While Mushroom grips were popular back in the 80's, the grip of choice for most racers were from A'ME.
On our very first BMX trip to California in Easter 1981, Chuck Robinson, all well as getting us to a race almost every day/night, took us around all the companies in So Cal - including Vans, Flite, BMX Action, Haro (who was still only making number plates), Torker, VDC and A'ME grips. I think they were in Anaheim back then and they gave us a tour of the factory. I remember they had machinery making moulds for aerosol nozzles, all of course before the manufacturing of that stuff moved to the far east. They also had speedboat in the unit - A'ME stood for Aeromarine Molding and Engineering.
April 1981, Myself and Dave Arnold at the VDC factory with my mum, Chuck Robinson and Voris Dixon looking on. My dad must have taken the photo.
So at 16 years of age I secured Alans BMX as the importer/distributor of A'ME grips and we had the Round and Tri to start with. One thing that always impressed me about A'ME was they supported the sport, sponsoring most of the Pros in BMX at that time and offering a generous contingency for wins and magazine photos. Even with our Robinson and Torker teams they would send us over huge boxes of grips so our riders always had nice new grips every weekend.
Rocking the A'ME triangle; Mannington with Tim March and Russell Merry (on CW), 1983.
After the Round and Tri, then the Cam, came the Unitron, Dual (1 & 2) and the totally mad bonkers Fini a sort of part-grip part-lego which came in 20 parts that you assembled yourself.
The crazy multi-piece A'ME Fini grips circa 1984.
A'ME has also made grips for some the biggest companies in BMX including GT, Powerlite, and for those that claim Oakley grips were better - A'ME also produced the Oakley BMX grips including B-2's, B1B's and O-Wings!
We finally re-connected with A'ME at Interbike in Vegas in 2010 and were amazed that they were still going strong after relocating to Nevada and were just about the re-issue their classic grips.
There is an easy way to differentiate the original grips from the re-issues, the early 80's grips all had the lower case logo, later 80's the "bubble" font and all the new grips have the new angular logo.
Brian Patterson and the A'ME Uni-Tron.
Currently the earliest A'ME grips we carry are the Half Waffle and Full Waffle, which are an MX style grip popular in the late 70's, popularised by Oury. So you can imagine these are a really great period grip for something like a Mongoose Motomag or an old Schwinn or if you just like that extra grip that the Waffle pattern provides.
The Cam, Tri and Round are the classic trio that people were using well into the 90's and we still get survivor bikes in with usable A'ME grips on their bars!
So there you go, great to see a company that still kicks ass 40+ years later.
Leave a comment