Raw and undiluted: Emil Johansson and Martin Söderström rip it up in Järvsö
The Swedish mountain bike freestyle duo go full send and showcase some of their favourite tricks at a bike park in their home country in the latest episode of MTB Raw.
What happens when you bring two of the best mountain bike slopestyle riders of their generations together for a MTB Raw series clip? Pure magic. The Swedish duo Emil Johanssonand Martin Söderström are the latest riders to feature in the popular series that showcases the pure riding abilities of bike athletes in a no-thrills manner.
Watch Johansson and Söderström riding in their absolute element in the player above and scroll on down below to see what each of the boys chose as their three favourite tricks from the shoot.
Johansson and Söderström got together in early autumn in Järvsö, Sweden, to film the MTB Raw segment at the bike park there. Järvsö Bike Park is one of Sweden’s most popular spots for lift-accessed downhill riding and is stunningly located in the middle of the country surrounded by lakes, forests, hills and small red-painted cottages.
A powerful duo
Söderström and Johansson have both had a huge impact on the international freeride and slopestyle mountain biking scene. Söderström is the elder of the two and is credited with influencing a whole generation of Swedish riders since he emerged on the slopestyle scene back in 2008. Johansson has been able to build on Söderström's early achievements in the sport and is now regularly winning big international slopestyle contests at places like the Crankworx festivals and invited to ride at Red Bull Rampage.
"It’s a really cool experience getting to ride and film with Martin. He was a huge role model growing up and I used to watch his videos on a daily basis. If someone told me 10 years ago that I would be on a video shoot together with Martin, I wouldn’t have believed it," says Johansson.
If someone told me 10 years ago that I would be on a video shoot together with Martin, I wouldn’t have believed it
Söderström is no less glowing in his praise of Johansson's abilities and how his fellow Swedes inspires him.
“During filming, Emil would do a super sketchy trick on a jump we weren’t even filming on, just for fun. I used to be like that too but nowadays if there is something scary, I kind of just want to get it over and done with. So it was really refreshing and fun to be reminded of how it used to be and it’s a pleasure to watch him ride.”
Profiled below are the top six tricks that were performed on this MTB Raw shoot with an equal split between Söderström and Johansson. Watch those tricks in the video players below and get the lowdown on how they approached those tricks from the boys below, starting with Johansson first.
Emil Johansson's Top 3
Emil Johansson's Top 3 tricks in MTB Raw
Johansson #1: The 540
“This one is kind of funny because I was planning on doing a 180 but then whilst we were digging and shaping the jump I started thinking that if I was to land backward anyway, why not do a 540. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I hadn’t fully decided until I dropped in. So everyone expected a 180 and then I threw a 540 instead.
"It was tricky because the trail and the landing is really narrow so there isn’t much room for error, so I really had to nail it. I got it on the first try so I’m really stoked with that.”
Johansson #2: Double whip
“This one was super tight as the feature was pretty small and it was pretty hefty to pull off. Also, the trick mentioned in number 3 depended on my dialing this one. It took a couple of try’s to figure out the speed but then it was all good.”
Johansson #3: Half cab barspin on the “box”
"This trick’s been on my mind for a long time. Although I come to Järvsö a few times a season, I've never brought my slopestyle bike here. So it was really fun to ride it and get some of the tricks down."
Martin Söderström's Top 3
Martin Söderström's top 3 tricks in MTB Raw
Söderström #1: Flat spin off the rock
“I went up to Järvsö a few weeks prior to the shoot to scope it out and the first thing I saw was this rock. It’s not an actual feature, just a big rock next to a trail and I thought I have to do something on this. I’ve wanted to do a flat spin of something that isn’t a jump for a long time, and in a different kind of spot, so this rock was perfect.
"The problem is, the older I get, the more scared I am. We started a couple of times, but each time I felt a little tired and run down, so I kept saying 'let’s do it tomorrow'. I did that basically until the very last day when I knew I had to do it."
"When I finally gathered enough courage to do it, it went perfectly. And I’m really happy and proud of it. I don’t often do things that really scare me nowadays, so it was a proper flashback to my competition days – feeling the adrenaline pumping, heartbeat pounding.
"Doing a flat spin off a feature like this, that isn’t actually made for riding, demands more out of you as a rider and you have to use your skills to really make it work. It’s a cool feeling.”
Söderström #2: Manual to tail whip
“This one was a little tricky because often when you do a manual you want a completely flat and hard surface, it’s easier for your balance. You can’t really see it in the edit, but the ground was pretty wet and bumpy. So to properly nail the manual to tail whip took a few goes, it was pretty tight to fit both in. I’m really stoked I got it though because I feel like it really reflects me and my riding style coming from a technical background mostly riding park and skate parks."
Söderström #3: Flat spin ahead of Emil’s nac nac
“It’s always a bit nervous riding ahead of Emil. I mean, he is the world’s best slopestyle rider and I really don’t want to be the reason he crashes, gets hurt or ruin anything for him. A flat spin on a jump isn’t that hard but the jumps we used in this edit are all bike park jumps so they are a bit flatter than normal.
"Then there are other factors that are slightly nerve-racking: the drone flying really close to us, the smoke machines making it hard to see, the sun suddenly shining through the trees and straight into the smoke making it even harder to see. These are things you never see or think about when you watch an edit, but stuff that really affects us riders when filming.”
For even more Johnsson and Söderström content, check out their adventures in Ride with the Swedes season 2