RIDER: BLURRING THE LINES BETWEEN STREET TRIALS AND MOUNTAIN BIKING

We have seen the likes of Danny McAskill and Chris Akrigg bringing bike trials and street trials to the next level of exposure on social media. Always a blast to watch their latest video edits. But, did you know that there’s a handful of such warriors amongst us too? Many of these riders had since moved on from riding solely on their trial bikes to mountain bikes. Nigel Chen is one such warrior who has been enjoying his riding time both on the streets and off-road trails with a beautiful mix of mountain bike and street trials styles. Bikezilla sought some advice from the man.

NIGEL CHEN CONTINUES STREET TRIALS FUN WITH HIS SANTA CRUZ 5010

We have seen the likes of Danny McAskill and Chris Akrigg bringing bike trials and street trials to the next level of exposure on social media. Always a blast to watch their latest video edits. But, did you know that there’s a handful of such warriors amongst us too? Many of these riders had since moved on from riding solely on their trial bikes to mountain bikes. Nigel Chen is one such warrior who has been enjoying his riding time both on the streets and off-road trails with a beautiful mix of mountain bike and street trials styles. Bikezilla sought some advice from the man.

MEET NIGEL

Name : Nigel Chen 
Age: 30
Daily grind: Automotive Supplies Manager
Bikes owned currently: Santa Cruz 5010CC V4
Sponsors/ambassadorship: Vittoria Tyres
Years riding MTB: 1.5 years
Years cycling: Can’t exactly recall, since I was 14?
Cycling disciplines and sub-disciplines are you in: Bike trials and MTB. Both disciplines have its different types of challenges and fun. Love ’em both. 
How often do you cycle: Generally 2-3 times a week but I always try to ride more if time permits.
Other sports: Not at the moment.

Memorable moments in biking: Back in the days when Bike trials competitions were still held frequently in Singapore, nights before every race would be a sleepless one because of the overwhelming excitement and nervousness. Nowadays, I ride more for fitness and the company. Hence, I no longer race nor compete. Maybe next time? 
Favorite food:  I love all types of cuisines. Not really into vegetables but meats (especially beef) are my absolute favourite.
Pets: My doggo Shiba-inu called Miso.

PRACTICAL STREET TRIALS

Nigel, we note that you are a bike trials and street trials rider first and mountain biker second. Do you agree? 

Yes, I started off with Bike trials many years ago but stopped riding for a few years due to personal commitments. Only recently have I  gotten get back into cycling and decided to try something new – mountain biking.

Why did you choose to use a mountain bike for your street trials riding?

Really good question! When I wanted to get back into cycling, I was looking for a bicycle where I can travel longer distances and hit some trails. Hence, it wasn’t really a conscious decision to use my MTB for street trials, it just happened.

Please tell us more about your current setup.

My bike is a Santa Cruz 5010CC V4 X01 Reserve Build (Spec’d with Industry 9 Hydra Hubs) with some extra bits …

  • Vittoria Martello 27.5 x 2.35 TNT F/R
  • Magura MT7 Racelines with 203mm HC rotors F/R
  • Crankbrothers STAMP 7 pedals (small)
  • Lizardskins Danny Macaskill lock-on grips 

Any secret tips to share about your fork and shock tuning?

Contrary to what many people believe, I actually run my bike with pretty normal pressures: 15% sag for fork and 25% sag for shocks. I generally do not add much compression either and I like to set the fork rebound to be (just) a tad faster than the rear. A balanced feeling bike is a happy bike.

We have seen many of your street trials edits. They are creative! How do you generate ideas for a street trials line? 

Whenever I happen to pass by a “potential spot”. I will whip out my phone to take a picture of it and let my imagination do the rest!

Any “hit list” or “dream line” you wish to achieve?  

Hmmm, a big drop gap to a rail? Let see…

Do you have a favourite foreign country/spots in Singapore for Street Trials riding? Why do you like it? 

Not any in particular. As we all know, Singapore is an urban jungle and spots are all around us. We just need to open our eyes and mind to find them.

Let’s talk a little about mountain biking. Any favourite local trail? Why do you like it/them? 

If I had to choose, it would be both Chestnut Mountain Bike Trails ! I love how the loops are small and I can always head back to Chestnut point to get a Coke!

Any country/ bike park you would want to visit next?

I would love to ride in Hong Kong. I’ve been watching a lot of trail videos online lately and they look  awesome! For now, let’s all do our part and stay safe during these strange times. 

We understand a mountain bike may not be the best bike to start learning street trials tricks. From what we have seen, riders like yourself and a few other veterans are doing it fine with mountain bikes. Any advise on what are the tricks to get dialled in first? And any secrets on how to do it on a MTB? 

Trials is pretty much all about bike control and clearing obstacles. Trials on an MTB is indeed very challenging as compared to using a pure-bred trials bike. The biggest advice I can give to newer riders going into trials is to have patience and keep practicing the basics. Having good fundamentals like trackstands and pivots are the key to progression.

As a parting shot, please share with our readers what’s your wish for the new year?

I wish for the pandemic to end and good health to everyone. Stay safe, stay positive and keep shreddin! 

Also it would be really lovely if you guys can check out and follow my social media pages

Instagram page:  www.instagram.com/nigelstreisand
Tiktok: www.tiktok.com/@nigelstreisand

Thank you Nigel for your valuable tip towards getting trials basics dialled! See you around town or at the trails!

Ed: Here’s a shoutout to all the street trials/street/BMX riders! Your flairs weren’t overlooked. Please share your edits with us at Bikezilla Bikers Group too. Thank you.

LIKE and FOLLOW us: Bikezilla Facebook Page  • Bikezilla Bikers Group Page • BikezillaWorld Instagram • BikezillaSG Instagram • Bikezilla STRAVA • Bkezilla Cafe Chiang Mai

Photos and video by Nigel Chen

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