The History of Direct Link

In the mid 1970's, along with my neighborhood friends Chris Heyden, Brad Fanshaw and Steve Goodnight, we turned our Schwinn Stingrays into "Motocross" bicycles. We built wooden ramps in our driveways and dirt jumps in empty lots. We wanted to be like Evel Knievel - to jump higher and farther than anyone. We were helping start a sport and soon BMX was born.

We frequently talked about building our own bikes, and as the sport of BMX evolved, the dream seemed like it could become a reality.

Chris and I became friends with Don Maxwell who was a famous sprint car driver and builder in Lincoln, Nebraska. Don built us custom frames that we raced in 1978-1979. We spent many nights in Don's shop watching the master fabricator build our frames. Chris raced his Maxwell built frame in the infamous ABA "Last Race of the Decade" held in Tucson, Arizona in 1979.

When I moved to Arizona in 1981, I raced with Woody Woodruff at the legendary Chandler BMX track. Woody had designed his own frame, wheels, hubs and countless other trick components. Together we formed REACH BMX Systems in 1983. Woody, Joe Baumert and I named the frame Direct Link and it instantly had a "cult" following with top riders in Arizona and Nebraska. Frame sales took off and they were found coast to coast. Woody has remained involved in frame building and has developed innovative concepts that you see everywhere in BMX.

I designed another frame in 1984 called the A.I.R. This is an acronym for Advanced Innovations Racing. I worked with Don Maxwell to build a short run of the A.I.R. frames. Joe Baumert raced one of my A.I.R. frames on the ABA and NBL Pro circuits in 1984-1985.

Fast forward to 2001. I started racing again and traveling to ABA Nationals. Nebraska old school rider Chris Rowlette and I decided to bring back Direct Link and create an aluminum BMX race frame. The new Direct Link with our unique style of CNC'ed dropouts was introduced.

BMX has changed a lot since the 1970's but there is one thing that remains the same - BMX racers want products that are innovative, trick looking and have the performance to put them in the winner's circle. At Direct Link, our goal is to give BMX'ers what they want. I feel there is a huge advantage to doing business with a rider-owned BMX company such as ours. We're out there every weekend testing, jumping and competing on the same products you can buy at your local shop. What we're winning with on Sunday, you can buy on Monday.

I'm still racing today and can be found tearing it up in the 46-50 Cruiser class at ABA Nationals. We have an excellent group of riders on our Factory Team. Together, we have well over 100 years of combined BMX racing experience and knowledge.

I look forward to seeing you at the races!

Tim Lillethorup
President of Direct Link

Don Maxwell BMX Frame
Don Maxwell Frame, Forks and Stem from 1978-79

REACH AD
Advertisement for the original Direct Link in 1983

Air BMX Frame
Lillethorup / Maxwell designed AIR frame from 1984

2002 Direct Link Prototype
The first 6061 aluminum Direct Link from 2002

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