“Chase your dreams” something that is often said, but rarely actually done. So when we met Jon Ringeisen, a fellow rider, and racer in the CCS series who was doing just that, we quickly took interest. You see, Jon is living the moto-dream – thanks to hard work, a supportive wife, and a blooming line of bike apparel by the name of Sick Lean.
Jon reached out to us a few weeks ago after our “Crashing Sucks” story went viral. He took a notice of our Instagram and sent us a few shots of home on the track. Our natural curiosity took over after he mentioned his track experience and that he will be riding the entire CCS series next year. The more we learned about Jon, the more intrigued we were to hear his story. Jon is veteran, a fellow rider, and a hardworking entrepreneur who is growing his own business from the ground up. How could you not want to hear more?
Jon joined the military straight out of high school, and like any adrenaline junkie, he needed a job to get his proper fix. He decided to go the airborne route and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC, where he spent 4 years. He was deployed in 2006 for a year in Mosul, Iraq, from July 2006 to July 2007. Jon credits his time in the military as one of the major turning points in his life, opening his eyes to how short and fragile life can be. He decided to seize this new feeling and propose to his wife the day after returning from deployment, a move that would turn out to be pivotal to his future plans.
After being discharged from the Army, Jon signed up for a 4 year contract with the Florida Army National Guard. His normal routine was to work a standard job in food distribution and drill one weekend per month until 2009 when he was given orders to deploy to Kuwait. His mission this time would be to guide convoys across Iraq and was made even more difficult due to the fact that, this time, Jon would have to say goodbye to his two-year old daughter. Parting with his daughter made Jon decide that there would not be any more deployments in his future. He also made one more pivotal decision: He was going to buy a motorcycle.
Jon went to his local dealer and locked eyes on a brand new 2008 GSX-R 1000 – a first bike fitting for someone who chooses to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. Of course, there were those who thought this would be a bad idea, but in Jon’s own words, “I always went the route I thought was right for me and could care less what everyone else thought!” And so his infatuation began. One day on a ride to North Carolina, Jon’s wife asked what he would do if he could do anything he wanted; and like so many of us, the only natural response was “race motorcycles”.
Shortly thereafter, Jon bit the bullet. He dropped his bike off at KWS Motorsports in South Carolina for a full race treatment. What he received 6 months later was a masterful mix of both speed and agility:
- A completely rebuilt motor with OEM internals, CNC valve job, and a shaved head to bump up compression,
- Full K-Tech suspension featuring 25mm drop-ins up front and a K-Tech rear shock set up to match Jon’s body weight,
- Brembo master cylinder and upgraded pads and rotors,
- Bazzaz fuel controller, quick-shifter, and traction control unit,
- Motion Pro throttle tube, Woodcraft cases, KWS sliders, and a full WERA spec safety-wire job to top it off.
After all was said and done, the bike now makes 192hp to the wheel while running MR12 race fuel. The performance aspect taken care of, Jon packed the rest of 2014 with as many track days as he could sign up for before making the jump to racing this year in the CCS series. He has run as many races as he can make it to and plans to run every race with the CCS series in 2016. Jon doesn’t get a chance to ride much on the street anymore, as he prefers the track experience, but says he does sometimes miss it.
This year, however, Jon took possibly the biggest jump of his moto career yet; after watching his wife grow a fledging photography company into her own very successful business, Jon decided to take a lesson from his better half. After 4 years of night shifts as a warehouse manager, sacrificing premium time away from his family, and feeling unfulfilled in his current career, Jon quit his job and founded Sick Lean – a company that creates apparel featuring sport bike-oriented designs on shirts, tank-tops, and hats. The Sick Lean designs are moto-inspired and stylish as hell – so much so that Lean Angle has recently teamed up with Sick Lean for a collaboration shirt which will be available shortly!
We couldn’t be happier that Jon reached out to us. He is truly one of the nicest, most genuine riders we have ever met and his steadfast drive and desire to help anyone he meets is truly infectious as well as a pleasure to work with. We are anxious to launch our new collaboration with him and follow his progress in the CCS series in 2016. Jon truly understands what it means to be a rider. When we asked Jon to describe what motorcycling means to him he replied, simply, “Live Life at Full Throttle!”, And between jumping out of airplanes and piloting superbikes, we think he exemplifies that pretty well.
Thanks for checking out our spotlight. Don’t forget to check out the Sick Lean store for some new threads and to “Like” our page on Facebook to stay up to date on big announcements which will be coming soon! And remember, when life throws a curve, lean into it.