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What I Ride – Johnny Raekes

While we didn’t uncover the secret for smith-nose-double-barspins, Johnny Raekes does swear by the short back end of his Fiend Varanyak frame and 160mm cranks as making it way easier to throw his bike around… Peep the ride and read the interview with Fiend and Animal‘s next level trick phenom.

Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 180 lbs.
Location: Kennewick, Washington
Sponsors: Fiend, Animal

Frame: Fiend Varanyak, 21”
Fork: Animal Street
Bars: Animal Empire Colin Varanyak, 9.5”
Stem: Fiend Morrow
Grips: Fiend
Barends: Fiend
Headset: Fiend
Seatpost: Fiend Tripod
Seat: Fiend JJ, Tripod
Pedals: Animal Rat Trap
Cranks: Animal Akimbo, 160mm
Sprocket: Fiend Varanyak, 25-T
Chain: Animal Hoder
Front Tire: BSD 2.4”
Front Wheel: Fiend
Rear Tire: Animal/T1
Rear Wheel: Fiend Cab freecoaster wheel
Pegs: Animal Benny L.

Describe your bike for us… What makes it your ride? 

I try to ride my bars aligned with my forks. I ride the skatepark a lot when I’m home, so I like to have my tires a bit harder so I can go faster and keep my speed longer, so I run my tires around 60 psi. It’s a must for me to have my chain and cranks loose because I love doing crankflips—and having your chain and cranks loose make them spin so much quicker. I also like to keep my seat pretty high, it’s nice for things like switch bars and tailwhips.

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?

The frame geometry plays a big part into the way I like to ride. The back end is very short. Having a short back end makes everything feel better, when I first put it on I immediately felt like I had more pop. It’s easier to hop faster and higher. I can’t see myself riding anything but a short back end. It really does make riding street so much more fun. Before I had a short back end I felt sluggish when I would try to ride a flat ledge, for example. But with a short back end I feel like I can pop as quickly and as high as I need to every time. Making something as simple as a flat ledge so much more enjoyable to ride. I also ride big bars and short cranks.

You’ve got the crankflips on lock, bike setup wise, are there any tips you can give that help make them cranks spin? 
The best thing for crankflips is to have your chain and cranks loose. It doesn’t matter how hard you kick your cranks, if your chain and cranks are too tight they aren’t going anywhere. I’ve noticed having short cranks is also very beneficial for crankflips. They feel faster, and when I catch them I always know where my feet need to be. With longer cranks it’s harder for me to catch my cranks as quickly, and I find myself searching for my pedals, instead of my feet knowing just where to be.

What was the last change you made to your bike that made a big difference?
When I switched to the Colin Varanyak frame I felt so much more control over my bike. Having the short back end really improved my pop and how quickly I can do things. I’ve always been a fan of the short back end, but the Colin frame is the shortest I’ve ever ridden, by far. If you like to ride street I highly recommend getting yourself a Fiend frame. When I put this frame on it felt like I unlocked so many things that I couldn’t do before.

I noticed you’re running two different tires. Is there a specific reason for that?
No, not really, I really like both of those tires and I couldn’t choose between the two. The Animal/T1 tire feels more suitable for the back, and I’ve ran the BSD tire for so long that I felt weird looking down at anything else.