We love to support quality homegrown talent here at Ride UK. We have done for years and will always continue to do so. Whether it's UK riders, photographers and videographers, or start-up BMX companies we're giving props to - it's fair to say that they deserve every bit of recognition for their hard work.
The Grey BMX is a rider owned UK company started by a BMX rider who goes by the name of Steve Forster and I've had my eye on his homemade CNC'd sprockets for quite a while now...
Full Name: Steve Forster
Occupation: I recently quit my job, but am a qualified bike mechanic by trade.
Hometown: New Romney, Kent.
Living in: Folkestone, Kent.
- What made you want to get into manufacturing your own BMX parts?
"It's just something I wanted to do since I got into riding really. It was always just a pipe dream."
- Is there any meaning behind the company name 'The Grey' or did it just sound cool?
"Erm, the short version is, it sounded cool....
The long version: I was drawing T-shirt designs and stuff back in 2000 and wanted to make a clothing company called "shades of grey". - That got kind of forgotten about, then when I got back into riding about 3 or 4 years ago the passion for BMX was still overwhelming and I guess that's where this started really. In the meantime those 50 shades books came out. So I thought long and hard (giggidy) whether to keep the name, but I decided to stick with "The Grey".
"The name is to remind me to ignore dark times, and even if things aren't bright and colourful, I should look toward the Grey."
The main reasons behind the name are that I'm getting older and have some grey hairs showing through (like a lot of older riders), living in the UK we often to miss out on days riding due to the grey rainy weather plus there's a lot of grey around from the skies, to the pavements, and the buildings in the towns and cities. It's pretty miserable really!
I also suffered from depression, a lot of people go through it but my way of coping was always to think, 'it could be worse, there's no point feeling sorry for myself' rather than letting myself be consumed by darkness. I see everything as 'grey' I guess.
This year has been pretty tough on me, and my wife. And this project has really helped. I guess in a way, the name is to remind me to ignore dark times, and even if things aren't bright and colourful, I should look toward the grey."
- What would you say your aim and ambition is with your brand, is this just something you do for the love of it or do you want to make it 'big time'?
"My biggest ambition is to make frames. I got a custom FBM for myself that kind of fills a gap in the market, and was intended to be a prototype. But it's real expensive. I could probably get a small batch of frames built in Taiwan, but I want something a bit more special.
The aims of this project are pretty much just to get a few people stoked but it needs to pay for itself. I have no expectations of making money or getting rich. I just wanted to make some ideas of mine a reality and hopefully some people will like them."
"I just wanted to make some ideas of mine a reality and hopefully some people will like them."
- Do you have any UK riders currently repping The Grey products?
"Erm, kind of... Liam Seward and Ben Evans help me out loads, bouncing ideas off them and stuff. They get hooked up. Ben's been a good friend for a long time, so I'd always throw some stuff his way. StreetDave gets some bits. I've recently given some stuff to Dan Price. Danny Haffenden too. And Chef who I know from when I lived in Bristol for a few years. But it's never been about having a 'team' to me. It's pretty much just an exchange.
If someone is cool, I'll give them some bits in exchange for stealing a pic or two for the Instagram account. I don't want pressure either way. I don't want anyone to expect free stuff from me, but I also don't want anyone to feel like they have to ride and get photos if I've given them a T-shirt."
- Could you give us a rough guide through the process you've got in place for making The Grey sprockets? Did you design them yourself, or have you had a little help along the way?
"The place I get them made have been really helpful, they specialise in making bike parts. So far it's pretty much just been me throwing ideas at them, emailing some bad pencil drawings, then they kind of bring it to life. But as it's small runs, and a lot of work, I get put to the bottom of the pile. I'm fine with that because I know they have big orders from regular customers. I studied engineering for a few years, but never got my head around CAD so this relationship works really well for me!"
- I see you've been busy lately with the BMX apparel side of things, making T-shirts and hoodies. Do you have any new designs in the pipeline?
"Kind of, I'm always doodling, and thinking of things. but not much is selling. The turnover is slow, so I don't want to over fill my inventory. There's a couple of things I'm keen to get done, so hopefully that'll happen soon."
- Finally, any shout outs?
"My wife for being awesome, my dad (RIP) for everything, my mum for the support, Liam and Ben for generally being rad. StreetDave, Chef, Dan Haffenden, Dan Price for letting me use pics (hopefully that list will grow!)
Tom at Done London, everyone that's supported us in any way at all (you're awesome!), Clive deserves a shout out here. He's helped loads, Neil for being patient with me and making something out of my crap pencil sketches and my son Jakob for keeping me young and inspiring me.
Also FBM for making awesome parts, the custom frame is absolutely spot on.
And you, Fraser, for giving me this opportunity!"