Flatland, a decade on. Where is it at? In 2008, when I was starting Flatmattersonline, I hit up a broad scope of riders from across the globe, and asked them a topical question at the time, “To scuff or not?”.
As we went into a new decade, I wondered…. in terms of styles, have we really moved on in progression over the past 10 years? I hit up some of the same riders that were involved in the first main article on the site, and also some fresh riders to get their perspective. How has their personal riding developed over the past ten years, are there still lines and tricks that they feel never get old, and stand the test of time?
How has bike technology affected their riding, riding spots and so on. Welcome to Part 1 where I reach out to the 2019 Flatmattersonline Rider of the Year, Dominik Nekolny, Pete Brandt, one of the most hardcore riders on the planet. And Matthias Dandois, winner of reader choice edit of the year and the most recognisable face in flatland in the world. Part 1 is an interesting read, you might want to grab a cuppa and give this your attention….
A decade on technically what’s different about your riding style? The tricks are obviously different, but has your approach changed?
Dominik Nekolny: Man, I just watched some footage from KOG back in 2010 – and boooooiiii I was killing it I guess my riding was little bit more technical and “jumpy” which I actually miss a bit…
Pete Brandt: My approach has changed with some tricks and techniques, but the commitment of exerting a trick is a lot still the same. I love the feeling of full commitment on the approach, and throughout the the trick.
Matthias Dandois: I only do things that look good and feel good. I film all the new tricks I learn, and if they don’t look good enough to me I just put them in the trash can. Even if it’s contest winning trick.So I guess I got less technical but more flowy. Works for me!
Describe your riding ten years ago?
Dominik Nekolny: My riding now? I love it! I come up with some style and links which nobody did in the contest and I spend a lot of time to make those links dialled as fuck, so what you want more. :D.
Pete Brandt: Lots of spinning and turbine styles.
Matthias Dandois: My riding 10 years ago was more technical, less aesthetic. More trick based. Contest winning tricks.
Describe your riding in 2020?
Dominik Nekolny: My riding now? I love it I come up with some style and links which nobody did in the contest and I spend a lot of time to make those links dialed as fuck, so what you want more!
Pete Brandt: Less pumping, more technical wheel to wheel combos and I added a dark side type of switch to my style.
Matthias Dandois: A mix of street and Flat, I try to keep the moves simple and the flow matters more than the tricks. I constantly record my new tricks, and if anything doesn’t look good I don’t even fuck with it.
Are there any tricks or lines you still do ten years on, and are still fun for you?
Dominik Nekolny: I guess I have started to do x-footed hitch, so bless the guy who invented this shit, because I still love it.
Pete Brandt: As far as lines, I have made some of my turbine hikers interchangeable, and I still do variations of blenders, which is a real fun trick with endless possibilities.
Matthias Dandois: Of course! It’s always fun do dig in the trick bag.
What do you see the trend being for this year and perhaps beyond?
Dominik Nekolny: I mean come on? I’m the last mutherfucker who use a fuckin’ brake out there – so the trend is pretty clear – easy flow and back wheel.
Pete Brandt: Lots of lines with backwards manuals, and street style influence.
Matthias Dandois: Less pumping. Normal BMX looking bikes, bigger tires, lower seats, less brakes.
If you could describe modern day flatland in one paragraph what would you say?
Dominik Nekolny: Goooooooood loooooooooking back wheel flow…
Pete Brandt: A lot of different styles with technical switches, as well as street influence.
Matthias Dandois: Everybody has his own style so it’s super difficult to describe it in one paragraph… I’d say fast and flow and Brakeless. Brakes are a thing of the past.
What do you think has progressed about riding other than tricks learnt in the last decade?
Dominik Nekolny: What I can see it is contest, that’s what progressed the most for me.
Pete Brandt: The parts. As an example we have cassette noise at contest and jams now from freecoasters.
Matthias Dandois: People outside of Flatland understand it more than 10 years ago. Flatland has never big that much in the center of the attention. It’s great.
Photo: The Agency.
Have you gone back over old tricks and thought of them in a new way perhaps with a modern day technique?
Dominik Nekolny: Yes I did. I would like to bring some of them back, and make them lil’ bit fresh so I will see what can I do about it.
Pete Brandt: Yes, all the time. It’s like a never ending thought process. Sometimes I’ll completely forget about a trick until I start doing a new trick that I can add a switch to because how it can flow together.
Matthias Dandois: That happens to me all the time. You have a different perspective on an old technique and that becomes a whole new concept. I actually love doing that.
How do you see your riding developing in the future?
Dominik Nekolny: I mean I find my way – which is not easy and developing something new in it will need a lot effort, but I’m up to it, because that is what I like to do.
Pete Brandt: It’s all about pushing myself to progress and have fun with the challenges.
Matthias Dandois: I wanna avoid pumping, and keep on doing tricks that looks good and feel good more than technical tricks that take ages to learn, look like crap and feel like crap.
How much do you think bike technology has advanced the progression of modern day flatland?
Dominik Nekolny: I don’t see actually that much much of a technology progression in flat parts. I mean FarEast come up with some damn good hubs, which one of them I actually don’t use (coaster), but I love TI parts so I got it :). But for example I still have the same brake I used to, I still had to modify it by myself, because there is nobody who can make a proper brake or brake levers…sooo…. There are some shitty street design frames like 10 years ago, same forks, bars…same wheels so yeah I don’t think so about that one…
Pete Brandt: Definitely lighter parts have made a lot of tricks easier to do. Especially having a lighter back end for front wheel tricks.
Matthias Dandois: I don’t think it has advanced at all, technology wise, I think bikes are pretty much the same than 10 years ago.
Photo: The Agency.
Are you particular with tyre pressure?
Dominik Nekolny: Yes, 8 bars, period.
Pete Brandt: Yes, 125psi on the front, 102psi on the back.
Matthias Dandois: Yes, I run way less tire pressure than 10 years ago. I run 90psi nowadays.
What’s your preferred riding surface?
Dominik Nekolny: I don’t care.
Pete Brandt: Smooth, fast, and clean without a lot of dust.
Matthias Dandois: Asphalt, or rough marble. Anything non slippery.
Has the invention of trick positions become stagnant? If not, what was the last trick position you recall?
Dominik Nekolny: Everybody knows I couldn’t care less about inventing some stupid looking silly positions – I do care more about combinations, and hardness of the trick/links in the contest – sorry if you didn’t pulled the shit in the contest, it doesn’t count.
Go cry on your mama shoulder. Other than that I think there is plenty of shits which was not done in state of combination – front wheel and back wheel always gonna have those base tricks which people gonna use for combination.
Pete Brandt: Upside Orbital comes to mind, and Sky scrappers. I wanted to do something that was totally unique and new for me.
Matthias Dandois: I don’t think it has become stagnant. Look at Georges Manos, Matthieu Bonnecuelle, Owen Bohm and so on… it’s endless and that’s the beauty of it!
Part 2, drops next Friday! If you got this far, thanks for reading….