Jeff With Glasses hails from New Jersey, where’s been steadily killing the streets for years with an unmatched eye for setups and the mastery of crooked and 60/40 grinds. If you haven’t seen the LFS 2 video yet, you’re seriously missing out—on Jeff’s ender section and the whole video in general. However, GT did see the video, and they got him on the team. Hopefully with the boost from GT, we'll be seeing a lot of JWG. But for now, check out his street certified BMX bicycle.
Frame: GT Team Frame 20.75"
Fork: Odyssey R32
Bars: GT Original 4 Piece 8.6" rise
Stem: Animal 10th Anniversary Topload
Grips: Animal Edwin
Barends: Animal (metal)
Headset: Revenge Industries
Seat: Kink Sexton
Pedals: Animal Hamilton (sealed)
Cranks: Animal Akimbo 175mm
Sprocket: Profile Blackjack 28-tooth
Chain: Shadow Conspiracy Supreme Interlock
Front Tire: Animal GLH 2.25"
Front Wheel: Odyssey 7KA laced to Shadow Hub w/ GSport hub guards
Rear Tire: Animal GLH 2.25"
Rear Wheel: Odyssey 7KA laced to Primo Pro LHD cassette w/ Primo hub guards
Pegs: 4 Animal Lino OG 4.5"
Would you mind describing/explaining LFS for anyone reading this who isn't familiar yet?
Looking For Spots (LFS) is a BMX crew consisting of a few shredders from NJ and Staten Island, NY. Everyone on the team works pretty hard searching for new spots and setups to ride while going to college full-time and/or working 40+ hours at a real job. So far as a crew, we have generated three full length DVDs and have just begun to film for the fourth. The age demographic of the crew ranges from 19 to 30 years old, which shows in our riding styles from the young tech masters like Smallfry and Mike K. to older spot slayers like Doroba and Dan Diehl. The dynamics of our personal riding styles and spot preferences keeps us constantly inspired by each other. We, as a crew, all strive to preserve and continue to influence the east coast riding scene as best we can.
Tell us a little about your part in LFS II… how long did you film for?
Filming the second LFS video was quite a challenge. For the two and a half years of filming, I battled with multiple injuries, crazy work schedules, transitioning to becoming a full-time student and trying real hard to save a failing marriage. It's tough learning a new trick, getting hurt then trying to relearn it in between all of the real life shit that can slow down the process even further. To say the least, I'm stoked to get the clips I could get for the video and even more proud to have a full part in LFS2.
Where were some places you guys traveled to ride and film?
It feels like we’ve been everywhere on the east coast already, but there's so much more to explore. Although there's nothing like cruising the streets of NJ cities like Newark, Jersey City, and New Brunswick, we still travel to Baltimore and DC quite a bit. Our carbon footprint for LFSing is probably more than the entire fleet of NJ transit buses. We’ve gone to the far reaches of Chicago, Rochester, Boston and way too many small towns to remember without a Geotag reference to look for unique setups to ride. Usually, we make a plan to go out every single weekend to LFS a new area. We'll head into some real grimy areas, dodging 12 year olds selling dope to ride the spot and some ritzy mountainous regions where people immediately call the cops to kick us out. We all work pretty hard to find/or get a spot going, be it through driving around, removing skatestops, Google Earth, draining pools and hiking through forests. Special and Doroba are the real MVPs for doing heavy searching—even on rainy days.
What is one of your favorite clips in your section?
I really liked the feeling of getting the 40/60 switch and regular on the ledge rail setup the most. It felt real cool having the rail grind sensation with the front peg and the rear on a concrete ledge creating this glide/ resistance combo.
You handled some incredible setups. Which one put up the biggest fight?
There were a couple I had to fight myself to get the initial bunnyhop going. I think one of the biggest fight I had with riding a spot was the gap to second stage double on the pink kinked rail. It's the opening clip of my part were I cased the back peg on the flat part of the rail and got sent like superman straight to my wrist and knee. As soon as I hit the ground the pain shot up my arm and the gash on my knee was pretty deep and nasty. After laying down for a few seconds, the security guard pulled up and started to bicker about calling the cops. The dudes started to pack up and I told 'em "fuck it, right here, lets do it, to hell with that guy." We drove pretty far just so I could get that clip, so there was no turning back in my head. Somehow the adrenaline must have really kicked in to allow me to get the second stage in time before I realized how messed up my wrist really was. I was out on a broken wrist for a while. Foolishly, I didn’t go to the doctor and it healed to the point where I couldn’t move it beyond a certain rotation. I had to smash my hand on a table until it went all the way back to where it was supposed to be.
Congrats on getting picked up by GT. That one must've caught you by surprise. How did that unfold?
Thanks! I was definitely surprised to be offered a spot on the GT team. My first bike was a GT Performer. My brother gave it to me when I was like 13. It had this crazy black and purple color scheme with 3-piece cranks and a diamond plate sprocket. Back in December, Extremes Bike Shop in Woodbridge, NJ was hosting a video premiere for LFS2 and I received a phone call from Ben Ward at GT. He said that he was pretty stoked on my parts in LFS 1 and 2 and offered me the spot on the team. Soon as the phone call was over, I walked into the shop and broke the news to the dudes and they were all super psyched like I was. This is a huge motivator to keep riding and supporting the BMX scene. I'm so stoked to be riding for a well rounded bicycle company that supports a wide array of riding styles like road, MTB, BMX freestyle and BMX racing.
They gave you a black frame, right? What made you decide to paint it and cover it with stickers immediately after you got it?
When Ben handed be the beautiful, high gloss black GT Team frame I knew what it needed to look like before I could put it together. It needed to be made into something I would recognize as my own. Every bike I've owned had gone through some abusive color schemes, key scratches and sticker bombs. This one wasn't about to be an exception. I bought some green paint (the wrong shade because I wore my sunglasses into the store like a fool) and chose about 100 stickers from the collection and got to work. Now she's mine, and looking pretty.
Honestly, I can't even remember the last time I saw a bike with this many stickers on it that didn't belong to a Timmy at the skatepark. Explain your sticker process… how do you choose which to out on, their placement, etc…
Well, it all begins with the nature of my sticker collecting. Typically, when I am offered or picking up some stickers I would ask for two. One for the bike, and the other for the stash. Most of the stickers on my bike are a double. If I only have one and it's real sick, I'll throw it up in a spot that's not going to get ripped off after a peg slips. The best way to do a sticker layout is to make the base layer, then over time pick up stickers from the trips, shop visits, other artists, etc. At the end of the frame's life cycle, you'll end up with a real nice piece of art with a ton of history to hang up on the wall.
How long have you been riding this GT frame and bars and how are they feeling thus far?
I've been riding this new GT frame for about two weeks and it feels great. A 20.75" top tube with a 13.5" rear end combined with removable brake tabs is a pretty dialed frame in my world. Also, I never had a frame with integrated chain tensioners before. I'm real stoked on that feature because I always find myself crashing into shit and cocking the wheel for an immediate OTB. The bars with the 8.6" rise are amazing. Feels like I get more pop out of them. They are a bit wide, so I think I’m going to cut them down. But I'm going to ride them for a while before I do any modifications like that yet.
Four metal pegs and a cassette are slowly disappearing as plastic pegs and freecoasters become increasingly popular. Why haven't you made the switch?
It's not that I hate the scene or anything, I just really love the feeling of grinding metal on concrete. If the ledge doesn’t slide, go faster or apply some wax. However, I can see myself using a plastic peg for an aluminum rail setup if I'm really itching for a clip. As for the freecoaster thing, I built one up last summer and rode it for fun and then let my friend Special ride it for a while. Those things make the bike feel more of a toy than a bicycle. Maybe it's the one I built or they all produce the same feeling, but there's a mush to the pedal when trying to get the speed boost. I like to go really fast and that kind of wheel isn’t going to work for me.
What are some preferences for your bike set up? What makes it your ride?
For my ideal bike setup, I try not to deviate from what I'm used to riding. Tire pressure is usually less than 40 PSI. Having a super hard tire on a big drop goes straight to the wrists and knees. Bars are usually set a tiny bit forward from being in line with the fork rake angle. I've experimented with those positions when I was younger and found that to be a solid spot. The Animal topload stem is a must. Also, I prefer metal body pedals because they provide nearly unlimited grip and they feel amazing. All those guys saying metal pedals give you crazy pedal bite on the shins need to look closer. Having no grip on your pedals is the reason they slip and hit your legs. The other reason for metal pedals is that plastic parts are the least sustainable for both the rider and the environment. Plastic pedals, pegs, hub guards, etc. are a cheap disposable bike parts companies love to sell because you'll always come back for more. They are a #7 on the recyclability scale meaning the plastic cannot be broken down enough to be reused, so they end up in the landfill. This is where they contribute to environmental degradation by leaching Bisphenol A (BPA) into our water supply because they are made of polycarbonate plastic. I could rant and get more-nerdy on this one, but I'll leave it at that.
Setup or part wise, other than maybe your frame/fork, what was the last thing you changed up that you're really hyped on?
Last major change besides the GT frame and bars was a fresh rear wheel. I've been riding this beat up, 26 spoked, square wheel while filming for the last two videos. The guys at the bike shop, Mike and Tony, constantly made fun of me for riding such a destroyed wheel while I kept attempting to make it straight again. Eventually, I gave in and built a new wheel to get rid of the anxiety of the old one blowing out.
How long do you typically ride a bike before building a new one? Do you switch out parts as they go? Or just build a whole fresh kit?
I usually ride the frame and parts until they are absolutely not usable or become unsafe. Like most riders on a budget, I'll swap a part before building a whole new setup.
What parts do you change out the most often and why?
Other than swapping out broken spokes (although I rarely do), I'll change bars out for color. Sometimes I get sick of the chrome bar look and throw some black ones on.
What are you most particular about on your bike?
Besides sticker placement and four piece bars, probably going to have to say I'm most particular about only riding Animal GLH tires. They really are the ultimate street tire. I've landed in a pit of glass, jumped down some leaps of faith, grinded some really rough ledges and still rolled away without a flat or a tear in the sidewall. Other than that, metal pedals, but I’ve uncovered that passion already.
Are you willing to experiment with new parts and mix things up, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true?
Honestly, I would rather ride a part that someone else has suffered through the development of it's strength and integrity. Bike companies that have been around for a while know what's good because they've developed their reputation by generating quality products throughout years of testing and riders destroying their shit. I know Brian Kachinsky rode the GT Team frame for a while and beat the hell out of it, so I know I can feel confident about riding it.
Shout out to LFS, 5050 Skatepark, StinkPit, Chocolate Truck, Animal, GT, Chris Marshall, Ben Ward, Planet Bike, coffee and my Beth friend. And of course, thanks Jeff Z!