Name: Chad Johnston
Age: Many Moons
Location: Long Beach, CA
Sponsors: S&M, Revenge, Primo, Lotek, Sun Ringle, Neighborhood BMX Shop
Frame: S&M Intrikat
Fork: Primo Strand
Bars: S&M Intrikat 8.5″
Stem: S&M Redneck FLT, 26mm
Grips: Primo Classic
Barends: Revenge Industries
Headset: Revenge Industries
Seatpost: Primo Pivotal
Seat: Integral Pivotal
Cranks: Primo Hollow Bites, 170mm with titanium spindle
Sprocket: Primo Aneyerlator, 23t
Chain: KMC Super Light
Front Tire: Primo Comet, 1.50″
Front Wheel: Sun Ringle Envy Lite rim 1.50″ w/ Primo N4 Flangeless 36h Hub (built by John Warren at Primo, trued by Steve Blackey at The Bicycle Source)
Rear Tire: Primo Comet, 1.50″
Rear Wheel: Sun Ringle Envy Lite rim 1.50″ w/ Federal Freecoaster V2 36h Hub (built by McKinney at S&M, trued by Steve Blackey at The Bicycle Source)
Pedals: Primo Stricker Plastic
Neighborhood BMX sticker on bars.
Which parts do you go through the most?
Tires and grips wear out quickest usually...probably pedals next.
Describe your setup and how you like your bike to feel...
I like a comfortable fitting ride that's real responsive and clean looking. I don't want flex...I prefer something sturdy. Normally I like my bike to feel the same all the time. Once I get a good feel for it I don't change it, but for the past couple of years that's not the case. I've been testing and trying different sizes. Chris Moeller at S&M and the crew have a vast amount of knowledge in bike building and are also open minded when it comes to specific purpose design. They realize each discipline has it's own set of details, so we've been able to try different measurements and geometry and decide what works better.
What part are you most particular about or do you feel makes the biggest difference on your bike?
The frame, then bars/stem, tires, rims, grips. I'm having a hard time narrowing it down to one part...I'm becoming more particular in parts selection lately, I guess.
Do you remember your first "real" BMX bike?
Yes, definitely. Even before that, I remember my Big Wheel. We lived in an apartment complex at the time and a few of our neighbors and friends also had them and we'd ride through the buildings making all kinds of noise...kind of like a L.A. street swarm.
Since you took your pegs off several years ago, what's changed on your setup?
I've been in a position where I'm able to try many different setups. My bars/stem have always been the same overall height, but recently I've been going with taller bars and less stackers under the stem. It takes away a little clearance around the headset but makes for a much more solid headset and less maintenance. Bar width has changed for me. When I first started riding I rode stock, uncut bars, they were much too wide for me at the time, but we believed it gave us more leverage. Then in the 90's I was stoked on narrow bars because it was way less dangerous for death Trucks and I love death trucks. Now I prefer shoulder width bars. They feel the most natural to me at this point in my riding.
Tell us about the unique sprocket bolt on this setup...
I'm running a 23t Primo Aneyerlator and the stock sprocket bolt gets in the way of the chain tracking properly, so I replaced it with a 1″ long recessed head allen bolt...works perfectly.
You had a lot of input on the design of this frame with S&M, so tell us some of the cool features about it...
It's based off of a LTF jig. S&M already had frame building dialed, so I just tweaked it a little to be more flatland friendly. When I first started getting flow from S&M I rode an LAF, then a LTF, then we started talking about a signature frame. I had been riding the LTF for a solid year and really liked it. I never broke it, but there was some flex at the headtube where it meets the downtube. Not enough to crack the metal, just the clear coat, but I could feel it during some tricks, so the first thing we did was add a Sabbath influenced gusset. We also took a little length off the back. I'm especially stoked on the rear triangle; the tapered stays with bullet tip ends are angled in a little more so the dropouts meet more towards the outside of the tube to make a shoe-friendly surface when standing on the rear pegs. The slot in the dropouts is parallel with the ground so whereever your wheel is bolted in at, the headtube angle remains the same. We've also adjusted the toptube and seatstays on this prototype.
Since you own a bike shop now, have your feelings towards working on your own bike changed at all?
Yeah, I prefer a Park Tool stand now. I've always worked on my bike without a stand and kinda slacked on maintenance, but now it's a different story. I still hate any unnecessary wrenchin' though, so I'd prefer a well thought out design that's built to last.
A lot of flatlander riders run grips all the way down their bars...Why are yours so short?
I like them the width of my palm for a few reasons; it makes me grab the same spot every time. Also I prefer my thumb to be off the grip on the metal so leaning the bike over sideways is done easily by pushing on the side of the grip. Plus getting into death trucks the metal slides around my pants easier than rubber.