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What I Ride – Brian Kachinsky

Brian Kachinsky is one of the most seasoned pros in the game, and he’s still showing no signs of slowing down. He’s got a grip of signature products with GT that cater to his burly and technical riding style, as well as the demands of constant travel—while still giving a nod to his background and roots of Chicago. One thing’s for sure, if Brian’s signature parts are anything like him, then rest assured they’re tough as hell and we’ll around for a long time.

Height: 5’8″
Weight: 165 lbs.
Location: Chicago, Maryland, or wherever my suitcase happens.
Sponsors: GT bikes, Vans

Frame: GT Globetrotter, 20.75”
Fork: Odyssey R-32
Bars: GT Original 4pc., 9.125”
Stem: GT Elevated stem (my signature stem)
Grips: GT Supersoft
Barends: Odyssey par ends
Headset: Odyssey
Seatpost: Animal Pivotal
Seat: GT BK signature, Pivotal with Chicago Train map emboss.
Pedals: Animal Rat Traps
Cranks: GT prototype, 165mm
Sprocket: Odyssey Fang, 25-tooth
Chain: Shadow
Front Tire: GT Pool, 2.3”
Front Wheel: Primo N4FL complete wheel
Rear Tire: GT Pool, 2.3”
Rear Wheel: Primo Freemix complete wheel
Pegs: Primo plastic or Primo steel—all are 4.5”

What are some key things on your bike that are specific to your riding style/make the biggest difference for how you want to ride?
There’s a couple things that I’ve recently modded that have made my bike feel amazing. One thing is cutting my bars down to just under 27” wide. The GT bars come stock at 29” wide, I think, but snipping those extra little bits off makes my bike feel like home. It makes barspins snap around a little faster/easier as well. I don’t do a ton of barspins lately, but it’s nice for them to come around easy when I do. The other thing is keeping everything tight and not rattling. I love having a dialed bike that makes no noise when possible. There are days on trips for example when you don’t have time to give your bike the loving care it deserves, but nothing feels better to me than a solid, dialed bike.

How long have you been riding the Globetrotter frame before they finally went into production?
I have been riding/testing this frame for well over a year. We have gone through a few tweaks before we arrived at the final version that you see today. From day one I loved the geometry we decided on. It’s a great middle ground for tech and burly riding. I mostly ride street, but love how this bike handles in parks and on jumps as well. It feels totally solid on all of it! During the testing phases we added some strength features to ensure that this frame can take a beating. That is very important to me. I need a frame that feels fun to ride, but that I can also trust 100%. This frame has it all.

What were some key features for you when designing your signature frame?
As I mentioned above the geometry is key, but we nailed that first try with these frames. It’s stable, yet responsive. It doesn’t weigh you down or feel sluggish, but it also feels solid and trustworthy. The frame decals are very personal to me and the colors are sick, as well. I wanted something that was clean looking, but also not too flashy. The translucent colors always look awesome to me because you can see the welds and metal detail. It’s kinda like wearing a suit with a slayer t-shirt underneath. Every decal was carefully chosen to correlate with my life and travels. Essentially I think it’s amazing that I use all these types of transportation—cars, trains, planes, taxis, etc—all to use my favorite type of transportation, my bike. I’ve pedaled my bike in over 35 countries and through alleys/cuts all over the USA and world. This frame celebrates all of that and my love for BMX and bicycles in general.

You still packing eight pegs? And at this point, what is your normal setup—you were running your normal side metal and oppo side plastic when we shot your bike…
My peg configuration is about as predictable as Chicago weather. It can change at any moment. I always have four pegs on, but whether they are plastic or steel depends on whatever I’m riding. Usually when I ride parks I use plastic pegs. When I ride street I would say that most of the time I use steel pegs. The exception to that is at flat ledge spots, aluminum rails, and marble anything… plastic is usually best for those. You can’t beat a steel peg on a steel rail or super crusty/rough spot. The sound and feel of steel is unmatched in those cases. I know there are some purists who use metal all the time and I can appreciate that, but I like to use the right tool for the right job. Moral of the story: I don’t EVER want my bike to be the excuse or reason why I don’t get something done. If plastic makes something possible, I use plastic. If steel makes sense, I keep it real. I’m prepared for whatever I might encounter.

You were running flangless prototype GT grips last time we shot your bike, and now you’re running flange grips. Flange/no flange… what’s your preference?
The GT Supersoft grips are incredible. Straight out of the package they feel amazing and they last a really long time. I think GT struck gold with the compound they use for those grips. I used to be all about flangeless grips, but since the flanges on the GT grips are pretty soft and floppy, I like to use that as a guide of where to put my hands. I feel a bit more in control with flanges nowadays, but I like that the grips are designed with a perfect section to cut the flange off if you don’t prefer it.

Your frame is called “The Globetrotter” for a reason—you travel pretty extensively—and so your bike gets broken down and reassembled assumingly much more than the average rider’s bike does. Do you go to any extra lengths to keep the machine running well?
Travel takes a toll on your bike. You can always assume the airline isn’t going to treat your bike well so I do pack it up strategically when I travel. Anytime I get a new frame or bike part in the mail, I save the plastic bubble wrap and wrap my frame, fork, bars and wheels with it when I travel. It weighs next to nothing and is a good recycling option instead of just throwing it in the trash. If you don’t have bubble wrap, you can likely pick some up for free at your local bike shop. Any bike shop usually has plenty that they throw away on a daily basis. You don’t need to go too crazy with it but I can assure you it will help with avoiding scratches and dents that might occur while the baggage people toss your bike onto the airplane.

Tell us about your signature Elevated stem…
My signature GT “Elevated” stem was inspired by the network of elevated trains (CTA) in Chicago. Much like the train system, it’s tried and true by design. It does the job and does it well. This stem, however, is as lightweight as possible while also being completely strong and reliable. The top load design helps your bars sit a bit higher than normal—which I think feels perfect. I don’t like to be hunched over when I ride so this stem puts my bars at the perfect height without feeling like I’m reaching for the stars. I’m really impressed with the bolts on it as well, I have never stripped one or had to swap any of them out despite having to take my stem on and off a lot while traveling.

Are those new GT cranks on your bike as well?
Yes, as you know GT has made amazing cranks for decades and these prototypes are no exception. They are designed for strength while also working perfectly for RHD or LHD. I personally have RHD, but it’s nice to know they work for both. I have put a serious beating on these cranks and never once had a problem. It probably won’t be too long before I can give them my full 100% approval to be made. They have a 24mm spindle, but don’t weigh my bike down at all since it is carefully hollowed out to save a bit of weight. I’m not a “weight watcher” by any means, but I really appreciate when something is both strong and streamlined. This is the first pair of 165mm cranks I’ve had and I don’t think I’ll go back to anything else if I can help it. I like having my feel closer to center and farther away from the peg—165 all day.

Anything else we missed?
All in all I can say this is a solid, reliable, smooth and nice-looking beast that is ready for whatever and wherever 24/7. I like to keep everything “right n’ tight” as I say. To me nothing feels better than a solid, smooth bike even when my riding style can sometimes be pretty harsh. Thanks to everyone at GT for making one of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden and also thanks to Odyssey, Primo and Animal for the other parts on my bike. I feel like the luckiest dude in the world every time I get on my bike for a session. Whether it’s a skatepark or a big rail, this machine is seriously fun to ride.