At the 1985 AFA Freestyle Masters contest at Jack Murphy stadium in San Diego,
Skyway released the first production Street Beats - one chrome and one orange.
This article covers the history of the bicycle and the re-creation done by
Todd Costantino and Maurice Meyer.
The night before the San Diego contest.
First advertisement for the Street Beat showing prototype stickers.
1985 was a boom year for freestyle. The AFA Masters series allowed the
promoters to take their show on the road and hold contests in any flat
open space. Freestyle competition was no longer limited to the few
remaining 70's skateparks. Manufacturers were also getting into the game making
their bid for a stake of the freestyle market with wild new bikes. The slick
and fast Chrome world of BMX was about to be upended with the jutting pegs,
platforms and wild colors of 80's freestyle.
During the 1984 Skyway European Tour, Skyway freestyle team rider
Dave Vanderspek was testing the chrome prototype for the yet unnamed
freestyle frame and fork set. Slight modifications were made for the
production version and it was named the "Street Beat". As far as 80's
freestyle frames went, the Street Beat was a modest frame and fork sporting
more detail than overdone geometry. Details like:
- Aero top and bottom tubes
- Dimpled top tube
- Coaster brake bracket
- Gusetted head tube for brake clearance
The Street Beat took cues from Skyway's classic race bike, the TA with
the use of teardrop tubes and actual TA fork dropouts. The original
advertisement showed all white and all orange models with a TA-like
sticker set that was replaced for the production run. The orange version
- with the advertisement only stickers - was given to me for
use in the San Diego contest and for the Skyway promotional video that
was shot there. The chrome frame was given to Dave Vanderspek and sported
TA stickers. It was never released although at least a couple have surfaced.
Competing in the San Diego AFA Masters contest.
Snapshot from the Skyway promotional video shot at the San Diego contest.
Holding a trophy at the Pleasanton AFA Masters contest.
I can't recall whether I got the Street Beat at home or at the contest but I
remember putting it together just before the contest and riding with the new
and slippery brake pads. The bike was loud to say the least. I felt a lot of
eyes on that bike rolling out to Golden Gate Park the first time. Kinda felt
like I had ride 5 times better to live up to that kind of statement. Looking
back, I liked the orange bike the best out of the Street Beats because it was
The Street Beat continued for several years with minor variations and paint
In 2005, a large supply of unpainted Skyway Street Beat frames was uncovered
and made available through several distributors - some as cheap as $15 per
frame. This prompted a Street Beat build off and one contestant - Todd
Costantino - decided to reproduce the first orange Street Beat with the unique
stickers. Todd contacted me to get some details and photos of the bike. I
had just started work on restoring the '84 TA I had just before the orange
bike and I dug out a few parts that were on that original Street Beat. I still
had the pedals, seat post clamp, seat post and the worn brake pads and orange
A'me grips. I had to keep the seat post for my TA project but the rest went
to Todd with a list of the other parts. We communicated regularly on the progress
over the months. I worked with a friend to create some graphics for the
stickers but in the end, Scott Joines re-created the artwork and made the
stickers from a small jpeg file. The stickers came out excellent. Todd set
about getting the parts and having the frame, forks, bars, brake and power disk
powder coated by Chip. Luckily Chip had a pair of early forks with the
cutout droput which he traded to Todd for the unpainted solid dropout fork.
Details, details, details...
Todd entered the bike in the build off but could not complete it to spec due
to the $100 maximum price restriction and the need for flight cranks.
In the fall of 2006, I made a trip out to Philadelphia to see Large Ray,
the Ramp up the Jawn crew and to attend Brian Pleva's "Fall Brawl" old school
BMX BBQ. Todd and I had talked about debuting the bike and it needed a few
parts so I brought some flight cranks and the original DX seatpost out along
with a jersey and some pictures. Todd and I met at Brian's place for the first
time and finished the bike there. Later that evening I was blown away to be the
receiver of a freshly restored orange Street Beat - my first complete
old-school bike. Later that day Ray gave me a nice red plate that I could
do up with the original stickers.
Completed bike with jersey.
Todd Costantino and Maurice Meyer.
A few weeks after, Brett Downs packed the bike up for a super safe trip
and sent it across the country. It arrived in immaculate condition and
I found myself peeking at it every day before heading off to work. I
eventually replaced the wheels with a pair of
coaster wheels from the UK and detailed the bike out with grip tape, a
custom front brake axle guard I used for years in the 80's and a freshly
done up number plate with die cut stickers made by Scott Joines. The bike
made its debut in its newly completed state May 12th, 2007 at the Roseville Vintage BMX
show and seemed to be well received.
To say thanks, I wanted to come up with something a little better than
a thank you card so a signed 1987 Skyway tour poster seemed appropriate!
And finally, the completed bike.