Bullet Proof Talent: Cody Gessel

Tuning in to the flow

There are so many videos pumped out these days that I think we become a little ‘blind’ it all (I know I do). But every so often a video will appear that makes you stop and take notice.

Photos: Andy Fitzgerrell

For me the release of Deity team rider Cody Gessel’s ‘Caravan’ was one of those moments. From the very get-go I felt that I was watching something special. I have never really been a fan of mountainbikes in skateparks (concrete, wood or whatever), it has just never seemed right to me, but Cody changed my view of that. Pump, flow, oozing style… this kid was something special.

And his bike too, what was it that made it look different? Ha, it took me a while to realise that he was in fact riding brakeless. Nothing to your modern day BMXer, but in mountainbiking it is almost unheard of. No brakes and a large dose of retro styling… knack knacks, x-up step thrus, tyre grabs… his clothes, the music in the vids – it was if he was from a slightly different era, harking back to the pool skaters of the 1970’s. There is a definite vibe going on with Cody Gessel. But who the hell was this guy? We needed to find out more.


Just turned 24.

Where are you from?

Sandy, Utah.

What are your local trails?

Tanner trails, but for 10,482 different reasons I haven’t been super involved and I’ve been distracted with other hobbies this year.

What inspires you to ride?

GraveDigger, dirt bikes, fast and reckless pool/transition skating, fast paced loud music.

What do you look for in a set of jumps?

Good vibeZzz and a killer sesh!

What inspired you to ride brakeless?

The first time I ever rode brakeless, I wrecked and blew up my brake hose. I used to talk shit (jokingly) on brakeless up to that point and then I rode it and I was hooked. I’ve gone back and forth between brakes and no brakes a ton. The past year I’ve barely run brakes and it’s just about finding the flow and exploring new lines brakeless. Also being able to hold full grip and not worry about hovering a finger over the lever feels better. The biggest thing for me is ripping around a cement park or some good trails and be able to tune into the flow… brakeless is a sweet feeling.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to ride brakeless?

Take your rotor off so you don’t look like a dork, go fast, and be ready to dodge some obstacles!

Your pink jeans attracted a lot of attention on the internet – do you still wear them?

Haha! On occasion.

Where does your boost come from?

I guess maybe trying to figure out how to go higher off a lip without airing to flat was such a challenge, and the more you figure it out, the more fun it becomes. To me it’s always been way more rad to see how high or transferred you can go off of a set up rather than what tricks you can do over it. So I always just had more fun going for height. That’s what bikes are for… F U N, right? Other than that just yank back and hold on!

Talk us through your set up…

Stiff and fast! And all Deity of course. A Fanfare “Group A” DJ Proto front hub I’m testing and really stoked on. And the rest is a random pile of parts that keep it goin.

Where did your inspiration come for your recent Utah edit?

This is the part where I give a huge thanks to my good friend Carson for this whole edit and all his help. Over New Years I stayed at his place and we rode his spot he called Pig Pen. We kinda joked about how it would be funny to do a “little bikes” version of Rampage style/just Virgin terrain in general. We played on the big lines at his jumps and just dicked around riding his Cryptkeeper down some ledges and steep terrain. All for fun. After I came home we kept texting each other about the idea and finally we just ended up turning it into a real project and making a weekend edit out of it. The goal for me was just to show people you don’t need this over–kill bike and you don’t need to be picky about your set up for the terrain or yadda yadda. Just grab your jump bike, a shovel, some friends and go send it and have a good time.

Was it a big step up from riding mainly trails and park?

It was definitely a lot more intense. Especially the speed. Virgin will intimidate you so it’s important to just focus on riding the way you normally would.

Did you have any sketchy moments/near misses while filming?

The most sketchy was by far the canyon gap. We barely had a day and a half total since we arrived to do everything, including fixing up the spots. And while searching for stuff I knew I wanted the canyon gap to be the ender. The bad part was is that it was so built up in my head and I was nervous and at the point pretty tired. I knew I couldn’t start from the top with my set up or I’d go way too far. I wanted to start low but luckily Carson convinced me to go up an extra 15ft. And I couldn’t really test it, so when it was time to send it I felt like I was just hauling so much ass into the lip and it was pretty rough so I wasn’t that focused on aiming at the landing, I ended up jumping super far left and landing wayyyyyy front end first on the soft stuff just left of the landing but somehow rode out. Lucky for sure. I only wanted to do it once but I think I ended up doing it like six or seven times for the right shot. And then earlier that morning I gave myself one of my hardest whacks to the shin on the alley oop quarter air. Other than that things went smooth!

What does the future hold for Cody Gessel?

Good times and adventure is all I hope!


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