BORN IN THE WOODS: What is Root Designs | Ride UK BMX

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BORN IN THE WOODS: What is Root Designs

It’s not a bmx company, nor a mtb company. Its a trails company

A little while back someone mentioned a brand to me that I hadn’t heard of before… ‘Root Designs’ “I want a metal pedal that’s not just a plastic pedal made from metal” Fair enough I thought. I did a little digging after our chat and found a fairly new Instagram. Root Designs is a UK based trail brand with 2 very dedicated and respected trail guys at the helm… I wanted to know more.

“Jim and I were both curious (since our background was BMX) as to why they ran certain set ups….I think that was where our minds both started racing about how we could improve on the current offerings for all types of bikes”


Jim Boud – Flying through the woods

For people who don’t know, can you give me a run down on Root Designs… Who’s behind it?

Root Designs is a partnership between Jim Boud and myself (Jamie Cameron). There’s no outside investors or anything like that.

How did you and Jim first meet? Sounds like its been an organic friendship that turned into a partnership.

If any of the magazine nerds want to check out the Apr/May 2003 issue of Ride UK there’s a few photos I shot of Jim, so we’ve known each other a good twenty years now. I was shooting a Horsham scene report around that time and Jim was progressing noticeably during those few months.

We’d stayed in touch over the years. We’d meet at Simple Session, on overseas trips, at weddings and funerals. Not that much but I’d heard about Birchwood and after COVID finally went away I started coming down all the time.

What is Root Designs all about?

We’ve both been pretty involved in the UK trails scene in recent years. We’ve found a few areas where it seems like there’s plenty of room for improvement on what’s currently available for that style of riding. We both agreed from the beginning that we didn’t want to put anything on the market that wouldn’t improve on what’s currently available. That’s been sort of our motto to this point.

Root Designs first sprocket offering

Who is the audience?

Jim: We want to cater for the whole trails community regardless of wheel size. That’s how the scene has evolved and other bike companies haven’t kept up.

If you’re in the trails scene, if you’ve read my books ‘Shapes in the Woods’, or if you’ve seen Sam Barrow’s edit ’50 Shades of Clay’ you’ll probably understand it’s a pretty integrated community. Our pedals were designed for the woods but we hope they go beyond that. They’d be a great pedal for anyone from skatepark based BMX riders to enduro MTB racers…there’s probably better options for pedal grinders but they already have a huge choice of plastic pedals.

What made you want to start Root Designs?

Jim had quite a few ideas on how to improve on the bike parts that are currently available. I have quite a lot of experience in the BMX industry. We’ve always had a similar vision of what type of BMX related stuff we like and that’s continued through this process.

Jim: The trails scene in the UK is strong. It’s broken away from being exclusively BMX; and into a community of riders and builders all with the same passion. We wanted to start a company that reflects and represents this. It’s not a bmx company, nor a mtb company. Its a trails company.

When and where did the idea spawn from?

The idea came from Birchwood trails (now sadly dismantled). July 2021 was really wet. Wisley, Brockham, and Leatherhead trails don’t run well after rain. They’d all been before but a lot their locals starting coming down for evening sessions and we got talking. I think Jim and I were both

curious (since our background was BMX) as to why they ran certain set ups….I think that was where our minds both started racing about how we could improve on the current offerings for all types of bikes.

Most of those fellas use 24” wheels and more trail riders have switched to that size in the last year. The mountain bike industry has pretty much completely abandoned that size, so there’s one good reason to start a bike company…….we’ll take them under our old BMX wings if it means our friends can get products in the size that’s (in their opinion) best suited to trail riding. They had a mixture of BMX and Jump Bike parts and some of them were running 24” wheels on 26” frames because that’s all they could get. It’s tough to argue against them because those guys make riding look just as good as any BMX guys and they build some of the best spots.

There’s been a fair few BMX guys picking up bigger bikes but for some reason they all seem to jump straight on to huge double suspension bikes. To us it makes more sense that try something in between first. 24” is also ideal for younger/smaller riders, so again the mountain bike industry doesn’t cater for them.

From design (above) to production (below)
Pedals designed for the woods

I’ve seen you have pedals ‘coming soon’ on the site, when can people expect them to be available?

We have finished samples that feel perfect and they’re in production now. We should have them in stores by early April.

Do you have any other products in the pipeline?

Other than the frames…….yeah we have quite a lot of products drawn up and ready to go but we can’t get too carried away.

The Roots frame…more info soon…
Attention to detail

Whats in store for Root Designs in 2023?

We’ve starting to build a worldwide network of shops that seem to understand what we’re trying to do……so ideally that’ll keep expanding and we’ll be able to keep bringing new products to the woods, support the scene as much as we can, and generally try and keep the trails community stoked.

I’ve heard people describe the UK trails scene as one of the strongest in the world, what do you think makes it so strong over here?

Having spoken to a lot of visitors over the past couple of years I would say thee strongest. At least in terms of amazing and unique spots. The Southern stretch of the M25 and the Midlands in particular…….overseas visitors have to travel hundreds of miles to get anywhere close. I’m not entirely sure why it’s so good. I think it’s been pretty amazing for the past 20 years. We’re just not that good at promoting it……..or maybe we don’t want to let everyone in on the secret.

Jim: It’s the amount of quality spots in such a small area I think. It seems like you can drive 30mins in any direction and find another spot. And without sounding like a broken record, the bmx scene owes half of those spots to the 24 guys (in the south anyway). Not everybody is accepting of them, there are still a few spots that seem salty about them but you’ll always have people that don’t like change in all walks of life. That’s their problem to get over in my

opinion. For the most part, everybody knows everyone else at most trails; and if you’re contributing at a spot, it’s more or less an open invitation to any other in the country. That’s how I’ve always treated it anyway. I think also the over populated skateparks have driven people into the woods. Especially the older guys like me. I can’t be arsed to hustle for a run at a park. That whole environment has changed so much. It makes me sound super old and moany but that’s how I feel.

Sprockets in the production process
Sizes available from 25t (left) all the way to 36t (right)

Where can people keep up with all things Root Designs? website? instagram? anywhere else?

Both of the above. We’re in the process of completely overhauling the website………it was only a BigCartel store with only a few products previously.

Any thanks/final words? Things you’d say to the next generation of trail dudes or guys wanting to get into the trail scene?

Jim: With social media it’s never been easier to find out who the locals are at trails and get involved. Approaching people in the winter is always a nice touch. Rather than turning up bike in hand when they’re riding. Certainly helps get things off on the right foot. There are a lot of places that really need that injection of youth to keep the place going. Jimmy at Leatherhead has always done an amazing job of welcoming in young riders and showing them the ropes. And the trails speak for themselves.

You get out what you put in.

I’d like to thank everyone that’s supporting what we’re doing. Elliot, Wilson, Jonny, Pie, Figg, Digger did the frame stickers, Sam Barrow. Everyone that’s repping our stuff or is going to be repping it in near future. Everyone that’s bought a product. Thanks to you fellas for running this article!


…and that’s that. I can’t wait to see what Root Design goes on to do in the future. If you want to help support the trails scene buy the products that come from the scene… no ones getting rich from BMX

Follow Root Designs on Instagram HERE

Check out the Root Designs website HERE

Photos: Jamie Cameron / Root Designs


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