turning the board is easy but don’t expect to perform shortboard-like snappy moves. However it turns very well despite its impossible look and if I have to put it on the scale between a longboard and a shortboard it’s closer to the latter. It could be described as a strange mix of a longboard and shortboard. Shall we call it a shortlongboard? 
So it’s fast, mega fun and easy to handle. It’s a perfect small wave board. What are the negatives? It’s skatey in bigger surf and duckdiving is not easy. If it’s hollow or overhead this little fella is not a good choice. That’s all I can think for negatives but unless you enjoy good wave conditions most of the time don’t let them bother you. These boards are awesome.
At the end of the day it all comes down to your preference. Personally I don’t have the skills to murder the face of the wave with a shortboard like the local hot shots, so aggressive shortboarding is out. Also I hate carrying around a big ass longboard however I do appreciate the effortless style of logging. That’s a perfect combination for me to step towards the Mini Simmons bandwagon and so far I had an enormous amount of fun with this board.