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Discussion: Is there an equivalent in mountain biking?

Discussion: Is there an equivalent in mountain biking?

So here’s a question for you…


This Skateboarding video show’s legend Bob Burnquist pushing the envelope of what’s possible on 4 tiny wheels with the help of a mega ramp, helicopter and a massive set of knackers.

I’ve been blown away by similar videos in BMX both on dirt and in skate parks but I’m struggling to think of a mountain bike equivalent. Yes we have freeriders sessioning huge jumps and pulling the most insane tricks in the process, but somehow it sort of falls short of the impact of this effort. Yes, Danny Mac spent a year putting together a 7 minute edit illustrating the incredible inner workings of his mind and exploring childhood fantasies. But that seems somehow in a different league. The Athertons alongside Clay Porter captured that amazing four by three session at revolution bike park which blew my mind. So am I just getting jaded?

Am I wrong? Can you think of such progressive examples of mountain biking prowess; am I just numb to MTB because its what I love, have seen to much and tend to skip through edits before they’re done? Or is there something yet to come, is the envelope about to get thrown wide open?

Please let me know what you think in the comments below, post your examples and I’ll compile them and your opinions together in a future post.

  1. Shakey

    Red Bull Rampage

  2. WAKi

    Mhm… not this magnitude of build & ride & shoot creativity. But when it comes to seeing speed, you know stuff, when you say “this is fkng manic!” – then I would put Sam Hill on World Champs in Val di Sole, next to some shots of Senna driving, Jumpsuit vids or Tornados flying below tree line stuff like that…

  3. Eoin

    My favourite edits are from Chris Akrigg, as he combines the best of skills/balls/creativity/editing. I feel like I would show 5 or a hill in Spain to a non-rider who asked what is the absolute limit in MTB. But I still feel like they wouldnt fully appreciate the technical difficulty of it.

    There are not so many edits you can show someone who isnt into biking and get them to understand just how mental the rider is. Off the top of my head, there is really only Danny Macs original edit which combines insane skills and huge dodgy drops that the mainstream really “got”. Rampage is definitely up there, except there are very little good edits, just poorly edited highlight reels. Which is such a shame considering what Semenuk and Zink were able to do the lsat few years.

    1. Nick Hamilton

      Eoin: I definitely should have included Akrigg in that original list…

  4. Tim Goodwin

    Showing Danny Harts WC winning run to NORMAL non mountain biking public shows the limits being pushed and skills of mountain biking… I’ve shown that 4 minutes of amazing riding to lots of people and I don’t need to explain whats going on… quite possibly the best advert we have for mountain biking…

    completely unstaged, not stitched together from a gazzilion takes. isn’t that what pure mountain biking should be shown as…

    I am sure if someone could follow Jerome Clementz as he rides down a track blind, that would perhaps top that…

    1. Nick Hamilton

      Great example Tim, but to an uninitiated and out of context, doesn’t he make it look too easy?

      1. James Smurthwaite

        I think you would have to show that in the context of the other runs, e.g gee atherton’s, to see how much that 11 seconds is in real time

  5. Waaa

    Skip to the last minute – That’s pretty spectacular. The first 7 mins, not so much

  6. Skud

    That skate vid is incredible! When you think its just a piece of board with 4 tiny wheels stuck to it. In MTB there’s more emphasis on the machine as well as the athlete. Maybe that can alter the perception with some people.

  7. Boley

    I might be missing the point but while that skate video is really impressive it’s the skill of the pilot that’s most impressive. MTBs main stage is the Rampage and I think anybody, mtbiker or not, who watches it knows just how insane it is…

  8. Andy Mills

    Well, what a question. I don’t know if mountain biking has quite got the equivalent, yet. For sure Danny Mac’s edits are phenomenal, as are Chris Akrigg’s. The Atherton’s effort was also incredible and watching Danny Hart’s run at the world champs definitely gets the heart rate going. But as far as this new edit from Burnquist goes I think it’s taken things to a whole new level. Sure it doesn’t have the power house of Red Bull Media behind it, but if you look at all of the elements of the riding it far out ways anything ever done before. The scale of it, the speed in which he has to ride combined with the technical element of the skating all goes together to create an incredible viewing experience. And then they get the helicopter out!
    The first time I saw it it took me 30+ minutes to watch, purely through rewinding tricks, just to comprehend what he had actually just done.
    As a mountain biker, a snowboarder and skateboarder I can fully appreciate the question asked. In my mind, the mountain bike world is still to find an edit that can top this. But given how much this must have inspired people, I can’t imagine it’ll be long before other sports are inspired to create edits on a similar magnitude.

  9. Bojangles

    I would have to say ‘Where the Trail Ends’ was a pretty good example of this. Discovering new, untouched areas to ride. That Upper Mustang segment was insane, that was about as boundary as it gets. Maybe not the fancy semi controlled hucks that others are doing, but I would dare to say not many would be at that aedge of the envelope

  10. Kristian Roberts

    I agree Nick. I do think he makes it look too easy. I’ve shown a few people who don’t know much about mountain biking, let alone DH, and he just makes it look like it’s tarmac whereas if you took those uninitiated to the actual course, they’d probably shit their pants. Camera’s never do gradient or terrain justice.

  11. Conor S

    I like that MTB isn’t too mainstream (yet) look what happens to some other sports because of that.Rampage,World cups and crankworx are huge for MTB i’ve had friends see videos from Red Bull rampage and they were blown away!!!

  12. ronin

    forget this comparison. when we get to the likes of teahpoo, jaws or mavericks status is when mtb will transcend.

    1. Nick Hamilton

      Good Point Ronin… those wave rides are another level again!

  13. stooky

    for me mtb is still too young. skateboarding has had many years to get here.
    incredible video, man sure has fun.

    in short, not yet.

  14. JHazard

    I’m with Bojangles. Where the trail ends takes riding to extreme of extreme. It’s beyond Rampage. Those lines in the Gobi desert… That chute that Robbie Bourdon falls on, then totally nails the next time back.

    I’d give Danny Hart’s run a close second.

  15. rod+fountain

    The chopper grinding that rail was good ‘n’all.

    1. Nick Hamilton

      You do like grinding choppers

  16. Fernando Muska Pereira

    Akrigg and Danny Mac., easily as impressive!

  17. Fooman G

    That’s just stunts, someone will always go bigger, more importantly is the cultural influence skating has had. Skating has transcended from stunts and has branched out into fashion, art, music, film, popular culture. It’s starting to happen a bit in mountain biking mostly through photography and web clips. Before we emulated skating, bmx and motocross wearing brands from those sports but we have our own these days.

  18. CazzaMazza

    Nope…that’s just a video portraying how played skateboarding is…its as played as most “extreme sports”…mountain biking got played…found its balls and made itself! If I wanna see skateboarding I’ll go to a skate park and watch some cool stuff…not some dude grinding a helicopter…thats about as skateboarding as the Danny MacAskill vids are mountain biking.

    1. MrB

      You took the words out of my mouth, kind of! I enjoyed the video but the helicopter stuff seemed like a bit of a gimmick. The helicopter grinding the rail was cool but having the same guy doing a similar run down a slopestyle course would be just as good, that’s not skating. In terms of public perception I think you have to go beyond the riding to understand the success of video sections. Whilst not taking anything away form the unbelievable skills I on display, I can’t help think Rob Warner may have been a big part of what makes Danny’s run so watchable and should Dave Sowerby’s creative vision be credited for some part of Danny Mac’s success?

  19. Max

    I didn’t think that video pushed the limits any more than any average mtb video.the use of the helicopter seemed like a gimmick .enjoy riding who cares if we have an equivalent

  20. Dug

    NWD. It’s always had the best riding. There’s loads of stuff from the series that’s just as impressive as that edit.

    Wade Simmons Moreno valley gap, for instance, still looks incredible today. In fact I reckon if you showed your average joe this video and Wade’s segment from NWD 3, they’d be more impressed by the latter.

  21. Scott

    “That’s not Skateboarding”. Well am I blind or stupid. It was a skateboard he was on wasn’t it? It maynot be what the majority of people canor go out and do on a skateboard but I am sure if people had the skills and access to this sort of setup they would ride it often as they could. you only have to look back at early skate vid’s (or any extreme sport vid) and you can see how far behind it is now compared to now. If we all went out and copied each other and accepted the limits set before us no sports would progress. To answer the question I do not think yet that MTB has found an equivilent yet. Danny and Akrigg are maybe the closest but none of the edits they have produced are quite to this level yet.

  22. Big Bird

    There’s no reason why mountain bikers can’t ride and compete on the megaramp and in fact Cam McCall already has. He’s traveled with Nitro Circus and done mega back flips and front flips. I’d love to see a mountain bike class on the megaramp in the X Games. Any pro mountain biker worth his salt would jump at the opportunity.

  23. dhiobsessed

    Heli Pilot has got some skills

    but it’s pretty much a video gimmick to flash up something not new in skateboarding and that several guys can do.

    Maybe with skateboarding because a board does not cost 5000 and there is pavement underneath a massive portion of the worlds population, the skill and riding is relatable to a wider audience.

    When an athlete does something within their chosen sport and does it undoubtedly better then the rest of the field, I as a viewer get a much greater sense of WOW then the aforementioned skateboard video.

    For instance, Shawn White during the Olympics was clearly going faster, bigger, and gnarlier than anyone else. Anyone watching saw the difference.

    Sam Hill 08, Aron Gwin 11/12, Danny H, and recently Remy all rode so much better than the field. But do these masterful runs display well on You tube to a greater audience, no not really, or at least not easily.

    I think at the end of the day, if a spectator does not do the particular sport, then what they are watching is just some crazy kid doing crazy things on a bike, skis, board, kite, bouncy ball…. but throw in a helicopter and Office joe is likely to share the video with a friend.

  24. Jon Gregory

    I’m not convinced this video shows a great deal of progression from where skating was already at. Burnquist has refined and scaled up the mega-ramp fetish pretty damn though and it makes for some awe inspiring and well polished footage. There will always be athletes and professionals always wanting to go bigger and better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lPCK8hptg8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-lPCK8hptg8

    But just because it’s big does’nt mean it’s more skilful. The progression takes place on the streets, down the skatepark, on the dirt jumps….and into the foam pits.

    Burnquist is working in a ‘controlled’ environment as well and I think the risks that World Cup DH racers face on a race weekend with changing track conditions and unpredictable weather are far greater. Look at the state of Burnquists clothes and you know he has to work for the footage and take risks but for a Downhiller, on race day, you only get one shot.

  25. Hecklerone

    How about that video workhard RideHarder that was amazing

  26. nozes

    Bring back Bender!! 😀


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