Kink Bicycle Company has been around since the early 1990’s. With humble beginnings to owning and distributing major BMX brands now with Blackout Distribution, Kink has grown steadily over the past 18 years. After intentionally almost killing the brand in order to re-vamp it’s image a few years back, Kink has emerged with a killer team, completes, and a full line of accessories. With recent news of the Kink House experiment ending in eviction, we sat down with owner & founder Zack Phillips for a look into where Kink has been and where it’s headed in the future. – Marco Massei
Tell us a little bit about how, why, and when Kink was founded. Where did the name come from?
The story is long and complicated. I get confused and make mistakes all the time telling the story. Basically while I was in 6th grade I started going to shows to watch bands play and taking pictures. When I was in 9th grade I was shooting pics at our trails and Chad Stemmler, a pro rider who also rode for 2B at the time showed up. He lived in town but I had never really seen him at the trails before. I asked if I could shoot some pics with him and he was cool with it. The next time I saw him I gave him some prints of the pics I shot.
A few months later Greg Walsh (a few grades older than me and not a friend at the time) approached me in the hall way and said “Did you shoot this”? I was first shocked that he was talking to me, and second that I picture I shot was a double page spread in Bicycles Today. I later called Hal Brindley who owned 2B with Steve Buddeneck and let them know who I was and that I would love to shoot anything anywhere for them. A few days later a 2B shirt arrived at my house and I remember not taking it off for a year. It smelled so bad, and had holes in it but I didn’t care I was amped. At the same time I was riding more and more street and breaking parts almost every night.
In 1993 there were no aftermarket companies making pegs or sprockets. There really was only S&M and Standard, who both where were making frames. I knew of a machine shop down the street and brought in some broken parts and met with them. About a week later I came back and they had made me some sample axles and pegs. Right when that happened I turned 16, got a station wagon and off I was. We had a really good supportive riding scene here in Rochester that would travel. So every weekend we would go to the Push trails in Pittsburgh or B.S. contest in Chicago or Florida. So I would be shooting pictures and selling parts out of my backpack. For my junior and senior years of high school I got to attend “School of the Arts” and basically just shoot pictures all day, so I would turn my weekend trips into school projects.
The name Kink came around at the same time too. I had talked to Brad McDonald the publisher of Ride about photography and I told him I wanted to advertise my brand. He asked me the name of my company and I didn’t have one. I said I would have to call him back. I knew I just wanted something short, easy and 1 syllable. So Kink was born. No real good story.