Freestyle Motocross

Freestyle Motocross

Freestyle Motocross (also known as FMX) is a variation on the sport of motocross in which motorcycle riders attempt to impress judges with jumps and stunts.

The two main types of freestyle events are:
*Big Air (also known as Best Trick), in which each rider gets three jumps — usually covering more than 60 feet — from a dirt-covered ramp. A panel of 10 judges evaluates the style, trick difficulty, and use of the course, and produces a score on a 100-point scale. Each rider's highest single-jump score is compared; top score wins.

*Freestyle Motocross, the older of the two disciplines. Riders perform two routines, lasting between 90 seconds and 14 minutes, on a course consisting of multiple jumps of varying lengths and angles that generally occupy one to two acres (.4 to .8 hectres). Like Big Air, a panel of judges assigns each contestant a score based on a 100-point scale, looking for difficult tricks and variations over jumps.

Notable Freestyle motocross events include Red Bull X-Fighters, NIGHT of the JUMPs, the X-Games, Gravity Games, Big-X, Moto-X Freestyle National Championship, and Dew Action Sports TourFreeriding 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 on 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.

Evolution Of The Backflip

The Backflip was once considered the "holy grail of FMX". It was a trick that most riders considered impossible and was considered more appropriate in video games than in real life. Speculation of the possibility began with the Motocross film "Children of a Metal God" featuring riders attempting the trick into water off a modified ramp. Also it had been done many times on BMX bikes, and FMX riders were using tricks from BMX riders, such as when Travis Pastrana performed an Indian Air, originally from TJ Lavin, a BMXer.

In 2000, Carey Hart attempted the first ever backflip on a full size motocross bike off a modified dirt landing ramp at the Gravity Games 2000. The landing was less than perfect with Carey crashing immediately after. Speculation in the motocross community following, with many people claiming he completed the trick and others claiming he merely attempted it. Regardless of the outcome, Freestyle Motocross was forever changed. Many people started to attempt it themselves, such as Travis Pastrana, who attempted the backflip of a Step Up jump at Summer X Games Freestyle. He bailed off mid flight, breaking his foot.

In 2001, Caleb Wyatt successfully landed a backflip onto a mulch pile at Rogue Valley Motocross track. While becoming the first man ever to ride away unharmed, the trick was still not attempted on a normal FMX setup, off a ramp to dirt setup. Carey Hart attempted the backflip again at Summer X Games in 2001, during the Moto X Best Trick competition, but bailed off the bike 45 feet in the air.

2002 saw the backflip taken to X Games glory. Travis Pastrana and Mike Metzger were both capable doing flips off ramps. Kenny Bartram was still learning flips, doing them off the backsides of dirt landings, much like Hart in the 2000 Gravity Games. The unthinkable had become reality; a backflip was now common place in freestyle competition. Mike Metzger had achieved a back-to-back backflip, which won him Freestyle Gold, at Summer X Games 8.

Many riders had done the amazing feat of a backflip, with this came many variations in 2003. Regular tricks were being used in backflips such as 'No Footers', 'HeelClickers', and 'One Handed' Backflips. It was then when the backflip wasn't a one trick wonder, it had become a trick that could be used over longer distances, but was more dangerous than any other stunt before it.

2003 - 2005, These years saw the development of the trick, with many variations including cliffhangers, cordovas etc. As well as the disputed 360's which some consider only off-axis flips. The backflip was perfected over large distances including over 100 feet.

2006 Early 2006 saw footage emerge of Travis Pastrana completing a double backflip on an uphill/sand setup on his popular Nitro Circus Freestyle Motocross Movies. On August 4, 2006, at X Games 12 in Los Angeles, he became the first rider to land a double backflip in competition. This trick, which many considered impossible, had now been completed on a dirt set-up almost perfectly. He also vowed to never do it again.

2007 Early 2007 saw the emergence of footage of rider Scott Murray performing a number of double backflips successfully, to a foam pit/ramp setup, where a large piece of foam was placed over the end of a foam pit, on which he landed many double backflips. Later that year Murray attempted the double backflip at X Games but was unsuccessful and crashed upon landing.

After the crash at X Games, Scott Murray, tried again, successfully landing the trick at a Supercross event in Italy. Now he performs them regularly at the 2008 Crusty Demons tours, though he had a crash at Canberra, Australia, during a show.

At the 2008 Summer X games Jim Dichamp tried a front flip. He was not able to land it and crashed during the attempt.


Rider Gear

FMX riders typically use much of the same riding gear as MX racers. This includes a helmet, goggles, gloves, boots, jersey and MX pants. They may supplement this with elbow and knee pads. Riders may also choose to wear 'body armor' to protect the chest and legs when performing the most dangerous of tricks, as did Travis Pastrana when performing his double backflips. A Leatt neck brace may also be worn if rider are concerned about neck injuries or are attempting dangerous tricks.

Motorcycle Modifications

Riders use modified motocross bikes with after market parts to lower weight and improve performance. Riders will often shave down the seat foam to give a wider range of motion and better grip on the seat. Steering stabilizers are also common, and help keep the front tire running straight when tricks requiring the rider to let go of the handle bars are performed. Many riders will also shorten the width of the handle bars, to make it easier to put the legs around the bars, like such tricks as the 'heelclicker' or 'rodeo'. Excess cables, such as brakes and clutch cables are usually redirected away from the bars, to avoid riders getting their boots caught on the bike. The engine and mechanical details of a FMX bike are fairly stock, not needing the fine tuning of a racing bike. Common modifications are new exhaust pipes to lower the noise of the motorcycle. This helps there to be less noise when events are held in closed arenas. Riders may also choose to have 'lever' on their handlebars to help then when performing 'Kiss Of Death Backflips.' A 'lever' is usually a metal plate or pipe coming off the handle bars, and going in front of the riders wrist or lower arm to stop the rider from rotating during the flips, but letting the bike continue to move. []

Non-Bike or Rider Equipment

* One major component of Freestyle Motocross is the foam pit. These vary in size, but are usually a rectangular box filled with shredded or cubed foam. The FMX rider will jump from a ramp, practicing one of the more dangerous or prototype tricks, and execute a safe landing into the safe foam regardless of the actual landing position.
* Ramps are usually made out of metal, as this keep the 'lips' of the ramp consistent.
* The landing ramp is normally constructed from dirt. If the event has limited resources, landings ramps may be built on trucks or trailers. When freeriding, however, the rider jumps from dirt to dirt.


Rotation Tricks

*Backflip – A trick first performed by Carey Hart, once the Holy Grail of Motocross, now is a very common trick having many variants. It involves the rider rotating the bike backwards until they have done one full rotation. Variants of this trick include any of the regular tricks, while doing a backflip. When naming the trick, the regular trick, for example a Can-Can, is said followed by ‘Backflip.’ E.g. ‘Can-Can Backflip’.

*Double Backflip – Once thought to be impossible, it was performed first by Travis Pastrana, once at Spokane, Washington when filming for Travis and the Nitro Circus 3 and again at Summer X Games 12, Moto X Best Trick. It involves a rider doing two backflips during a jump. This tricks requires the rider to go much higher in the air then a single backflip. Other notable people who have attempted this trick include Scott Murray, who crashed attempting it at Summer X Games 13 Moto X Best Trick, but later achieved it at an Italy supercross Event. He also performed the stunt at various Crusty Demons tours.

*360 (Mulisha Twist) – Perhaps the hardest trick to identify, because of its name. It is when the rider spins the bike 360 degrees. It was first performed by Brian Deegan, leader of the Metal Mulisha, hence its other name. Some believe Deegan had performed an Off-Axis Backflip or 360 Backflip because of its noticeable vertical rotation. Many riders have attempted this trick, only a couple riders have done a variant of this trick which include Nate Adams (Nac-Nac), Travis Pastrana (One Handed) and Blake ‘Bilko’ Williams (HeelClicker).

*Underflip – When the rider does a backflip, but moves the bike perpendicular to the ramp when upside down. Created by Norwegian rider Ailo Gaup, it is one of the newer Flip Tricks. Notable riders that have performed this trick include Mat Rebeaud, who did a ‘Nac-Nac Underflip’ at Summer X Games 12 Moto X Best Trick

*Frontflip - Previously considered by many as an 'impossible feat'. This trick has been attempted in competition and failed by Jim DeChamp at the X-Games 14 2008. He committed to the flip and looked as though he would pull it off, but 3/4 of the way through he bailed out. Retired FMX rider, Travis Pastrana, said that Jim could have landed the trick if he didn't bail out. Many people believe the Frontflip will be landed very soon.

Body Varials

*Carolla – A trick first performed by Chuck Carothers, where the rider does a superman, then spins their body around 360 degrees parallel to the bike. This trick has only been done once at Summer X Games 10 Moto X Best Trick.
*Volt – Another body variel, invented by Kyle Loza, is when the rider moves above the seat and spins their body 360 degrees. Loza successfully completed the trick at Summer X-Games 13 Moto X Best Trick.
*Electric Death/Doom - Another variel by Kyle Loza, it requires the rider performing a vertical 'Deadbody', then moving back to the bike as if they were returning to the bike from doing a 'K.O.D'. This trick has only been attempted by Kyle Loza and landed by Kyle Loza at the X Games 14 2008. With the trick he won gold in the 'Best trick'. []

Regular Tricks


*Can-Can – When a rider lifts their foot over the seat to the other side and moves it back again
*Cliff Hanger – When a rider hooks their feet under the handlebars and then reaches up vertically. Other names include the ‘Jackhammer’ or ‘Christ Air’, where the rider does different movements of their hands
*Dead Body – The rider sticks their feet through the handle bars, then flattens out their back as if they were dead on the ground, a variant is when the rider spreads their legs apart, called a 'Dead Body Shaolin'
*Coffin – Similar to the ‘Lazy Boy’, except the rider doesn’t extend their hands out, but still leans back, making their legs horizontal under the handlebars, as if they were in a coffin
*Double Grab – When the rider uses both hands to grab the grab holes or seat and extend their body upwards
*Fender Grab – When the rider grabs the front or back fender with their hands
*Hart Attack – Named after its creator, Carey Hart, the rider puts one hand on the handle bars and the other on the grab hole and extends their body upwards
*Helicopter - Hart Attack with Indian Air.
*Heel Clicker – The rider moves their legs above the handle bars and clicks the heels, while holding on to the bars. This trick is perhaps the basic trick of FMX []
*Lazy Boy – When the rider moves their body flat on the bike, moving legs horizontal under the handle bars, and arms back, as if they where in a Lazy-Boy chair. It was invented by Travis Pastrana. A variant of this trick it when the rider put his hands on their helmet, commonly done by Travis Pastrana.
* McMetz - Saran Wrap with both legs simultaneously. Named after creator Mike Metzger. Could be considered the reverse of a Heel Clicker
* Double McMetz - McMetz performed twice in one jump.
*Rock Solid – When the rider moves out from the seat, doing a double grab, then letting go of the bike, moving hands away, usually out to the sides of the bike, resembling a cross. Other names include 'Holy Man' as the rider resembles Jesus Christ on the cross.
*Superman SeatGrab - Where the rider puts one hand on the handle bars and the other on the seat, extending legs horizontally, not to be confused with a 'Hart Attack'

*Scorpion - Hart Attack with both arms stretched and curved over legs, resembling a scorpion.
*Kiss of Death (KOD) – When the rider moves their head towards the front fender, as if to kiss it, while bringing their legs upwards from the bike. Invented by Mike Jones (a.k.a "Mad Mike")
*Tsunami – When the rider moves the bike and their body vertical, then curves their legs over, resembling a tsunami
*Ruler – When the rider moves the bike and their body vertical
*SideWinder – Involves the rider dismounting their bike and moving to one side, then running in the air, while not holding the handle bars. Also known as a "CatWalk", named after "TomCat" Tommy Clowers. A variant of this trick called the ‘Wilma’, when a rider holds the handle bars with one hand and performs the trick, invented by "Travis Pastrana"
*9 o’clock Nac Nac – When the rider moves their body to the o’clock position extending out wards from the bike. Rider can go up to the 12 o’clock position on occasions.
*9 o’clock Indian Air – The rider does a ‘9 o’clock Nac Nac’ then does an ‘Indian Air’ scissor kicking their legs

*No Footer Can-Can - When the rider lifts above the bike, and moves both feet to one side of the bike over the seat, body is bent, heels looking down or backward.
*Double Can-Can – When the rider lifts above the bike, and moves both feet to one side of the bike over the seat, and stretches in a line with his heels looking up (something in between 9 o'clock Nac and Side Grab).
*Pendulum - No Footer Can-Can to one side, then to the other.
*Disco Can – When the rider lets go of one the handlebars and points his index finger in the sky, while performing a ‘Can-Can’
*No-Footer Disco Can - Disco Can with both legs extended
*Suicide Can – When the rider lets go of the handlebars while performing a ‘No Footer Can-Can’
*SwitchBlade - Almost Bar Hop, but both legs are positioned on the left or on the right, but not over the bar.
*Candy Bar – When a rider moves one leg over the handlebars and back again
*Saran Wrap – When a rider does a ‘Candy Bar’, but moves the leg out to the side of the bike, letting go of one hand. The reverse of this is called a ‘Reverse Saran Wrap’
* Nac-Nac - invented by supercross star Jeremy McGrath, involves the rider moving their leg over the bike, extending that leg out, while keeping the other leg on the foot peg.
*No Footer – When the rider moves their legs outwards from the bike, dismounting their legs from the foot pegs
*No Hander – When the rider lets go of the handle bars
*Stripper – one footed Cordova
*Rodeo – When the rider perform a one handed ‘HeelClicker’ and moves the other hand in circles above their head, as if they were riding a bull in a rodeo
*Nothing – When a rider performs a ‘No Hander’ and ‘No Footer’ at the same time
*Super Can – When the rider does and a Can-Can at the same time
*Indian Air – When a rider performs a but does an Indian Air, scissor kicks their legs
*Indian Seat Grab – When a rider performs a 'Seat Grab’ but does an Indian Air, scissor-kicking their legs
*Bar Hop – When the rider moves both feet over the handle bars
*Turntable – When the rider does a ‘Bar Hop’, then moves both feet to one side, letting go of one hand, then remounting the bike.
*Whip – When the rider moves the bike perpendicular to the ramp. That style of whip is called a turndown, while other styles move the bike flat.

Types Of Landings and Take-Offs


* No Hander Lander (First landed by Mike Jones)
* One Handed Lander
* Sterlizer (First landed by Clifford Adoptante also know as the Flyin Hawaiian; also notably used by Trevor Vines)
* Side Saddle Lander (First landed by Brian Deegan moto x)
* Standard Lander ( standing up on pegs )


* One Handed Take Off (Invented By Kenny Bartram)
* Side Saddle Take-Off (First Performed by Kenny Bartram)


Famous Freestyle Motocrossers

*Travis Pastrana
*Nate Adams
*Brian Deegan
*Kenny Bartram
*Jeremy Stenberg
* Mike "mad mike" Jones
*Andre Villa
*Sebastian "Busty" Wolter
*Kyle Loza
*Adam Jones
*Todd Potter
*Ailo Gaup
*Carey Hart
*Mike Metzger
*Beau Bamburg
*Robbie Maddison
*Ronnie Faisst
*Clifford Adaptdante
*Ronnie Renner
*Chuck Carothers
*James Heslip

External links

* [ FORTY8 | International Freestyle MX online Magazine]
* [ FMX World: "Official FMX Community"]
* [ Freestyle Motocross in Europe]
* [ Official site of International Freestyle Motocross (World Championship)]
* [ Smoothness Freestyle MX undiluted | Sequence Magazine"]
* [ Official site of the Freestyle Motocross Series]
* [ EXPN FMX Trick Dictionary]

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