Photo Epic: Masters Of Dirt - MTB vs FMX

Apr 11, 2018
by Simon Nieborak  

Masters of Dirt - this name has become synonymous with extreme sports as well as wild and crazy attitudes to sending massive jumps. The Masters of Dirt plays host to the place where some of the best athletes can showcase their skills and tricks to wider audiences. Masters of Dirt provides a unique backdrop where disciplines which usually don't meet each other clash together under one roof. Freestyle motocross and freestyle mountain biking collide in one massive show of spectacular tricks, massive jumps and epic air. The rules are basically the same - jump a gap and perform the best trick you can. Sounds simple, but is it really as easy as that?

There are many obvious technical differences, but maybe there are some similarities between those two sports – MTB surely feeds off the sheer size and scope of FMX. But what exactly do mountain bikers take from motocross? Do FMX riders look our way, too? Are they influenced by the modern mountain biker?

Are these two-wheeled machines from one world or two totally different universes?

MOD is one massive celebration of extreme sports and likeminded people who are not afraid of pushing the limits of what's possible in action sports.

Szymon Godziek's NS Decade is an ideal example of what a modern dirt jump bike can look like in 2018.

In an indoor event like this one a massively knobby MX tyre may be an overkill, but after all, this is what motorbike tyres look like compared to an MTB tyre.

Rob Adelberg, an FMX rider from Australia.

bigquotesWhen I was younger, I used to ride BMX as much as I ride MX and I used to have lots of fun either dirt jumping, digging jumps or riding skateparks. This always was a hobby of mine. To see what these guys are doing here is next level. It's good to see their progression and even taking some motocross tricks to their sport. I think all the skills I learnt on my BMX helped my a lot with MX and even being an MX rider, you can take some skills across from BMX. It would be nice if we could start cork 720 tricks. That would be awesome on a motocross bike. We miss out on doing tail-whips and bar-spins. Those may be near impossible to do on a dirt bike, but a cork 720 on the right jump would be amazing! Or even doing more front-flip variations without using the special kicker on the ramp would be something I'd love to do.Rob Adelberg

Time to Rock and Roll!

Pure FMX madness. Alistair knows how to entertain the crowd.

bigquotesI have maximum respect for any kind of bike riding. The whole attitude of the push-bike riders is something you can feed off, I love watching and supporting them. Dirt jumping, DH, Freeride - I can say I am big fan! I love the Fest series and would like to get involved in them, too. Style is the major thing, but also the magnitude of the trick is really important. For example, I dig super-seaters, but can't ignore those stylish rotation tricks, too. Yet, "grabs" are the best for me though!Alistair Sawyer

David Rinaldo aka R'Dav going big.

James Carter showing off his ridiculous dirt bike handling skills with pride.

bigquotesThe first time I got on a downhill mountain bike, I thought it would be the same, so I was trying to ride my mountain bike like my dirt bike. And I was doing it completely wrong, riding MTB is nothing like riding MX, I'd say. Maybe doing some of the jumps feels familiar, but whenever it comes to turns and going downhill, it's quite a bit different. Plus on a dirt bike, we don't have moving cranks and pedals. On a dirt bike, I can feel like I can do anything, but when trying tricks to a foam pit on a BMX I need to watch where the pedals are not to hit my shins. We can look at lots of comparisons in the style of riding, but ultimately these are two different machines.James Carter

James Carter, an FMX rider from the United States.

Matt Macduff executing a textbook 360 nose-dive. Who would think that one of the simplest looking tricks out of MTB trick book, might be something that FMX riders are so envious of?

Lennox Zimmermann, age 10, the youngest rider of this year's edition leading the rest of the pack to the top of the roll-in.
All the push-bike riders need to rely on the gravity and the strength of their own legs.

Nicholi Rogatkin

bigquotesIn my opinion the biggest similarity between these two sports is the drive to push the possibilities. The passion for progression and doing things shouldn't be possible, but still having this desire to do them and make them possible is the biggest similarity to me. And I also think that the biggest thing we have taken from motocross is style. The way the jumps are built, the way what looks good, what doesn't, the moto-whip, seatgrabs... But I think it works both ways and both BMX and MTB inspired some FMX riders to push their limits. We've given them the idea that maybe it's possible to do some certain tricks. Thomas Pages is a perfect example of that. Still, for me, the most impressive trick on an MX bike is the classic whip. It never gets old!Nicholi Rogatkin

A bunch of dirt bikes going sideways is always a pleasure to look at.

Edgar Torronteras has got some of the best whips in the game.

bigquotesI can see similarities between those two sports. Speed is one of them. At LooseFest I have seen these guys go super-fast as I have been following them on those huge jumps. Much respect for that!Edgar Torronteras

Helmet and goggles for the essential protection of the riders' heads.
It's good to see that no matter what the size of the bike, riders always take proper measures to keep themselves protected from injuries.

Solid boots are yet another layer of protection for the Motocross riders.

David Rinaldo with one of the most insane moves of the whole weekend. A jaw-dropping frontflip tsunami.

Szymon Godziek and his signature trick - superman stretched out to excellence. Szymon is the core of the group of the MTB riders who directly inspire their riding style based on FMX.

bigquotesThe only similar things between Dirt Jumping and FMX are... two wheels on the bikes. It even hit me hard when I started riding motocross myself, last year. Believe it or not, I couldn't do a single trick on it! The feel in the air is very different due to a big weight of an MX bike. And thanks to that factor, it's much more stable while in the air. Secondly, a lot of suspension is much more forgiving. It definitely works best for me the other way around and taking tricks from FMX into MTB. Levi Sherwood is the man who inspires me the most. He's the man who I have been watching a lot and learning from his style and technique. To give a good example here, Levi always is looking at the landing while at the maximum extension when doing tsunami backflips and this also my main goal. I knew I needed to see the landing while up there to perfectly perform this trick. So yeah, I am seriously inspired by FMX tricks and happy to do them on my hardtail, but not on the motocross bike! My last year's highlight is a backflip-superman-one hander, which also is one of the gnarliest FMX tricks. Let's see what future brings...Szymon Godziek

There's no FMX bike without a pair of those.

Super-grippy tyres and big rotors are the best way to stop those 115kg // 250 lbs beasts.

Several spare parts laying around... No big deal.

Dirt bikes, despite being rather hefty machines, have a few delicate and intricate parts on them.
They also come in many different sizes.

Bigger or smaller wheel, with an engine or without, after all those machines are designed to fly high.

More altitude, more time for big tricks. James Carter with a mega Indian Air Seatgrab.

Adolf Silva, a perfect link between MTB and FMX.

bigquotesI always liked riding Motocross, I even raced MX when I was younger. Recently, I decided to get back on a motorbike and jump the big stuff, as well. However, coming back from MX to MTB isn't the easiest, mostly because of the obvious things like take-off approaches, handling and of course the weight difference. So yes, it takes a little while to get used to a smaller and way lighter bike. Also speed is a big difference here, too. When you approach a jump on an MTB you try to go as fast as you can [appropriately] to the size of the jump, but when it comes to FMX you just grab a handful of the throttle when you're on or near the lip. And due to air-time, there's more time and control in FMX compared to MTB where everything happens rather quickly. Anyway, I love doing tricks on both and "Rock Solid" has to be my favourite one to do on both of my bikes.Adolf Silva

Adolf Silva's marriage of MTB and FMX is very happy together. Fully stretched Superman Seatgrab here.

Cliffhangers are iconic FMX tricks. Bienve took it to another level with a frontflip.

bigquotesIt's no secret that I am deeply inspired by FMX. One word - Cliffhanger. It's a Freestyle Motocross trick, which I adopted for MTB and it actually was much easier than I expected. Putting the skate-grip on my frame made them easier to execute. It only took several tries in foam pit and then I was ready to go big here at the MOD. The only hard part is getting the proper extension, though. We could compare push-bikes and dirt bikes, but it's actually not as easy as it sounds. Engine and weight definitely separate them, but on another hand, the tricks and style, bring them closer. So different yet so similar... It just depends what exactly we are talking about.Bienvenido Aguado Alba

This was nuts! Remi shows why double-backflips are still one of the gnarliest tricks to do in MX.

From Russia with style.

Adolf Silva living by his motto "Ride Loco"

Flipping a buggy is Jerry Myer's speciality.

Nicholi makes the audience dizzy yet again.

Adolf Silva attempted to complete three backflip rotations but didn't quite manage it. Still, big props to this madman.

Matt Macduff

bigquotesI actually started riding mountain bikes because I wasn't allowed to race my XR100 motorbike. When I was 13 years old, I sold it and got a mountain bike, because my parents wouldn't let me race. No doubt, both sports are absolutely incredible and it definitely takes a certain person to do each one. In MX you are in the air for a lot longer and your bike is a lot heavier, which means bigger consequences when you land badly. And when those guys crash, their bikes are almost completely destroyed and they gotta get new ones. When mountain bikers crash our bikes usually are fine. I just pick it up and go again. The economics of MTB definitely makes much more sense. In general, both sports are super fun and they definitely have their place. Comparing "engines' of the bikes... A real engine vs human legs... I think the engines are way sicker than legs. MX riders have legs, but they obviously also have a motor, which allows them to do super-human things. We only have our legs... So anything you pair up to increase human potential - sign it up. Is there anything FMX guys are jealous off from MTB riders? Yeah, we got way more girls! Hahaha!Matt Macduff

60+ Horsepower engine (on average) vs 2 HP human legs (of an athlete on average).

MTB, BMX and FMX mega train.


  • + 40
 "but after all, this is what motorbike tyres look like compared to an MTB tyre."

And cost the same, for some reason.
  • + 23
 this makes me want to start a GoFundMe for one of those inflatable'd be cheaper than hospital bills in the long run.
  • + 2
 except for the middle set with spikes on the ground in front of the landing.(4 pics up from the bottom)
  • + 16
 I guess "Masters of Metal Ramps" doesn't sound as cool.
  • + 3
 Came to get pumped about MTB and MX sharing the same stage. Left even more pumped after seeing a sled thrown in the mix. Braaaap!
  • + 5
  • + 2
 is it just me? i think it says FARTER on james carters tank...WTF?
  • + 2
 What else could that “F” be...maybe a C for Carter?
  • + 2
 I would assume thats on purpose, have you heard a modern four stroke?
  • + 2
 Adolf Silva was riding MX too
  • + 0
 MX Wheels have huge inertia compared to MTBs where people are still convinced that a 29er doesn't turn.
  • + 5
 And dirtbikes handle like shit compared to mtb, case closed
  • + 2
 Smh.. good luck in life you poor soul
  • + 3
 @blakemoss: Ha! Only people that can't ride a dirt bike well would say they handle like shit.
  • + 0
 @Mikeqlaw: thats why i said compared to a mtb, but does not mean they are bad you should try one and you would understand
  • + 2
 FUEL GIRLS!!!!!!!!
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