Spotlight: Krazy Karl Hinkley
What's your full name?
Karl David Hinkley
How long have you been into BMX?
I'm 44 and been into BMX since I was 4.
What made you start No Wear BMX?
I started Nowear BMX because I wanted to make a positive impact in the industry and any riders life who needed it.
Before No Wear, what was your day job?
Before Nowear my day job was the same as it is today. I’m a real life American Picker. I buy and sell things such as vintage electronics, old motorcycles, and anything else that I have some knowledge about.
You created such an amazing atmosphere and vibe with what you are doing. This isn’t a question but more of a statement, I respect the hell out of someone who puts the riders and family as top priority. The love and passion comes through in the company.
Thank you so much that means a lot to me.
If you had to thank the people or companies that motivated you to pursue doing your own thing, who would they be?
I would first thank the 2 most influential freestylers from my youth that were local to Nebraska. Tony Hillhouse, who was a pro vert rider nick named Dr Smooth. Tony had a back yard vert ramp that he welcomed anyone to ride and enjoy. Second would be Frank Stewart aka Stu-bot. Frank was from the small town of Fairbury and had a slew of pieced together backyard ramps that were epic. Frank was super creative and he also welcomed anyone at his home to ride with.
In 2001-2002 my wife and I owned an indoor bike park in Omaha NE. As many people know that’s a tough gig and we lost our life savings within a year. Shortly after I suffered from a really bad injury that took 3 surgeries and 3 years to get through.
We had moved to a small town and during our downtime had met some local kids who were interested in BMX and use to hang around our house. A couple of the kids were getting in trouble at school and with the law. Having been through similar times with my own past & group of friends I wanted to give these kids a choice. My wife and I told them we would start a bike company that was focused on good morals and always wanting to help riders and kids. USA made goods that gave back to BMX and the community.
I called Dan Nielsen aka the Danimal, he was an up and coming shredder from Nebraska who had the type of attitude we wanted to base our company around “be nice to everyone and just have fun riding your bike.” We told Dan we wanted to start Nowear BMX modeled around him and we all agreed it was the perfect match.
So lets talk about your parts. The stem, frame and bars. They are definitely unique. What are the stories behind the design of them?
We think about quality and functionality when we design our parts. At first our parts might look weird or different to those who aren’t accustomed to seeing them. Hell, we felt the same way when we designed them ourselves. However humans are just set to conditioning and once you’re use to seeing our parts regularly they look as normal as anything else. Our parts have been and always will be made right here in the USA by reputable builders within the industry. We won’t compromise quality to save a few bucks, we will pay whatever it takes to make the best stuff we can.
Our frames and our bars are designed with maximum clearance in mind. Our frame has a dual triangle design to the top tube giving it added strength, similar to how the Mountain bike industry does. Then on top of that it provides 2-4 inches more than other traditional frames allowing you to take tricks such as tables, turndowns, look backs, etc, further than you ever thought possible. Yes tailwhips and can cans become child’s play as well. We’ve had countless riders question it at first until they try it and we hear the same thing every time “holy crap that makes a huge difference.” Basically you don’t know until you know.
Our bars provide more cross bar allowing you to do tuck no handers bigger and more stretched than a traditional crossbar, plus it helps head clearance on big front flips, foot clearance on candybars etc. If we can design parts to be more friendly to your trick pallet we say it’s a no brainer!
Where would you say BMX is lacking in todays world? Could be parts, lack of parks, peoples attitudes…. I mean BMX isn't perfect so where would you improve it?
More focus on inclusion. I think most of us were attracted to BMX originally because of the independence of it. I myself wasn’t cut out for team sports and I felt a freedom of expression with BMX. Our sport is small, so when groups and cliques form lots of kids outside of those groups don’t feel welcome or decide to hang it up. We need to be more inclusive and less exclusive. BMX can be one of the most beautiful sports out there that can literally save someone’s life (I can attest to that from personal experience). I’d say certain areas of our sport need to cut down on the cliques and small groups and welcome everyone. If we do this our sport will grow, more parks will be built, more lives saved and positive growth will happen among friends and in communities.
If you could grow Nowear BMX in any direction even outside of BMX where would you like to explore?
I wish I had more time and resources to dip into mx. I grew up on a dirtbike with my dad and it’s always been my other night passion.
Do you find it harder to sell things online with shipping costs becoming ridiculously priced?
Shipping costs haven’t really seemed to be a factor to us. Those who want our parts know exactly what they want and a few extra bucks isn’t gonna stop them.
I remember you telling me COVID hit your family. How did that effect you as a family man and business man?
Yes, we lost most of our BMX show contracts in 2020. It made finances pretty hard for the time but it also gave me more time with my kids, so there were both ups and downs. I try to look at things as glass half full.
Who would win in a fight. Frosty the Snow man or Jack Frost?
Jack for sure he’s way more of a badass
If you were you today as a kid…. What would you ask Santa for?
Rc truck cause when I was a kid they were junk and nowadays they make some super sick ones you can Freestyle parks with
What is your all time Favorite Christmas or Holiday movie?
Do you have a favorite holiday quote? Could be from a movie, song, random homeless person on the street.
"Shitter was full"
If you were visited by 3 ghosts…. Who would you hope the ghosts would be?
Jason McGinness cause I miss my friend. George Carlin cause he’s the funniest dude in history & Dave Mirra because I never had the honor to meet one of the greatest.
Favorite holiday food?
My moms homemade noodles.
What do you think kids are missing out on today that when we were kids meant the world to us around the holidays?
An appreciation for holiday movies & shows. Nowadays kids can watch whatever they want whenever. When we were young we got stoked cause we had waited a full freaking year to see things like “A Christmas Story” again. Once and a while you’d get lucky and record it on VHS.
What does your music playlist look like? Top 6 songs?
I'm partial to a couple local bands that rule. The Killigans & Top Notch Defective. Then I’d have to say any 90’s punk rock including Pennywise, Face to Face, Social D. If I’m feeling chill I’ll just put Pandora on Classic rock.
What 3 BMX videos do you think had the biggest influence on you and or BMX in general?
Scumboy’s 1201 was my favorite video ever. Little Devil’s Criminal Mischeif & Midwhere.
From start to finish how long would you say it took you to design the stem and frame you currently have?
The frame took around a year to design before we had a prototype. Our stem was in my head for 5 years before we had product to hold in our hands.
Top 5 BMX riders?
This is a tough question so I’m gonna need to give 2 answers. My 5 favorite riders would be people I know on a personal level who motivate still at 44 years old. That’s all my kids and everyone on my team.
Top 5 not related to me or on my team: Erik Elstran Steve Moxley May Hoffman Kris fox Danny Macaskill (I know he’s not BMX but he’s freestyle as hell and I grew up riding trials and wished that the two sports would merge) I feel Danny had done that.
I could come with another 100 plus riders that inspire now and have over the years but those are some that come to mind right away. I always feel the favorite rider question isn’t for me as I view freestyle as an art form so it’s hard to pick and chose I admire and respect so many.
How long does it take for you to put a bike together?
Brakeless 10-15 min Full brake bike 2-3 hours
What are your top 4 travel essentials?
Tools for breaking down cause I hate being stuck on the road. Bikes always cause you never know when you’re gonna see a spot. Helmet, after years of thinking I didn’t need it I feel fortunate to still be around and don’t wanna take any more chances. Last would bring plenty of food from home. A few years back I radically changed my diet to a vegan diet and my body has never felt better, but it’s sometimes hard to find food on the road.
How do you feel about socks with sandals?
I think they look alright when girls rock them but not so sure on dudes.
Now this may be a controversial question but I need to ask….. should JNCO pants really come back into BMX?
Oh man that’s tough cause I’m a tad biased as I loved my all black jnco’s with 2 white stripes. But what do I know I also enjoy Nickelback lol
Man….. I appreciate this opportunity for you to take the time and do this. I think what you do is awesome and I can't wait to be part of the Festivities in 2022. I know the team is excited also. You have been super kind and welcoming to Fictive and that means the world to us, especially in a world where most people seem to only be out for themselves.
No problem brother, I’m super stoked to meet you.
This is your time to say whatever you wanna say, thank whoever you want to thank and/or vent and ramble on about anything. Even if its about how M&Ms do melt in your hands if its hot out and the conspiracy behind the marketing? Haha.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Nowear’s vision and dream of growing BMX and wanting to help todays youth. BMX can save lives, literally. We welcome anyone to ride our place so hit us up on your travels. Any age, any skill level and any type of wheels ie: bikes, boards, blades, scooters etc. We welcome everyone with open arms. Stay rad everyone.
*all photos provided by Krazy Karl/Nowear BMX*