After Johnny Raekes’ last edit, “No Sleep Out East”, it’s safe to say he’s solidified himself as one of the top amateur riders in the game! Johnny is at the forefront of progression, pushing the crankflip into never before seen combos! We caught up with Johnny to see what he’s riding, and why! Check it out.
What parts on your bike are you most psyched on right now and why?
I’d say I’m most hyped on the new Rat Trap pedals. They have a nice wide platform with a perfect amount of pins. They feel so good for things like tailwhips and crankflips. The wide platform makes it a lot easier to catch pedals and to spot your pedals when they come around.
The Rat Trap pedals have to be my favorite pedals I’ve ever had. Other pedals that I’ve tried in the past have had a really small platform, making it uncomfortable for my feet. I always wished I had a pedal with more pins as well, and the Rat Traps are exactly that. They have a great sized platform and a lot more pins than the average pedal. The corner pins are perfect, so often with other pedals if you land a little sideways or with your feet a little bit out of place you’ll slide right off. But with the corner pins your feet stay locked on, even when over rotating a 3 or catching a whip with your feet a bit out of place.
You recently switched over to GLH tires in the front and back, how have they been feeling?
Ya I’d always loved how the GLH tires looked and have always heard about how long lasting they are. So it was really exciting to throw them on, I haven’t ridden them for very long yet but I’ve been loving them so far.
You’re riding Colin Varanyak’s signature Empire State Bars, what are your favorite things about them?
I’ve been riding Colin’s Empire State bars for quite awhile now. I recently went up to the 9.5 rise which is the tallest I’ve ever ran and have been loving them. I’ve honestly never paid attention much to bar geometry but I’ve always loved the way these bars have felt and looked ever since I first got them.
What are some specifics of how you like your bike set up?
The thing I’m most picky about on my bike is how responsive it feels. The Varanyak frame really helps with just about everything I do, the short back end makes everything so much quicker and easier. My cranks and chain always have to be loose. It feels so good being able to do crankflips without ever worrying about if they will come around or not. That feeling is never really possible with a really tight chain or cranks. Short cranks, plastic pegs, and a top load stem are also essentials for my bike.
This is my new Hoffman Bikes Condor frame. It’s crazy how things go in cycles. Before I was ever a pro or sponsored or anything I rode a cracked condor frame that I got from my friend Bob. I loved that bike. Mat Hoffman and the crew came through to the Bethlehem Superdome (a house a bunch of pros lived in ie. Joe Rich,Taj, Luc-e, Mel Cody, Sandy Carson, and Dan Price.) for the first year of the X-Games to pick up Taj Mihelich on their way. I hung out and stayed there a lot and eventually moved in. Mel Cody and these guys said “Hey show Matt the Butcher and Bob video” A video we made for fun of ourselves and joked it was a sponsor me tape that we never sent anywhere. The video had us riding everything, I rode Posh everyday back then and rode trails a lot. Mat was and still is a hero of mine, I would always try to do tricks he did on vert on dirt and my own stuff too. During the video I did a trick the toadstool which was a trick he invented and asked to rewind it. I couldn’t believe it I was so psyched. Then after he asked me if I wanted a new frame. I was like hells yea! Now all these years later I hit up Matt to see what was up with a purple condor frame how could I hook one, he said he thought he had one in his garage he could send me. I was so hyped! So now I got a Condor frame again and I love it. It feels great! Thanks Mat! – Butcher
My bike is setup primarily to bump jump curbs, do grinds, ride on steep embankments, and pedal moderate distances comfortably. Several specific components allow these functions to be performed optimally.
The GLH tires grip the street well and never slide out like some other companies’ tires tend to. They last for months of everyday street riding, grinding, and sliding. The tires must be pumped to at least 90 psi to ensure maximum bump jump/stair riding potential and prevent the occurrence of pinch flats. Any amount of pressure below 90 will prevent certain spots from being ridden. Basketball players don’t play with droopy basketballs because they don’t bounce properly. Why bike riders ride with such low psi is beyond me. Squishy tires don’t roll fast enough and cannot withstand abrupt transitions or high impact vertical bump jumps without the contact of the rim on the obstacle. The goal of riding for me is to let the spot do all the work for me. With high psi, anything can be ridden into causing a launch effect.
Chris’s Skavenger frame laced front to back in Animal parts.
A moderately tough gear ratio and tall seat post is important when riding distances longer than a few blocks. I live in the suburbs in New Jersey and have to pedal for miles in order to get to urban areas that have high concentrations of banks, so I ride a 30 tooth Animal V3 sprocket up front and a 9 tooth driver in my Animal Javelin hub in the back. This gear ratio allows me to keep momentum when riding distances instead of having to do countless crank rotations without getting anywhere. With a raised seat I can do a good portion of my traveling sitting down to save energy for doing barspins while pinching it with my knees.
The parts that I use to grip the bike and the parts that the bike uses to grip surfaces are the ones I am the most particular about. The pegs must be LinOG 4.5” longs. They have proven to slide the best on unwaxed surfaces and last the longest. I have been riding Ed grips and metal Hamilton pedals for years and feel uncomfortable riding anything else. As far as tires go, Animal tires are designed for the streets, they grip better and last longer than any other tire I have tried.
Although my bike is set up for street riding, it has performed well on non-street surfaces the handful of times it has touched them. I rode about a mile through the woods the other day and was able to bump jump fallen trees just as well as parking blocks. – Chris Carter
Frame: Skavenger Bridge 21”
Bars: Animal Big 4
Grips: Animal Ed
Bar ends: None
Stem: Animal MR Topload
Forks: Animal Barrett
Chris trusts his Big 4 bars will never slip with a MR topload stem locking them in place.
Tires: Animal GLH 2.1
Hubs: Animal Javelin and Primo N4
HubGuards: Not sure
Rims: Animal RS and some old rim from Hippie Erick
Seat: Animal Cush
Seatpost: A long one
A tall seat post, and a Cush seat make all the difference when pedaling long distances.
Seatpost Clamp: Animal
Cranks: Animal Akimbo
Sprocket: Animal V3
Chain: KMC Heavy
Pedals: Hamilton Metal
Pegs: LinOG 4.5” Long
Mods: Grinded the pegs down
Chris boosts a brick transition most would deem unridable.
Super stoked on building up this brand new bike. It is a Brooklyn Machine Works frame laced with complete Animal Bikes parts and it is one of the best set ups I have ever ridden. I am beyond happy how it came out. I feel this new set up fits my riding style perfectly, and that I will be able to put this machine through hell. Looking forward to seeing what new adventures that this new ride brings. – Anthony DeRosa
Frame: Brooklyn Machine Works – 20.75
Bars: Colin Varanyak Signature Empire State Bars
Grips: Edwin Grips Flangless
Bar Ends: Animal Black Aluminum Bar Ends
Forks: Animal Prototype
Stem: Black MR Front Load Stem
Headset: Black Animal Headset
Cranks: Akimbo Cranks – 170
Pedals: Black Hamilton Plastic Pedals
Bottom Bracket:Animal Black 22mm
Pedals: Black Hamilton Plastic Pedals
Pegs: LinoOG Pegs 4.5
Seat: Animal Broadway Seat
Sprocket: Black M5 Sprocket
Hubs: Javelin Front/Rear LHD Cassette Hubs
Tires: GLH 2.25 Tires
Rims: Black RS Rims
Pegs: LinoOG Pegs 4.5
Anthony DeRosa laces a feeble to smith on a ledge as rough as it is tall.