Did it become an obsession for you to have owned all HARO BMX freestyle models that were ever made?
John Buultjens: I never knew back in 1997 that I would collect every Pro model Haro Sport and Master. All I wanted to do was complete my own three originals. But over the three years it took to bring the bikes back to life, I found so many more bikes and parts available. So I wanted all bashguard bikes in '89 then '90 began. Whilst searching for parts I would find even more bikes, so I decided to create the History of the time Bob Haro was at Haro. Not realizing that those 23 models from 1982 to 1993 would expand once moving to America in 2012.
When you actually started working for Haro Bikes, did you go through the old stock and tools at the factories in Taiwan?
John Buultjens: I sure did. First thing I found was the '80s drawings box, then old slides that are now in a safe place. Other items where the original stainless steel bashplate that was used for the first advert on the black Master. So many other little trinkets that were actually in the trash. Sadly Haro had tossed most items away, but once I found the few that were left. I made sure they would be saved into the history of Haro. Whilst in Taiwan on one of my trips, we visited our pedal maker. They still had the original Fusion DX mold, the mold had corrosion, so it cost us $1,800us to clean the plates and start producing the DX that we offer today.
When you knew parts were not around any more, did you have them made to complete your line and to sell them to other HARO BMX collectors as a Haro product?
John Buultjens: I knew as a collector that some parts are almost impossible to find, so yes looking at what I had and years of searching decided to make replica parts that could help a select few finish their bikes. I always made sure there was one small imperfection or adjustments on every vintage item we produced. One of the toughest and heart braking for me was re-creating the new HPF tire. I sent my OG tires to Taiwan that back in 2008 I paid $500us for. I wanted the mold to be 100% correct, with a smooth sidewall (Thanks to Matthias Dandois and Simon Tabron’s input). Anyway, to re-create the mold our factory pumped my tires up to copy the shape and depth. Well they pumped a 30+ year old tire to 100PSI and you all know what happened, yep my tires exploded. My tire maker tells me and sends me pictures of my tires, I’m like “WTF” The response was “It’s OK, we got the mold” I’m Like “You just blew up my OG HPF’s WTF!” If I told you the amount of my own personal collection Taiwan has broken or destroyed, it would break many readers' hearts, so I’ll stop here.
Do you feel there is a need for BMX products to survive for history's sake?
John Buultjens: 100% OG parts can never be replicated, so yes there is a need for generations to come and see what the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s riders rode and how bikes are today thanks to many still collecting today.
You've sold a big part of your collection, what do you have left?
John Buultjens: I did, I sold 100 of my bike collection. I managed to pay for my daughter's High School fees, thanks to the buyers in Australia. Here in the USA I managed to put 25% deposit down on my new house and buy a ZL1 which I love. I kept my three OG’s that I restored many years ago to 100% spec of the bike I rode back in the day. Plus I now have my 1992 Slammer to spec, 1993 Homeless Mack, Thanks to Eben Krackau for the mint frame and fork. I don’t have my 1994 Zimma, maybe I will find another one day. Just brought home my 1995 STA, huge thanks to Rick Moliterno for restoring the frame then chrome dipping and adding the Trans Green. Damn she’s gorgeous! I also collected every serial number 001 Lineage Production bike. This will be my own personal collection of my years and contribution to Haro. Maybe one day I will have a house where I can display them all too!
When you started riding what bike was the dream bike for you?
John Buultjens: So I started racing at the track on borrowed bikes in Glasgow back in 1982. March '83 I got my first Chrome BMX, it was a Piranha XL with steel Mag Wheels Ha Ha! I really didn’t know at 10 years old what was cool at the time, I should have gotten the Diamondback Viper from Dales bike shop, as it would have been half the weight. So after a year or two of riding I saw a DP firebird in a UK Freestyle Magazine, Little did I know that this was pretty much a copy of the Haro Freestyler. Anyway I always dreamt of owning this bike and in 1986 when we moved to Dundee a local guy was selling his frame and fork, so I got it and built the bike with Skyway’s and all sorts.
Do you have that bike in your posession today?
John Buultjens: Sadly I don’t have it today, but I honestly having my most memorable bikes in my possession, which mean more to me than the DP or the 128 Haro’s I once had.
Name three BMX collectors that you respect?
1) Jason Enns
2) Mike Escamilla
3) Eben Krackau
How often do/did you look on eBay/Craigslist/BMX Museum to shop for old BMX stuff?
John Buultjens: When I was heavily into collecting, I’d say every hour. I had so many favorites saved and bidnapper on items I really wanted. So my collecting became an obsession. Thankfully I have almost every bike I rode and ever wanted, still looking for my 1997 Trans Blue Standard Lengthy.
What's the most ridiculous amount you have paid for a bike part that you needed to own?
John Buultjens: Most Expensive was $2,800us for a set of 1982 Graphite 1’s. Most ridiculous would have to be recently I paid $550us for a set of Blue DX pedals.
Do you have a man-cave where your bikes are displayed?
John Buultjens: My new home has a 20ft wall, so I have started to decorate that, I’d like to have my top 10 favorite rides on there, I have finished 6 so far. Next up is my 1999 Schwinn Torque Flight, thanks to Shad Johnson for hooking me up!
Thanks to: First and foremost my parents of course for not throwing out all my old bikes and parts, I wouldn’t be here today without my loving parents saving my personal memorabilia. I’d like to thank everyone who has bought a Lineage or Vintage product from Haro since I started working as the Brand Manager back in 2012. Joe Hawk our COO for believing in me and bringing me to California from Australia. And finaly all the collectors around the world that have purchased a piece of my collection, I’m so happy that my bikes have gone to loving homes and are on display for all to see, not sitting in boxes like I had.
Previous Episodes on FATBMX:
Episode 1: Christophe Detandt (BEL)
Episode 2: James White (GBR)
Episode 3: JT Freestyle (USA)
Episode 4: Ben Murphy (IRL)
Episode 5: Rainer Schadowski (GER)
Episode 6: GAry Sansom (USA)
Episode 7: Michael Gamstetter (USA)
Episode 8: Grant Stone (GBR)
Episode 9: Steve Blackey (USA)
Episode 10: Shannon Gillette (USA)
Episode 11: Woody Itson (USA)
Episode 12: Oliver Kienzle (GER)
Episode 13: Kelly Swanson (USA)
Episode 14: Pat A Lar (GBR)
Episode 15: Billy Mills (GBR)
Episode 16: Steve Brothers (USA)
Episode 17: Aykut Hilmi (GBR)
Episode 18: Alex Leech (GBR)
Episode 19: Mike Janssen (NED)
Episode 20: Brian Gutierrez (USA)
Episode 21: Chad Powers (USA)
Episode 22: Alessandro Barbero (ITA)
Episode 23: Chris Daly (GBR)
Episode 24: Ian MacArthur (GBR)
Episode 25: Steve Strong (GBR)
Episode 26: Stephen Joseph (GBR)
Episode 27: Paul de Jong (NED)
Episode 28: Jon Western (GBR)
Episode 29: William "LaRock" LaRoque (USA)
Episode 30: Johan Janssens (BEL)
Episode 31: Darren Chan (USA)
Episode 32: Frank Lukas (GER)
Episode 33: Jason Teraoka (USA)
Episode 34: Shad Johnson (USA)
Episode 35: PJ McKenna (USA)
Episode 36: Henry Sarria (USA)
Episode 37: Jonathan Sherwood (SAF)
Episode 38: Trevor Henry (GBR)
Episode 39: Daniel Purcell (GBR)
Episode 40: Mark McCorkle (USA)
Episode 41: Tom Sustarich (USA)
Episode 42: Adam Cox (USA)
Episode 43: Perry Wills (USA)
Episode 44: John Buultjens (SCO)