Monday, 16 June 2008

Flatlanding - BMX Tricks and Tips

Flatlanding BMX is the most technical style of BMX.
Courtesy of EXPN
From scuffing and squeaking to dumptrucks and steamrollers, Kidzworld checks out the world of flatland BMX.

Picture of rider competing in flatland BMX at the X Games.
Courtesy of EXPN

Flatland BMX - What Is It?

Flatland BMX is the most technical style of BMX riding. Flatlanders perform on smooth, flat pieces of ashphalt, which is where the style got it's name. Riders link together rolling, jumps and tricks. The sport requires great balance, agility and patience. In competitions, riders get points for smoothly linking tricks together and they lose points everytime they touch the ground. A bike used in flatlanding has one or two pegs off the side of the front and back
wheels, which are used to hold the rider's body in place.

Flatland BMX - Tricks and Lingo

  • Scuffing - Using feet on the tires to maintain speed, to brake, or to stall the bike.
  • Hitchhiker - When the rider is rolling with feet on the front pegs and holding the back tire up so that the handlebars are just skimming the ground.
  • Dumptruck - When the rider rides on the back wheel facing backwards, with one foot on the peg and the other foot scuffing the tire in the direction the rider is facing.
  • Steamroller - When a rider rolls forward with one foot on a front peg and the other foot maintaining balance while one hand holds the handlebar and the other hand holds the seat with the frame of the bike in front of the rider.
  • Whiplash - When a rider rolls forward and does a tailwhip while standing on the front pegs.
  • Flatland BMX - Did You Know?

  • Some professional flatland BMX riders practice up to eight hours a day.
  • Bob Haro invented flatland BMX in the early 1980s.
  • Flatland BMX first became a part of the X Games in 1997.
  • Related Stories:

  • Dave Mirra Biography
  • Mat Hoffman Biography
  • Fixing a Flat Tire

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    Flatland Beginner



    Curb Endo: Basically, the name is self-explanatory. All you do is ride up to a curb at a slow walking pace. When your front tire hits the curb, throw your weight forward, un-weighting the back of the bike. The back wheel will come off the ground, hold it as long as you can, then put your weight towards that back of the bike, bringing you to the ground.

    Exercise: To get used to the feeling of holding your back tire in the air, have someone hold you up in an endo position, then you put on the brakes, and try to hold it. Being able to hold an Endo is imperitive to being a good biker.

    180 Barspin: Do this trick while rolling in a large circle, counter-clockwise. Roll at a slow walking pace, and when you're ready, put your right hand, backwards, on your left grip. And, as fast as possible, spin the handlebars 180 counterclockwise using your right hand. Then repeat the process so that they are facing forward again. It is incredibly important that you spin the bars fast. If you get timid, and slow ths spin, you'll wipe out.

    Exercise: It's tough to get used to getting your knees out of the way of the handlebars, so for this exercise, roll in a circle counterclockwise, in a spiral. When you get to the middle, plant your foot and spin the bars. Make sure to get your knees out of the way!

    Handlebar Ride: This trick takes lots of balance. Roll forward at a slow walking pace. Put your right foot over the handlebars and onto the right front peg. Here's the tricky part. Grip the seat with your left hand, keeping your weight back. Swing your left foot over the handle bars and onto the left front peg. To get out of this, reverse the process.

    Exercise: This is tricky because you are trying to keep balance without any feet. For this exercise, you should get into the riding position, sitting on the handlbars. Place both of your feet on the front pegs and roll down a driveway. Start out slow, then you'll get the hang of it!

    Barhop: To do a barhop, all you do is jump over the bars, landing on your front pegs. The trick to not getting your feet hung up on the bars is to hold your weight up with your arms. You must lock your elbows, and tuck your knees to your chest. To get out of it, just reverse the Handlebar Ride.

    Exercise: It's tough to get up the nerve for this one. All I did was have my two friends hold a stick up about handlebar level, I would hold onto it like it was a handlebar, and I'd hop it. Slowly I got up the confidence. Then I started to hop the bars on my bike, but not try to land on the pegs, just clear the bars. Hang in there, and don't give up!

    Pogo: Hopping tricks are a good way to learn how to balance on one wheel. To do a pogo, get rolling forward at a slow walking pace. Stand on your front pegs, and slam on the brakes, doing a small endo. Imediatly put on the back bracks and pull back on the handlbars, so that the bike is almost vertical. Now start hopping. Remember to hop in the direction that you are leaning. Just ride out like an endo.


    Squeaker: To do a Squeaker, start with your left foot on the left front peg. Your right foot can either be on the right pedal, or on the right back peg, whichever is most comfortable. Do and endo by slamming on the front brakes. Quikly move your right foot onto the front tire. Then release the brakes, push the tire backwards with your foot, and quickly apply the brakes again. Do this as long as possible.

    Exercise: To be good at the Squeaker, you have to be good at squeaking your tire, which means pushing it like you do in Squeaker. A good way to practice this is to turn the handle bars facing the front tire. Stand on the front pegs, and squeak the tire with one of your feet. Do this until you feel comfortable scuffing.

    Boomarang: To do a Boomarang, put both feet on both back pegs. Swing your right foot forward and backward for momentum and push off the left back peg with your left foot. At the same instant that you push off, put on the front brakes. When you reach 180 degrees, or when your half way around, let go of the front brake so that back of the bike doesn't leave the gound. At this time, start carving an arc, When your about 90 degrees from finishing the trick, re-apply the front brakes and place your foot on the right pedal.

    Exercise: It is very hard to get all the way around for this trick, and when you do, sometimes the pedals are messed up, so you can't land it. That is why you should preset the pedals to be level, and have the right one in front.

    Tailwhip: To do a Tailwhip, swing your right foot over the frame, and when at a fast walking pace, jam it in between the front forks and the tire. With your left foot still on the pedal, push the frame around in a counterclockwise direction. Keep your left foot in the air and use it for balance. Make sure to hold the front brakes. When the frame gets all of the way around, use your left foot to stop it, by placing it on the seat post. Take your right foot off of the tire and put it onto the right pedal, then swing the left foot over the frame and onto the left pedal, then peddal away and smile at the cameras.

    Exercise: This is a fairly easy trick to do after you get it down, but the hard part is to land it. So a good idea is to just practice the landing, start with the bike half-way around, and then get in the position, pull up the back tire and practice landing the Tailwhip.

    Decade: To do a Decade, roll forward at a slow walking pace. Put your left foot on the back peg and your right foot on the seat post. Put on the front brakes and do an Endo. When the back tire hits the ground slam on your back brakes and do a popper wheelie, at this moment quickly jump over the Head Tube and land with your left foot where the top tube hits the seat post. You should really keep your eye on where you plan to land so that you don't miss and wipe out.

    Exercise: This is a tough trick, but being able to complete a Boomarang makes it a whole lot easier.

    Firehydrant: A lot of people say to learn a tailwhip first, but I totally disagree. I think that firehydrants are much cooler, more fundamental, and can be used in much more combos. So here is how to do one:
    Start riding forward at a medium walking pace. Take your right foot over the frame and place it on the left back peg. Now put your left foot on the left front peg. Put on the front brake while taking your right foot off of the left back peg and swing around onto both front pegs. Use your right foot for balance. Turn a little past half-way, then pull up on the handlebars. The frame will now start to swing around. When it gets about 90 degrees around, put on the front brake and catch the frame with your right foot. Take your left foot off of the peg and onto the peddle and ride of, smiling for the cameras!

    Frontyard: A frontyard is a nice trick to learn how to scuff with. To get into it, step over the handelbars with your right foot and hold it over the tire. When your ready, slam on the front brake, bringing the back wheel off of the ground. Now, take your left foot off the left pedal, and place it onto the left front peg as you scuff* the tire with your left foot. Let go with your left hand and use it for balance. If the bike of the bike is too high, kick the tire harder, and if it's too low, scuff harder.

    *Scuffing is where you kick the tire forward with your foot, then, on it's way back, drag it along the tire. This keeps you from falling over in tricks like the frontyard. It is imperitive that you learn this to be a good rider. The positioning of this trick is somewhat hard to explain, and I apologize if I've done a bad job.

    Backyard: To pull a backyard, you need to get into the backwards riding position. This can be tough if your not used to it, but keep practicing! Okay, swing around the handlebars onto the front pegs like in the funky chicken and the firehydrant. Now, put your right foor over the bars and onto the platform, like in the funky chicken.

    Now is where you get into the backward riding postition. Bring your left foot over the bars and place it on the back peg that is on the left (normally, it would be on the right, but we are facing the oposit direction). Now, kick the back tire once to get moving forward, put on the back brake, pull up and start scuffing.


    Funky Chicken: I think the funky chicken is one of the coolest tricks ever, but that's probably just because of it's cool name. To get into it, put your right foot on the back left peg, and your left foot on the front left peg. Then swing around the tire like in the beginning of a firehydrant. But this time, only turn 180 degrees, so that you are going straight. Hold this postition.

    Now, take your right foot and put it over the bars and rest it on the top tube. Turn the bars so that the wheel is on the right side of the frame. Now grab the seat with your right hand, jam your right foot onto the tire and start scuffing. Vary the angle between the bars and the frame to keep balance. This trick is normally done in a circle.

    To get out of it, put the back wheel back on the ground, and smoothy out.

    Squeakerson: To do a squeakerson, first you gotta get into the backwards riding postition. Pull a 180 barspin. Now, manuaver yourself onto the front pegs, like in the begining of a funky chicken or backyard like this. Now put your right foot on the platform, and bring your left foot over the bars, onto the left front peg. Now all you have to do is scuff. Jam your right foot, on the right side on the frame, behind the fork and start scuffing like a funky chicken.

    To keep your balance during this trick, you can vary the height of the frame, and you can vary the angle of the frame. It comes more easily if you've first learned the funky chicken. To ride out, set the frame down, bring your left foot back over the bars and onto the left front peg, then bring your right foot ober and kick the tire to get moving backwards again. Now, jump up, this time landing with your right foot on the left peg. Put your left foot onto the back left peg, then switch your hands on the grips, step on the pedals and ride out.

    Elephant Glide: Learning the elephant glide is pretty fun, at least it was the most fun I've ever had while learning a trick. I, for now, get into it the easy way.

    First, you have to do a handelbar ride, but this time, with your right hand on the seat, instead of the left (you get into it the same way, you just put your left foot over the bars first, then your right). Get used to getting in and out of the handlebar ride this way, it'll make the trick much easier.

    After your in a solid handlebar ride, it's time for some glidden. Roll forward at a walking pace, turn about 80 degrees to the right, slam on the brake, bring the frame around on your right, and stand up. This is where you start scuffing. You can move the frame during the trick to keep your balance.

    To get out of it, just keep scuffing and move the frame behind you. Let it hit the ground, now your are back in a handlebar ride, get out of it, and ride off. Have fun and ride hard!

    How to do a steamroller on on a bmx bike!

    Things You’ll Need:

    Roll forward at a relatively slow speed.
    Place your dominant foot on the front axle peg. (These instructions use the left foot as dominant. If you feel more comfortable using the right foot, substitute right for left in these steps.)
    Put your right foot on the rear peg, on the left side.
    Transfer your weight to the front foot and push the handlebars a little forward to lift the back wheel a couple of inches off the ground. You are going to be rolling forward the entire time, so do not use your brakes.
    Kick the back of the bike around gently to the right with the right foot as soon as the back wheel comes up.
    Grab the seat with one of your hands once the bike passes the handlebars and starts to go in front of you.
    Keep rolling forward and use the leg that you have behind you to counterbalance the frame in front of you.
    Carve in a circle by pushing the right side of the handlebars slightly toward the ground, keeping your front peg foot on the outside of the circle, and maintaining balance with your back leg.
    Roll for as long as you can.
    Get the frame directly in front of you and lean forward slightly to place the back wheel on the ground.
    Put the hand that was on the seat back on the handlebars.
    Angle yourself so that the frame is going to come back around on your right side.
    Catch the frame with your right foot, up by the seat tube, as soon as it passes the handlebars on its way back behind you.
    Drop down to the pedals and ride away, or go into another trick.

    Freestyle flatland bmx.

    This is Steve Jobs he is a pro flatland bmx biker!
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    How to set up you bike for flatland freestyle.

    Things You’ll Need:

    Start with a good flatland-specific frame. These usually have a short top tube, a short rear end and steep angles.
    Do a quick check of the frame and everything else on the bike to be sure nothing is cracked, bent or broken.
    Remove any pads, reflectors, chain guards or kickstands.
    Put axle pegs on the front and rear wheels and cable detanglers on the front and rear brake cables.
    Position your handlebars so they are straight up and down or in line with the fork. You may be more comfortable with your bars a little further forward or back, but don't go too far in either direction. Some riders like to cut their handlebars' width to just wider than shoulder-width.
    Remove old grips if they're torn or if the handlebar is showing through. Bar end caps will help protect the ends of the handlebar.
    Choose a wheel set that has a rear hub specifically designed for flatland, usually called a free coaster. Free coaster hubs allow you to set your pedals at one position, and they will stay there when rolling backward. Hubs with a regular free wheel make the pedals go backward when rolling backward, and coaster brake hubs don't let you set the pedals easily because of the brake in the hub.
    Use tires that have a smooth tread and inflate them to the maximum air pressure. Most flatlanders run at least 100 pounds of pressure in their tires, even though it is usually well above the recommended pressure on the tires. There are only a few tires rated to that pressure.
    Tighten all nuts and bolts to their specifications, including axle nuts, stem bolts, pedals, cranks, seat and seat post nuts, brakes, and headset.
    Lubricate all moving parts, such as brake cables, brake pivot bolts and your chain.
    Put the correct amount of tension on the chain so that it doesn't fall off when you're riding.
    Use the smallest front sprocket that you can find. The easier gearing makes it easier to ride away from tricks and the small sprocket will not get in the way.
    Choose platform pedals over caged pedals.
    Find the shortest crank arms you can.
    Adjust your seat to a height and angle that allows good mobility in front and in back.
    File down any sharp edges on the bike, such as the edges of the stem or handlebars.