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A beginner’s dictionary of MTB slopestyle tricks

There's a lot of confusing jargon used on the MTB slopestyle scene – read our quick and simple guide so you can stop pretending to know what everyone's talking about!
By Hanna Jonsson
6 min readUpdated on
You see riders flying through the air, spinning their bikes and bodies in multiple directions, and hear the commentators at Crankworx World Tour slopestyle eventsand urban slopestyle contests like Red Bull District Ride 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! Well, things are about to change… here's your explanation to what some of the most important tricks are and what is involved in their execution.

360

The name really gives this one away; the rider does a full 360º rotation to one side while in the air. The pros also sometimes put 540º and 720º tricks into their runs where the course allows.

1 min

See Cam Zink's Best Trick-Winning Rampage 360 Drop

Watch the insane 360 drop that earned Cam Zink the Best Trick award at Red Bull Rampage 2014.

Backflip

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.

1 min

Cam Zink's Red Bull Rampage backflip

100ft plummet from the Oakley Icon Sender in 2013.

Barspin

A barspin is pretty much what it sounds like – a spin of the bars. The rider throws the handlebars a full rotation (360º) before catching them again. This can be done one, two, three, four or even five times. Emil Johansson is one athlete known for his barspin combinations.
Thomas Genon riding at home.

360 barspin

© Bartek Woliński

Can-Can

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. This trick's usually used in combination with other tricks, including backflips.
Red Bull Rampage 2016 Mountain Bike Freeride Event

Brandon Semenuk

© Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Cash Roll

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.
Mountain biker Nicholi Rogatkin performs at Crankworx Innsbruck 2017.

Rogatkin with his signature Cash Roll at Crankworx Innsbruck 2017

© Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Cork

A cork is an off-axis rotation. The rider and bike rotates a full 360º 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 Nicolai Rogatkin did a world-first cork 1440 on a mountain bike at Red Bull District Ride in 2017.

3 min

Nicholi Rogatkin's winning run at District Ride

Nicholi Rogatkin beats all-comers at Red Bull District Ride 2017 in Nuremberg.

Frontflip

Like a backflip but forwards. The ride throws bike and body forwards in a full rotation until facing the original direction again.

1 min

Tom Van Steenbergen frontflip

Freerider Tom Van Steenbergen gets bucked off his bike at Red Bull Rampage.

Invert

This is when a rider turns the side of his body to the mountain bike while in the air. Bike and body should be parallel to each other for the perfect invert.
Anthony Messere clears an invert at his training compound

A classic invert

© Sterling Lorence/Red Bull Content Pool

Nac-nac

Turn the bars like you're doing a whip and then take your front foot of the pedal and push it behind the rear wheel whilst in the air.
Martin Söderström performs at Crankworx Whip Off Innsbruck, Austria on June 21st, 2017.

Martin Söderström and his signature Nac-Nac

© Stefan Voitl/Red Bull Content Pool

No-foot

This is rather obvious. While in the air you have to have both feet off the pedals, and have them and you legs to the sides of the bike. The no-foot can can is a trick that is commonly used by the pros as it introduces a further technical adjustment in that you have both legs to just one side of the bike.
Brandon Semenuk does tail whip to no foot can.

Semenuk puts down a tail whip to no foot can

© Toby Cowley

Opposite

Doing a trick 'opposite' means just that; the rider does a trick in the opposite direction to what they're comfortable with. For example, the rider spins the bike to the left, rather than to the right when doing a tailwhip.

1 min

The Opposite 360

The Opposite 360 is possibly the best trick in Imaginate, and Danny has proof of the work that went into it.

Superman

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.
Szymon Godziek pulls a Superman Seat Grab trick during District Ride.

Szymon Godziek with the Superman Seat Grab

© Christoph Laue

Table

Basically, with this trick you try to get the bike as flat as possible in the air, like a table. The rider brings the bike to one side of their body by turning the bars and angling it towards the stomach/shoulder, whilst bending the knees.
Brandon Semenuk performs during day 1 at Farm Jam in Winton, New Zealand on January 31, 2020.

Brandon Semenuk with a steezy 360 Table

© Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

Tailwhip

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.
Nicholi Rogatkin, Triple Tailwhip

Nicholi Rogatkin, Triple Tailwhip

© Richard Walch

Tobaggan

A rider grabs the seat with one hand and turns the bars through 90° while leaning back.
Dawid Godziek with a dipped toboggan

Dawid Godziek with a dipped toboggan

© Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool

Truckdriver

What do you get when you add a 360 with a barspin? A truck driver of course. So next time you hear the commentators shout “look at that truckdriver” you know not too look for someone driving a truck down the course.
Emil Johansson performs a truckdriver

Emil Johansson with the 360 barspin, also known as a truckdriver

© Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

Tsunami Backflip

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 while they let the bike continue the rotation, they remove their feet from the pedals and stretch out, before continuing the rotation back to facing the right way up.

1 min

Szymon Godziek Tsunami Frontflip

Polish shredder Szymon Godziek pushes things forward with a world-first at Red Bull District Ride 2014.

Tuck No-Hander

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. A variation on the tuck no-hander is the suicide no hander which sees the rider removes his hands from the bars while being in an upright position.

1 min

Kyle Strait throws a Sender suicide no-hander

Heard about Strait's huge no-hander off the Oakley Icon Sender at Red Bull Rampage? See it now.

Twister

This trick is often referred to as a 720 frontflip or off-axis 1080 Spin. Nicholi Rogatkin became the first to land this trick back in 2016. It's as mental and mind-blowing as it sounds.

1 min

Nicholi Rogatkin's winning run

Mountain biker Nicholi Rogatkin wins at Crankworx Innsbruck.

X-Up

For an X-Up the rider turns the handlebars 180º 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.
Logan Peat performs 360 X-Ups at Red Bull Joyride 2015 in Whistler, Canada.

Logan Peat 360 X-Ups at Red Bull Joyride 2015

© Scott Serfas/Red Bull Content Pool

Unturndown

The unturndown is kind of like a table, but, well, completely different. You still want to get the bike as flat as possible to your body, but you do it by angling the bike and turning the handlebars to the opposite side (compared to a table), and you push your front foot forward and keep both legs straight whilst doing it.
Lukas Skiöld performs at the Swedish slopestyle event Falun Jam.

Swedish MTB slopestyler Lukas Skiöld with upside-down Unturndown

© Hanna Jonsson

Windshield wiper

Like the truckdriver, we’re not talking about an actual vehicle here, a windshield wiper is in fact a tailwhip to opposite tailwhip, which requires the rider to change direction of the bike mid-air.

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