BIKE TO THE FUTURE
AS A RIDER Mat Hoffman invented a roster of BMX tricks. Now the owner of Hoffman Bikes, the 37-year-old is revolutionizing bike design (his Superfork help set the industry standard). The greatest vert rider in history no longer competes at X, but he gets his wheels spinning by pushing equipment innovation. Take a glimpse into the head of BMX's mad scientist.
"I started BASE jumping in a wingsuit, which takes your vertical velocity from 120 mph down to about 40. I'd like to add little wings and lifters on my bike. That way, I could hang a launch ramp from a hot-air balloon, jump from the balloon and hit the ramp midair."
"People have tried to solve the problem of how to roll backward without the pedals engaging. Idea: Take a shaft-drive system, like they used in the 1800s, and install a clutch. You could pull a lever and separate the gears. With your back wheel free, you'd have new ways to slide and grind."
OLD BRAKES, NEW PURPOSE
"Recently, I've been thinking about how to use brakes to control a bike in the air. I've been working on handlebars with brakes on the bottom that hold the front of the frame in place and keep the back from swinging. It opens the door to tricks like half-tailwhips. Someday I'll figure it out."
"Flat tires are a pain. It would be great to design a bike wheel that's more like a skateboard wheel. You could create wheels with different amounts of hardness to mimic different tire pressures and eliminate the need for air."
NAME TO DROP: GARRET REYNOLDS
HOMETOWN Toms River, N.J.
SPORTS BMX Street, Park
CLAIM A tucked no-hander to ice pick down a street rail
UP NEXT A still-untitled MTV2 documentary, which airs this fall
As the defending BMX street gold medalist, Garrett Reynolds is this summer's rider to beat. He burst onto the pro scene four years ago and has since racked up five golds and a silver at U.S. and international X Games events. His keys to success have been consistency and a knack for combo tricks-like truck driver drop-ins and 540 bar-spin combos-that most riders couldn't pull off in a video game. Reynolds even blows up standard tricks, going bigger, higher, faster, scarier. Example: In his game-changing Nike 6.0 video part, he did a 360 down a set of stairs. Other riders would drop five stairs; Reynolds launched his 360 down 15.
RYAN NYQUIST ONEKEEPING UP WITH THE KIDS
"Age is just a number. I'm 30 now, and in most cases, the extra years work to my advantage: I know how to put a run together, how to ad-lib if I mess up. As for the increasingly difficult tricks young riders do, it's a matter of perspective. Everyone has a different style; what's hard or crazy for one rider may not be for another. Mostly, I don't worry about what others are doing. I worry about me. I've always been that way."