What product has kept Jiri Bulin rolling through the Mancunion winter...?
Having been spurred on by Stu Reynolds and Eddie Belvedere after a chance meeting in Prague, Jiri Bulin boarded a flight to Manchester and never looked back. It’s been over a decade now since Jiri swapped Stalin Square for Urbis, and in that time he’s built himself a vast catalogue of output that includes video parts, interviews, and hugely sought after magazine covers.
These days, Jiri is a family man, though still finds time to venture into Manchester to continue his Black Sheep endorsed reign of north-western street destruction. For this week’s Gear Check, we caught up with Jiri to take a close look at his all terrain and well-worn rig. Read on…
Jiri in Chrysalis by Piilgrim - skip to 9:40 (or watch the whole, brilliant thing).
In complete contrast to the freewheeling Denis Lynn last week, Jiri (who, coincidentally, was Denis’ one time team mate on both Vans and the now sadly defunct Supedead Skateboards) has stayed faithful to the traditional popsicle shaped board mould over the years. Though Jiri does routinely skate transitions, he’s not about to switch up his tried and tested shape in order to (hopefully) assist his backside bonelesses on nine foot vert walls. I was going to say that residing in Manchester does mean that you need to dabble with ‘the ramps’ in order to skate through the winter, but we all know that’s not necessarily true. Anyway, we’ve obviously caught Jiri at the wrong end of the board cycle here, because this plank is looking ready to embrace its impending retirement. Underneath the hefty sticker job – including customary representation for The Black Sheep and Piilgrim - lays the remnants of a special woodstained Vice Monster board from Toy Machine, coming in at 8.38” wide. I remember a time when they only two people I knew of who skated boards above 8.25” were Andy Scott and Nicky Howells, but over the last few years it seems that everyone has gone up a few fractions of an inch in width. Though once only reserved for Welsh tech-lords and Bolton vert Jedis, boards that languish around 8.38” seem to be commonplace these days, though shops have been reporting that, throughout 2020, slightly slimmer boards that came in between 8.00”-8.25” were once again increasing in popularity.
Getting things back on track, Jiri can be found leaving a lasting impression on the many angled surfaces of Manchester thanks to his Theeve 5.85 CSX V3 trucks. Founded in 2007, Theeve are credited as being the first truck brand to introduce titanium into the mix, which is something that they’ve integrated into their timeless CSX range. Jiri’s raw CSX V3s are constructed using a special titanium/alloy blend, which ensures them a long shelf life, and the simple, gimmick free design makes these a great truck choice regardless of whether you prefer grinding your way around the Pumpcage, or seeking winter shelter in one of Manchesters many undercover carparks.
Much like his Toy Machine boards, Jiri’s Pig Wheels also come out of San Diego’s Tum Yeto camp. Judging by their appearance, these 52mm fellas have clearly been covering a lot of Mancunion miles over winter, though we’ve been assured that the instantly recognisable Pig Head design once adorned these natural urethane numbers, as it has done countless sets of wheels since Pig first started production back in 1996.
And what else would Jiri have holding this whole set up together? As if it needs to be asked - Maybe Hardware launched partway last year and has taken the bolt game by storm, snapping up talent like there's no tomorrow and flooding the industry with next level allen key technology like nothing that has come before it.
Not long after his arrival into Manchester, Jiri was snapped up by Nic Powley for the Vans UK team, though somewhere along the way, he made the switch and started slipping his premium Piilgrim socks into some comfortable pairs of Etnies. The Chris Joslin pro shoe depicted on Jiri’s feet here are fairly straightforward in appearance, though do boast of a hidden toe caps that offer additional reinforcement to areas most at risk of wear from flip tricks, and there are both foam insoles and midsoles to help absorb impact should you decide to go leaping down any Joslin-esque sets of stairs. Of which there are more than a couple in Manchester…
As with all of the Joslin pro shoes, these ones come complete with a sole that utilises Michelin’s PC00 rally racing tyre compound. This special substance lends itself perfectly to skateboarding, as it creates stability, and combats the heavy abrasion inflicted on skate shoes from griptape contact and constant impact.
So there you have it. Before you get on your way, be sure to give Jiri a follow on Instagram, and keep up to date with his all weather, all terrain assault on the varied architecture of Manchester!