Interview: James Doerfling

Mar 27, 2014 at 14:24
by Mike Kazimer  


Margus Riga photo

James Doerfling is one of the current kings of big mountain riding, consistently laying down fast, burly lines that wouldn't be out of place in a ski or snowboard film. Much like a surfer, his season consists of a constant search to find the perfect line, one that will challenge him to push his skills to the limit. We spoke with James to find out about last season, as well as what he has planned for the future.

Based on the number of videos you appeared in it looks like last season was a busy one. Is there any trip in particular that stands out?

Yeah, last season was fun for sure, with a ton of cool trips. I did a trip with Kenny Smith, Margus Riga and Riley McIntosh to the Yukon that was probably one of my favorites. Just seeing how much untouched terrain there is up there was insane. We did a couple sick days of riding in the city of Whitehorse with Boreale Biking and I was blown away by the trails there – it was all time.

Photographer Margus Riga accompanied you on a number of those trips. Any good Margus stories you'd like to share?

There are way too many to choose from. I have been lucky enough to work with Margus a lot over the past few years and every trip is always a good adventure.

Margus Riga photo

Margus Riga photo

You've been able to travel extensively over the last few seasons. What has been your favorite spot to ride so far?

I have to say that the Gobi Desert in China is at the top of my list. For big mountain riding it is by far the best place I have ever seen, it is truly endless there.

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Photo sequence by John Wellburn

What's going through your mind just before you roll into a drop as big as that monster in Williams Lake?

With that one the scariest thing was that it had a totally blind take off, like a diving board. Other than that I just try and be confident and know 100% that I can stick it. With moves like that if you're not confident that's when shit's going to go wrong.

Margus Riga photo

Margus Riga photo

Red Bull Rampage didn't exactly go as planned for you this year – what happened?

Well on my first run I had a stupid mistake right at the beginning where my front wheel washed out... that really sucked. And my second run went well besides not getting to hit the Icon Sender, if I could have tied that in I think I would have scored really well, but I just didn't feel confident on the speed I was getting for it with my line into it.

The tank top seems to have become your signature piece of apparel – do you own any shirts with sleeves?

People seem to dig it, so why stop now?

Ripping the steeps.

How often do you get out on the dirt bike? Is your skill level similar to what you do on a mountain bike - are you throwing Indian airs and riding rowdy big mountain lines?

Nah, I'm not tricking on my moto... yet. I got into xc, trail riding on my moto last fall a lot and find it really fun and awesome cross-training for mountain biking.

You're one of the few riders who has been able to build their careers more on filming and less on competition results. If there was a multi-stop big mountain / freeride competition would you be interested?

I would be in for sure! With how big Rampage is I don't see why it hasn't been done already. It would be huge for our sport and would change things up a bit rather then just slopestyle and dirt jump events all season long.

Doerfling doing his best to keep warm.

Where do you see big mountain riding going? In the ski and snowboard world we've seen more technical tricks being thrown on backcountry lines – is that the future for mountain biking as well?

That's what I am trying to do, the whole pursuit and exploration of trying to find these big lines is what I love most about it. It might take me a whole season to find that perfect chute line to trick into and ride, I think that's the next level for sure and where I'm trying to bring our sport.

If you could only ride one bike for the entire season, which one would it be?

My trusty steed the Knolly Podium.

We found this zone off the highway and hit it up for a short time. James tried to ride a top to bottom but had to ditch mid way down because the soil went from soft to hard. If we had got video of his ditch it probably would be up there with the craziest mountain bike crashes ever caught on film. But we didn t even get a photo. His bike tomahawked over his head and kept going at one point easily 20 feet in the air. James was running down a 40 degree slope like the roadrunner then sliding down on his ass at high speed on razor sharp limestone scree. I have no idea how he was ok just one small cut on his hand. We were sure that his Knolly was going to be sheared in half but James pulled it out of it s final resting place 2 feet under water in a creek and dusted her off and rode it the rest of the trip. Wow Knolly keep up the good bike building. Geeezzz............

What do you do to occupy your time when you're not crushing berms and blasting off massive jumps?

You'll usually find me rippin' my moto/quad or out fishing or hunting, anything outside or wrenching on my truck.. It's a never ending battle.

The music in your edits tends to be on the heavier side, a good fit for the lines you're riding. What bands / songs would we find on your ideal playlist?

I actually listen to mostly country, but I like all types of music, rock is better suited for a mountain biking edit in my opinion.

Sending it.

What would you be doing if you weren't a professional mountain biker?

If I wasn't riding bikes I would probably be up north on the oil fields; I already was for a while.

What projects and trips do you have planned for the 2014 season?

A big chunk of the season I will be focusing filming a segment for a new feature film that's yet to be named, and other than that a lot of web edit stuff and then headed back to the Yukon as well.

Margus Riga photo

Are there any sponsors you'd like to thank?

Big shout outs to Knolly Bikes, SR Suntour Suspension, Onza Tires, Joystick Components, Lizard Skins, Novatec Wheels, HT Pedals, Giro Helmets, 100% Eyewear, E-Thirteen, Hope Brakes, MyPakage UnderWear, Cane Creek, Red Shreds Bike & Board Shed, Caribou Mountain Bike Consortium, Mom. Thanks for the support!

Photos: Margus Riga


  • + 55
 I am confused. I bought a set of those wheels a while back and I still can't do any of that stuff. What gives?
  • + 34
 It might be covered by the warranty.
  • + 8
 Actually The Hive is awesome. My e13 read hub got trashed pretty bad somehow and they totally hooked me up. 100% customer satisfaction on e13 stuff!
  • + 2
 Novatec wheels?
  • + 3
 e13 LG1+. Noisy as hell. Free hub louder than any cowbell!
  • + 32
 Always a treat watching him ride, nutz... he's got really big nutz
  • + 31
 You see that's why he's sponsored by "MyPakage UnderWear"...
  • + 6
 He rides XC . damnn
  • + 24
 'rock is better suited for a mountain biking edit in my opinion' got to agree 200%
  • + 15
 GNAR points for days....
  • + 13
 he was probably dropping in on a 40% grade line and still casually answering these questions!
  • + 12
 Truly my favourite rider with Aggy!
  • + 3
  • + 10
 "You'll usually find me rippin' my moto/quad or out fishing or hunting, anything outside or wrenching on my truck.. It's a never ending battle"....hahaha! Nice battle!
  • + 2
 So, hunting and country music for Doerfling. And the skull soup. This gets too personal, I didn't want to know that. Keep on shredding.
  • + 13
 I LOVE Knolly bikes
  • + 10
 Someone must have dropped all their PODs on this page...
  • + 3
 All their PODs are belong to us!
  • + 9
 Sponsors: "" Loved it!!!
  • + 2
 if i was a pro too i'd throw in my family too because that should be your main supporters.
  • + 1
 Hopefully Unit gets there stuff sorted out.. Suck for guys like doerfling and lacondeguy to loose such a sweet sponsor
  • + 7
 Yeah Wife beaters are back
  • + 2
 My freeride mountain biking film GOBI DESERT is ready to make now.And I'll go to Tibet for a trip.At the same time I'll show you some trails I told Claw the last time when you were in Turpan.GOBI DESERT,everything is here.Hope to get the chance to ride with you,James.See you in Gobi Desert!I can find some new trails you wanna try again and again.
  • + 1
 The next time you go to Gobi Desert,please tell we guy,cause we ride freeriding mountain bike right here.We've found some freeriding trails on the big mountain.And the Specialized bike shop in Urumqi will give you all the help they can do.
  • + 5
 Crazy good rider, needs more exposure
  • + 4
 YES! Roughneck MTB! Jimmy Dirt shall run free!
  • + 4
 3rd pic. Ummm... where's the line??!!
  • + 4
 That line in the 3rd photo. impossible = possible
  • + 3
 Thanks for making us all feel like a bunch of pansies. JD shreds!
  • + 2
 Wait a sec. He shouting out novatec wheels, but in all the pics hes riding e.thirteens...?
  • + 2
 Most of those photos are from last season, probably changed wheel sponsors. Likely just running E-13 guides now.
  • + 1
 that drop at Williams lake, one of the gnarliest ever done and look at the run out!
  • + 4
 rad dude
  • + 2
 Anyone know what helmets he has, or does he have custom graphics?
  • + 1
 In the pictures above he runs a Troy Lee Designs D3 with custom graphics and a TLD A1. After the pictures were taken he got hooked up with Giro so his new helmet is a Giro Cipher
  • + 1
 Cheers mate, just looked on the giro website and thought it didnt match
  • + 2
 cant decipher between wanting to bang him or just be him
  • + 2
 You can do it!
  • + 1
 If I had a wife, I'd let doerfling have her babies. If i could have the male.
  • + 1
 Doerfling is the best lml
  • + 1
 Amazing rider James, keep does movies coming Big Grin
  • + 1
 2nd to last picture amazes me!
  • + 1
 yesssss.. this is from his 'sending it' video. check that shit out
  • + 1
 My idol the king of kings!!
  • + 1
 I love watching James ride his videos are always amazing!
  • + 1
 Sunz out Gunz out!
  • + 0
 Good old James Floor ding!
  • + 1

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