By James Ayres
There are some riders in our sport who will always be remembered for their flat-out speed and racing accomplishments. There are others who will be remembered for the contributions they made in technology. Still, others will be remembered for what they brought into existence. Perry Kramer, the P.K. behind SE’s P.K. Ripper, will be remembered for all of these.
If day one of BMX began with Dave Clinton, John Palfryman and Thom Lund, then day two began with Perry. In 1973 Perry started racing at the Palms Park track in Santa Monica, California and it wasn’t long before he reached super stardom with SE Racing. In 1979 Perry picked up the biggest title of his pro career at the Jag World Championships, just six years after he got his start. Having ridden for the infamous Dirt Masters team (the same one Stu Thomsen got his start on), and Mongoose with mountain bike legend Tinker Juarez, Perry has achieved legendary status thanks to his early years as one of the sport’s original pioneers. He has also earned respect as an industry expert today.
Perry is one of the lucky ones; he’s been able to take what he loves to do and turn it into a profession. He’s been able to take his love for riding and transition it into various sales positions, which he’s been doing for over 20 years now. “I started working with Scot Breithaupt while I was still racing pro in March of 1978. I remember selling stickers and padsets to Rich Long (co-founder of GT) at the Anaheim Bike Center. He was one of my customers. I was in the industry even while I was racing,” says Perry. These days Perry is one of Mosh’s sales representatives and spends most of his time in the same area that he grew up racing in. “Now I call some dealers in the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles area that I sold stuff to in 1978. I’ve been selling these guys stuff for over 20 years and I’m not even 40 yet,” Perry told us. But sales are not the only thing that Perry started during his pro career. He was the first one to start what we now know as clinics, with his Pro School of BMX Racing in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The list doesn’t stop there.
We mentioned before that Perry was involved with the creation of the P.K. Ripper, the bike that helped put SE Racing on the map along with their Quadangle. He was one of the key people who helped designed the original “Ripper” frame and although its geometry has changed over the years, it is still fundamentally the same bike it was 20 years ago. To think that top-level experts and some single-A pros are riding a bike that was born in the 70’s speaks volumes for its design and craftsmanship.
Perry may be creeping up on 40-years-old, but like a lot of the other old-school pros, he continues to do what he loves, which is ride. If you look around during a Southern California national, you may be able to spot him banging bars in 36-40 Cruiser. He might not chase national points like he used to, but you can bet he can still get it done when the gate drops.
We couldn’t resist asking him if he thought guys of his era could hang with the top pros of today. Perry commented, “Strength coming out of the gate is at a different level. I like to think that we could have competed at that level, maybe we could have, but nobody was that serious about training until it kind of evolved. I watch the guys now and they’re bigger, taller, and stronger; they’re all built like Stu was.”
The knowledge that Perry brings with him spans almost 30 years. With his background, the last thing dealers are going to have are questions about the product after Perry’s done showing them Mosh’s line. If you ask Perry what his plans for the future are, the answer’s going to be pretty simple; keep selling Mosh bikes and riding, because that’s what he loves to do.