Anyone who keeps up with Nitro Circus shenanigans knows that BMX phenom Todd Meyn is always pushing his riding, and that 2017 has already been an enormous year for him. There’s no room to recap all of his highlights here, but for those needing a primer, look no further than his penultimate World First, a frontflip whip catch whip, which he stuck in New Zealand less than two weeks ago. Yes, “penultimate” means next-to-last, because we’re back to report that in the first night of two shows in Tokyo, Todd did it again, this time notching a double frontflip tailwhip during practice before the show. Watch it here and then read on for more details from Todd about how he finally rode away on a trick that was three years in the making.
For those who watched with the sound on, you might have noticed a couple extra things. One, the engine revving was one of the moto guys practicing in the background. Most of us would need an engine to accomplish this trick, but not Todd. And two, the reaction of the filmer when Todd landed wheels down should give you all the degree-of-difficulty context you need, if you had any doubt.
“I have done frontflip tailwhips for the past eight years, and it was time to step it up and add something to it,” Todd says. He added frontflip tailwhip no-handers and then double frontflips and then double front no-handers. The double frontflip became pretty standard in his arsenal at that point. “I thought, ‘Why not add a tailwhip?’” he says. He started working on it, but it took about a year of attempts before he became absolutely convinced that it was even possible. “About two years ago at Cam Sinclair’s house we had a foam pit session, and I got it all the way around. And from then, it was game on!”
It turns out the ramp itself was as important as the mechanics of the trick, Todd says. “I tried on so many different ramps with different lips and angles.” He hadn’t ridden the current setup in almost a year, but he had a good feeling about it. “The problem was, I was going too high, so every time I came down and landed I would blow off the bike, because I would come down so hard. So that’s when I knew I needed the same ramp with the same dimensions but just a little less tall,” he says. “I knew that this [ramp in Japan] was the best takeoff to do it on after trying to figure out how to get it done, so I have been waiting to get my shot.”
In addition to the correct height, the current setup has a wider gap — 40 feet compared to 36 feet. “So I could still go the same speed and get the same air time, and it worked” Todd says. “I woke up the other morning with this burning desire to get to the venue and send it in practice until I landed it, and that’s what I did.” But first, he and Matt Whyatt stopped by a local skatepark and got a nice session in, despite the cold weather:
Let’s nerd out on some details to close. Here’s Todd’s breakdown of what it takes to execute a BMX double frontflip tailwhip: “The most important part of this trick is getting a good snap off the lip. With double frontflips, what you actually do is pull back and lean back as you are going up the ramp, and at the very top of the lip, you snap forwards and hit your back brake, which catapults you forward. Sometimes if you rush you will snap too early on the ramp, which will cause you to not get good forward momentum, causing you to land on your back. It’s the kind of trick where you know as soon as you take off whether you have it or not. So it’s important to relax, which is hard to do, to say the least. You just have to trust yourself.”