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The Connection between Titan - ESP - Quikline - Blacklite - Ultracraft - Gunn

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Can anybody help me out on the connections between these companies? I'm very interested in the bikes made in my so to speak backyard. Ken Burleson and Jesse Cortez welded all these companies, but some of these bikes themselves are confusing to name.

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TITAN

 

I found this info off VintageBMX.

 

"Well you have found one of the sources of Titan, My name is James Foreman, my father Bert was cofounder of Titan around 1982 in San Antonio, Texas. I named the company one day in high school study hall, titan was already in the name of the material the bikes were going to be made from so there was no rocket science to naming it. We had a factory team originally myself Ken Burelson (father was our welder and partner) he must have been 8 yrs old and I was 14ish, we later added a Houston rider Jason Allison 10x a few years later todd Mitchell rode for us and at the end of my carreer I think Eddie Sigemund was or was going to ride for us. About 4 years later my dad and Ken Sr. had a falling out, I was getting burned out (racing 9 times a week) and then at the age of driving and wanting to play HS football I retired in 1985. The company was sold to someone in Austin around 1986, I have no idea how it ended up in Oregon. If you are looking for old school Titan products, I happen to have (if not lost in storage or in moves) the original cruiser prototype which I used to chaulk up over 20,000 points and the original 20" prototype (both chromoly) that I also got over 20,000 points in 1984. Check Pee Wee's ABA points history website (TX4). The cruiser was by far my favorite so I had it finished in a brass chrome, looked great but it would scratch easily. 
The bikes were made for small kids anyone over 11 (I can't remember the weight limits) would break them) we had a lot of problems with the neck tube breaking which is why we welded gussets to them, as seen on one of the posted pictures. I don't know any of the specs, its been 20 years! seems like yesterday. About the finishes, most were left raw since paint/chrome would not stick well, I think we tried powder coating but do not remember the results but to get a better look at a higher price we would polish them with a buffer and get an almost chrome look to them. I will dig around for some old photos to post and the bikes to put on ebay, I have held on to them for sentimental reasons but if there is really that much interest, I may talk myself into parting with them. I do remember them having redline cranks (best at that time) and "bear trap" pedals that I would put on a grinder and sharpen to a razor point, they worked great but every now and then I would slip a pedal and thank God for shin pads (ruined a lot of leathers that way) Also there were a few people who tried to ban me from racing with them that sharp but I managed to get around that issue. Well its been great reminising but I have to go, write back with any questions and I see what I can dig up. Feel free to use my email address as well I've never been on one of these forums and am still trying to figure it out. thanks for your interest."

 

 

 

And this is from jkraig. Thanks Jason!

 

"To the best of my knowledge and memory, this is what I know about Titan


Burt Foreman approached Bob Furry and Scott Furry at the 1984 ABA Grand Nationals, Burt wanted Scott to race a Titan frame. Bob would spend the entire night stripping the Patterson Scott was riding to build his new Titan. Scott didn't have much luck with his new bike; he didn't like how it rode. Bob and Scott returned home to Colorado. A couple months past, and Burt contacted Bob again, he had made some suggested changes to the Titan and asked Bob and Scott to meet him in Las Vegas for a preseason race. Scott loved the new Titan, and liked the mini cruiser even better.

In early 1985 Bob who was the team manager and Scott started the national season in Reno, NV at the Silver Dollar nationals. Scott took 2nd in the 12 Crusier class, and Burt Foreman offered Scott a full factory sponsorship. Scott joined Jason Allison, Ricky Pozzey, Burt Foreman's son and others to make up the first Titan Factory team. Bob and Scott hit every ABA national that year, Scott doubled at 7 national events, won the Gold Cup and in November was crowned National #1 in 12 Cruiser and National #6 overall, on his 20" he was National #2 in 12 Expert second only to Brent Romero, who was the National #1 Amateur that year. Mid 1985 is when Bob offered me a sponsorship, and off I went on the road with both him and Scott hitting all of the nationals that year and into 1986, including the USBA Grand nationals in Ft. Worth Texas. I ended up #1 of Colorado in both the ABA and USBA and #3 nationally in 16 Expert. Eric Carter who rode for Hutch at the time was #1.

In 1986 Bob Furry bought Titan and as the owner of Titan Inc., moved his family and the company to Eugene, OR. Titan continued to make titanium frames. Bob experimented new titanium tubing he would get from Sandvik, and welded one of the first 3/2.5 seamless titanium BMX frames. Titan also started full production of their Cro-Mo frames for the older riders. Using the same ideas that made the mini frames so hot, the loop rear end that was shorter for quick starts and acceleration out of corners, the struts from the BB past the seat tube to the top tube for added stability and to minimize frame flex.
In 1987 Titan built their first mountain bike, the 1/2 Trac, a dual elevated chain stay frame made from True Temper tubing. With the success of the 1/2 Trac, Titan turned its efforts to making what they new best, titanium. In 1989 Titan built it first titanium mountain bike frame.

In 1989 the rear end wishbone design is introduced for the Junior, Expert, and added Pro models.
In 1991 when Titan merged with the S.L. Liu's bicycle company the end of an era was drawing to a close. In 1992, due to undisclosed differences about how the company should be run and the direction it should pursue, Bob Furry resigned as President of Titan's Racing Division. Scott would take over as President for a short time, until S.L moved the entire company to Yorba Linda, CA. Scott would resign from Titan at the end of 1992.

Titan crafted many, many customized bikes for kids all over the world. In 1986 Michelle Gibson's 2 year old brother had one of the smallest, while Jared Krisiloff had one of the lightest, it weighed less than 6lb. for a complete, race ready bike, and it was also one of the most valuable due to all the handcrafted titanium parts. Its estimated value was over $15,000.
Titan is still around today. You can find their bikes in Target, Wal-Mart, and other box stores as well as eBay.
____________________________________________________
Titan team sponsors included: Echo, Sun Rims, Vans, M&M, AME’, Dia-Compe, and Zeronine.
____________________________________________________
BMX Frame Models:
Mini – All came with a custom pressed in bottom bracket with spindle. Road bike headset
M1
M2
M3
Junior – European bottom bracket.
JR
JR 24 cruiser
Expert –
TE-1000
Cruiser –
TC-1000
Mountain Bike Models: 
½ Trac
Titanium
1989 – The rear end wishbone design is introduced for the Junior, Expert, and added Pro model. 
____________________________________________________"

 

There's not much confusion here. You know when you're looking at a Titan.

 

From this info, are we to gather there is no such thing as a "Pro sized" Titan frame that doesn't have the rear wishbone?

 

How do you tell a Texas made Titan from a later one? Obviously if it has the wishbone you'll know, but if not? Is there a way to tell?

 

This one must have been made in Texas. 

f099a24c.jpg

 

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BLACKLITE

 

http://www.bmxsociety.com/topic/56872-black-lite-suvivor/

 

This is a valuable thread on Blacklites. It seems they had generations, at least. The titanium frames, the non-looptail chrome-plated aluminum frames, and the chromoly looptail frames (kind of look like Rebels.  :OSshuffle: )

Regarding the company itself, it seems this was Ken Burleson's personal one.

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ESP

 

Each paragraph is a separate comment, from the BMXmuseum.

 

Esp was orignaly named after Eddy Sigmond. Eddy Sigmond products.  I don't Know much about that time period.  After Eddy, Dugan Finnell owned the company.  He produced a few of the frames and forks.  My first Esp was a 20".  It had thiner than 4130 chromo walls.  made for lighter and younger kids.  I sold that bike to a kid in Texas 1988 when I got over the 120# weight limit.  Got  my 24" after that in 1998.  Got a Haro after that while waiting for my new esp 20".  I fell out of racing 93 and esp never produce more so I never got that 20".  I can not say enough about Dugan Finell.  He was my sponser for maybe 4 years.  To me bmx revoled around him.  He was one of the ABA's main men.  He was an anouncer for nationals. hewas there through the track builds to the end at nationals.  He cared so much about the kids.  To Dugan sportsmanship was more important than skill.  I have recenly tryed to get incontact with Dugan and hope to get though to him.  I will fill in company info after I interview him.  I trully love that man and his family.  He was so important to bmx, I would love to hear from others that had contact with him.

 

Esp stems was the firts ESP.  don't know if they produce other stuff will find out.  The second generation when Dugan owned it is what I know the best.

 

This production of esp was raw, I had to clear coat it myself.  Dugan didn't even bother with stickers.  The earlier production runs where chromed and had stickers.

 

I rode for ESP in the late 80's and early 90's.  ESP was owned by Dugan Finnell out of Texas.  He owned and operated cow town bmx in Fortworth.  Dugan worked for the ABA announcing many of the nationals.  It was Dugan's voice on the gate starting system when it first became computer automated.  Brad Finnell (Dugans son) was one of their best riders; winning the grands several times.  Zack Robuck rode for ESP just before he became National #1 rider in the points race aound 1990.  Dugan was the coolest guy in bmx at the time, I very lucky to have been able to ride for him.  I am the only rider they ever had not from TX.  I still have my 24" Esp.  Serial # 1016 yours is 3 behind me.  Soon I will have it pictured in the museum.  If you are interested in getting rid of that frame, let me know Esp has a very special place in my heart. Or any other info, I could go on.

 

Regarding ESPs they are also pretty easy to identify. They have the middle fork like the Titan, but no looptail. The dropouts are not easy to miss though.

 

img_2272_copy5_blowup.jpg

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A Titan Mini with a gusset is probably made in Texas. One without is probably not, but who's to say Ken Burleson didn't make some without the gusset? Also, this doesn't answer the question for experts or cruisers.

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Some info from Eben Krackau:

 

There were definitely quite a few reputable frame builders here in San Antonio. Besides Gus and Ken, I can vouch that Jesse Cortez did some amazing work. Jesse actually built two freestyle frames for Rooftop and I back in 94 for a company that we were possibly going to start together. Eventually we both figured out that a 17 and a 20 year old had no business starting a bike company and ended up riding for different brands on our own. Both of those frames are still in existence, Mike currently has both of them, but will be sending me the one that I rode back over the next few months.

 

As for Jesse, I think that he and Ken worked together on several different projects, not sure which ones though. I know that eventually Jesse had a bit of a reputation for making additional frames during his free time and selling them for a slightly lower price than the other frames that he was helping with and quite a few people were relatively pissed and somewhat tried to black ball him. I never saw any of that since I was so young, but never had any issues with him while he built me and Mike’s frames. He was always on time and made sure they were built to our expectations, so this definitely didn’t apply to him with our project. I do think that he may have helped with some of the Blacklite stuff once Ken left, and then later on helped a bit with Titan and may have continued on welding frames with titan once Ken left and started doing KB frames. I think Jesse is actually working for one of the companies that I deal with here at work as a fabricator, I need to verify that it’s the same Jesse Cortez. I know that he definitely resembled the Jesse that built my frame only with way shorter hair. Haha. Also in the late 80’s/early 90’s I know that Jesse built a Free Agent 20” frame for Marty Christman, and may have built a few other FA framesets for them on possibly a sample basis? Not completely sure of the agreement that he and Yvonne may have had. I think that’s how here name was spelt.

 

As for who welded the Rebel framesets, that’s definitely a tough one. It may have been Gus, not sure, but he was the only person that I know of that actually was building frames back in the early 80’s here. I do remember hearing that some of their stuff was being built in Lufkin as well as possibly some of the earlier Champion stuff. Also the shop where all the Blacklite stuff was built off of O’Connor road was notorious for throwing out frames that were considered “blem” frames. I’ve even heard that there are still random bottom brackets, head tubes and dropouts still floating around the property. I will say that there were quite a few kids from the Valley Forge, El Dorado, and Woodstone neighborhoods riding around on blem frames back then. Pretty crazy that they would just throw them out like that.

 

There were also Forman frames that were built for a bit, basically a larger Blacklite frame that the Forman boys dad financed. I think all of them were titanium except for the original sample frame which was chromoly. The look was exactly the same, just a taller standover and slightly longer frames to accommodate a larger rider. There were also a few large ti Blacklite frames which, Ricky and Scott both ended up riding as well as a few others (I believe that Keith Smith was one of them). I’d say less than ten were made. As for the ESP frames, I want to say that Jesse was the one that made quite a few of those. At least I remember hearing that. Not sure who made their stems though.

 

There was also a frame builder in Wimberley named Skip Hysack (not positive on the spelling of his last name) that may have been involved with some of the frames as well. I know he did a lot of chromoly work in the past, and his work was nothing short of phenomenal.

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Good stuff!!!

I am not positive but I am pretty sure that the only Texas made Titan's are minis and junior cruisers that came in Titanium and possibly all of them had gussets. I'm still working on telling the minis and junior cruisers apart but I've noticed a lot of them have gussets and my guess is these must be the Texas ones since Ken was well known for having various gussets on his bikes. It looks like according to the info that James Foreman provided the only cruisers and pro made in Texas were prototypes.

 

I also notice how there is no talk in any of the info I've found online about a "Titan XL". I've noticed a lot of people have "Titan XL" frames and they all have wishbone rears. Well, I don't think there was an XL. I think these are the true 'Pro' frames and the others are 'Expert' sized. Unless I can find three different chromoly sized frames (and I'm really looking for somebody to find this, I will be looking myself) this is what I'm going with.

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dsc00120_copy0_lg.jpg

 

ESP cruiser with no middle fork. Apparently an early one. Ii'm thinking that mystery chrome frameset is an ESP too. Now to talk the guy into selling it.. haha

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here are some frames people have pegged as early 90s KB creations.

 

IMG_8120.jpgIMG_8123.jpgIMG_8125.jpgIMG_8126.jpgtitanium-00257825eb4f2.jpg

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found this thread that talks about Quikline:

 

http://www.bmxsociety.com/topic/41616-old-school-racer-at-the-ca-state-finals/

 

"The owner of Quickline bikes was named Fred Hawkins and he lived in Lake Elsonore CA. He owned the Lake Elsonore BMX track (one of my favorite tracks I loved the bridge) He stated Quickline and sold the bikes localy and stated exporting the bikes to other bikes shops in SO cal. He had a Factory Quickline team that was pretty good. Quicklines main competitors were RP Raceing (AKA Roy Piker Racing wich by the way I love to see an RP bike in the museum) and VDC. Shortly there after he sold the track in Lake elsonore and they put up a Kmart in in place. Fred Hawkins stoped the production of The Quickline shortly there after. Fred Hawkins opened a BMX track in Rancho Cucamunga CA about 2 years later that was about 10 mins from the old Elsonore track. "

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off vintage by "buckle"

 

"The bikes came in Blue, Yellow and Chrome. Made off an old Bassett jig. They were made in Wildomar California. (So. Cal) 
Fred and Teri Hawkins owned the company at the same time they ran the Lake Elsinore BMX track which later became Temmecula BMX. Their sons were on the team with Shane ( Brent and Brian, I think) 
The way I heard it was that Quickline became the White Bear Bike Co."

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I started email chatting with James Foreman the guy who's father initially started Titan. Doesn't have any more of his stuff but he's a good connection. Going to get some info on Titan as well as the "Foreman frame" Eben mentions that are like bigger versions of Blacklites.

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Whats the difference between a TC-1000 and TE-1000 Titan??

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Whats the difference between a TC-1000 and TE-1000 Titan??

pretty sure the TC-1000 is a cruiser. I haven't found any ads so all of my research not in this thread is pretty much based off my assumptions.

 

and here are my assumptions

 

1st generation - Texas - Bert Foreman owned - my guess is 1983 for beginning of production

Titan Minis and Titan Jr. Cruisers - welded on gussets. many different kinds of gussets as the welders were always experimenting. I am unsure at this time if there were any that didn't have the gusset that were made in Texas. not sure how many size minis there were at this time. cruiser and 20" prototypes were made as well as 20" frames for factory riders (namely Eddie Siegmund, this was a little later I think 1985 or so).

 

2nd generation - Oregon - Fury owned - my guess is 1986 for beginning of production

They started making one size 20" frames, as well as the same frames from before. I think these frames are 18.5" TT middle to middle and this is what you have, Brian. They were welded with old Race Inc tubing as we have learned. They also had multiple sized minis. I am unsure if there were multiple sized minis in Texas. only time will tell as I am able to buy gusset Titans! I am also unsure if there were any gusset frames made in Oregon, but I don't think so. 

 

3rd generation - Oregon - Fury owned - 1989 

This is when the "pro" frame started apparently, as well as the cruiser frame, as well as the change to wishbone rear ends. I think there is an XL too. Not sure how long it is. No more Race Inc tubing being used I don't think. 

 

Some guy on facebook has what he claims is a Profile made prototype Titan. original chrome.

 

we should start a thread solely for Titan, since the company is much more than just a Texas thing. that's just the beginning years. they really got national success in Oregon I think.

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post-10607-0-60664500-1471540600.jpg

I am stoked, to say the least. I got this frame in a trade, badly in need of repair. I hope to get this thing fixed and built asap. I'm unsure on the direction to take it, I will definitely need some help from the mid school guys. I'm thinking it's 1989-1994 or so?

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What is it?

 

Did you see the Blacklite Greyboy has for sale?

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I'm not sure exactly, a year or two ago somebody on the museum posted a frame just like this, actually two. A cruiser and pro. The guy he got it from said they were custom made frames. This is the only other one I've seen. Theyre welded by Kendall Burleson who originally welded Titans, probably a custom order for somebody in the late 80s early 90s. I'm not sure the year exactly, and probably never will, so not sure how to build it yet. I thought it would be cool if I used that zeronine plate off that Titan, since it has a Titan decal

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I saw the Blacklite. I want it a lot, but too much for me. I don't know how desirable they are so I think I can wait and try to find one for a lil cheaper. We'll see. I have 3 builds to finish, so I'm not tripping on a new frame set unless I can ride it!

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On 7/17/2016 at 7:36 PM, Texasbmx said:

ESP

 

Each paragraph is a separate comment, from the BMXmuseum.

 

Esp was orignaly named after Eddy Sigmond. Eddy Sigmond products.  I don't Know much about that time period.  After Eddy, Dugan Finnell owned the company.  He produced a few of the frames and forks.  My first Esp was a 20".  It had thiner than 4130 chromo walls.  made for lighter and younger kids.  I sold that bike to a kid in Texas 1988 when I got over the 120# weight limit.  Got  my 24" after that in 1998.  Got a Haro after that while waiting for my new esp 20".  I fell out of racing 93 and esp never produce more so I never got that 20".  I can not say enough about Dugan Finell.  He was my sponser for maybe 4 years.  To me bmx revoled around him.  He was one of the ABA's main men.  He was an anouncer for nationals. hewas there through the track builds to the end at nationals.  He cared so much about the kids.  To Dugan sportsmanship was more important than skill.  I have recenly tryed to get incontact with Dugan and hope to get though to him.  I will fill in company info after I interview him.  I trully love that man and his family.  He was so important to bmx, I would love to hear from others that had contact with him.

 

Esp stems was the firts ESP.  don't know if they produce other stuff will find out.  The second generation when Dugan owned it is what I know the best.

 

This production of esp was raw, I had to clear coat it myself.  Dugan didn't even bother with stickers.  The earlier production runs where chromed and had stickers.

 

I rode for ESP in the late 80's and early 90's.  ESP was owned by Dugan Finnell out of Texas.  He owned and operated cow town bmx in Fortworth.  Dugan worked for the ABA announcing many of the nationals.  It was Dugan's voice on the gate starting system when it first became computer automated.  Brad Finnell (Dugans son) was one of their best riders; winning the grands several times.  Zack Robuck rode for ESP just before he became National #1 rider in the points race aound 1990.  Dugan was the coolest guy in bmx at the time, I very lucky to have been able to ride for him.  I am the only rider they ever had not from TX.  I still have my 24" Esp.  Serial # 1016 yours is 3 behind me.  Soon I will have it pictured in the museum.  If you are interested in getting rid of that frame, let me know Esp has a very special place in my heart. Or any other info, I could go on.

 

Regarding ESPs they are also pretty easy to identify. They have the middle fork like the Titan, but no looptail. The dropouts are not easy to miss though.

 

img_2272_copy5_blowup.jpg

 

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