Unless you have been hiding underneath a rock for the past year or so, you will have noticed the rapidly growing popularity of the Plastic Peg in BMX. Now the choice of Peg for some of the biggest street riders in the business such as Nathan Williams, Corey Martinez, Ben Lewis and Tony Hamlin, the Animal Butcher Peg has caused quite a stir in the Skateparks, Streets and Message Boards around the world. I caught up with Animal Bike’s Product Manager Frank Lam and the Peg’s creator and street legend Joe “Butcher” Kowalski to discuss the history and origins of the marble ledge’s new best friend…
So the the concept of a plastic peg isn’t exactly new in BMX, can you explain a bit of the history behind why you guys decided to make your own? When did the project first start, who was involved?
(Butcher) I remember when I was a little kid and I had some Bully plastic pegs. They were kind of cool because you could grind anything, but they wore down real quick and broke off. Later on in years I always got sick of passing up good spots on good set-ups because they probably wouldn’t grind well. I thought about how the Bully pegs could slide anything and I thought what if they could be better and not wear down or break as easy? I started messing around with the idea a long time ago with homemade prototypes and stuff. Then I was talking to Ralph about them, trying to get him hyped on the idea and he said “Ok, let’s make them- they will be the Butcher pegs”.
How did you come up with the name?
(Butcher) The Butcher peg is my peg yo.
How many samples did you guys go through from the first prototypes and samples through to the final production version? Designing a peg that is plastic yet durable must be very difficult, how long did it take until you had a design everyone was happy with?
(Butcher) We did pretty good with it. We pretty much nailed it on the aluminum core right away. The design was on and we never had to change that. We tested about six or seven plastics, different colors, clear ones…all kinds. We tested them for around a year, I think. I know through the summer and winter some plastics cracked and shattered in the cold temps. That was the last bug to work out otherwise it was all positive feedback. We also deigned them to be used with or without the sleeve.
A few years ago plastic pegs were shunned by many riders as not much more than a trendy fad, yet nowadays they can be found on the bikes of most pros, and are rapidly increasing in popularity. Why do you think this is?
(Butcher) Plain and simple, because they open up more doors and opportunities for you to grind/slide more spots and setups that you normally couldn’t do as easily with steel pegs.
Do you think Metal Pegs will go the way of the Metal Pedal and eventually be taken over by its Plastic alternative? How are you finding the Butchers sell in comparison to your classic Chromoly Pegs?
(Butcher) I guess they could and probably will. They just open up so many doors to spots you can ride and tricks you can do.
(Frank) The Butchers are selling real well. We sell more and more every month.
Plastic Pegs seem to be the topic on controversy at the moment. I’ve heard many riders sing their praises, claiming that they enable you to do tricks/ride setups previously impossible with Steel Pegs, yet other riders claiming that using Plastic is “cheating” and removes the challenge out of grinding. What is your stance on the matter?
(Butcher) Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions and entitled to ride what they want to ride. I like them. I ride them… I don’t know.
Any plans to update the peg in anyway, new colours, sizes or even a V2?
(Frank) The 4.5” versions will be coming summer 2012.
I hear you guys have a load more new products that are about to drop soon, can you give us a clue to as to what we can look forward to seeing from you in the near future?
(Frank) We’ve got a shit ton of new product coming out this year…
Anything else you want to add?
(Butcher) Have fun. Be creative.
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