../people/Sean McKinney

Sources: Ride BMX UK, www.agoride.com, BMX Plus!, www.ridebmx.com, ...
If you want to add any info, please contact buissonrouge@23mag.com.
1971 DOB: december 11, 1971.
early years Sean, Ride BMX UK april 1997: I've been riding 20 inch bikes my whole life, when I was about 13 I decided freestyle was the way to go. What a bright future it would give me. I rode with a bunch of friends for many years, I was one of the riders who couldn't sacrifice money, so I worked full time, all the time. I managed bikeshops, worked at distributors, and kept riding. Now I'm 25 and I still ride my bike, the same thing for 12 years, pretty funny, and I still feel like I'm 15.

Sean, Ride BMX UK april 1997: I was 15 years old, needed a job, had to pay for some stuff. I got hired at a bike shop where I worked with Turnell Henry, Tommy Brackens, Kevin Hull and Bill Ryan. They hired me into this store and I worked with a bunch of pro-racers. Turnell had the biggest forearms I ever saw, It hought he was totally cool and he's still cool to me to this day. That shop went out of business, you can obviously see why - it had a bunch of professional bike riders working there. Of course it's gonna go out of business.
Then I went to another Schwinn store, worked there from about 16, 17, until I was 21. The last few years I was managing it. I'm kinda stoked on the way it all went about, because I got to see all the parts of the industry. First I worked in the shop, helping customers, finding out what a shop needs. Eventually after years in the shop, I got to go to a distributor. Then working for a distributor at TIP Distributing with Primo products, I knew how a shop thought rather than just working for a distributor and not knowing. It kept growing. It kept growing, I worked there and hired my good friends Nate [Hanson] and Day [Smith]. We kinda pumped TIP to do something with their Primo name, because they had three pro riders there and they weren't doing shit, Primo stuff sucked. So we pumped them on freestyle stuff and we basically gave them a gold mine.

Sean doing a scurfer at age 15. Pic from BMX Plus! september 1996.
sean mckinney early years
1994 Freestyle worlds in Germany.

7th place stuntmen flat @ 1994 BS round 3, Oklahoma, september 1996.
1995 Primo.
Sean, Ride BMX UK april 1997: We were kind of surprised about Primo. It all started with that V-Monster tyre. Me and Day Smith approached the owner of Primo, told him all of his imitation BMX components are lame, they suck and nobody wanted it, why are they fooling themselves, let's do something with freestyle. We had a meeting with the guys from Cheng Shin from Taiwan, described to them what we needed in a tyre, what we thought would work for most people, we wanted it to work not just for flatland but for everything. Small specialised parts usually don't go too well. So we gave them patterns and told them the nylon wall had to have so much TPI [threads per inch] so it wouldn't blow out. The final touch was putting that knurling on the tyre that you can find on most road bike tyres believe it or not, that's where we got that one from. So we gave them the whole scoop. We even researched rubber compounds to make sure the tyre didn't wear down too fast, because it wore down real fast at first. It still does, but it's way better. Once we'd done that they basically said, "Thanks for the ideas, you guys are salesmen and warehouse workers, so go back to work!" Things were the same and we didn't get anything else; they didn't help us out. Except that we were sponsored by them and they are a great sponsor, you cant go wrong with them as a sponsor. We went ahead and designed more products for them, the pedals, the pegs, the seat and the freecoaster hub with 1/2 inch axles and sealed bearings that actually works, but they wanted to make it in Taiwan so it's been two years since we've actually seen one. (...) Primo never cut corners on our designs. What they would cut corners on was if we said something needed to be made in America, they refused and wanted to do it in Taiwan. That was pretty frustrating. It comes down to that sealed bearing, 1/2 inch axle coaster hub that we did. A dream come true. Everybody's been asking for it for two years. We had one made in America, we jobbed it out to a company called Dig-It who sells Graveyard and Love-Goat Products. They helped us machine and make a hub, it worked perfect. Two years later and they still don't have the hub available because they're trying to make it in Taiwan and Taiwan can't come up with new ways on manufacturing things. They're very repetitious in the way they manufacture stuff. Whereas in America you've got more leeway with a company building something from scratch although it costs a little more. (...) We didn't want to pick products out of a Taiwanese catalogue and put our name on it. Primo put up the money to create tools to make completely new tyres, new pedals, new products that haven't been seen before. Everything turned out better than we expected, it was pretty inspiring. (...) With Primo we wanted to show them that we knew what we were talking about and when you get a bunch of Asian guys who own the business and a bunch of lame ex-roadbike rider employees who managed the business we basically felt we were treated bad. It wasn't just me giving ideas, it was Sean White, Nate Hanson, Leo, Day, all of us. Once they saw that things were going well we were basically treated as if a secretary could have done the same job that we did, but Primo wasn't a very reputable name until we came in there and made it something. Not saying that we single-handedly did it because without their money we couldn't have done anything. Luckily things went well but now Primo has got some guy managing the Primo area and the team, who knows nothing about anything. He's some Asian guy who really should understand that he has no right to be in that job. They've got a product manager who used to race road bikes and sell Time pedals and Giro helmets. How are you a manager and purchaser for a BMX distributor if you know nothing about BMX? I don't think they really know what they're doing.

www.ridebmx.com: This pic was from an ad shoot that Brad McDonald did for Primo. Sean always came up with off-the-wall ideas for Primo’s ads and this is obviously one of them. At the time, Primo had a big race team, so I guess it was only natural for Sean to sport the uniform. I’m pretty sure the ad that ran was of him railing a berm—not doing the bicycle boogie in a parking lot. I wonder where that mouth guard and A’me grips are today?
sean mckinney 1995
1996 Sean McKinney got employed by S&M.
Sean, Ride BMX UK april 1997: The greatest thing happened to me back in about March of '96. I got employed by S&M Bikes, working for Chris Moeller, probably the wittiest smart-ass, let me go ahead and say this: he is very smart and he is a smart-ass, he's got the upper hand no matter how you look at it. He's the best employer I've ever worked for, he's a great guy. I do sales and warranty there now. Chris also gave me the opportunity to design a freestyle bike. S&M's a great company. When it comes down to the 20 inch industry in general, we all see the boom right now, but trust me, we probably haven't seen anything yet. I've got a lot of respect for companies that grew during the dead years of BMX. Companies like Standard, S&M Bikes, Hoffman, Homeless, they prevailed during a time where there was supposedly no industry for 20 inch bikes. S&M has been a great BMX and dirt jumping company, a lot of people thought it was a freestyle company, but it was never really going in that direction. They made durable stuff so I guess it worked great for freestyle.

S&M Sabbath frame.
Sean, Ride BMX UK april 1997: The Sabbath is my baby, something I thought would never happen. I never thought I'd be doing anything with products, we just wanted to ride our bikes, but it's come about. The Sabbath, we made it durable enough to take abuse, and it is correct. The details; the rear wheel's the thing I'm most proud of, you can run your wheel throughout the dropout and you have tyre clearance and your brake hits the rim not matter where you put it. On the majority of frames you can't do that, either the brakes wont hit or the tyre will rub. The Sabbath turned out pretty good and we're just gonna continue to do that with S&M bikes, pay close attention to small details and I'm sure we'll be fine. Riders don't need companies that overlook small details, they need them to pay attention. Most of them don't ride and they're a bunch of beer drinking ex-road bikers so they can't pay attention to the small details a frame needs.
Chris basically said, "You think the Heavy As F-k sucks?" I said, "Yeah, it's a pile of shit" and he said "Go ahead and design a bike." So I went ahead and got all the specs and measurements and everything I needed to do a bike and I worked with my friend Sean White who designed the Morales, and we put it all on computer so a machine shop would have blueprints rather than just some moron-freestyler's idea. That's how most people do it, but we wanted it to be a little more professional. We worked with a company up in Northern California and pretty much my whole year of '96 was sacrificed just to get it done right. If I didn't put in the effort the manufacturer would be lazy and they were gonna screw it up. I had to go up to NorCal, that's like an eight hour drive, like ten times last year just to make sure they were doing things properly and they did. But if we didn't make those trips to oversee production it's guaranteed the Sabbath wouldn't have come out as functional as I wanted it to be. I wasn't ready to let that happen because people were gonna recognise that I did the frame, even though I didn't want my signature on the frame because it could have ended up like that Craig Lepage Peregrine frame and what a pile of shit that was. What if people didn't like the Sabbath, what if it sucked, and my name was on it? So basically it's 'The Sabbath', no name, we just did it right.
1997 Sean McKinney on the cover of Ride BMX UK april 1997. Photo by Keith Mulligan.

The Sean McKinney interview in Ride BMX UK april 1997, the longest interview we've ever run at over 7.000 words.
sean mckinney ride bmx uk 04 97
1999 5th place stuntboy vert @ 1999 BS, August 26 , 1999.
2003 www.agoride.com, juin 2003: Sean McKinney monte sa compagnie, Revenge Industries, sont déjà dispo, des pneus (contour en kevlar) et une mâchoire de frein avec des roulements scellés (vous ne rêvez pas).
2006 BMX Made with Sean McKinney in Cream may 2006.