Hiroya Morizaki talking about the development of the Arestic A-Class soft tire. Interviewer is Hiroshi Uehara, owner of the Decade shops in Japan. Hit the link for the original talk in japanese: http://www.decadeshop.com/talk/
We sat down to interview world-famous BMX rider Hiroya Morizaki, winner of King of Ground 2001 and Japan’s first world champion, about his self-developed A-Class Tire.
DECADE: To start off, what’s the story behind your development of the A-Class Tire?
Morizaki: The story? Well at that time (around 2004) there was really no tire around that I felt was right for me, so when FFC (my current sponsor) came to me and asked if I could make a tire for them I just kind of went with it and it started from there.
DECADE: Did you already have an idea of the sort of tire you wanted to make at the time?
Morizaki: I did. I wanted to make a tire that was ready to go as soon as I put it on. To put it more clearly, I wanted a tire with good grip that could also get good speed. At the time I started thinking of making a tire, the flatland scene was at a pretty big turning point from a riding style that incorporated lots of scuffing tricks to spins and turbines, tricks that use the pegs and really didn’t require a lot of scuffing. I was the first one to really pick up the scuffless riding style, but at that time there were still a lot of riders using scuffing and so the tires on the market at the time were made for scuffing; there weren’t any for scuffless tricks.
DECADE: I see. So you’re saying the A-Class tire is made for the scuffless riding style that’s more popular today?
Morizaki: That’s right. Of course that’s not to say you can’t do scuffing tricks, but that the A-Class Tire has the perfect balance that’s needed to perform both scuffing and scuffless tricks. Usually, a tire that’s made for scuffing has deep knurling and block patterning so they can provide good grip like you see in PRIMO’s Wall and Eighty-Eight’s F.O.U.R. Tire, but the blocks are so thick that even if you pump a lot of air into the tire they’re not really good for speed. On the other hand, if the knurling isn’t thick if enough you’re going to slide ‘cause you don’t have enough grip. That’s what I was thinking when I came up with the pattern on the A-Class. The knurling isn’t so thick so you can perform scuffless tricks with it, but I also made the pattern with lines on the side so you won’t slide around if you do want to scuff.
DECADE: So it’s a racing tire that’s also easy to scuff with. Sounds like you’ve made the perfect tire.
Morizaki: I’d say so. I’m confident that of all the tires coming out for flatland biking, this one’s the best. The extra special thing about this one is that it’s ready to go as soon as you put it on. After making the tire I was able to fine tune it for competition. The older tires I was talking about earlier would need about one month of practice before they were in their best condition. Around the time I was making the A-Class flatland hadn’t been dropped from the X-Games yet, so I’ve had the chance to compete in lots of contests domestically and abroad. If I didn’t carefully count and practice with the tires I was going to use from the day I was scheduled to participate in the contest I wouldn’t be able bring them to the competition in their best condition. Plus there was always a chance the tires could bust if I rode on them for too long. It was the worst when it wasn’t just a small puncture and the tire actually split open. You just couldn’t ride on a fresh tire and it could be a huge hassle in competitions. The frustration is what made me want a tire that I could put on and ride with right away. F1 tires are where I got my inspiration. I took the best parts of the F1 tires at the time and applied those to the A-Class. It really is that high class of a tire. That’s why you can change the tire on the day of the competition and still ride it with no problem.
DECADE: It’s got speed and you can ride with it right away without slipping. It really doesn’t have any weak spots, does it?
Morizaki: I honestly know that it’s a great tire. That’s not just me being overconfident; I hear good things from lots of riders too. Even Chase Gouin, the god of flatland himself, contacted me saying “Your tire’s great! Mind if I use it?” Even if Chase is the signature model for a different brand of tires it’s really unbelievable for me as a rider that the tire he’s supporting a tire that I made.
DECADE: You’ve taken the demands of the time and used them to make a great tire. We hope it becomes a rider-favorite.