Interview: Sunday’s Jim Cielencki

bmx trails dirt jumping dirtjumping

Pretty much as soon as I started Can You Dig It I knew that I wanted to do an with interview Jim Cielencki. I’ve known Jim for quite some time now and watching him grow Sunday from an idea into what it is today has been almost as interesting as his riding. I used to always bug him about making a trails frame never really thinking it would actually happen. It did happen though, along with a complete bike geared towards the trails, the addition of quite a few guys who spend most of their time in the woods to Sunday’s team, and two killer trails edits. I shot some questions over to Jim hoping to gain a little insight into the dirtier side of Sunday and the following is what I got back.

When most people think about Sunday, street is usually the first thing that comes to mind, yet you’ve had a “Trail Squad” and trails oriented products for quite a while now. What made you want to branch out from your street line and expand into the trails market?

My goal when Sunday started was to grow into a well rounded bike company and team. We started with street because at that point, it was what I knew best. Now if you look at the team, it’s full of guys who all ride very differently. No guy is a copy of another guy on the team. From the streets to the skatepark and from the trails to concrete, there is a team rider that can shred it all. They aren’t all specialized either, guys like Alex Magallan and Gary Young can ride it all. Garrett Reeves has a ramp past that people forget about. Aaron Ross rides trails all the time and is often found racing a few times a month. BMX is about riding everything.

Who’s on the trails squad these days?

The Trail Squad is Aaron Day, Scot Draper, Bob Delaat and Chris Hilbrich. We flow some other guys as well.

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Trail Squad member Aaron Day by Garrett Meyers

Sunday has always been known for making some of the most technologically advanced and well thought out frames in the industry. Your first trails frame was the Model D, followed by the Conductor, and now the Rooster. What’s been the evolution of those frames and what has set them apart from other frames on the market?

There’s been 4 major changes between these 3 frames. First, the HT angle shifted from 74˚ to 74.5˚ and back. Then the BB height lowered on the Rooster compared to what it was on the Model D and Conductor. The brake mounts shifted from the seat stays to the chain stays and then back up to the seat stays for the Rooster. Lastly, we’ve been slowly shortening the backend down to the Rooster’s 13.75″-14″. There seems to be less and less people having experience with the longer backends, so it became more logical to have them under 14″ CS length. Our frames use 41Thermal heat-treating and are backed by it’s legendary lifetime warranty.

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Sunday’s original trail frame “The Model D”

Any chance Alice In Chains had an influence on naming the Rooster?

No chance! Nothing against Layne Staley, but the Rooster is for roasting!

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“The Rooster”

For the last few years Sunday’s complete bike line has featured a dirt model dubbed “The Scout”. Why did you decide not to offer it this year?

We had it planned, but decided not to do it because selling a trail specific bike is a very difficult thing to do. Do you make it exactly like a trail rider’s bike? If so then there’s a good chance that it will be too big for a kid. If you make it smaller and more maneuverable for a kid then it’s not a trail bike anymore. On the other hand, older guys riding trails aren’t thinking of buying a complete bike, they would be doing a custom build. Our goal with the bikes is to make it as easy as possible for the kid to get into riding. If the bike is easy to ride and learn on then they will keep riding.

Sunday has been pretty involved in supporting Catty Woods, kicking down products for the jams, doing the Catty Woods Scout bonus bike, and most recently giving the winner of best costume at the Halloween jam a choice of any Sunday frame. How did your relationship with Catty come about?

Our connection to Catty Woods is through Bobby Parker and Logan Beyhl who work in the Full Factory Distribution office. Through Bobby and Logan, we were able to develop the Scout Bonus bike with the Catty guys. It’s awesome being able to contribute to what they’ve done at Catty.

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“Catty Woods Scout” Bonus Bike

What are the future plans for the Trail Squad and Sunday’s trails line? Any new products or edits in the works?

Our plans are to continue to support some guys who are out in the woods building and riding all the time. Wouldn’t mind supporting a few more guys though. There is a video project in the works, but it won’t be out til next year. Pretty excited for it.

I think most kids these days see you as just a street rider, but I’ve seen you shred some trails before. How often do you make it into the woods these days?

I started riding in 1983 and it’s taken me through every phase of riding. First, I started racing then ended up riding flatland because I wasn’t competitive enough for racing. At that point, street didn’t exist and we didn’t build ramps yet. Then started riding ramps and street along with still doing flatland. During the mid-90’s, I rode trails during the summers. There was even a vert period in the mid-90’s. Ever ride vert on a trail bike? Nowadays, I don’t make it out too much. Walnut Creek Pump track is super fun, but it’s really far north for me. The other trails are too gnarly for me. Every time I go to East Side, I’m in shock at how fast and high the guys go. It’s amazing.

Do you still think trail riders can only do four tricks?

Nah, but too many tricks gets annoying these days. As I’ve gotten older, I’m more into the seeing people ride fast, go high and be smooth. That’s hard enough to do right there and you can’t learn that in a foam pit.


Trail Squad Fall Trip 2011


2010 Pennsylvania Trail Tour

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