Design and ConquerAnatomy of the tricks

Matt Jones’ new edit features two world-first mountain bike tricks – the Gainer and the Backflip to Hitching Post to Front Flip. Learn how he did them, here (and definitely don't try them yourself).
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Written by Charlie Allenby
In his debut series for Red Bull TV, Design and Conquer, Matt Jones shows what it takes to think up and land never-before-seen moves on a mountain bike.
We see the full story of two world-first tricks – The Gainer and Backflip to Hitching Post to Front Flip – from inception to perfection. While the Gainer goes off first time, the Hitching Post combo took quite a lot longer to get right.
It’s about having the focus of a tightrope walker but the commitment of a base jumper
Although both are over in a matter of seconds, each requires Matt to deepen his understanding of physics, keep a sixth sense-like focus, and lean on his instinctive feel. There's almost no time for him to think about what he is actually doing.
Here, Matt breaks each trick down, sharing what inspired them, the steps he took to actually land them, and their hardest aspects.
Gainer
What inspired it?
"I’ve loved jumping into swimming pools, running off cliffs and doing gainers my whole life. I can’t believe no one has done that on a bike – it’s not so far outside the realms of imagination. In reality, it’s just very difficult, but that hasn’t stopped people before. I was in a desperate rush to do it – all year I’ve been anxiously watching people upload videos when they’re stood on a drop thinking ‘someone’s going to do this’."
Gainer
Tap to see how Matt landed the Gainer
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What was the hardest part?
"The hardest part was committing to running off of the end but knowing that I’d do all the steps – I spent an hour on the run-off before finally attempting it.
"It’s funny how many I did onto my airbag, but doing it onto dirt was so different – it was way gnarlier. It would have been a big crash – the front wheel would have hit the edge, stopped the rotation, and I would have gone face-first into the landing, probably with my mouth open. Even if I landed it, I could easily have punched myself in the face or gone over the bars."
Backflip to Hitching Post to Front Flip
What inspired it?
"I remember watching Frames of Mind when it came out and I thought, ‘that backflip is loading up a spring to go the other way’. It almost seemed unnatural not to trigger a front flip. Even though the backflip was mega and took a lot of goes, I always saw it as though there was a big element missing.
"The backflip element in Design and Conquer was more complex than the one in Frames of Mind alone – I never imagined that you’d need to cut out the middle of the log, which makes the backflip onto the hitching post even harder."
Backflip to Hitching Post to Front Flip
Tap to see how Matt pulled off his next-level Hitching Post combo
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What was the hardest part?
"Being prepared for the front flip. Honestly, one in 60 backflips was good enough to deliver a front flip. It’s about having the focus of a tightrope walker but the commitment of a base jumper to pull the trigger on the front flip. You don’t know whether it’s coming though – it’s a really weird balance of commitment and focus that I’ve never had to put together in one trick.
"I needed to have my finger on the trigger to go for it. It seems like I’m stood on the logs for a while but there’s so much going on in that time – changing the bike direction, keeping it straight, getting my wrists set up, stopping the bike, checking the pedals, moving my feet – that’s all part of then going for the front flip.
"I know it’s a weird one, but the hardest thing was being prepared to do a front flip when all you’ve been dealt is loads of rubbish backflips. Everything I was doing was so consistent but the result was so inconsistent and that was all just to be in the position to try a front flip that I then might not land anyway. That was quite tough to take – struggling with the first half of the trick, which isn’t even the big bit – the front flip was the new bit. There are 350 attempts on camera and I would have done 100s of other front flips and things in my own time. I’ve never worked so hard on anything ever."