Friday, October 20, 2006

Freestyle Motocross

Freestyle Motocross (also known as FMX or Moto-X) is a recent variation on the sport of motocross. It concentrates not on speed or racing, but on the acrobatic ability of the rider in the air. Riders perform jumps and stunts ranging from 80-150 feet in length (24-45 meters). The two main types of freestyle events are Big Air and Freestyle Motocross.

Big Air (also known as Best Trick) is a best-of-three competition in which each contestant is allowed three attempts at the same jump. The best trick or variation of the three attempts gives the rider his score. The event is judged by a panel of ten judges scoring on a 100 point scale, judging for the style, level of trick difficulty, best use of the course. The rider with the highest single score wins the competition. The jump is usually over 100 feet (30 meters) in length). Big Air requires a rider who is capable of channeling all his intensity into a single maneuver.

Freestyle Motocross is the older of the two disciplines. Riders compete in a series of two routines of 90 seconds to fourteen minutes in length on a freestyle course. The course consists of multiple jumps of varying lengths and angles, and is usually one to two acres in area (.4 to .8 hectres). Like Big Air, a panel of judges assigns each contestant a score based on a 100 point scale. In order to please the judges, riders must have the ability to execute difficult tricks and employ a number of variations over different jumps. Notable Freestyle motocross events include Red Bull X-Fighters, the X-Games, Gravity Games, Big-X, Moto-X Freestyle National Championship, and Dew Action Sports Tour

Freeriding is the original freestyle motocross. It has no structure, and is traditionally done on public land. Riders look for natural jumps and drop-offs to execute their tricks on. Some freeriders prefer to jump using sand dunes. In many ways, freeriding requires more skill and mental ability. Notable freeriding locations include Ocotillo Wells and Glamis Dunes in California, Beaumont, Texas, and Cainville, Utah. You should be prepared to get dirty if you are trying this yourself.

Freestyle motocross employs many tricks of varying difficulty.

  • The most controversial trick is the “Backflip” first attempted by Carey Hart in 2000.
    • Backflip Can-Can
    • Backflip Candy Bar
    • Backflip Cliffhanger
    • Backflip Cordova
    • Backflip Heel Clicker
    • Backflip Lazyboy
    • Backflip Nac-Nac
    • Backflip Nac-Nac to Heel Clicker
    • Backflip No Footer
    • Backflip No Hander
    • Backflip No Handed Lander
    • Backflip One Footer
    • Backflip One Hander
    • Backflip One-Handed Nac-Nac
    • Backflip Saran Wrap
    • Backflip Superman
    • Backflip Superman Indian Air (Also called Indian Air)
    • Backflip Superman Seat Grab
    • Backflip Superman Seat Grab Indian Air
    • Backflip Whip
    • Backflip Whip No-Footer
    • Backflip Whip No-Footer to One-Hander Lander
  • Perhaps the most difficult of all tricks is the “Body Varial,” also called the “Carolla” after its inventor Chuck Carothers.
  • The 'Can-Can' is one of the simplest FMX tricks. It involves the rider taking one of his legs and sticking it out on the otherside of the bike in front of him.
  • The 'Cliffhanger' consists of the rider placing his feet on top of or underneath the handlebars and than reaching up towards the sky as if he were standing on the edge of a cliff. Variations of this include the 'Jackhammer' and the 'Christ Air'
  • The "Coffin/Dead Body" involves the rider sticking his legs between his arms and stretching back so he is laying flat above the bike, as if he were in a Coffin.
  • The “Double Backflip” was completed by Travis Pastrana. This trick was pulled off for the first time ever in competition during the 2006 X Games.
  • Double Grab
  • Fender Grab
  • Hart Attack
  • The “Heel Clicker” is another elementary FMX trick. It consists of the rider clicking his heels together over the handlebars while in the air.
  • Holy Grab
  • Holy Man - (Superman no handed let go)
  • The “Kiss-of-Death,” where the rider moves his body straight up and his motorcycle straight down, is one of the more difficult tricks.
  • Ladder
  • The “Lazy-Boy” was invented by none other than, Travis Pastrana. The trick has been pulled by many freestyle motocross riders, and is often used in competition. It involves the rider lying flat on his back with his legs under the handlebars and his arms out behind him. It resembles a man lying down on a couch or Lazy-Boy chair, hence the name.
  • The 'McMetz' involves the rider lifting himself off the bike and taking his arms, placing them underneath the handlebars and than pulling them out by taking his hands of the bars. He than sits back down on the bike before landings. Variations include the 'Double McMetz' were the trick is performed twice in one jump.
  • Another difficult trick is “The 360” A.K.A “Mulisha Twist,” a complete full spin first landed by Brian Deegan in the 2003 X Games Freestyle MotoX competition.
  • The “Nac-Nac,” invented by supercross star Jeremy McGrath, is one of the original FMX tricks. It is executed by dismounting the motorcycle while in the air.
  • The Moonwalk
  • No Footer
  • No Footed Can
  • No Hander
  • No Hander One Footer
  • No Foot Nac-Nac
  • Nothing
  • Rock Solid
  • Rodeo Air
  • Ruler
  • Sidewinder
  • Stale Fish (Saran Wrap)
  • Suicide Can
  • Superman
  • Superman Indian Air (Indian Air)
  • Superman Seat Grab
  • Surfer
  • Topside No Footed Can - (known as the switchblade)
  • Tsunami
  • The Whip
  • Turntable

Types Of Landings

  • No Hander Lander (First landed by Mike Jones)
  • Sterlizer (First landed by Clifford Adoptante also know as the Flyin Hawaiian)
  • Side Saddle Lander (First landed by Brian Deegan)
  • Standard lander ( standing up on pegs )

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Freestyle BMX

Freestyle BMX is a creative way of using bicycles originally designed for bicycle motocross racing. It can be split into several disciplines, although riders will generally participate in more than one discipline. These are Street, (skate)Park, Vert, Trails and Flatland. Rather confusingly, in competitions, park riding is often referred to as 'Street'.

Street riding occurs on public streets or private property, typically within cities and towns. Without purpose-made ramps, riders have to improvise with banks, walls, rails, gaps, etc. In fact, almost anything can be used as an obstacle, and it is precisely this that draws people to street riding. Riders enjoy street riding because they are not constrained to what a skatepark designer has planned for them to ride, so it allows a good deal of creativity. Street riding relentlessly progresses, with obstacles and tricks that were considered too big or technical to attempt, becoming common place.

Many professional BMXers are street riders who are employed for the exposure they get through video parts and magazines, rather than for their competition results. However, these riders generally don't get paid the huge sums that the big competition riders get, as most of the big money comes from placing in events such as the X Games. However, riders like Van Homan, who is a progressive street rider, often enter the X Games and manage to place quite high.
Street bikes are different from those used on park or dirt. Typically they will have two or four stunt (axle) pegs for grinding. They are usually the heaviest and strongest type of BMX bike. A considerable number of street riders set up their bikes without hand brakes (popularized by riders such as New York's Edwin DeLaRosa).
Some street riders may also ride park and dirt, but the set up of street bikes can make the latter difficult.

Skateparks are used by BMXers as well as skateboarders, and both draw inspiration from the other. Skateparks themselves can be made of wood or concrete, or in the case of local council-supplied parks, metal.

Styles of riding will differ between wood and concrete parks - wood lends itself to technical tricks, while concrete is more suited to a fast, flowing style, with riders searching for gaps, and aiming to air higher from the coping. However, it is not unusual for riders to merge the two styles in either type of park.

Concrete parks are commonly built outdoors due to their ability to withstand years of exposure to the elements. Concrete parks are also often publicly funded due to their permanent and costly nature. Parks made from wood are popular with commercial skateparks due to ease of construction, availability of materials, cost, and the relative safety associated with falling on wood instead of concrete. Parks designed with BMX use in mind will typically have steel coping that is less prone to damage than concrete or pool coping.

Common obstacles include:
quarter pipes - literally, quarter of a pipe - riders air from it and perform tricks on a platform above the ramp
spines - two quarter pipes back to back
flat banks - a flat bank set at an angle of roughly 40 degrees from horizontal
wall rides - a vertical wall above either quarter pipes or flat banks
miniramps - two small quarter pipes facing one another, like a halfpipe, but with a short flat area between.
hips - essentially two quarter pipes or flat banks, each with one edge at a right angle to the other.

Perhaps the most extreme of the BMX disciplines, a Vert ramp consists of two quarter pipes set facing each other (much like a mini ramp), but at around 10-13 feet tall (around 2.5 to 3 metres) high. Both 'faces' of the ramp have an extension to the transition that is vertical, hence the name.

Riders go up each face, performing tricks in the air before landing into the same face. A typical run involves going from one side to the other, airing above the coping each side. Also possible are 'lip tricks' - tricks on the platform at the top of the ramps before dropping into the ramp.
Mat Hoffman popularised the sport in the early 90s, and holds the record for the highest jump of 27' out of a 25' ramps (a total of over 15.5 metres from the ground). He achieved this by being dragged along a field by a friend with a motorbike and hitting one face of the ramp. On one attempt, he lost control at the peak of his jump, and the resulting crash caused life-threatening injuries such as losing his spleen. Remarkably, despite his age and injuries in the past, he still competes to this day.

The danger of the discipline (and scarcity of full-size vert ramps) puts most riders off, and as such, there are a small number of top professionals who remain at the top of the sport for many years. Most notable are Dave Mirra (US) and Jamie Bestwick (UK) who have won almost all the major international competitions in the past 5 years.

Trails are, as the name suggests, lines of jumps built from dirt (heavily compacted mud). The jumps consist of a steep take off, called a lip, with an often slightly less steep landing. The lip and landing are usually built as separate mounds, divided by a gap. The gap is measured from the topmost part of the lip, horizontally to the topmost part of the far side of the landing. Gaps typically range from only a couple of feet to over twenty feet. A moderate gap is around twelve feet.

Trails riding is sometimes also referred to as Dirt Jumping. Many maintain that a subtle difference exists in the approach of the rider; trails riders focus more on flowing smoothly from one jump to the next whilst performing more stylish tricks, while dirt jumpers try to perform the craziest tricks they can without much thought to their style or smoothness.
Although many regard trails and street as being completely opposite, the attraction is similar—trails riders build their own jumps so their riding is limited only by their creativity and resourcefulness.

Dirt jumping bikes are heavier than bmx racing bikes but lighter than freestyle bikes. Often times a bmx jump bike will have only a rear brake and they might also sport a gyro. The gyro will allow them to do airborne tricks such as barspins.

Flatland BMX occupies a position somewhat removed from the rest of freestyle bmx. People who ride in the above disciplines will generally take part in at least one of the others, but flatlanders tend to only ride flatland. They are often very dedicated and will spend several hours a day perfecting their technique.

Flatland also differs from the others in that the terrain used is nothing but a smooth, flat surface (e.g. an asphalt parking lot, basketball courts, etc.). Tricks are performed by spinning and balancing in a variety of body and bicycle positions. Riders almost always use gnurled aluminum pegs to stand on to manipulate the bike into even stranger positions.

Flatland bikes typically have a shorter wheelbase than other freestyle bikes. F;at;and bikes differ from dirt jumping bikes and freestyle bikes in one way. The frames are often more heavily reinforced due to the fact that the people riding flatland often stand on the frames. This shorter wheelbase requires less effort to make the bike spin or to position the bike on one wheel. One of the primary reasons flatlanders often ride only flatland is a result of the decreased stability of using a shorter bike on ramps, dirt and street.

A variety of options are commonly found on flatland bikes. The most unifying feature of flatland bikes is the use of four pegs, one on the end of each wheel axle. Flatland riders will choose to run either a front brake, a rear brake, both brakes, or no brakes at all, depending on stylistic preference.

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