Every trick you need to know for slopestyle mountain biking
© Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
There's a lot of confusing jargon used on the MTB Slopestyle scene – use our quick and simple guide so you can stop pretending to know what everyone is talking about!
You see riders flying through the air, spinning their bikes and bodies in multiple directions, and hear the commentators excitedly shouting, “look at that backflip double barspin to tuck no hander!” or “that’s a world first cash roll tailwhip!” – and you have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. We get it!
With a summer stacked full of slopestyle contests, this dictionary of Slopestyle tricks will teach everything you need know.
A backflip in slopestyle is like any other backflip, but with a bike. The rider throws bike and body backwards in a full rotation until facing the original direction again.
Cam Zink's Red Bull Rampage backflip
A barspin is pretty much what it sounds like – a spin of the bars. The rider throws the handlebars a full rotation (360 degrees) before catching them again. This can be done one, two, three, four or even five(!!) times, as Emil Johansson showed us last year as he landed the world’s first backflip quint barspin at Nine Knights.
A bit like the dance move, but done on a bike. A can-can is when the rider takes one foot off the pedal and kicks the leg over the top tube. Brandon Semenuk is the king of the one-footed can, and this trick is usually used in combination with other tricks, including backflips.
This trick, made famous on mountain bikes by Nicolai Rogatkin, is almost as hard to grasp as it is to explain, but basically it is doing a 180 to backflip to 180.
A cork is an off-axis rotation. The rider and bike rotates a full 360 degrees but instead of doing it straight backwards, forwards or to the side, they do it off-axis. This can of course be done with more spins than one. Brandon Semenuk is famous for his stylish Cork 720s and last year Nicolai Rogatkin did a world’s first cork 1440 on a mountain bike at Red Bull District Ride.
Like a backflip but forwards. The ride throws bike and body forwards in a full rotation until facing the original direction again.
Doing a trick "opposite" means just that; the rider does a trick in the opposite direction to what he is comfortable with. For example, the rider spins the bike to the left, rather than to the right when doing a tailwhip.
A trick where the rider removes both feet and stretches out behind the bike, preferably until the body is straight and parallel to the ground, to imitate Superman’s flying technique. This one is used a lot less in slopestyle competition these days, but Szymon Godziek, 'The Extension Man', likes to use them in his runs.
A trick where the rider kicks the back-end of the bike in a full rotation around the handlebars. This can be done multiple times, and would then be called a double, or triple tailwhip.
A tsunami backflip is a little bit like a flowy superman but done in combination with a backflip, in a motion that resembles a wave – or tsunami if you like. The rider does half a backflip and whilst he lets the bike continue the rotation he removes his feet from the pedals and stretches out, before he continues the rotation back to facing the right way up.
While we're on the topic of nature-resembling tricks – this one is very birdlike. The rider tucks the handlebars into their lap, leaning into the bike so that the shoulders are slightly over the bars, and then letting go of both arms – reaching out as far as possible.
For an X-up the rider turns the handlebars 180 degrees before turning them back straight again, without ever letting go of the bars. This lesser-seen trick comes from BMX, so you'll see the likes of Ryan Nyquist – who comes from a successful BMX background – throwing them down during contest runs.
The name really gives this one away; the rider does a full 360-degree rotation to one side.