How to do a Back-flip

26 year-old Gary Taylor was the first British rider to nail the back-flip. Here’s how to do it

I saw Mike Metzger do the backflip at a show in Geneva in 2001, and knew then I had to do it. First, set your ramp up with about 35 feet from ramptip to landing zone. I do about three conventional jumps to dial myself in. Doing the flip is something you build up to. It’s all in your head, you have to commit – there are no half-measures. 

Come into the ramp in third gear, probably at about 30mph – just cruise into the ramp. Stand up, with your body straight up the middle of the bike. Halfway up the ramp give it full gas and, as you near the top, throw your bodyweight backwards; arms locked out, legs bent a little, arse as far back as it’ll go.

As the front wheel leaves the ramp, you can’t see anything. Throttle control is everything: if you gas it too early she’ll over-rotate; too late and it you won’t rotate enough. Over-rotation is harder to slow down. With under-rotation you can yank it around. As I come off the lip, my head is already thrown right back. The bike is vertical as we launch. Change your body position back to the centre of the bike.

When you’re fully inverted you’ll feel really relaxed. At that point you know if it feels good or if it’s bad. It’s just a feeling, and you know what it needs to be. It’s not like a fairground ride, your stomach doesn’t go anywhere, but if you’re going to make any adjustments, now’s the time. If it’s all going well keep your body position where it is. If it’s under-rotating, give it a load of throttle and yank on the bars.

You don’t see much until you’re coming in. It happens so fast you don’t have time to see anything. If you think you’re crashing, stay on until the last minute then jump through the bars. The back-flip demands complete commitment. Lots of people try it, freak out and let go. That’s when the bike slaps you.

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