Kye Forte 2
Kye Forte 2

Thirty–one year old Kye Forte should really need no introduction. He’s one of our greatest BMX riders, with style for miles and a racer’s edge. Pro rider, shop and events company owner…he's a super busy man that doesn't stop to take a breath. But recently he's found the time and love for mountain biking, and in 2013 we should see him hitting up a few races.


Words by Jonathan Williams. Photos by Jonathan Williams

So what's taken you so long to move across? Didn't you ever think about doing it years ago?

To be honest I was really just full–on with the BMX racing and it never crossed my mind. I was drifting from racing into the freestyle BMX scene, which was quite a big transition for me, and at the time I guess that whole scene had a negative attitude towards mountain biking. I was young and didn't really see it for what it was, I was just focused on what I was doing and where I was going.

Do you think mountain biking has changed much over the years?

Yeah. I've always followed it, I'm a bike rider so I'll look through all the magazines and watch the videos to see what's going on. The dirt jumping scene now has some really good riders and the tricks are legit – for a time it was a bit behind in that area. Rampage? Well that’s just nuts and to me that is true mountain biking. It's pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

So what aspects of mountain biking are you enjoying the most then?

I'm loving downhill riding. It's like going out on my motocross bike or snowboarding, the feeling of going down a hill super fast, smashing turns is really appealing to me. I love just going out for a pedal with my mates, a nice XC ride taking in a few downhill sections on the way. It's a good social and I love the fact that the weather doesn't really spoil it either.

So you’re thinking about entering the British downhill series this year?

Yeah, I've done a few local races, really enjoyed it and done alright, so I thought why not. I'm under no illusions that I'm gonna go out there and smash it and win, as those guys are real quick. I just fancy doing something fresh and I like giving myself a challenge. I'm really looking forward to it, I've just gotta put some training in now…it might be the time to step it up a bit. I tend to throw myself into things and I'm such a competitive person so this is no different.

So this is only a bit of fun then? What do you think the MTB world will think?

I would be lying if I said I don't have aspirations to ride MTB at pro level, if I am into something I am going to give it 100%. People are always going to talk shit and I'm sure this will be no different, if I have a good day people will say it’s OK for him he's a pro, then when I do bad they will bin me saying that a BMXer can't handle the mud!

So if you do well do you think you'll move across from BMX and concentrate on MTB?

No, BMX is still my passion and I'll never walk away from it. It's also my job so I'm still gonna work hard representing my sponsors, travelling and doing contests and help the sport as much as I can. I'll find plenty of time to ride my mountain bike as it's always raining here. I'd rather go downhilling in the pouring rain than go to a packed–out indoor skatepark.

You’re silky smooth and look really comfortable on the mountain bike. Do you think riding BMX over the years is going to help with your DH riding?

Well one thing I've never lost from my BMX racing days is my ability to spin the pedals. My mates at the trails still call me a racer and I guess I still have a bit of that style in me, so I think that's definitely gonna help. Also I've been racing a lot of motocross and trials riding over the last three or four years.

Kye Forte
Kye Forte

Will you be clipping–in at the races then?

I don't know…clipping–in was one of the main reasons I got out of BMX racing in the first place. I'm not gonna say never, as I use clips on my cross country bike and the benefits are massive, but it's something quite big for me to get my head round. Flying down a steep–ass hill over roots and rocks being attached to the bike seems like a recipe for disaster.

What do your BMX friends think about it?

Well I have actually pushed a few of the lads from the trails onto the MTB’s, most of them are pretty open minded these days. Most of the guys at the jumps surf in the winter, so I think they can see this as my release just like surfing is theirs. Of course they like to give me shit, but that’s what mates do.

Is it as uncool as it used to be or appear in their eyes?

I am not sure, I mean there are idiots in whatever walk of live you choose, BMX is no different. Being cool is not something I worry about so much these days, I still have my morals. I am sure some riders think it's uncool for me to be riding MTB, but then there are certain elements of BMX that are supposedly cool that are plain stupid…the ‘no helmet’ deal is the most obvious.

Do you think you've got into mountain biking now because you’re getting old?

Well I am getting older, but I feel like I have plenty left in me, perhaps there’s an element of me now that does enjoy just going for a pedal more than I did. I wouldn't have seen myself XC riding 10 years ago. MTB is something I can do when I am having a chill day, kinda like a day flowing the BMX trails. But then I can scare myself and push hard when I want.

What do you think made mountain biking uncool back then and what’s changed so much?

That’s a can of worms. I don't think MTB as a whole was ever uncool, but for a teenage BMX rider I guess I did have a bad attitude against it, I mean there were loads of good BMXers at the time that were never going to set the world on fire, they then went into MTB and became superstars. I am not putting everyone who ever rode a BMX and MTB in this basket. I don't really want to say it, but some people did sell out and others would have smashed it at whatever they choose to do. A lot of riders were hanging style wise. Some of the early freeride stuff was savage, riders literally throwing themselves off shit in hockey gear looked stupid. I think the sport has improved loads and as a whole the industry have done a good job of sorting it out.

You said earlier that you used to follow the scene a bit. Are there any riders you used to like/look up to?

I always thought Palmer was the nuts, so aggro and I liked the fact he could ride anything as well. The main people I guess I've followed have to be the Athertons, as we used to race BMX together when we were younger, and they’re from the south west. They went on to do their thing and my brothers and I did our thing. I love the whole family thing as well and can relate to it as me and my two brothers grew up racing.