Max Gaertig has been dishing out his signature blend of technical and burly street riding for well over a decade and as you see his latest video for Animal, he’s showing no sign of slowing down. Not only has Max helped pave the way for a lot of current street riders, he’s managed to do it with only two metal pegs and a cassette. If you want to see a classic street steed, look no further than Max Gaertig‘s WeThePeople / Animal build.
Frame: Wethepeople Buck, Dillon Lloyd sig, 21.3" TT
Fork: Wethepeople Patron, 35mm
Bars: Wethepeople Mad Max, 9.5"
Stem: Wethepeople Hydra
Grips: Wethepeople Hilt
Barends: Wethepeople Supreme
Seatpost: Wethepeople Pivotal
Seat: Wethepeople Pivotal
Pedal: Eclat AK
Cranks: Animal Akimbo, 175mm
Sprocket: Animal V4
Chain: Animal Hoder
Front Tire: Animal MTT
Front Wheel: Animal RS rim, Animal Javelin hub and Animal guard.
Rear Tire: Animal T1
Rear Wheel: Animal RS rim, Wethepeople Supreme hub and Supreme guard
Pegs: Animal Lino OG
What are some specifics of how you like to have your bike setup… What makes it your ride?
I like a tight chain so the crank arms do not move during whips. Also, the back wheel is not slammed, so the bike feels bigger. My tire pressure is usually up to 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 bars and lots of spacers on the fork so the handlebars are as high as possible. The position of my handlebars is not incredibly important to me, although I would probably not go as far as Dan Kruk's Chicago style.
What are you must particular about?
Probably the fact that I am old, but I still ride a somewhat colorful bike [laughs]. I suppose I am trying to look for really strong parts mostly because I don't like putting on new parts. They have to be broken in and that's sort of uncomfortable. My bike feels perfect to me if I have ridden the same setup and parts for at least 4-6 months. That's also the reason why I ride the AK pedals, I rode the prototype for over three years without breaking them—that's why I keep using them. Same goes for the Animal Akimbo crank and Lino OG pegs, I just know they will last for a very long time. What I am actually particular about, too, is top tube length. I don't think I could ride anything below 21.2". The feeling of the handlebars is really important, too. MadMax bars are the best!
You're running the Animal MTT tire up front and the T1 in the rear. Why the two different tires?
I love the MTT tire, it is the best for my front wheel simply because you cannot slip on that tire. The purpose of my back wheel is rather to keep up speed and balance so it makes sense to have a smooth tire. Both of them are really strong and can handle abuse from grinding, that's the most important aspect.
Have you always only ridden two metal pegs?
Yes, since around 2000 I have been riding two metal pegs, no freecoaster and no brakes.
And you're still keeping it classic with the cassette… No interest in riding a coaster?
No, especially not nowadays since two of the best European riders (Simone and Courage) are killing it without one.
Have you always ridden only metal two pegs and a cassette? Ever try three-four pegs and/or a coaster? And why do you prefer to keep it classic?
Over the years I have been messing around a bit on my friend's bikes from time to time, but it just never felt right. To me, this setup is all I ever needed and need to ride BMX for fun. If it limits my trick possibilities, so be it, I can just try to learn others.
Your signature Wethepeople Mad Max bars come with the oversized 25.4mm clamping area. How do they feel compared to traditional bars?
Well, I have seen so many unusual ideas come and go in BMX, but that system is actually very helpful. I used to always have trouble with my bars moving inside the stem—especially on slams. That stopped the minute I used the new 25.4mm. So what changed is that my bike got lighter and stronger. Sorry for sounding like an ad just now, but it's really just awesome.
Peep Max’s latest video for Animal…