Jeff Lenosky Interview – Videos, Shoes and Riding

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Mtbr recently had a chance to chat with Jeff Lenosky – trials/stunt rider, race course designer, product developer, video star and World Record Holder for the highest bunny hop. Here’s what Jeff had to say:

JL headshotMtbr: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Jeff. How is your season going?

JL: My season has been going great, this year I’ve had some good competition results, done a bunch of demos and traveled to some really cool events. Last year I broke my leg in February so it’s great to feel totally healthy again and able to ride as much as I can.

Mtbr: At the Teva Mtn Games you launched a new shoe called the Teva Links. How much actually input did you have on the development of the shoes? Were you involved in the actual product development a lot or a little or somewhere in between?

JL: The whole process with Teva was amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with my sponsors before, most recently Giant on the new STP and Native Eyewear and Straitline Components on new colorways of existing products. With the Links we started with a completely blank piece of paper to design a shoe from the ground up specifically for mountain bike freeriding. The first step was a meeting with the entire design team where we sat around drinking beer and eating pizza and just talked about shoes on the market that I liked, features that are important and how we could make the best shoe possible. I’m lucky enough to travel around a lot and I get to ride with a lot of consumers and I see what they’re using. It seamed to me that there were two types of riders, people who rode in skateboard shoes or people who rode in MTB specific shoes that looked like moon boots. My goal when I started working with Teva was to design a shoe that had all the technical features you wanted in a mountain bike shoe, but was also cool enough to wear off the bike. I think the guys at Teva did an awesome job with the design and I’m very proud of the way it came out. It was impressive to work with the design team for close to a year and a half tweaking the look and feel of the shoe and they never told me “no” regardless of what I asked for. It’s great to work with a company that really supports our sport and is in it for the long haul. There’s a lot of pro riders getting product from skate companies now because they want to try to ride the momentum of freeriding, but they aren’t creating anything bike specific and if they don’t see an increase in sales they’ll pull up their tent stakes and leave. Teva is here to stay.

Mtbr: Right on! Speaking about the shoes, one of our buddies who is riding your shoe has noticed that the rubber sole is not quite as tacky as some other shoes out there (which our buddy likes because he feels its easier to adjust his foot position while riding)…was this an intentional design feature?

JL: That was completely by design. Super tacky soles are great for racing, you can set your foot and forget it, but with freeriding it’s pretty important to be able to adjust your feet when you’re constantly taking them off the pedals and putting them back on. I wanted something stickier then a regular skate shoe but not quite as sticky as a super tacky compound. The other cool thing about the sole is it’s made out of Teva’s proprietary “spider rubber” so it feels real consistent wet or dry.

Mtbr: Who chose the colors for the Links, your blind uncle? (j/k) (The Teva Links is currently available in Lunar Rock (translation=bright turquoise and yellow) and Ultra Violet (a more subdued hue of Purple and Black)). But seriously, did you also have input on the colors?

JL: I chose the Charcoal/Purple combo which I love. I follow a lot of different sports and fashion and whether you’re in the New Era hat store, a cool sneaker shop or looking at what most surf brands are doing, purple is a hot color right now. The Lunar Rock color way came through the guys at Teva, with the yellow laces it’s real bright, but you can throw in the charcoal ones they come with to tone them down a little!

Mtbr: Good to have options for sure. On to a few more general questions, what is your favorite non-biking activity?

JL: My favorite non biking activity is resting, or hanging out with my family. My schedule has gotten so hectic over the years that I’m pretty much traveling for bike related stuff more then half the year, when I have time off I don’t really have time for hobbies.

Mtbr: Right, sometimes the best times are the mellow, chill-laxin’ times. Since you travel so much and have ridden all over the country (and world), what is your favorite mountain biking destination(s)?

JL: Last February I took a trip to Sedona and I think that took the top honor for trail riding. As far as trials and street riding it’s probably New York City, it’s close to home and has so many different spots you could find stuff forever.

Mtbr: Cage match between you, Aaron Chase and Eric Porter…who wins?

JL: Seriously? I would destroy both of those skinny geeks at once. No problem!

Jeff-Lenosky-and-bikeMtbr: Haha….totally! Last question: What do you think of the “new school” trials riders like Danny MacAskill or Chris Akrigg? What is it that has allowed these riders to elevate the game and what’s next on the horizon (as far as either the actual riding or the filming)?

JL: I love watching riders like Danny and Chris, both of them have their own unique styles and are awesome at what they do. Both of those riders have really motivated me to get back into trials again. For a long time all I saw in videos was dirt jumping and slopestyle so it was a little unmotivating, those guys changed that for me. It’s cool to see what they are pulling these days, riding is such a mental sport, the most important thing to fuel progression is having riders pushing the limits of what people think are possible. I’d like to think at one point in time Ryan Leech and myself were laying the groundwork for the urban trials movement. Once we showed people what we were doing it makes it easier for them to see that and look past it creating the next level. Kids will watch Danny and Chris and leapfrog from there so the progression continues.

Okay, thanks again, Jeff. Great talking with you and we look forward to seeing you at Interbike!

If you’d like to keep up with Jeff, follow him on Facebook here:
http://www.facebook.com/ridewithjeff

For a chance to Win a FREE Pair of Jeff’s signature Teva Links, be sure enter the Teva Links Giveaway Contest here: http://www.mtbr.com/tevacontestcrx.aspx

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato has been the Site Manager of Mtbr.com for over 12 years and enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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