back several times) but by 2007 I was buying old bikes again. LOL
Is the focus on 'Mid-school' Bikes for you?
Donnie Platt: I’ve been riding straight through since '82, so my era of interest is just that. I have bikes from 1977 and a bike from 2013. I do love me some midschool race bikes though.
At this moment, do you wish you had started collecting earlier?
Donnie Platt: Definitely. There are so many bikes I want that would have been so much cheaper if I had bought them in the '90s like the Haneys did. LOL
Do you feel there is a need for BMX products to survive for history's sake?
Donnie Platt: Need is a strong word. In 100 years, I doubt very seriously that anyone is going to be interested in my 1987 Robinson. That being said, I WANT to preserve it because I love BMX. It’s important to me to preserve the things I care about.
What's your take on companies reproducing bikes in the oldskool style?
Donnie Platt: As long as they’re easily distinguishable from the real deal, I’m all for it. I think Haro and Skyway are doing it right. All chromoly bikes with good parts that have that old school style but new school technology. I just wish more companies would figure out that euro is the wrong size bottom bracket for BMX and just weld a Spanish or mid shell on the frames.
What's one of your oldest BMX products in your collection?
Donnie Platt: My 1977 Redline MX-II, which is an exact replica of my first race bike. The parts and decals are all wrong for a '77, but my parents got it for me in '82, so technology had moved on by then and whoever owned the bike before me had updated a bunch of stuff. It truly hurt my feelings to peel the original decals off that frame to put on the '81/'82 style decals, but I was building a replica of my first bike, and it had the '81/'82 decals on it. It had to be done. Plus the bike will never leave my possession while I still have breath in my lungs, so I don’t really have to worry about what anyone else thinks about it.
When you started riding what bike was the dream bike for you?
Donnie Platt: At the very beginning it was a Redline PL-20. The thought that Linn Kastan put into those bikes and his engineering prowess really spoke to me. And the '83-'84 graphics touched my artist’s soul. Soon thereafter, I fell in love with Profiles and JMC Darrell Youngs. I’ve had a few Profiles over the years. I still haven’t had a DY, which is my holy grail. If you see me building an original finish candy red DY with the machined bottom bracket, you’ll know I’m done.
Do you have that bike in your collection today?
Donnie Platt: I don’t. I’ve been tossing around the idea of building another PL-20. I guess the main reason I haven’t is that I have an '87 Haro Group 1 RS-1, and the geometry is very close to the PL-20s plus it has better brakes. I do have a Profile in my herd though.
Name three BMX collectors that you respect?
Donnie Platt: Damn. Just 3. This is gonna be tough. I have to apologize in advance to any of my friends that I don’t mention. I only have 3 spots to fill. I didn’t make the rules.
1) Jeff Haney. While the rest of us were getting high and chasing tail in the '90s, the Haney brothers were scouring all the old bike shops they could find and buying all that unobtanium stuff for pennies on the dollar.
2. Darren Chan. Dude has been in the game for sooooo long.
3. Charlie Brinson. He doesn’t collect anymore, but his knowledge and attention to detail are hard to match. When he was building bikes, he was one of the few people that really impressed me. No stone was unturned. No detail was overlooked. Even if he didn’t always choose the parts I would have chosen, if you had a time machine and took one of his bikes back to the '80s or '90s, it wouldn’t raise any red flags. It would just be a super clean bike with some parts you didn’t see every day.
Do you have decent mechanical skills?
Donnie Platt: I do. The only thing I don’t do is build wheels. I know I can’t do it better than Charlie can, so he builds most of my wheels. Aside from that, no one works on my bikes but me. I have to ride them, and if I’m doing the work on them I have no one else to blame when something goes wrong.
What products are a great help when you find an old rusty historical piece of shit bike that needs to shine again?
Donnie Platt: Always start with soap and water and go more aggressive from there. For chrome parts with just a light peppering, I’ve been using SOS and Brillo pads since the '80s. Lots of people say it scratches the chrome, but they’re just wrong. The soap in the pad acts as a lubricant so the steel wool doesn’t mark the frame. It’s like the difference between sanding wet or dry. Without something to lubricate the surface you’ll tear it to pieces. With the soap, I’ve done dozens of frames, forks and bars and never left a scratch on them.
For denser rust, I use oxalic acid, but a lot more sparingly than a lot of people do. I’ll put the frame in for a couple of hours, lightly run it over with a brass wire brush and see where I’m at. If it needs to go back in, I repeat the process every half hour until it’s clean. If you leave a bike in OA (or any acid I suppose) it will eat through the thinner areas of the chrome (like behind the bottom bracket). I’ve never tried citric acid or vinegar because OA has always done the job for me.
How often do you look on eBay/Craigslist/BMX Museum to shop for old BMX stuff?
Donnie Platt: Not very often. When I build a bike, I have a lot of friends who are collectors so I’ll start texting people to see if they have what I’m looking for. Quite often one of them does.
So I guess it happens once a year or so where I’ll hit the sites up every day for a few weeks looking for something specific. But I’m patient. It took me 8 years to build my Torker. I’m in no hurry. I have bikes to ride in the meantime. LOL
What's the most ridiculous amount you have paid for a bike part that you needed to own?
Donnie Platt: $1500 for 181mm Kastan cranks with the big bearing bottom bracket and a 45t chainwheel. It was exactly the setup I needed to put on Adam Richards’ (RIP my friend) factory Kastan. They don’t show up that often, and I’ve never seen another set with exactly that setup. It had to be done.
Do you have a man-cave where your bikes are displayed?
Donnie Platt: Yeah. I need to build a rack to put a second tier because I don’t have enough room on the floor for all my bikes. Matt Hanemann has a great setup like that (Goddamn that man knows his shit).
Do you always have room for "one more bike"?
Donnie Platt: I didn’t used to think so. Ten years ago, I had a build list of every bike I wanted. Every now and then I’ll scratch something off of the list (like a Patterson PR-200. Love the way they look, back end is too long) and something else will take its place. Lots of bikes that weren’t on that list have come and gone since I made it.
What's a bike (part) you have been looking for but haven't been able to locate?
Donnie Platt: Not a part exactly. One of Adam Richards’ factory Kastan jerseys. They usually said BOMB in big letters on the back. There have to be dozens of them out there. Every time he crossed the finish line after a main, his jersey, gloves, pads and plate would go into the crowd. Bill Grad was so pissed off about having to send Adam a new jersey every weekend that he wouldn’t send Adam a new frame when he cracked his yellow one repeatedly.
Where can people reach you when they have that part available?
Donnie Platt: I’m on FB, IG and sometimes Twitter. I’m an admin on the BMX Society, BMXMuseum.com, BMX Collector’s Swap Shop, Tabletop BMX, Cyclecraft Collectors, and BMX Archives 1979-1989 pages. They can easily find me there.
Thanks to: Steve Brothers, Charlie Brinson, Matt Hanemann, Jon Hoffman, Dan Williams, Kelly Radford, Ken Flynn, Ed Ferri, Pete Bruno, Perry Wills, Perron Thurston, Scott Calcaterra, Tommy Yaley, Michelle Cairns, Yuki Enomoto, Akita Yoshizawa, Tacos Shinya, Bill Nitchke, Dave Voelker, Billy Griggs, Rich Bartlett, Dom Phipps, Tracer Finn, John Buultjens, Greg Lanthorne, Ken Coster, Ron Bonner, and Ronnie Walker.
Previous Episodes on FATBMX:
Episode 1: Christophe Detandt (BEL)
Episode 2: James White (GBR)
Episode 3: JT Freestyle (USA)
Episode 4: Ben Murphy (IRL)
Episode 5: Rainer Schadowski (GER)
Episode 6: GAry Sansom (USA)
Episode 7: Michael Gamstetter (USA)
Episode 8: Grant Stone (GBR)
Episode 9: Steve Blackey (USA)
Episode 10: Shannon Gillette (USA)
Episode 11: Woody Itson (USA)
Episode 12: Oliver Kienzle (GER)
Episode 13: Kelly Swanson (USA)
Episode 14: Pat A Lar (GBR)
Episode 15: Billy Mills (GBR)
Episode 16: Steve Brothers (USA)
Episode 17: Aykut Hilmi (GBR)
Episode 18: Alex Leech (GBR)
Episode 19: Mike Janssen (NED)
Episode 20: Brian Gutierrez (USA)
Episode 21: Chad Powers (USA)
Episode 22: Alessandro Barbero (ITA)
Episode 23: Chris Daly (GBR)
Episode 24: Ian MacArthur (GBR)
Episode 25: Steve Strong (GBR)
Episode 26: Stephen Joseph (GBR)
Episode 27: Paul de Jong (NED)
Episode 28: Jon Western (GBR)
Episode 29: William "LaRock" LaRoque (USA)
Episode 30: Johan Janssens (BEL)
Episode 31: Darren Chan (USA)
Episode 32: Frank Lukas (GER)
Episode 33: Jason Teraoka (USA)
Episode 34: Shad Johnson (USA)
Episode 35: PJ McKenna (USA)
Episode 36: Henry Sarria (USA)
Episode 37: Jonathan Sherwood (SAF)
Episode 38: Trevor Henry (GBR)
Episode 39: Daniel Purcell (GBR)
Episode 40: Mark McCorkle (USA)
Episode 41: Tom Sustarich (USA)
Episode 42: Adam Cox (USA)
Episode 43: Perry Wills (USA)
Episode 44: John Buultjens (SCO)
Episode 45: Jay Eley (GBR)
Episode 46: Alvin Mullins (USA)
Episode 47: Scott Barrette (USA)
Episode 48: Ashley Little (GBR)
Episode 49: Bill Batchelor (USA)
Episode 50: Steve Firestein (USA)
Episode 51: Jon Hoffman (USA)
Episode 52: Peter Ashby (AUS)
Episode 53: Patrick Freitas (USA)
Episode 54: Mel Stoutsenberger (USA)
Episode 55: Martin Primentel (AUS)
Episode 56: Chino (USA)
Episode 57: Ely D. Thomas (USA)
Episode 58: Mickael Clerté (FRA)
Episode 59: Toby Henderson (USA)
Episode 60: Eddy King (USA)
Episode 61: Byron Friday (USA)
Episode 62: Lionel Eden (USA)
Episode 63: Donnie Platt (USA)