A favourite book on my shelf is called Rad Rides, a compendium of the Best BMX Bikes Of All Time. It’s a must-read for any fan, exploring the world of the hardcore BMX collector. Many of the featured bikes are owned and were restored by Joe Stevenson, but one that wasn’t included is his personal favourite: a one-off titanium Terrible One Barcode built at the personal request of Taj Mihelich.
Joe tells the story: “Taj Mihelich started Terrible One with Joe Rich, both are BMX legends. While they were having their Barcode frames made by Maas Specialties, Taj had them make him a custom one-off Barcode frame from titanium just for him as an experiment in lightweight materials. Taj built the frame into a bike and rode it for a while, several magazines featured it and it became a T1 legend.
“Taj never liked the way titanium felt to ride, describing the frame as flexy and mushy, so he stripped the bike down and it sat in T1’s warehouse for several years. I had the chance to purchase it and jumped at it, but had no immediate plans to actually build it. A few years passed and I’d taken a big break from building bikes and BMX. I was just riding other bikes, having relationships and travelling.
“The frame sat in my loft until a few months ago. Browsing eBay, I chanced upon a Profile Whippet freewheel that looked smallish so I hit up the buyer and it turned out to be the pretty rare 36T that I needed. The build was on. I figured it’d be the last BMX I’d build so I’d take my time and enjoy it.
“The forks were sourced and powder coated, while the bars are T1 mediums that came with the frame. They were NOS but green, so I stripped them and had them powder coated. The stem was red, so was that was chemically stripped, polished and re-anodised black.
“I finally found a Profile SS 36 in black with shot internals, so I rebuilt it. The Thomson post was tricky, I bought 3 before this one to get the exact size! The seat clamp, luckily, came with the frame and has been adapted, presumably by Taj. The rest of the parts slowly came together after hours of searching, bidding, and waiting. Last week it finally stood with air in its tyres and a finished bike.
“My friend Millhouse has given me the Terrible One crossbar sticker that was proving impossible to replace after the bars were re-finished. My friend Chris Hollin kindly built the wheels for me.”
Huge thanks to Joe for the story and photos. To see more of his builds, head into your local bookshop and track down a copy of Rad Rides (ISBN-13: 978-1856697262).