Motorcycle: Freestyle

Freestyle motorcycle, or FMX, is another activity classed as an extreme sport. FMX riders do not race their machines; the motorcycles are used to perform a variety of stunts and trick riding, often at both significant speeds as well as involving an aerial component. FMX competitions became popular when this sport was added to the lineup of the annual X Games, the international extreme sports competition.

FMX is a competitive sport where riders are judged subjectively on the quality of the tricks performed. However, as with any of the extreme sports categories, the emphasis is not placed upon competition so much as it is focused upon the personal challenge to the rider of taking the activity where it had never gone previously. A leading example of the successful FMX rider is Travis Partrana (b. 1983) of the United States, who was the first FMX rider to land a back flip on a motorcycle in competition, where the motorcycle does a single revolution on its

Competitors in the Motorcycle Grand Prix of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain.
axis while traveling forward in the air. Partrana has also executed both a double back flip, as well as a back flip while taking the motorcycle in a 360° rotation parallel to the ground. Many of the FMX stunts require the rider to become airborne through the use of a ramp.

There is a significant connection between the type of tricks performed in FMX and those executed in skateboarding, BMX bicycling, and other extreme sports. To practice a stunt as inherently dangerous as a back flip while seated on a motorcycle, some clubs have constructed specialty ramps and landing areas where the rider has a reduced risk of injury in a fall.

The training on the part of an FMX rider to successfully complete a back flip is progressive. The rider will often attempt his first such stunt on a small engine machine, with a displacement of 50-75 cc. Most of the elite performers in FMX use machines of at least 250 cc or greater; the faster the rider can jump of the end of the ramp, the more time in the air the bike will remain, permitting the rider a correspondingly greater time within which to make the flip.

Protective equipment is essential to FMX riding. Riders wear helmets and face shield, as well as full body armor.

SEE ALSO Extreme sports; Motocross or Moto X; Motorcycle: Freestyle.