Ramp Room Made Prototype
The Hoffman Taj frame first appeared in the June 1995 RIDE BMX magazine. It was listed in a “New Products” section, and was titled as a “secret spy photo of a new prototype frame”. It was listed along side the Jay Miron Punisher frame. You can see the article below (i cut the picture of the Punisher out, but you can still see the text).
Here’s a full size scan of the prototype Hoffman Taj frame. It’s not the best picture, but it’s the only picture I have of this frame. Note that it has an integrated seat clamp, which the production models didn’t.
Here’s some info provided by Shane Kinsley (the guy who welded…. most of it!)
That’s the only Taj I welded (most of). The upper wishbone junction is my design. Allowing the welder to hand-fit wasn’t a thing. Too much material had already been removed. 1/4″ (or bigger) gaps had to be addressed. Was crooked in the rear triangle.
The geometry closely matched a S&M Holmes.
So with all the info above, there’s something that needs to be taken into account about the dates. Even though it was only published in the June 1995 Ride Magazine, that magazine would have been released up to a month earlier than the actual magazine date, and then there’s the lead time to take the photos, get the mag ready, get the mags printed and shipped out… so the content in the June 95 magazine, could be anywhere up to 3-4 months prior to the actual date of the mag. The Taj prototype frame was actually made in January 1995, even though the magazine only first publshed it in June 1995.
Ramp Room Made
The production Taj frames were released in 3rd quarter of 1995. They were available as a frame and fork kit. The forks on the Taj were identical to the forks that came stock on the 96 Condor frames. In the Ride BMX Magazine October/November 1995 issue, there’s a small text snippet that reads as below, the relevant part there is the part about the Taj frame being “available soon”. So taking into account the lead time on the Ride magazine, this call could probably have happened around July/August 95.
Then in the next issue of Ride BMX Magazine, December/January 1995/1996, it’s got an article about the new Taj frame, so that would put the release late in the 3rd quarter of 95, just as a general guide.
They were sold up until the ramp room production closed around mid 96, the specs from the taj article are below.
– Head Tube Angle: 75°
– Seat tube Angle: 70°
– Bottom Bracket Height: 11-3/8″
– Wheelbase: 36-3/4″ – 38-1/8″
– Top Tube Length: 20-3/4″
– Top Tube Diameter: Ovalized 1-1/4″ by 1-1/2″
– Down Tube Diameter: Ovalized 1-1/4″ by 1-3/4″
– Seat Tube Diameter: 7/8″ Inside diameter
– Chain + Seat Stay Diameter: 7/8″
– Dropouts: 1/4″
– Back End Length: 14-1/4″
– Tubing Wall Thickness: 0.49″
The frame was available in 4 colours with 3 different colour sticker sets.
– Yellow/tan/red (hard to describe the exact colours of this one)
Generally you see certain colour frames with the same colour stickers, so I don’t think they ever released every single colour frame with every colour sticker set, but of course you could buy sticker packs and resticker the bikes so it’s not set in stone. I’ll list the most common variants below.
BLUE PAINTED FRAME AND FORK SET
These frames came with the blue/blue sticker kit. I’ve never seen an original blue taj frame with stickers that weren’t blue/blue from the factory.
BLACK PAINTED FRAME AND FORK SET
These frames came with the black/blue/gold sticker kits. I’ve only ever seen black frames with that colour sticker set from the factory, I could of course be incorrect, it is possible that they came with other colours.
BROWN PAINTED FRAME
I know these frames came with the Yellow/tan/red stickers, not sure if they were sold with any other colours. (bonus trivia, the frame you see below is one of taj’s actual frames that he rode in early 96!)
I’ve seen the chrome frames with blue/blue and black/blue/gold stickers.
The Taj stickers were somewhat random, they came with quotes on them that all use the letters TAJ as the first letters of each word. The ones below are phrases that I’ve been able to verify from pictures, there may be more, if you know of any more and have proof, please let us know!
– Totally Awesome Jumper
– Torn Arm Joint
– Todd’s a Jerk
– T A J
– Total Artificial Joy
– Try a Jump
– Tiny Algorithim Juxtaposition
– Tart Apple Juice
– Totally Accurate Joystick
– Toads and Giraffes
– Tangled Afro Gel
– Terrible Angry Jelly-Fish
– Tasty Alligator Jelly
– Teased and Jilted
– Tyranny and Justice
– Taj and Jay (this one didn’t get much of a run becuase Jay left shortly after the taj was released)
Some original full sticker kits below.
You can see the factory packaging that the stickers came in below on the blue/blue set.
Below are the Yellow/Tan/Red original stickers in original packaging.
Hoffman Bikes Taj ad in the December 1995 BMX PLUS magazine. Once again, factor in lead time for the magazine to be made and come out so the “available now” probably was from a few months earlier at least.