Must Watch: Brandon Semenuk Shreds a Custom Japanese Track on his Downhill Bike in 'Lightspeed'

Jan 20, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

The speed of light is an unobtainable goal, impossible to overcome and once again Brandon Semenuk proves he's the human version of that in his latest edit. This time he jets off to Japan on a custom downhill bike with one hell of a dig crew and two of the most prestigious filmers on Earth to capture it all.

In the minds of skiers and snowboarders, Hakuba stirs visions of bottomless powder and untracked turns but for mountain bikers, it's pretty much unknown. Don't expect that to last long though as Brandon Semenuk makes first tracks on this revered mountain.

Photo: Toby Cowley / Red Bull Content Pool

bigquotesWhile most riders spent September of 2019 prepping for Red Bull Rampage, Brandon Semenuk gathered his crew and tripped to Hakuba Valley and Hakuba Iwatake Mountain Resort to film.

For this installment from Revel Co for Red Bull, Clay Porter joined the crew alongside visionary Rupert Walker to shoot the project while Evan Intern, Dan Fleury and Kane Boyce got to work on the shovels and machines to shape the Japanese dirt into Semenuk’s vision.
Red Bull Bike

Photo:Toby Cowley / Red Bull Content Pool

To check out more photos from Brandon’s new project, head to RedBull.com.

Regions in Article
Japan


196 Comments

  • 133 2
 Dear Japan, Is all of your dirt like this black magic looking stuff??? Please let us know.
From: Everyone on Pinkbike.
  • 39 1
 hahaha that's interesting dudes! actually some of trails like that dirt!
  • 7 0
 If so we will all be there...soon!
  • 62 0
 The volcanic dirt here is something special. Hakuba Valley is an amazing place in this universe. Deep deep pow. Great dirt.
  • 16 14
 I'd be pi$$ed if someone came and schralped such a perfectly built berm if I'd made that... but also kinda honoured if it was Semenuk
  • 50 0
 @ctd07:
If you're riding behind someone and they roost a berm like that and cover you is that considered getting hit by schralpnel???
  • 21 13
 this brandon kid can ride. his style could fit slopestyle and freeride easily.
  • 1 0
 @vjunior21: On my way to the airport!
  • 5 1
 As far as steez on a DH bike goes this is the benchmark. Insane
  • 3 3
 @chyu: lol either your trolling hard or you been under a rock for the last 10 years or so
  • 1 0
 @carbonbootprint: That got me too. A few seconds in I realized he was moving a dual crown beast around like it was DJ'er. Once again, Semi impresses.
  • 117 1
 Imagine what he could do on a Grim Donut.
  • 13 0
 What have you started...
  • 4 0
 He would probably do exactly the same, But it would be too watch for us mere mortal. Too unfair!
  • 18 0
 He'd need to use binoculars for any nose bonks.
  • 36 0
 Pinkbike should do a “hot lap” from the future and see how much faster pros could be on the grim donut vs the current enduro macines
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: has that video been released yet of Mike actually riding that monster?? I fear it might not actually work....
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: just get them on a new Spesh Enduro
  • 4 0
 He'd make it look like a Session.
  • 46 3
 Revel Co is second to none. Every aspect of these videos are amazing. The location, build, production, riding....all top notch. Once again, well done boys.
  • 12 42
flag jaame (Jan 20, 2020 at 12:23) (Below Threshold)
 What, they’ve done more than one video?
  • 7 4
 @jaame: i hope you're being sarcastic
if not, you NEED to see all the other masterpeices
  • 25 55
flag jaame (Jan 20, 2020 at 13:00) (Below Threshold)
 @djbritec: I have seen them all. Well, the first twenty seconds of them all. Just long enough to confirm my suspicions that they're all the same.

That single shot one, I've watched that a lot of times.
  • 31 38
flag blowmyfuse (Jan 20, 2020 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 I'm on the @jaame side here. If you pieced off of his vids together, you'd not know them apart for the most part. The tandem riding one was pretty unique though.

Never thought watching the most talented dude would get boring, but he makes everything that's too difficult look too easy.

Voreis used to ride his 6" bike for NWD scenes to make the riding look more physical, specifically when he rode at Windrock. And the waterfall section he rode on it was burly as anything and he still made it look sorta rough.
  • 10 18
flag blackapturphoto (Jan 20, 2020 at 14:25) (Below Threshold)
 @jaame: you sir, are an oxygen thief with views like that
  • 30 12
 @blowmyfuse: I agree, for me the video was actually pretty boring, nothing special in this one aswell, as usual a few sick bangers but I wouldn't call it a must watch
  • 28 1
 I'm with you on this one. I couldn't help but wish there was less video editing going on and more just him riding without all the effects. Seems like all vids are populated by slow-mo and cut scenes nowadays. Not that it isn't cool to watch, but maybe a little too much of the same thing.
  • 14 3
 @jaame: you know in Pinkbike land nobody can critique the almighty Brandon!!
But seriously he is a victim of his own success which is unfortunate because of how amazing a rider the guy is. Some of the setups in this vid are very similar to his backyard, just a different backdrop.
  • 3 1
 @blowmyfuse: totally agree with you. It’s almost robotic. He has gobs off style but yet it doesn’t really seem that way
  • 19 3
 @blowmyfuse: You articulated it very well. Exactly my thoughts. He makes everything too hard look too easy.

I know he is a totally sick rider, deserving of the shortlist for best rider ever. He is amazingly talented and dedicated. Unfortunately the videos look all the same to me. The two up one was cool but it still had too many cuts and swoopy moody artsy shots.

I think Semenuk's videos are for bike fans only. I am a bike fan, but I am also a fan of variety, personality and entertainment.

That's why Danny Mac is winning the game. He has had a couple of duds but mostly he's doing totally different stuff every time, crossing over into the real world with his concepts, and showing a good time and a lot of personality when he does it. Not just a moody, sultry teen-esque face and a bad haircut. Plus, his outtakes let you know he's human and he does a lot of the moves a lot of times before he nails them. I bet Semenuk gets them all first time, which is amazing but not a great way to engage with the average rider. Danny Mac's pommel horse flip thing, they shot it over 800 times. 800!
  • 9 1
 @seismicninja: I feel it’s fair to say the video is certainly top drawer however the style is getting familiar. It’s not bad, far from it. I, and I suspect a lot of pure MTB viewers, don’t see the subtleties in the production to appreciate the work fully. Conversely The riding is so good it was feeling dulled, too easy, I started watching Brandon’s riding more closely To see the perfection and obvious work that goes into it. Dead straight wheels on landing, perfect foot position on tricks, nailing the pedals on landing... the difference between being top 99% and 99.9% is small but takes something most simply do not have and not everyone can actually appreciate.
  • 6 1
 @robwhynot: There is a certain "what the f*ck is happening!?" with some riders like Rogatkin. I think I just answered it for myself. Semenuk is not exciting to watch because there is a sense of inevitable perfection.
  • 2 1
 I'm glad they cut back a little bit on the artsy-fartsy this time, even if they couldn't do away with it completely.
  • 8 1
 @blowmyfuse: Agree. I could barely make it all the way through. & I absolutely LOVE his RAW#2; I could watch that over & over.

He's definitely achieved his aim of blurring slopestyle & downhill; previous vids he couldn't make the dual-crown dance & slide nearly as easily.

But- I'm not stoked. Kinda like what's happened to Rampage: instead of burly freeride gnarly sh-- like Darkfest & Loosefest, where you instinctively go "WHOA"... now we have to know which side is "Oppo" in order to go "oh, I guess that's worth more points".

& Love Porter, but 1 more cutaway to 'arty' sh-- & I'm gonna scream. Shredding vids are about SPEED & GNAR; cutaways are for loading screens on an xbox
  • 6 1
 Although the others who have replied to this comment make some good points - mostly suggesting that you could group all of Revel Co.'s videos into the same genre and they are now boring...I think that genre is still pretty unique to what most other riders/filmers are doing?

Yeah, maybe there isn't a world's first in every edit, or stunts that take 800 tries to land - but I don't think that's the point of these videos. I'm biased because I'm a huge fan of Revel Co, but I don't think it's accurate to expect these edits to be crammed with just "never before seen" riding and not have the creative visuals and cinematography.
  • 2 0
 @mackdaddy55: yes however there could have been a few little things added to this vid such as bc there was heaps said about the trail being "custom made" it mightv been pretty cool to just add a few shots of the build or something like that
  • 1 0
 @rockyj: I totally agree, some shots of the build would be pretty sick and give the builders a little extra credit as they kill it with these features!
  • 3 3
 @jaame: Semenuk's vids are for more than the bike fan BECAUSE of what you call the "moody artsy" shots. If I show some raw riding footage to non-bikers they're mildly impressed. Showing them vids like this is much more engaging.

I don't know about Danny "winning the game," but he is epic. He's also filling a totally different niche. Danny is about the comedic, a down to earth guy doing extraordinary things. Semenuk is about the other worldly, a mysterious being that rides beyond us.
  • 1 0
 Even the #loosedoglewis videos can get stale if the edit itself is too long. He will blow your mind in a parking lot or on a stump or maybe inside a restroom stall if you hand him a bike.
But too much in one serving wears thin with most anyone.

I also am biased because I remember the edit I enjoyed most from Semenuk was him and some others out shuttling some shin deep loamy DH run. And I remember liking it because it wasn't groomed, manicured stuff.

Still blows my mind what I saw him do my last day in Whistler. There were literally no pros there b/c it was the week of the last Vegas Interbike and pouring rain when we first arrived. Saturday the pros came out, him, Stevie Smith, etc. He boosted out of Canadian Open at the back of a train of huge jumpers, went what seemed like a deathly stupid height over their marks and landed out near flat ground and should have exploded bike and ankles but floated to the ground like a bird.
  • 2 3
 This is pinkbike not some gay theater shit lmao watch him ride the bike @jaame:
  • 4 0
 @tomasinbc: oh no! You said gay. Everyone, he said gay. Oh!
  • 1 3
 Fuk r u on about @jaame:
  • 61 27
 getting bored of these now. guess I've had too much of a good thing - it happends you know!
  • 6 12
flag enduroNZ (Jan 20, 2020 at 13:59) (Below Threshold)
 You didn’t have to watch it...
  • 70 0
 @enduroNZ: but it says "must watch"...
  • 5 1
 His speed and style are always a pleasure no matter what.
  • 27 4
 Brandon: your riding is on another level. Keep doing you man.
Who ever edited this video: Cut out all the b-roll, make sure clips are longer then .5 of a second and stop trying to be moody. Dude can ride his bike, let it be. Its like im watching an art school students demo reel.
  • 6 0
 @kubaner: Too right. While watching I was thinking 'B-roll off point'.
  • 21 1
 Endless style!
was wondering while watching... did he ever go to any Fest Series Event??? i'd love to see him sending the massive Doubles!!
  • 11 0
 Yes, Cruz Fest in Santa Cruz
  • 4 0
 Competed with him at the Teva Games a few years back. The flow on a non flow type dual freeride course was really really something to watch.
  • 19 1
 Is it possible to be so insanely good at something that performing at a level beyond mere mortals with such total control and confidence that it almost starts to feel boring somehow? Dude just hits all these massive tricks like, “NBD, just moved the sport forward again.”
  • 3 0
 Revel should do a Friday Fails Semenuk edition. Just to make him more human.
  • 32 12
 That was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
  • 29 24
 it's like watching god create the universe
  • 20 14
 @DaFreerider44: Or watching the Big Bang occur.
  • 62 9
 I'd say the same if I didn't just leave your mother's house
  • 4 1
 It's like watching a magic show. Everything looks like it defies logic and reality but we all know...it is real.
  • 10 1
 @gumbytex: whew. Headed over there now. I was running early. That could have gotten awkward.
  • 17 11
 Not gonna lie was slightly disappointing for me... not his best
  • 3 13
flag lehott (Jan 20, 2020 at 17:58) (Below Threshold)
 @Scottybike36: how can something exist from nothingness? Excessive faith in science is epistemologically unreasonable. Scientific evidence has it's limits, insisting otherwise would be a dogmatic rhetoric
  • 3 0
 @lehott: Brah I was joking Big Grin
  • 2 2
 @DaFreerider44: the famous "sarcastic comment"........ whooshing over my head
  • 5 0
 @lehott: I thought Canadian schools were good but maybe they forgot to teach you this stuff or maybe you’re retarded: www.k12reader.com/subject/figurative-language-worksheets/metaphor-worksheets
  • 5 1
 @lehott: just because we as humans don't yet understand something doesn't mean we must assign it to the supernatural and sky fairies. Science has no limits, just lack of current understanding or knowledge.
  • 3 6
 @DaFreerider44: "Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you, just as inferior people prefer the inferior animal which scampers excitedly because someone else is doing something"
  • 2 0
 @rockyj: me too, that is a hard problem since he has raised the bar so high in the past.
  • 1 0
 @wildedge586: I think he's pissed ;D
  • 2 0
 @lehott: You’re boring. What are your thoughts on that?
  • 19 0
 It’s all mirrors, ropes, and pulleys.
  • 8 0
 Yeah, he is just in front of a green screen. They add all the location video after. Looks so real.
  • 17 2
 Trek ain’t neva letting go of SEMENUK...keep showing who’s Boss
  • 11 1
 I think face foot stomp to reverse spin is indeed the coolest thing. mike drop does not even come close
  • 1 0
 some really cool combos in there! So good.
  • 6 0
 Who is dropping Mike?
  • 20 0
 JUSTICE FOR MIKE
  • 2 0
 @gumbytex: Mike got robbed
  • 7 0
 Brandon is not human. He’s a MTB android from the future where they’ve figured out the link between quantum gravity and Newtonian physics thereby allowing them to turn the laws of motion into mere suggestions. They’ve programmed their Semenuk droid with this physics warping ability.
  • 10 0
 riding the new tld helmet I see
  • 28 0
 Almost here...
  • 11 4
 Really like what he‘s doing for the sport but wouldn‘t it be great if he‘d take his skills to natural terrain, without pre-built features? Please tear down the Champery WC DH, Brandon!
  • 4 0
 Was thinking this too. Would love to see his style on something like hardline or one of the harder WC courses. Not even competing, just riding.
  • 3 3
 He would lose, World Cup downhillers have these tracks down to a science
  • 7 0
 @mkotowski1: I think people just want to see him ride those trails. Not race WC’s.
  • 1 0
 @nickgarrison: ah gotcha would be fun to watch
  • 2 0
 Champery WC track is nowdays shaped like a highway, not natural...
  • 15 7
 Great riding, but time for something new. His edits are all starting to look the same. Same perfectly groomed track just different locations
  • 12 0
 yeah indian air seat grab to can can flat-3 nac to can oppo flat-3 inside no hand no foot gap fastplant 3's combos that no one else can do. so played out. yuk.
  • 8 0
 Didn't even get his bright white pants dirty... what a boss!
  • 5 0
 I take it you didn’t spot the skid mark on his batty then
  • 3 0
 I don´t know what´s cleaner, the riding or his kit ...
  • 4 0
 Yet again a fine example of how Semenuk is on a whole different plane of existence when it comes to bike skill. Yes his edits are almost predictable now. But really who's doing it on this level, in any other bicycle/action sport? It's a very small circle.
  • 12 0
 Honestly I’d love to see a B reel of him actually seeming like he enjoys riding, or just being crazy stoked to land a trick. I think part of the predictability is that he never seems nervous. Or scared. Or excited. Or like he’s having a blast.
  • 1 0
 @DrPete: I know what your saying. I think he's got his race face on. Nothing wrong with that. You don't see the WC guys getting loose before a race. He's not Aggy.
  • 1 0
 @DDoc: yeah, he definitely has a game face. Still amazing to watch.
  • 6 2
 Amazing video.....
But is it just me, or are all the one-footed-cans getting a bit old now?
If I can play armchair slopestyle rider, I would rather see more amplitude and holding a big trick longer than see Brandon throw in a little one-footed-can to up the technical difficulty.
  • 5 1
 Japan's population is falling at a rate of about 400,000 per year. If they build more MTB trails, maybe they can convince PinkBikers to move there...especially on the southern (subtropical) end of the nation.
  • 1 0
 Very tough to find places to ride there. Not many trails. Only in the bike parks, some tours, or you have to know someone that can show you trails. Everything is underground if you are foreigner.
  • 3 0
 Yes because mountain bikers have better knobs. Population problem solved.
  • 8 1
 impeccable
  • 1 0
 @kubaner: His kit? Yes. Riding is pretty darn good too!
  • 3 0
 Wonder how many changes of clothes they had on hand for the shoots. Wouldn't take much of a spill to get that pristine white looking quite a mess. And the riding and scenery are both incredible.
  • 5 0
 How many sets of kit do you suppose he takes to a shoot like this?
  • 3 0
 He never crashes so he never gets them dirty, but he does require a fresh one for every take regardless. So about 500.
  • 5 0
 Pretty sure we scrambled to find 2 sets.
  • 2 0
 @SHEESHKAH: he bails at 1:32
  • 5 0
 Like a slippery salmon. Wiggle wiggle yeah!
  • 5 0
 The god of MTB
I‘d love to see him hitting the Darkfest jumps !!!
  • 5 0
 No one:

...

Absolutely no one:

...


Brandon: ..... nac.
  • 2 0
 So I have never heard of wakuba valley and went to Google it. Either my new phone can read my mind or all you mother F ers already googled it is why it auto populated in my google search. Another super sick video !
  • 1 0
 Soooooo sick tup I love watching Brandon ride. Super smooth and always stylish no matter the bike he’s on!!!

Does anyone wonder what happens to all the sites after the filming is done? Do they get torn down or left to rot away?
  • 5 0
 the wizzard
  • 1 0
 You're a what??!
  • 16 14
 Good stuff! I could personally go with a lot less of the frantic "moody" or otherwise unrelated b-roll in exchange for more riding.
  • 9 4
 yea all the city footage was distracting from Semenuk's style
  • 10 2
 The Raw 100 series sets a good example of what good editing is like. (for showing relevant footage)
  • 3 2
 Yup, don't evolve, don't innovate, don't push the boundaries, listen to the pinkbike mob.
  • 4 1
 wonder if that dude will feel so unchallenged and need to up his game that he might attempt DH racing?
  • 7 1
 Man, it would be awesome to see him challenge the World Cups. He can certainly deal with competitive pressure and his bike skills are decent. What a spectacle that would be. Maybe too risky for his image/brand if he if he, say, didn’t qualify. WC DH is on another level these days. Nevertheless, I would pay to see him race.
  • 5 1
 I don't think he could qualify for the finals of a WC let alone challenge. Why would he even try though, he has his thing, a bit like Danny Mac, there is an x-factor with both of them, so smooth and stylish that people can do bigger and harder tricks but they just dont have that crazy smooth style that these 2 have.
  • 4 0
 Did anyone else notice that he is wearing poc knee pads?
  • 1 0
 good eye. 1:27 for any doubters.
  • 2 0
 Amazing rider. All the kicking and jabbing at the air reminds me of some kind on Country Western dancing, however. I could do without it.
  • 3 0
 The music is matching perfectly, please more of these !!
  • 1 0
 Hail Hydra!!!
  • 1 0
 He is the Terminator of MTB
  • 3 1
 I would like to watch it but the owner of the video has not granted me access to watch .......
  • 6 0
 Do you mean your parents? Awe!
  • 3 0
 Those lily pad hits at full speed = mind blown
  • 3 4
 Brand Semenuk's buddy:
"Dude do you think my tyres need replacing? The tread looks a bit worn down."

Brandon Semenuk [who's tyres have never spent long enough actually on the ground for this to happen]:
"Dude that's f'in' weird. Are you doing it wrong?"


Sweet video.
  • 3 0
 japan and semenuk such a combo!
  • 2 0
 Is it me or this guy is Brandon like Port wine? As time passed by, the better he getts!
  • 3 0
 What do you call that Naknak/Cancan/MotoWip/360?
  • 1 0
 Exactly that ! Along with AWESOME !!!
  • 1 0
 So I presume this is a ?private? custom track for Brendon. What is the trail existence/access in Japan like for punter riders like me?
  • 3 1
 And the videos gone private Frown was 2minutes in aswell!
  • 1 0
 I can't watch it, it's saying "this video is private", that means it's gotta be filth!!
  • 2 0
 These semenuk edits make me horny to ride my bike
  • 2 2
 God bless pressfit BB's and Tapered Headtubes, Gigggityy giggityy gooo
  • 2 0
 If Freeride has mythology Semenuk will be God of Combos
  • 3 1
 this beats anything slopestyle....
  • 2 0
 Pause at 2:31 and just enjoy that.
  • 1 1
 The precision, the beauty, yeah the Japanese sho nuff know how to build trails and jumps. Oh Semenuk, yeah hes doing his thang as usual.
  • 4 3
 ...yeah he's pretty good.
  • 2 1
 Fix the vid! Fix the vid!
  • 11 12
 I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen this video six times in the past year.
  • 3 0
 @jaame: sad but true
  • 2 0
 full vid is so sick
  • 1 0
 You have the link to the full video?
  • 2 0
 Who's Brandon Semenuk?
  • 24 0
 Rally car racer
  • 1 0
 Fucking awesome as expected!
  • 1 0
 Yes, that was as to be expected !
  • 1 0
 too much freeride flicking
  • 1 0
 ALIEN... From another galaxy... That's enough as a proove!
  • 1 0
 What kind of dope is Revel Co smoking and where can I get some?
  • 1 0
 A little glimpse of Semenuk Hologram DH Style 2049 there. Loved it!
  • 1 0
 Sign him up for the pinkbike hotlap.. and maybe a world cup or two
  • 1 0
 makes it look so effortless.
  • 1 0
 Sooo, can we go riding there? Looks like fun
  • 1 0
 got shivers watching that
  • 1 0
 Saw a couple of foot dabs. He owes me a beer.
  • 1 0
 Looks like Japan Adult Session.
  • 1 0
 VOTY and it's only mid-January!
  • 1 0
 How does he keep his whites so white?
  • 1 0
 that is the most, fast pace and stylish riding that I have ever seen.
  • 1 0
 Amazing. Not very exciting though...
  • 2 0
 THE GOAT
  • 1 0
 Looks like a JDM session! Ah!
  • 1 0
 Yeah, once again. Buttery smooth
  • 1 0
 Hot diggity!
  • 1 0
 What movie?
  • 1 0
 vid gone private?
  • 1 0
 Hakuba!!!
  • 2 1
 That's sick
  • 2 1
 incredible everytime
  • 2 1
 endless style
  • 5 5
 2 weeks into January and already the video of the year... hell yea
  • 1 0
 what a sick head!
  • 1 0
 Nasty as always!!
  • 2 3
 I'm going to watch this edit a few more times and when I'm done, this better be top comment!
  • 1 1
 Pooping your pants is the coolest.
  • 1 0
 LGHTSPD
  • 5 5
 Semenuk: Men want to be him. Women want to be with him.
  • 1 0
 this is frigthening
  • 1 0
 Magic ! Well done
  • 1 0
 Nothing fresh
  • 1 0
 that was a happo one
  • 3 3
 Ok this is next level.
  • 1 1
 Got no words.
  • 3 3
 God is that you ?
  • 1 1
 WOAH!Smile
  • 2 3
 OH MY GOD
  • 2 3
 Semenuk is God!
  • 2 3
 THis is just [STNNNG]!

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