When it comes to street riding, Ben Lewis has always been on the other side of the roundabout in terms of progression. After recently becoming a father and buying a house, the slightly more domesticated version of Benny L. is still pushing his own brand of street riding and his latest ride reflects that with some interesting changes—including only two pegs, bars pushed further up, and more…
Photos by James Cox
Frame: Undisclosed Sample
Fork: Animal Street Fork
Bars: Animal Big Four
Stem: Animal Sample
Grips: Animal Jeff Kocsis
Barends: Animal Jeff K but heavily beaten into the bars
Seat: Animal Nigel
Cranks: Animal Akimbo, 160mm
Chain: Animal Hoder
Pedals: Animal Rat Trap
Front Tire: Animal GLH, 2.1″
Front Wheel: Animal prototype rim, Javelin hub, Cult Guard
Rear Tire: Animal GLH, 2.1″
Rear Wheel: Animal prototype rim, Javelin cassette, Pyn Guard
Pegs: Animal Benny L, 4″
You've had some big changes in your life recently… buying a house and becoming a dad. Congrats on both! How's dad life been thus far?
Thanks a lot. Life has been very kind to me recently! Everything in my life has kind of just fell into place thanks to the 'lil fella.
How has having a baby affected your riding?
Before he was born I was a bit more apprehensive about trying bigger tricks. But now he's here I feel more pushed by his progression every day to do the same.
I'm assuming you bought your house in Liverpool? What's it like to have a place you can really call your own?
Amazing! I’ve always wanted somewhere to just be me and to decorate and relocate as I see fit which you really can’t do when you're renting off somebody else. I feel at peace there for the first time ever. It’s helpful I live next to a skatepark even if it is the oldest one in Liverpool and rough as fuck [laughs]. It used to have a half pipe and all kinds of metal ramps, but now all that’s left is a very badly decayed concrete bowl that’s more flat bank than transition [laughs].
So lets get onto the bike stuff… You're only running two pegs at the moment, and a Silva nub nut up front. What gives?
I just wanted to spice things up a bit. I used to do a lot of switch foot opposite pegless stuff back in the day and I just feel I’ve got unfinished business there [laughs]. I have the Silva nut on the front as I used to have wheel nuts on the front back in the day, but trying pegless rails with modern female hubs and just a 3mm axle bolt was proving pretty dangerous for my face.
Tell us about the frame you're riding… What is it? And how does the geometry compare to your old signature Benny frame?
It’s a prototype that I will be able to disclose more information of very soon. But the geometry is something I’d just always wanted to play with. Just kind of taking what I did with the Benny and pushing it as far as I think is possible.
Did you push your bars further forward than you used to run them?
Yeah they are further forward right now. I like how it feels being further over the front end of my bike and I like the way it looks too.
Tell us about the new Animal stem you're running…
It’s a higher rise than Animal currently have on offer with the MR and inverse stems and it’s proving very strong, too, so I’m really enjoying it.
It looks like you have more pins on your pedals than usual. Don't you usually prefer to have no grip on your pedals?
Yeah, I really hate grip I like my feet to feel free to move about, but something about these Rat Trap pedals just feels great. Guaranteed I still go out and rub off a lot of the grip on the nearest curb, but I’m not as militant as I used to be [laughs].
Still rockin' the cassette… no plans to switch to a coaster hub?
No, I’m back on the cassette for good. I put it on to try some ideas I had and I thought it would make some things easier, but after two years nothing had really changed for me aside from me having to get my landings more dialed when doing lines so that’s been helpful!