Tomomi NishikuboJapan hasn't featured much on the mountain bike world stage since the Arai Mountain World Cup at the turn of the millennium, but with the Tokyo Olympics due to take place in 12 months time, that won't be the case for long.
One Japanese rider hoping to help increase Japan's presence on the sport is Tomomi Nishikubo. Inspired by watching his idols Fabio Wibmer and Danny MacAskill, the former Japanese trials champion has moved onto shooting narrative-led street trials videos full time. His videos have begun picking up traction and his latest big project, Chase Her, is rapidly approaching 3 million views. Now he has joined the same management as his European contemporaries and we don't think it will be long until he's held in the same esteem as them. We caught up with Tomomi to learn more about his route into viral success and what's next on the horizon.
How long have been riding mountain bikes?
I’ve been riding bikes for 16 years. Before riding bikes, I did motocross, starting at the age of five.
Did you start by riding trials or were you riding traditional mountain bikes first?
I started riding on a cheap MTB, like a Walmart bike. But I broke it in no time, so my father bought me a pure trials bike called “KOXX” when I was 12 years old.
What inspired you to start filming videos?
When I started riding my trials bike, I always learned tricks by watching videos of professional riders on YouTube. So, it was my dream to become a professional rider and release riding videos myself.
What is the mountain bike scene like in Japan?
I think there are so many good potential spots for mountain biking in Japan. But in fact, there are very few Japanese people who enjoy MTB. So if we can connect MTB with inbound tourism like Chinese or another Asian tourists, MTB will get popular.
How are you splitting your time between competing and making videos now?
I became Japanese Trials Champion in 2016 and 2017. After that, I’ve been focusing on making videos. Sometimes I take part in races, but just for fun. My clear focus is on making videos.
Where does the inspiration come from for your videos?
When I make videos, I always decide which tricks I want to do before I start filming. After that, I talk with my friends about the project and decide the location and the story. My friends have always been an inspiration to me. They are a great support.
Which of the tricks you’ve done has been the hardest to pull off and why?
My hardest trick is definitely the stoppie front flip on enduro bike from my latest edit Chase Her. As you know, the Kona Process 153 is heavier than my trials bike. I need more speed and power to flip on this beast.
How did it feel when Chase Her started getting lots of views?
It’s always awesome to see comments on YouTube. It always motivates me so much. I want to say thank you to my fans, friends and filmmakers!
What shot from Chase Her would you try again if you had the chance? How would you change it?
I want to try the stoppie front flip again, because it was a little bit of a sketchy landing. I want to make it cleaner. I never want to try a backflip onto the stairs again. Haha
What’s the hardest crash you’ve taken in one of your videos?
The hardest crash in Chase Her was the backflip onto the grass. I got a huge bruise and swelling on my head. It took two months to heal.
How does it feel to be represented by the same management as Danny MacAskill and Fabio Wibmer? Will you be doing any projects with them soon?
I am so stoked! So far, there’s no project planned, but I hope I can do projects with them in the future. First of all, I can’t wait to ride with them!
What else is in your plans for the future?
This year, I plan to make two big videos. At the moment, I’m on the first project. It’s going to be a fun video! Also, I want to make a video around the world in the future. So, stay tuned and stay curious.