Video: Loose Riders – Vink 2017

Nico Vink is a man that doesn’t really need an introduction. He kills it on anything with two wheels, he’s one of the best trail builders on the planet and he is without a doubt one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We decided it was time to pay tribute to what he’s best known for: his style on the bike. After travelling pretty much all year, the Belgian native collected some mesmerising footage along the way.

Vink wanted bigger jumps, so he made them.

Video by ShapeRideShoot

Did that blow your mind? Share it with your friends and follow the crew behind it on Instagram: @vinknico @looseriders @shaperideshoot @bikeonscott

Photos by Eric Palmer. Follow him on Instagram @afreakineric.

Red Bull Rampage Results & Top-3 Runs

With arguably his best ride in his storied Red Bull Rampage history, Kurt Sorge took home gold at the 12th edition of the most coveted mountain biking event in the world. Rounding out the Red Bull Rampage podium was Cameron Zink, freeride mountain bike icon, coming in a close second, and rookie Ethan Nell, a twenty-year-old Utah local who was competing in the event for the first time, taking home third.


Kurt Sorge – first place

Cam Zink – second place

Ethan Nell – third place

Sorge, Zink and Brandon Semenuk were all battling it out for the first ever Red Bull Rampage hat trick. At the end of the day, with a score of 92.66 in his first run, Sorge came out on top and not only became the 2017 champion but the first athlete to take home three golds – cementing him as the winningest athlete in Red Bull Rampage history.

Sorge’s winning run included a huge step down flip // Paris Gore
2nd placed Cam Zink shared an opening chute with Strait and Ferry // Bartek Wolinski

“I am speechless. I can’t believe it. It was a lot of work out here for a couple of weeks, and to make my diggers, everyone back home and the fans proud, is out of this world,” said Sorge.

“All riders were going huge and doing technical tricks off all of the big features – putting together really technical flowy lines,” said the champion.

Local Ethan Nell stepped up for his first Rampage and launched into 3rd // Garth Milan
Sorge // Bartek Wolinski

Judged on four sets of criteria, including difficulty of line, air amplitude, control and fluidity, tricks and style, all athletes worked to impress the judges as they rode down the other-worldly terrain of Virgin, Utah, just outside of Zion National Park.

Semenuk, the winner from Red Bull Rampage 2016, and Brett Rheeder both fell in their first run and then took on their second redemption run with confidence, putting together solid performances to claim fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Two-time winner Brandon Semenuk oozes style // Garth Milan
Even when (rarely) not pushing the trick envelope, Brett Rheeder brings the style // Bartek Wolinski

Building upon the success of last year’s format changes, the elite group of 18 riders and their two-person build crews created their own manmade lines down the mountain without the use of power tools. As a result, no two riders’ paths down the near-vertical sandstone ridges were the same.

Kyle Strait has ridden a lot of Rampages, and thrown some huge suicide no handers // Bartek Wolinski
T-Mac stomped a flawless second run, but his line choice didn’t deliver the result he wanted. // Garth Milan
Thomas Genon dropping in // Paris Gore
Carson Storch nailed his 360 drop last year // Paris Gore
Ryan ‘R-Dog’ Howard starting his steezey run // Christian Pondella
Andreu Lacondeguy had his flat-spin-Indian-air-seat-grab dialled in practice. He landed it in his first run. Not his second // Garth Milan
Andreu’s hand slipped off his saddle mid spin – yikes! // Christian Pondella
Tyler McCaul’s opening drop was exposure central. Think coming up short would be bad? Either side and it would be all over // Paris Gore
T-Mac stomped a flawless second run, but his line choice didn’t deliver the result he wanted, finishing in 9th. // Garth Milan
Tom Van Steenbergen executed a perfect front flip high on the mountain // Bartek Wolinski
France’s Pierre-Edouard Ferry touching down halfway down the steepest line on the mountain. // Bartek Wolinski
Voted on by the fans, French phenom Antoine Bizet (left) was awarded the coveted People’s Choice Award Presented by Utah Sports Commission. The participating athletes awarded Pierre Edouard Ferry (right) the Kelly McGarry Spirit Award, presented to the rider that most embodied the spirit of the mountain biking legend. // Bartek Wolinski
(L-R) Cam Zink, Kurt Sorge and Ethan Nell // Garth Milan

RED BULL RAMPAGE 2017 FINAL RESULTS

1. Kurt Sorge (CAN) – 92.66
2. Cameron Zink (USA) – 90.33
3. Ethan Nell (USA) – 90.00
4. Brandon Semenuk (CAN) – 89.66
5. Brett Rheeder (CAN) – 89.33
6. Thomas Genon (BEL) – 89.00
7. Carson Storch (USA) – 87.66
8. Kyle Strait (USA) – 87.33
9. Tyler McCaul (USA) – 87.00
10. Tom Van Steenbergen (CAN) – 84.33
11. Andreu Lacondeguy (SPN) – 83.00
12. Antoine Bizet (FRA) – 81.66
13. Darren Berrecloth (CAN) – 81.00
14. Vincent Tupin (FRA) – 78.00
15. Pierre Edouard Ferry (FRA) – 76.33
16. Logan Binggeli (USA) – 69.66
17. Bas Van Steenbergen (CAN) – 68.66
18. Ryan Howard (USA) – 67.66

We survived! // Garth Milan

Loosefest 2017: All The Action

*UPDATE* Scroll down for final day photos and highlights video.

All The Videos

Course Walk

50to01 lads warm up and have first sends of the big ones

Day 1 highlights

Josh Bryceland’s GoPro POV

Sam Reynolds’ POV – Watch his speed reach almost 90km/h!

2017 Highlights!

The FEST is a series of rider driven invitational events. It was created by a crew of the most talented and progressive professional freeriders, recognised around the world for their riding, track building and media production skills.  The original 6 FEST riders are Andreu Lacondeguy, Nico Vink, Makken, Nick Pescetto, Kurt Sorge and Graham Agassiz.

The FEST brings out the purest and most real essence of MTB Freeriding, which is about pushing the limits of the sport by always building new lines, and riding massive jumps in optimal conditions.

Nico Vink has been racing the World Cup circuit and building BMX trails for two decades, and the way we see it this is the perfect education for building a FEST Series line.

Nico Vink, taking freeride MTB to the next level
Day 1 on the ‘small’ line
Joel Anderson dangling a nac nac on the ‘small’ 45ft trick jump
Josh Bryceland keeping busy despite not racing World Cup DH in 2017
Some time to spot the landing
Loosefest visionary, Nico Vink
Sam Reynolds getting his Polygon very sideways
Committed.

Remy Morton, all round shredder from Queensland who’s been racing World Cup Downhill in Europe had a big crash on Friday evening, going too far and nose heavy on the last hip. He is in a stable condition and in good hands and all the boys are sending him the best wishes for a smooth recovery.

All photos courtesy of Eric Palmer. Follow him on Instagram @afreakineric.

Video: VinnyT for Red Bull Rampage

“Taking part in Redbull Rampage has always been my ultimate goal. Since I started mountain biking I have dreamed about completing in Utah, riding the most amazing and challenging terrain there is. I wanted this video to showcase my skills and capabilities riding big bikes in a multitude of conditions. Many thanks to all of you who made it possible, in particular the team at Bikepark Châtel for their help preparing the big jumps.” VinnyT

Check out ShapeRideShoot on YouTube and Facebook.

Cam Zink: Reach For The Sky – Official Trailer

Freeride mountain biking is synonymous with danger, reward, adrenaline, and pushing the known boundaries of the sport.

Cam Zink sits atop the Freeride world having won the sport’s most coveted titles, the Red Bull Rampage, Crankworx Slopestyle, and the Freeride World Tour, yet those accolades have not come without a physical price. He has transcended cycling media, and his super-human feats have become broadcast television and Internet sensations.

“Reach For The Sky” features unique behind the scenes looks at Zink’s dramatic 2013 and 2014 Red Bull Rampage campaigns in Virgin, Utah; plus a one-of-a-kind portrayal of his record-breaking 100-foot backflip attempt at Mammoth Mountain—showcasing 100% never-before-seen footage. The movie explores the fascinating life story of one of the sport’s most beloved and diverse athletes, but also delves into the multi-layered psychological elements regarding physical punishment, fame, and self-doubt, to uncover why Zink perseveres through the adversity—even when no one is watching.

Written, Produced, Directed, and Edited by Ryan Cleek

Supported by Oakley, Deity, SRAM

George Brannigan: Queenstown Destruction

Queenstown has become a staple pre-season training camp for many World Cup racers.

George Brannigan recently spent some time riding some of the finest trails on offer, both in and out of the bike park. Judging by his speed and insane line choices, he’s definitely one to watch this season!

If you fancy some Queenstown Destruction of your own, have a look at our recent trip across the ditch: http://flowmountainbike.com/features/queenstown-and-wanaka-top-of-the-pile/

Riding on Thin Air With Kelly McGarry and Jeremy Lyttle

Ever wondered what it would be like to ride a descent so long you have to stop for a shave?

Admittedly we’d never imagined this, but after watching Kelly McGarry and Jeremy Lyttle shred over eighteen thousand feet of descent, we’re keen to give it a go!


 

With the M-Class we took Kelly McGarry and Jeremy Lyttle to the highest elevation they’ve ever been to – Khardung La – and let them have the downhill ride of their lives from 18,380 feet in the Himalayas.

Best known for his breath-taking downhill footage escalating in a flip over a 72-foot-long canyon gap at Red Bull Rampage 2013, Kelly McGarry does not shy away from extremes. So we took him and fellow rider Jeremy Lyttle to the highest and most remote place he’s ever been: Khardung La – the supposedly highest vehicle-accessible mountain pass in the world at 18,380 feet (5,602 m) and let them have the downhill ride of their lives.

Bas van Steenbergen, Breathtaking Style

Green River is one of the few locations in Utah that has been a proving ground for Mountain Biking. Over the past decade, hundreds of riders visited Utah to tackle the terrain and show there style. Its been unfortunate in the past couple of years, Green River has been viewed as “played” or “overdone”. Bas has always wanted to give it a shot, and so this fall we drove south to Utah to give it our best.

While it may have been the shoulder season for mountain biking, Utah was a great escape from snowy Canada. We spent 10 days waking up at sunrise, filming, going back to the Super 8 for breakfast, digging, then filming at sunset. Our trip had the unfortunate ending of Bas separating his shoulder on the last hit we built, luckily we still had plenty of footage to create “Shoulder Season”

Shot on Location: Green River, Utah
Rider: Bas van Steenbergen
Produced by: Mind Spark Cinema
Cinematography: Harrison Mendel
Edited by: Harrison Mendel
Music By: Sons of the East

With support from: Transition Bikes, Blackhawk Wheel co, Skyride Bike Shop and Dissent Labs

Foam Pits to Dirt Jumps and Every Party In-Between

From the wild mind of pro mountain biking’s funniest dude, Tyler McCaul, comes another compilation video of Tyler and his friends having the best time possible as they travel the world riding, partying, and getting up to all sorts of mischief.

Shot throughout the 2014 season, Tyler covers everything from good old backyard fun, to contest hijinks, and even a bit of riding. Stay tuned for a new episode every two months. 

The Long and Cruel Road to Recovery

The road back to not only riding, but winning after a horrific leg break at Red Bull Joyride has been a long one for Martin Söderström.

His mettle has truly been tested in both his ability to handle pain and the psychological demons that go with a bad injury. The 360 tailwhip is the trick that landed him in hospital and into such a struggle. At FISE Montpelier, Martin’s first contest back on the bike, he has to battle it face-to-face. But fate isn’t finished with Martin just yet and events take a turn for the unexpected, just when he thinks he’s getting back to his best

Beyond the Bike, with Cam Zink

All my learning experiences, I learned the hard way. And that has definitely shaped how I ride….  I don’t love to crash, but I see that crashing is just part of getting what I want

Cam Zink is one of those riders who have spearheaded the progression of mountain biking over the past decade. He’s created some of the most memorable moments in mountain biking; who will ever forget when his 360 off the Oakley Sender at Red Bull Rampage? That move alone pushed mountain biking into a place it’d never been before. In this episode of Beyond the Bike, we get a look at the man and what his life’s like when he’s not 40-foot off the ground, upside down.

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Jaw-some Stuff: Jaws Freerides the Black Mountains of France

There’s nothing quite like some high-quality on-the-bike footage to help you appreciate how gnarly big mountain riding can be. This video, with plenty of chest-mounted camera work, nails it.

We followed Bartek “Jaws” Krzyszton to the Black Hills in France, one of the best freeride spots in Europe. Miles away from any form of civilization, the men spent days sleeping in tents so they could fully explore this mountain bike haven. Their days were spent filming and watching Jaws dig and ride his bike in a completely pure freeride environment unlike any other. He was not afraid to go big, fast, nor steep and they have the footage to prove it. Jaws Freeriding The Remote Black Hills Of France | Jawsome, Ep. 2

Video: Graham Agassiz Stomps Red Bull Rampage Qualifier by Going HUGE!

Some competitors can’t handle pressure. When they’re down to their last chance, focus disintegrates and mistakes happen. Today, in the final moments of the Red Bull Rampage qualifier,Graham Agassiz turned pressure into performance, nailing a unique and difficult line (watch it in the video above) to land at the top of the results.

Agassiz used his first competition run on Friday to go for a huge drop early in his line for the first time, and the results were disastrous. He learned what he needed to know about his approach to it, however, so he waited for run two for another chance.

Unfortunately, rain forced event organizers to put the qualifier on hold, and several athletes, including Agassiz, had to wait until Sunday to complete their second run. That’s a lot of time to think about the risks he’d be taking, but when it came time for Aggy to drop in, he aced his line and the venue erupted with cheers.

This marks the second year in a row Agassiz has qualified in the top position. Find out how he fares in the final by watching the webcast on the official Red Bull Rampage site on Monday, September 29, starting at 1:00 p.m. MT.

The enhanced webcast will feature live voting during each run, so you can vote for your favorites to help determine which rider will receive the Army National Guard People’s Choice award. Get involved in the action via live chat with fans around the world, and watch your favorite moments over and over with nearly instant online replays for each run.

Watch the finals live here tomorrow morning. http://rampage.redbull.tv

Video: On board with Geoff Gulevich at the Suzuki Nine Knights

While high winds ultimately stuffed things up for finals day at the Livigno Suzuki Nine Knights comp, there was still plenty of action during the week when the wind wasn’t blowing. Canadian Geoff Gulevich still earned himself the title of ‘Ruler of the Week’, throwing down some huge flips and an absolutely monster air off the final hip jump.

Watch his facial expressions in the rearward facing GoPro footage too!

Friday Night at the Flicks: Back Country Special

Back country, Slovakian style. Push your downhill bike to the top of a massive mountain in the puking snow, set up camp and then bombed back down again the next day.

This is what happens when a bunch of the UK’s fastest and funniest riders get together to create their own ‘back country’ session. Funny as hell.

Now this is proper back country. Fat biking through 300km of Alaskan wilderness. Hard yakka. So’s the music in this edit too… watch it with the sound off!

Fresh Product: Five Ten Freerider Vxi shoes

Introducing Five Ten’s new Stealth Contact outsole that allows you to pull, push and adjust, the new Freerider Vxi is designed for casual all-mountain flat pedal riders to the aggressive downhill racer.

Riders will instantly understand the advantage of the new Contact outsole that’s treadless under the foot’s ball for float. The new Freerider Vxi has a breathable, abrasion-resistant upper, a new performance-fit, and an asymmetrical welt that provides extra crank-side durability.

Video: Life Behind Bars – Episode 7 – Big Scars and Exotic Cars

Virgin, Utah is the golden land for MTB zones with huge canyon gaps and step downs.

Brandon Semenuk and Cam Zink get their hands dirty to create epic lines to shred for their film, but find some obstacles along the way. They finish off their motorhome trip by visiting Exotics Racing in Las Vegas to take a spin in a McLaren and Lamborghini for the ultimate rush.

Video: Lines of Lofoten

We spent four weeks in the summer of 2012 building two lines in Lofoten, Norway; a dirt line and a big bike line.

Our goal was to capture world-class riding in the untouched and unique nature around Lofoten. The fast shifting weather and continuous problems with getting the lines working left us with only a couple of days to complete the film.

This is a highlight clip featuring all the best action from the project.

Lines of Lofoten from ANTIMEDIA on Vimeo.

Video: Red Bull Rampage – Top Three Moments

Here are the top three moments of the 2013 Red Bull Rampage (in no particular order).

McGarry’s Canyon Gap Backflip

It’s a big deal to even clear the canyon gap, but apparently not big enough — Kelly had to flip it. New Zealand’s finest freerider delivers a big surprise in his first run of the Red Bull Rampage final, stepping up to trick the massive canyon gap with a floaty backflip.

Kyle Strait’s Sender No-hander

Watch Rampage winner Kyle Strait stretch a suicide no-hander off the Oakley Icon Sender. Strait was the first to ride out of the drop from the top of the Oakley Icon Sender, and he took it up a notch in the final by letting go of the bars.

Cam Zink’s Sender Backflip

Get straight to the 2013 highlights — watch Cam Zink’s massive backflip off the Oakley Icon Sender.
Free up some time in your busy day — if you’re only going to watch one thing from Red Bull Rampage 2013, it’s gotta be this: Third-place finisher Cam Zink’s absolutely mental backflip off the penthouse level of the Oakley Icon Sender.

Video: Life Behind Bars – Seeking a Zone in Utah

Brandon Semenuk and Cam Zink set out on a motorhome trip to Utah for some ultimate freeride mountain biking sessions.

The boys search the land for new zones and seek out the gnarliest lines before dropping in. But before they get on their bikes, the snow sets in and creates some downtime for the boys which calls for explosions in the desert.

Video: Summer Threesome

Once again, this summer I ventured out to Whistler, BC. Meeting new people, drinking lots of beers, working nights and shredding my bike was pretty much my day to day schedule all summer long.

It was hard for me to sometimes put my bike aside and blow the dust of my camera, because Whistler just overwhelms you with such amazing riding you don’t want to miss any second of it. But you finally do decide to lug your 45 pound camera bag around the mountain, you realize you have as much fun behind the camera then you do riding. Here is “Summer Threesome” a short bike film featuring two amazing UK riders, Harry Steele and Matt Jones, and also the man from Down-under, Trevwah Burke from Australia. Three different riders all shredding the mountain in there unique way.

ENJOY.

SUMMER THREESOME from TwoBees Media on Vimeo.

Video: Segments Trailer – Summer of Summit

Featuring some of the best riding in the Sea to Sky area, along with some gems of British Columbia’s great interior terrain. Everything from from the renowned shores of North Vancouver to the deep dusty Kamloops Bike Ranch, I think we have covered it all in this one!

Segments Trailer from Mitch Gulliver on Vimeo.

Contest: Grand Finale at Fiat Nine Knights

With today’s Contest Day the FIAT Nine Knights entered its final stage. 23 athletes from ten different countries were eager to send it one more time to impress the judges in three different categories. At the end of the day Antoine Bizet (FRA) won the Best Trick award. The prize for the best line went to the friendly Canadian Geoff Gulevich and the winner of the Best Whip was crowd favourite Mads Makken Haugen from Norway.

Antoine Bizet performing for Best Trick.
Antoine Bizet performing for Best Trick.

Check out today’s contest edit here:

More pro riders travelled to Livigno for the competition today to join the assembled Knights for a spectacular mountainbike show. Over 3000 spectators continuously cheered for the riders while enjoying the fantastic atmosphere at Mottolino Fun Mountain. The contest had a relaxed jam-session-format and the sun beamed onto the perfect course all day. While the Knights threw down one trick after another the jury had the difficult task of scoring every run of all 23 riders in three different categories: Best Trick, Best Line and Best Whip. Within two 90-minute sessions the riders showed various tricks, lines and combinations to the delight of the crowd.

The Nine Knights Riders
The Nine Knights Riders
Geoff Gulevich dropping into the course.
Geoff Gulevich dropping into the course.
Mats Haugen tailwhipping (left) while Xavier Pasamonte shows a perfect Tsunami.
Mats Haugen tailwhipping (left) while Xavier Pasamonte shows a perfect Tsunami.

Antoine Bizet bagged the Best Trick after yet again stomping a Double Backflip on his downhill bike in the highly contested category. Adrian Tell – winner of the Online Video Qualification – repeatedly tried to land a Cash Roll with his Fully, which would have also been a freeride-mountainbike first, but no avail. Thomas Genon (BEL) was also in contention for the Best Trick with his attempt at a Tailwhip to Tuck-No-Hander, yet this technical trick remained elusive. Best Line winner Geoff Gulevich started with a Tabletop from the 7 m tower, sent a Speed Jump over the Kicker, a One Foot Tabletop in the Freeride Section and topped it all off with a massive air on the Hip. The Norwegian Viking Mads Makken Haugen whipped way over 90 degrees and definitely earned the number one spot in the Best Whip category.

Adrian Tell attempting a Cash Roll.
Adrian Tell attempting a Cash Roll.
Best Trick Winner Antoine Bizet talking to the media.
Best Trick Winner Antoine Bizet talking to the media.
Geoff Gulevich (Winner Best Line, left), Andi Wittmann (Event Host, middle) and Antoine Bizet (Winner Best Trick, right)
Geoff Gulevich (Winner Best Line, left), Andi Wittmann (Event Host, middle) and Antoine Bizet (Winner Best Trick, right)

With tonight’s photo award ceremony and the nomination of the rulers of week, FIAT Nine Knights draws to a close and looks back on an amazing week. Watch the contest edit and stay tuned for the official FIAT Nine Knights Highlight Edit which will be released next Wednesday.

Fiat Nine Knights MTB – ‘Wanna be a Knight?’

The fabled FIAT Nine Knights send out the call to join them from Sept. 1-7 in Livigno, at Mottolino Fun Mountain for the 2013 edition of the event.

The ‘Wanna be a Knight’ video contest is now open and offers everybody the chance to enter this year’s FIAT Nine Knights event – more information and teaser trailer below:

For Andi Wittmann, nothing can compare to the thrill that comes from freeride mountainbiking. As Germany’s premier freeride MTB athlete and one of the sports true talents, his passion and experience at the highest levels of competition are testimony to a life spent doing what he loves and from September 1st to 7th in Livigno in Italy, Andi will play host to the world’s freeride elite at the FIAT Nine Knights event on the famed Mottolino Fun Mountain – one of Europe’s premier freeride resorts.

Nineknights MTB 2012

Born from an idea that combines an exclusive feature and trail set-up with the best athletes and media professionals, the FIAT Nine Knights aims to deliver to fans of freeriding the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly what the sport is all about. For Andi and the gathered company of invited riders, including Martin Söderstöm, Kurt Sorge, Andreu Lacondeguy, Yannick Granieri and Graham Agassiz, the challenge of taking on one of the world’s most unique event set-ups is an occasion not to be missed.

Andi says: “We wanted to create something special. We wanted to bring all our experiences together so that the focus would be on the riders getting the best out of themselves in a stress-free and fun environment, not hampered by strict time constraints or scheduling pressure. I think that in Livigno the set-up we have this year is absolutely mind-blowing and I can’t wait for everyone to come and see what we can do.”

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger3

The ‘set-up’ is centred on the Nine Knights castle – ‘Il Castello’. A medieval tower with huge drops, 15-metre jumps over 3-metre high superkickers and various innovative bike obstacles in a design that draws heavily on the knowledge and experience of the athletes themselves.

‘Il Castello’ stands comfortably amongst the finest features in freeriding in the way it combines the best chances for trick innovation with athlete safety and maximum fun factor.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger2

The FIAT Nine Knights 2013 is the realisation of a dream based on a passion for freeride MTB and the seamless interaction between the riders, media, resort and fans. With these qualities in mind we want to throw down the gauntlet and invite all willing riders out there to our ‘Wanna be a Knight?’ online video contest. To win a spot at the distinguished table of invited Knights send in a video showing your best tricks until August 14th – convince the judges – and suit up for Livigno!

All Wannabe Infos: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-athletes/

Joining the riders are some of the top sports photographers and filmers around. Stef Cande, Daniel Ronnback, Alessandro Belluscio and Markus Greber are the group of creative geniuses whose job it is to deliver to the fans the best of the action.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger1

This year the KILLER LOOP Photo Contest is providing a wildcard invitation to any talented people who live and breathe photography and freeride MTB. If you want to win a trip Livigno and have a look over the shoulders of the invited photographers and of course stand behind the lens yourself, send in your best freeride shots and snap up one of the exclusive spots. Contest details at: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-photographers/

NineKnights_by_lars_scharl

NineKnights_flyer

Fiat Nine Knights MTB – 'Wanna be a Knight?'

The fabled FIAT Nine Knights send out the call to join them from Sept. 1-7 in Livigno, at Mottolino Fun Mountain for the 2013 edition of the event.

The ‘Wanna be a Knight’ video contest is now open and offers everybody the chance to enter this year’s FIAT Nine Knights event – more information and teaser trailer below:

For Andi Wittmann, nothing can compare to the thrill that comes from freeride mountainbiking. As Germany’s premier freeride MTB athlete and one of the sports true talents, his passion and experience at the highest levels of competition are testimony to a life spent doing what he loves and from September 1st to 7th in Livigno in Italy, Andi will play host to the world’s freeride elite at the FIAT Nine Knights event on the famed Mottolino Fun Mountain – one of Europe’s premier freeride resorts.

Nineknights MTB 2012

Born from an idea that combines an exclusive feature and trail set-up with the best athletes and media professionals, the FIAT Nine Knights aims to deliver to fans of freeriding the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly what the sport is all about. For Andi and the gathered company of invited riders, including Martin Söderstöm, Kurt Sorge, Andreu Lacondeguy, Yannick Granieri and Graham Agassiz, the challenge of taking on one of the world’s most unique event set-ups is an occasion not to be missed.

Andi says: “We wanted to create something special. We wanted to bring all our experiences together so that the focus would be on the riders getting the best out of themselves in a stress-free and fun environment, not hampered by strict time constraints or scheduling pressure. I think that in Livigno the set-up we have this year is absolutely mind-blowing and I can’t wait for everyone to come and see what we can do.”

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger3

The ‘set-up’ is centred on the Nine Knights castle – ‘Il Castello’. A medieval tower with huge drops, 15-metre jumps over 3-metre high superkickers and various innovative bike obstacles in a design that draws heavily on the knowledge and experience of the athletes themselves.

‘Il Castello’ stands comfortably amongst the finest features in freeriding in the way it combines the best chances for trick innovation with athlete safety and maximum fun factor.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger2

The FIAT Nine Knights 2013 is the realisation of a dream based on a passion for freeride MTB and the seamless interaction between the riders, media, resort and fans. With these qualities in mind we want to throw down the gauntlet and invite all willing riders out there to our ‘Wanna be a Knight?’ online video contest. To win a spot at the distinguished table of invited Knights send in a video showing your best tricks until August 14th – convince the judges – and suit up for Livigno!

All Wannabe Infos: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-athletes/

Joining the riders are some of the top sports photographers and filmers around. Stef Cande, Daniel Ronnback, Alessandro Belluscio and Markus Greber are the group of creative geniuses whose job it is to deliver to the fans the best of the action.

NineKnights_by_flo_breitenberger1

This year the KILLER LOOP Photo Contest is providing a wildcard invitation to any talented people who live and breathe photography and freeride MTB. If you want to win a trip Livigno and have a look over the shoulders of the invited photographers and of course stand behind the lens yourself, send in your best freeride shots and snap up one of the exclusive spots. Contest details at: http://nineknightsmtb.com/qualification-for-photographers/

NineKnights_by_lars_scharl

NineKnights_flyer

Video: Into the Dirt of Mount Etna

Would you ride a bike down one of the world’s most active volcanoes? These guys would.

Towards the end of this year’s harsh winter a small band of brothers went in search of warmer slopes upon which to let loose on their big bikes.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 10.01.20 AM

And warmer slopes they found in the form of one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the infamous Mount Etna. Now listed as a world heritage site, Mount Etna has shaped the lives of those who live in its shadow, not to mention the terrain that team InFocus took as their home for a week.

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Check out the epic accompanying photo story courtesy of Toby Cowley.

Knolly Endorphin

Knolly are as Canadian as pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. And like the aforementioned delicious breakfast, we highly recommend giving them a try.

The Knolly brand has its roots in Vancouver’s North Shore and their bikes have always reflected this; big hucks and scary, slippery root-infested trails need solid bikes to tame them and the brand bills itself as ‘a high-end manufacturer of freeride and downhill bikes.’ But the Endorphin, a relatively recent addition to the Knolly stable, is a machine that’s far more relevant to the masses, yet doesn’t stray too far from the brand’s home turf too.

We first clapped eyes on the high-vis yellow Endorphin at a gravity enduro race and locked it in for testing straight away. We wanted to make sure it lived it up to the showy appearance. With 140mm rear travel (paired to a 150mm fork), a kicked-back head angle of 67 degrees and boxy construction, the Endorphin looked ready to fight its way through rough trails. We had a medium-sized bike on our doorstep from importer Endless Flow Cycles within days.

A FOX 34 leads the charge. The extra stiffness of this fork when compared to a 32mm-legged fork is inspiring.

Kitted out with a premium build kit, the Endorphin gave us plenty to admire; FOX 34 fork, CTD dampers front and rear, Hope hubs, Raceface Next carbon cranks, SRAM XX drivetrain, Thomson stem, Maxxis Minion rubber and the highly rated KS LEV adjustable post with a massive 150mm of adjustment. This build kit needs little tweaking in our opinion, though we envisage the narrow DT rims requiring a bit of spoke key love over time with the kind of punishing riding this bike is capable of. Our test bike tipped the scales at a fair 12.8kg, certainly weightier than many other premium-level trail bikes, but not excessively so.

All hail the LEV! Could this be the finest dropper post on the market? 150mm of adjustment at the push of a silky smooth button.

The really eye catching element of the bike’s construction is the ‘Four by 4’ suspension linkage – kind of a link-on-a-link setup. Practically, it’s actually pretty simple; there’s your traditional four-bar linkage arrangement to control the bike’s axle path, and the second linkage controls the shock rate. Before the advent of dropper posts, the system also had the advantage of allowing a full-length seat tube too, so you could get your saddle out of the way. The bike’s rear ends with surprisingly narrow dropouts clamping a 142x12mm axle, which requires a 5mm Allen key for removal, and a tapered head tube up front

Knolly’s Four by 4 linkage is a twist on the standard four-bar configuration. It performed best when ridden hard and fast, not feeling terribly supple at slow speed.

This isn’t a bike for ticking off big kays on fireroad trails. The Endorphin carries the same hunger for technical riding as the rest of the Knolly range, just in a lighter more efficient package, and the bike’s sizing reflects this. With a stocky 17” seat tube and upright riding position, the whole bike feels super compact. Short stays (425mm) mean that even with though the head angle is slack, the overall wheelbase is quite short.

Consequently, you’re really centred over the bike, and it’s very easy to pick and choose exactly where you want to place the wheels. It’s most adept when the trails require lots of body language; the short reach, dropped top tube and compact rear end make it easy to twist yourself all over the bike as you rip it over and around technical trails.

Just right. The combination of a 70mm stem, 725mm-wide bar and robust fork never left you wondering about the front end’s ability to hold a line.

You can slam the big FOX 34 fork into just about anything and it won’t complain, leading the way for you to start looking for more and more nasty rocks or drops to fly off. We had absolute confidence in the front end, finding the cockpit ideal, and feeling very connected to the grippy Minion front tyre. On board the Endorphin we tackled some steep, rocky rollers that we’ve been avoiding on other bikes recently. The kind of obstacles where you need to hit the line just-so or risk going over the bars became fun challenges, rather than terrifying.

We spent a lot of time on this bike with the seat post lowered, out of the saddle, playing with the trail. We ran the rear shock in Trail mode generally, which added to the bike’s responsiveness, making it easy to pick up the front wheel or wheelie-drop off ledges. Hard landings didn’t worry the Knolly, and even though we bottomed-out the suspension with a clunk on a few occasions, the bike didn’t flinch or get out of shape. In fact, the bigger, faster hits really seemed to suit Endorphin. The Four by 4 suspension system isn’t particularly supple, feeling a little choppy over repeated small hits. The rear end performed best when you showed no mercy, hammering over the rocks fast, or slamming back to earth off drops.

While the SRAM XX derailleur shifts brilliantly, we’d still have preferred an X0 derailleur with the new Type 2 clutch mechanism to reduce chainslap and chain derailment.

Fast riding did reveal one hole in the Knolly’s spec, that being the absence of either a clutch derailleur or some kind of chain retention device, and we bounced the chain off a few times. It’s funny how quickly we’ve come to take the great chain retention afforded by clutch derailleurs for granted. The frame is equipped with ISCG mounts so, installing a chain guide (either single ring or dual ring) is hassle free should you wish to go that route.

Raceface’s Next carbon cranks are gorgeous. Unfortunately we dropped the chain and it scratched the finish of the crank arms badly! Yet another reason to run a clutch derailleur or some kind of chain device.

The drawbacks of the upright riding position come when climbing or sprinting. The short reach cramps your style a little if you’re out of the saddle. The best approach for technical uphills was to hit them hard and fast, or alternatively to sit and spin. Grinding out of the saddle didn’t suit the Knolly and tended to set the suspension bobbing. Sprinting was a little awkward on the Endorphin too, the saddle tended to get in the way. Again, the KS LEV dropper post came to the rescue – we really love this seat post, it’s superb. You could fit a longer stem to open up the top tube a little, but this would sacrifice performance in terms of responsiveness. The best bet is try out a couple of frame sizes if possible, and consider going a size bigger than usual. It all depends on your trails and your riding priorities.

Admittedly, the Knolly isn’t quite as versatile as some other 140/150mm trail bikes, which may out-climb the Endorphin or weigh in a little lighter. But the Knolly knows its niche and nails it. It rewards the rider for whom technical trails aren’t a challenge to be negotiated but a playground to be explored and unlike some of the featherweights of this category, we’re sure it’ll be faithfully dependable for years to come.

Andreu Lacondeguy Wins Farm Jam 2013

The Farm Jam 2013 presented by Unit has just finished up here in New Zealand and it couldn’t have gone better. The weather was perfect the rider line up was stacked!

MTB legend Andreu Lacondeguy took out the win in the MTB dirt jam, while Nick Franklin won the FMX and Kyle Baldock took took top honours in BMX dirt.

First up we have the official highlights from the MTB jam featuring all the best action from the incredible trails on the farm!

Where the Trail Ends – DVD Review

The scale of this film is simply ridiculous, in every respect. The terrain, the riding, the budget, the distance covered to film it… it’s like nothing the mountain bike world has seen before.

Where the Trail Ends is one of those mountain bike movies with a storyline, or a theme; essentially a crew of the world’s best freeriders find themselves getting complacent riding their usual stomping grounds in Utah and so begin scouring the earth, looking for the mix of desert terrain/cliff bands that make for perfect ‘big mountain’ freeride terrain. In reality, the storyline is just a very, very good excuse to travel to some of the most amazing locations on the planet (places as varied as the Gobi Desert in China, Argentina, Mustang in Nepal) and do the kind of things on bikes that we’re more accustomed to seeing in snow board films.

We want bang on too much about the individual segments of the film, but we will say that this film will redefine what you thought possible on a mountain bike. The steepness, the speeds, the absolute where-did-self-preservation-go-I’m-gonna-backflip-this-cliff insanity of it all… There is so much ridiculous skill, balls and creativity on display that you need to hit the pause button every few minutes just to let it soak in. Not to mention it’s all shot superbly in a way that is only possible with a budget such as Red Bull’s.

Beyond the riding, the film gives you a pretty good insight into just how hard these professional big mountain freeriders work too. Sure, there’s plenty of bro’ing and North American hugs, but seeing the work these guys put into crafting their lines, or hiking up huge hills in 40 degree heat with a downhill bike in tow, or checking themselves in crappy third-world hospitals after another slam, gives you new respect for them.

There may be other mountain bike videos with more soul, or that are easier to relate to as an average rider, but this is a landmark film and an absolute must-see. We give it five oversized balls.

 

Interview: Kelly McGarry Drops By

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Kelly McGarry would be terrible at hide and seek. He’s six foot four and with a mane of red hair that would put your average viking to shame – there’s not much chance of missing him.

‘Hey, has anyone seen Kelly?’

McGarry is also NZ’s finest freeride export, and for the past seven years he’s been travelling the world, completing in slopestyle and freeride contests, making a name for himself a rider fond of big lines. He divides his time between two of the best riding destinations on the planet – Whistler and Queenstown – meaning he doesn’t have to worry about winter ruining the fun.

While in town for the X-Up Freeride Festival (sadly cancelled due to Mother Nature’s tantrums), he dropped by the local jump spot to have a chat.

These are decent old jumps – the bigger kickers are a good eight foot tall, with gaps that most would think twice about. Only, when Kelly rode them, they looked small. His bike looks small too, almost like it has 20″ wheels, and he chucks it about; it didn’t take too many runs through the big set till he was 360ing and flipping.

360 table over the big one.

In between runs through the jumps and sips of Coopers Pale, we asked Kelly about how the freeride scene is changing, where it’s going next, which riders inspire him (Darren Berrecloth) and why we should all make the pilgrimage to Queenstown NZ.

One-foot table over the hip, looking far too relaxed.

Four by Three: Gee Atherton

The landmark series follows Gee to Utah for the ultimate test of his skills, at Red Bull Rampage

Leaving behind his usual downhill environment, Gee Atherton hits up Virgin in Utah for the ultimate mountain bike contest: Red Bull Rampage.

The unique environment of the contest is alien territory for most riders, forcing them to step out of their comfort zone and deliver their best riding while pushed to the limit. The terrain provides the chance to ride huge gaps and pull off incredible jumps while the soft soil makes for a more forgiving landing than usual, meaning anything is possible.

In his film, we follow Gee, a regular at the event since 2003, and his team through creating his line to taking to the course for the first time. Along the way he explores his desire to take on risk and discusses how he feels Rampage pushes the sport on and makes him proud to be a mountain biker.

This film offers the chance to see a rider at the top of his game take on new challenges in one of the world’s unique riding environments. How will Gee fare?

Four by Three is the latest spectacular series of films from Clay Porter following the Atherton siblings Rachel, Dan and Gee. Visit the official page to see the other films so far in the series.

RockShox B.I.K.E Full Length Film

On September 16th, RockShox pros Ryan Howard and Red Bull Rampage winner Kurt Sorge played a best of three game of B.I.K.E. up in Kamloops, B.C. RockShox put up $5,000 for the winner, as long as the game was played over Facebook on the RockShox wall so everyone could watch and participate.

What they didn’t tell you was in addition to the low-res webcams they shot the live game with — RockShox also hauled a full film crew and a mini-helicopter up to the ‘Loops to catch the action in full cinematic quality. (You didn’t really think they’d let Howard and Sorge throw down and only take a few camera phones, did you?)

And now RockShox has released the full game, along with extended footage, the Vegas segment of the loser’s henna chest tattoo, and they threw out a little teaser for what they have planned next year.

May the Worst Speller Win.

Some explicit language in this one so if you’re at work or around your impressionable little ones pop on your headphones.

RockShox B.I.K.E. Full-Length HD Film from RockShox on Vimeo.

Kurt Sorge nails Red Bull Rampage in a thrilling final of massive wipeouts and upset

Canadian Kurt Sorge flipped and whipped his Giant Glory to victory at the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, Utah on Sunday. Kurt linked up a run that combined technical difficulty and clean execution of his signature trick moves to score the highest in both his two final runs.

 

Grinning winner
Cam McCaul won best trick with a huge backflip step-down. Here he flies over the canyon gap with a cheeky look over towards the crowd
Bloody massive jump. Would you?
Sik Mick Hannah tried his hand at big mountain freeriding. He rode his lines fast and furious but didn’t make it to the finals unfortunately.
Thomas Vanderham has competed in every Rampage, he knows how to go big