|Founders: James Shephred, Dave Parrick and Ruben Castillo in 1991.|
Based in Austin, Texas.
Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, november 2009: During the dark days of 1991, before the Internet, when the only form of media still alive and kicking was BMX Plus!, a movement among dedicated BMXers began to arise in the form of rider-owned BMX companies.(...) BMX freestyle came to a point where it almost seemed like it was not going to survive. Thankfully, it did. It's not that people weren't riding. They were, and the sport was definitely progressing, but there was no unified scene, no contests to attend, not enough magazines to read, not enough videos to watch and not enough quality bike parts available. That was the impetus behind start-up rider-owned companies such as Hoffman Bikes and Standard Byke Co., which began around the same time (1990-91) and are all still around today as respected brands. But there were additional, now lesser known brands that came onto the scene and made a huge impact, such as Austin, Texas's own Homeless Bikes.
|early years||Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, november 2009: At the time, a high school student named Dave Parrick had created his own "Club" which was a spoof on Club Homeboy, a club made popular by the editors of Freestylin' Magazine. Parrick's club was called "Club Homeless. In the beginning, Club Homeless made videos and t-shirts which were sold at Austin's own Trend Bike Source.|
Dave Parrick: My friends from and I started Club Homeless as a joke when we were in high school. It was a spoof on Club Homeboy. We just did it for fun and people seemed to like the name homeless so we used it for the bike company.
James Shephred: We started doing videos, t-shirts and things like that, years ago, under the Homeless name, with just me and my friend Dave Parrick.
|1991||Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, november 2009: Homeless Bikes was officially born in 1991. In the beginning, they manufactured two frames: the Mack, a no-frills street/jumping frame, and the Soul Bro, a shorter, flatland-based frame with a standing platform. Additionally, Homeless released US-made forks with 1/4" thick dropouts, shin guards, self-sealing tubes dubbed 'The Fatty', apparel and accessories. The team was a heavy cast of then unknown rippers from the Texas area, including Parrick, Shepherd and Castillo, along with Lee Sultimier, Steve Orneales, Ed Koenning, Eben Krackau, Jeff Harris, Kevin Gutierrez and a revolving door cast of riders from the U.K. (Jason Davies, John Yull), California and more.|
Homeless Bikes came out with revolutionary shinpads. These neoprene screenprinted, velcro equipped guards feature a removable sheet metal insert totally form-fitted to your lower leg.
Pete Augustin is Homeless-mounted.
The Homeless hardware catalogue includes two frame and fork sets -the Soul Bro (flatland/street) and The Mack (street- axle pegs (Forties), seat posts, and stems. Homeless frame and forks were originally custom made by the same manufacturing plant responsible for S&M Bikes.
|1992||December 1992: Ruben Castillo has left Homeless Bikes. He owned half of Homeless with James Shepherd.|
|1993||Homeless Mack tested in BMX Plus! january 1993.
Homeless Trash video produced by Homeless Bikes in 1993 and starring James Shepperd, Dave Parrick, Kevin Gutierrez, Chase Gouin, John Yull, Lee Sultimer, ... with tricks such as icepick grinds, handrail to 180°, 30 steps handrail, ...
Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, november 2009: Under the direction of Parrick and Shepherd, Homeless created two videos which would go on to become legendary in the realm of BMX videos: Highway To Hell, released in 1992, and Trash, released one year later and described as "A film based loosely on the handrail." Both broke new entirely new ground on the riding of the era, and I honestly don't have enough words in my vocabulary to explain why they are so integral to the progression of BMX riding. Mat Hoffman may have been the first rider to figure out how to grind a handrail, but it was the Homeless crew that opened up BMX's collective eyes to the possibility of what could be done on a handrail; something that is still being explored almost twenty years later.
But that wasn't the only influence that Homeless had on the BMX scene. Without even trying, the Homeless brand and team possessed a certain aesthetic and stylistic approach to BMX, which, at the time, really wasn't on anyone's minds. They hired an artist named Gregg Higgins to create the look of Homeless ads and graphics, mixing black and white '70s era images of pimps and cretins with progressive riding photos, such as tailwhips over spines, icepicks down rails and fakie peg stalls on street signs. Sometimes, the ads made outrageous claims (such as a Craig Grasso pro model), and sometimes, the ads simply quoted rap lyrics from The Black Sheep. It was a bizarre mix of original, technical street riding, backlash against corporate BMX companies and subversive imagery. And maybe it was just me, but at the time, I ate it up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
James Shepherd left Homeless and Gregg Hansen has control of Homeless and owns the rights.
Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, november 2009: Things changed pretty drastically for Homeless after the release of Trash. The brand, which was being run by James Shepherd and Gregg Hansen, was purchased from the original owner by Hansen. Following the purchase, Shepherd was pushed out of the company, leaving Homeless entirely to Hansen. Most of the team followed Shepherd, and attempts were made by Shepherd to start two new companies: Homeless Jr. at first, and later on, Family Bikes. Nothing ever came to fruition with either company, but once again, the ads created by both ventures were truly iconic.
|1994||1994 Homeless catalog: After years of delays, dealing with other manufacturers, all Homeless bikes are made in our very own factory in Austin Texas.|
|1995||Owner: Gregg Hansen.
Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, november 2009: Original Homeless partner Gregg Hansen soldiered on with Homeless for a few more years, moving their manufacturing in-house to a machine shop in Austin, sponsoring the likes of Dylan Worsely and Nate Hanson, and releasing new frames such as the 'Pornstar' and the 'Player.' Slowly, Homeless became an entirely different entity, from the product to the team to the very feel and ethos of the company.
Homeless Bikes is actually building 40 to 50 bikes a week.
Ride BMX UK august 1995: Homeless Bikes out of Texas have picked up a couple new riders for an expanding team. Dylan Worsley left Standard and is now riding a Player frameset while living in Homeless HQ in Austin, whilst star of the latest Poorboy video 500 miles Ed Koenning is now riding a Mack frameset.
|1997||Homeless Mack frame check in Ride BMX UK june 1997.
Entire manufacturing unit went down in flames.
Ride BMX UK october 1997: Homeless Bikes just suffered a major set-back, due to the fact that their entire manufacturing unit went down in flames. The welding shop where they make all the bikes just burnt down - although how this will effect Homeless and the bikes is unknown right now. Could they carry on like a phoenix from the ashes ?
Brian Tunney, www.expn.com, november 2009: Unfortunately, this turn of events led to the demise of Homeless Bikes. But the influence that Homeless had on riding, whether you know it or not, is going to be felt for a long time to come.
|Ruben Castillo 1991-1993|
Jason Davies 1993
Chase Gouin 1991 Chase: I had heard that there was a new bike company starting called Homeless, and I found out that James Shepherd and Ruben Castillo were starting it, and I gave James a call at Trend, and I said "Hey, I heard you guys are getting your act together, starting a team called Homeless, and I was wondering if you guys need a flatlander". And it was almost as simple as that, he said "Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I need one, and I was thinking about calling you up", so I just called up, and it was pretty much that easy. It's my first sponsor, and I'm pretty stoked on it. - 1992 october 1992: Chase is leaving Homeless (in good terms) for Standard. Apparently the lure of cash was too hard to resist.
Greg Guillote 1991
Kevin Gutierrez 1993
Nate Hanson 1995
Jeff Harris 1991
Ed Koenning 1993 - 1995 - ....
Eben Krackau 1993
Bill Nitschke 1993
Nicolas Olic 1995 april 2010: I think I was the only Homeless rider from Yugoslavia / Serbia. I was on the Homeless team in 1995 when Dylan Worsley was with them. We lived together in a house in Arlington TX. I was heartbroken when the Homeless factory in Austin went in flames. That is where they made the cool homeless shinpads and other clothing. It was surprising how many cool pieces of clothing they had. My Homeless shirts are still alive and well, some 15 years later :)
Steve Ornales 1993
Dave Parrick 1991-1993
James Shepherd 1991-1993
Lee Sultimer 1993
Dylan Worsley 1995 - ....