A Ride staff bike check? Sure, why not? Our very own Jeff Zielinski just got a new custom FBM frame and he managed to get all of his worn-in parts off his old frame and on to this one. When Jeff’s not behind a camera, you can find him grinding something weird with his über street specific machine. Four metal pegs, a cassette, and pizza cutter thin tires, Jeff’s bike is not your typical ride…
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 167 lbs.
Location: Long Beach, CA
Sponsors: Animal, Antidote
Frame: FBM Hardway V2, (slightly customized), 21.25" TT
Fork: Odyssey R32
Bars: GT Original 4-Piece, 9" rise
Stem: Animal OG, 10 year anniversary edition
Grips: S&M Hoder
Headset: Odyssey Pro
Seatpost: Odyssey Pivotal
Seat: Animal Cush
Pedals: Odyssey OGPC
Cranks: Fit Indent, 165mm
Sprocket: Animal, 27-T
Chain: Odyssey Bluebird
Front Tire: Animal GLH, 1.95"
Front Wheel: Animal rim, Javelin hub
Rear Tire: Animal GLH, 1.95"
Rear Wheel: Animal rim, Javelin cassette, 9-T driver, Animal guard (non-drive), S&M Cymbal (drive-side).
Pegs: Animal Lino OG (4), 4.5"
Describe this bike for us… What makes it your ride?
I have 18" worth of metal pegs, a cassette, I prefer inward laced spokes on my front wheel as opposed to hub guards, and I run 1.95" tires at roughly 65 PSI.
Why do you run such skinny tires?
I run skinny tires for three reasons. First of all, when I'm on a the road shooting photos and pedaling around a city all day, I want my bike to roll as fast and far as possible with each crank because my camera bag weighs over 60 lbs. Thin tires have less rolling resistance. Also, I typically add a little more PSI to my tires on trips to help maintain optimal rolling. The second reason is less grind interference, when someone with fat tires grinds a rail you can often hear their tires squeaking as they rub against the rail—I need all the help I can get with my grind game. The last reason is clearance for weasel grinds, every one in a while I will find something that I can grind through that other riders wouldn't be able to because their tires are too wide.
What is custom about your frame?
After riding Skavenger frames for like the last 6 years, when it was time for a new frame, FBM was the clear choice for me. I've known Steve Crandall since Ralph Sinisi first got on FBM like 20 years ago or so, and I think that FBM embodies everything that is great about BMX. So riding an FBM was a no-brainer. The Hardway V2 frame was almost exactly what I was looking for—with a 21.25" TT and a short 13" rear end, but the headtube was 75.5°. I've ridden a 75° for as long as I can remember, and at this point in my life, I don't have the luxury of riding often enough to get used to something new—even if it is only a half degree difference. And besides, I don't do any front wheel tricks that require that extra steep front end. So FBM made me a Hardway with a 75° headtube and they surprised me with a custom Z-camera logo plate on the downtube. Jim Bauer designed that logo years ago when I was shooting a lot of stuff for Odyssey and it means a lot to me, so I'm really hyped that they did that. Truly custom.
Are you metal pegs and cassette for life?
While hardly anything is absolute, yes, that's a safe assumption. As far as pegs go, for me personally, the physical act of grinding is the trick—I'm not doing anything more that would require the advantage of sliding on plastic. I love the experience of a basic grind. The only time I get envious of plastic pegs is when I see how easily/far people can do backward grinds, but that's still not reason enough for me to change. As for a cassette, I really enjoy pedaling backward, it has always felt fun to me. The only thing I like about a freecoaster over a cassette is the silence. I can't stand loud cassettes hubs. A quite cassette would be amazing.
What are you most particular about on your bike?
Chain tension, it can't be loose enough to make noise, but it also can't be so tight that when I pull up I feel resistance for my cranks to drop because my chain is too tight. Other than that, PSI, I can't ride soggy tires—but rock-hard tires feel almost as bad.
When was the last time you built up a completely new bike?
I'm pretty sure I've ever had a completely new bike top to bottom. I typically ride stuff until it breaks or is otherwise no longer rideable.
What was the last thing you made to your bike that made a big difference?
Up until a two weeks ago, I haven't ridden any other grips since the Animal Edwin grips first came out. I've known Ed since he was 14 so I took pride in riding a part with his name on it—and those grips are super comfortable. However, over the last year or so—mostly when shooting bike checks—I kept feeling the S&M Hoder grips on people's bikes and damn they felt good—so I decided to give them a try. I was hesitant because they only come flangeless and I've always ridden flanges. It's still a little weird for me riding without flanges—I don’t know where to keep my hands. Once I get focused on riding I forgot about it, but we'll see if I stick with them or not…