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Honest Questions About Things People Do in Bike Videos

Can Old Dogs Learn New Tricks?

Words by Morgan Taylor.
April 2nd, 2014

Good style never goes out of style. Big hucks and tricks are impressive, but they’re hardly tangible to the average rider – and it’s no surprise that videos of professionals simply riding smoothly with a bit of style go over quite well. But, this leaves me with a question: where do we draw the line between smooth style and gratuitous shralpage?

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The freeride flick: guilty as charged.

Lately in mountain biking the technique known as the freeride flick or “Canadian kickout” is getting a lot of hate. Those who can’t do it think it just looks like the rider is skidding down the trail, and those who can but are over it don’t see a point. Then there’s the very real problem of riders imitating the brakes-off drift with actual skidding.

I will admit that I only began learning this technique in 2012. It was around the same time I learned to whip and scrub at the bike park – both necessary to get the most out of your bike on fast jump trails. Being that I might be considered a relative newbie to the freeride flick – which actually equates to doing flat ground whips – my thoughts on the matter are not as credible as a those of a seasoned veteran.

However, even with my lack of experience with certain advanced techniques, I have to wonder about some of the things I see in videos on a regular basis.

The Foot Out Flat Out

The first technique I have to question is the foot out berm skid. The biggest culprits are amateur DH racers in their “welcome to the team” edits. The rider jams into a corner with their inside foot off the clipless pedal, and showers a big pile of dust/loam/gravel into the camera lens.

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Jerome Clementz, foot out flat out. Does this have a purpose beyond looking cool?

I get it. This looks cool. It’s reminiscent of the Repack days. But these people are not drifting like Kovarik, and it’s most definitely not a fast way to go through a corner. Ever notice that videos will switch to a new clip after the foot out skid? That’s because the rider comes out of this move at a snail’s pace – the exact opposite of the “slow in, fast out” idea I learned racing cars.

Just this past week I see Jerome Clementz doing it. You don’t win top level enduro races with unnecessary movements. I’ve ridden with Jerome and he is 100% calculated. So maybe I’m wrong, and maybe in some circumstances this is a fast thing to do?

Wheelieing Out of Corners

Coming out of a berm straight into four or five pedal strokes on the rear wheel with the bars sawing back and forth wildly. This is a thing, again seen in “big bike” videos. While riding on one wheel for extended periods of time is impressive, doing so hard on the gas is not as much so.

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Brendan Howey, manualing a long section of trail. This is actually very cool. Screen grab from Matt Dennison’s “No Mistakes” video.

Getting on the pedals as soon as possible out of a corner is a great way to carry more speed into the next section of trail – but isn’t the front wheel better off on the ground where you can load your fork and support some weight with your arms?

I see motocross bikes as a precedent here: roll on the throttle out of a corner and the front wheel comes up with ease. Who doesn’t like a good braaaap… but the motorcycle still accelerates when this is happening. On a bicycle, I just can’t see how this move is doing anyone any good.

Maybe Red Bull just isn’t showing us the corners on World Cup DH tracks where this technique is being implemented. I’m a big fan of Fabien Barel’s school of thought and I’m probably biased against what seems like unnecessary pedaling.

Can We All Just Get Along?

Style and speed are, most of the time, exclusive elements of form. When they come together, it can be a thing of beauty. Take Danny Hart’s nasty whip when he won the World Champs. There are good arguments for either end of the spectrum, with more subjective points applied to style and logical ones more often appealed to for speed.

I would prefer if the discussion stayed constructive – though I’m sure the freeride flick haters will jump in to tell me I’m a hack. I do honestly believe in furthering riding skill by having fun on the trail, even if it’s not the fastest way down the hill. I want to hear from people who do these moves – and I’m open to being persuaded that they have good reason to do so.


Do you do it like they do in the movies?

  • Jamie Hamilton

    Hmmmm I would just like to question before the flaming starts, unless your racing isn’t it just about havin fun on your bike? By the way I like a good flick every now and again… For the ladies.

  • sagalbot

    I’m with Jamie on that one.. The freeride flick does beat corners to shit though.

  • http://www.mattdennison.tv Matt Dennison

    “I do what I feel like.” – Bart Simpson

    • boomforeal

      shouldn’t that quotation technically be attributed to rudiger?

  • http://nsmb.com Pete Roggeman

    I smell the makings of a race: pure speed vs style, what’s the margin of victory for the speed demons?

  • Guest

    jeromes bike is missing half a fork…

  • Planktoni

    Personally, I’d like to see guys in videos riding not to ruin trails with their “style”…simply because younger riders have need to copy them on trails that we share with hikers and are not maintained by bike park employees…

  • Cam McRae

    What are your questions exactly?

    • Jamie Hamilton

      Good spotting, actually I gave up on questions and went for broad statements instead. So how’s that muffin?

      • Cam McRae

        I wasn’t talking to you Jamie. If you look above you’ll notice that Morgan’s article is called ‘Two Honest Questions.’ How’s that Muffin? ;)

      • Jamie Hamilton

        Ha ha classic! typical inter webs always thinking it’s about me! :) It’s not about me it’s about the bike!… errr I think I have that wrong. The muffin is good I’m thinking I may need a Fat bike now… Happy riding and keep the pot stirring articles commin!

    • Morgan Taylor

      It was noted by my scrutinizing engineer friend that there are actually five questions in the article. You can choose which ones to answer.

      • Cam McRae

        How many are honest?