A Decade Of Flatland: 2010/2020 Part 1

Intro/Interview: Effraim.

Flatland, a decade on. Where is it at? In 2008, when I was starting Flatmattersonline, I hit up a broad scope of riders from across the globe, and asked them a topical question at the time, “To scuff or not?”.
As we went into a new decade, I wondered…. in terms of styles, have we really moved on in progression over the past 10 years? I hit up some of the same riders that were involved in the first main article on the site, and also some fresh riders to get their perspective. How has their personal riding developed over the past ten years, are there still lines and tricks that they feel never get old, and stand the test of time?
How has bike technology affected their riding, riding spots and so on. Welcome to Part 1 where I reach out to the 2019 Flatmattersonline Rider of the Year, Dominik Nekolny, Pete Brandt, one of the most hardcore riders on the planet. And Matthias Dandois, winner of reader choice edit of the year and the most recognisable face in flatland in the world. Part 1 is an interesting read, you might want to grab a cuppa and give this your attention….

A decade on technically what’s different about your riding style? The tricks are obviously different, but has your approach changed?

Dominik Nekolny: Man, I just watched some footage from KOG back in 2010 – and boooooiiii I was killing it 😀 I guess my riding was little bit more technical and “jumpy” which I actually miss a bit…

Pete Brandt: My approach has changed with some tricks and techniques, but the commitment of exerting a trick is a lot still the same. I love the feeling of full commitment on the approach, and throughout the the trick.

Matthias Dandois: I only do things that look good and feel good. I film all the new tricks I learn, and if they don’t look good enough to me I just put them in the trash can. Even if it’s contest winning trick.So I guess I got less technical but more flowy. Works for me!

Describe your riding ten years ago?

Dominik Nekolny: My riding now? I love it! 🙂 I come up with some style and links which nobody did in the contest and I spend a lot of time to make those links dialled as fuck, so what you want more. :D.

Pete Brandt: Lots of spinning and turbine styles.

Matthias Dandois: My riding 10 years ago was more technical, less aesthetic. More trick based. Contest winning tricks.

Describe your riding in 2020?

Dominik Nekolny: My riding now? I love it 🙂 I come up with some style and links which nobody did in the contest and I spend a lot of time to make those links dialed as fuck, so what you want more! 😀

Pete Brandt: Less pumping, more technical wheel to wheel combos and I added a dark side type of switch to my style.

Matthias Dandois: A mix of street and Flat, I try to keep the moves simple and the flow matters more than the tricks. I constantly record my new tricks, and if anything doesn’t look good I don’t even fuck with it.

Are there any tricks or lines you still do ten years on, and are still fun for you?

Dominik Nekolny: I guess I have started to do x-footed hitch, so bless the guy who invented this shit, because I still love it.

Pete Brandt: As far as lines, I have made some of my turbine hikers interchangeable, and I still do variations of blenders, which is a real fun trick with endless possibilities.

Matthias Dandois: Of course! It’s always fun do dig in the trick bag.

What do you see the trend being for this year and perhaps beyond?

Dominik Nekolny: I mean come on? I’m the last mutherfucker who use a fuckin’ brake out there – so the trend is pretty clear – easy flow and back wheel. 😀

Pete Brandt: Lots of lines with backwards manuals, and street style influence.

Matthias Dandois: Less pumping. Normal BMX looking bikes, bigger tires, lower seats, less brakes.

If you could describe modern day flatland in one paragraph what would you say?

Dominik Nekolny: Goooooooood loooooooooking back wheel flow…

Pete Brandt: A lot of different styles with technical switches, as well as street influence.

Matthias Dandois: Everybody has his own style so it’s super difficult to describe it in one paragraph… I’d say fast and flow and Brakeless. Brakes are a thing of the past.

What do you think has progressed about riding other than tricks learnt in the last decade?

Dominik Nekolny: What I can see it is contest, that’s what progressed the most for me.

Pete Brandt: The parts. As an example we have cassette noise at contest and jams now from freecoasters.

Matthias Dandois: People outside of Flatland understand it more than 10 years ago. Flatland has never big that much in the center of the attention. It’s great.

Photo: The Agency.

Have you gone back over old tricks and thought of them in a new way perhaps with a modern day technique?

Dominik Nekolny: Yes I did. I would like to bring some of them back, and make them lil’ bit fresh so I will see what can I do about it.

Pete Brandt: Yes, all the time. It’s like a never ending thought process. Sometimes I’ll completely forget about a trick until I start doing a new trick that I can add a switch to because how it can flow together.

Matthias Dandois: That happens to me all the time. You have a different perspective on an old technique and that becomes a whole new concept. I actually love doing that.

How do you see your riding developing in the future?

Dominik Nekolny: I mean I find my way – which is not easy and developing something new in it will need a lot effort, but I’m up to it, because that is what I like to do.

Pete Brandt: It’s all about pushing myself to progress and have fun with the challenges.

Matthias Dandois: I wanna avoid pumping, and keep on doing tricks that looks good and feel good more than technical tricks that take ages to learn, look like crap and feel like crap.

How much do you think bike technology has advanced the progression of modern day flatland?

Dominik Nekolny: I don’t see actually that much much of a technology progression in flat parts. I mean FarEast come up with some damn good hubs, which one of them I actually don’t use (coaster), but I love TI parts so I got it :). But for example I still have the same brake I used to, I still had to modify it by myself, because there is nobody who can make a proper brake or brake levers…sooo…. There are some shitty street design frames like 10 years ago, same forks, bars…same wheels so yeah I don’t think so about that one…

Pete Brandt: Definitely lighter parts have made a lot of tricks easier to do. Especially having a lighter back end for front wheel tricks.

Matthias Dandois: I don’t think it has advanced at all, technology wise, I think bikes are pretty much the same than 10 years ago.

Photo: The Agency.

Are you particular with tyre pressure?

Dominik Nekolny: Yes, 8 bars, period.

Pete Brandt: Yes, 125psi on the front, 120 psi on the back.

Matthias Dandois: Yes, I run way less tire pressure than 10 years ago. I run 90psi nowadays.

Photo: @mayolgreenfilms

What’s your preferred riding surface?

Dominik Nekolny: I don’t care.

Pete Brandt: Smooth, fast, and clean without a lot of dust.

Matthias Dandois: Asphalt, or rough marble. Anything non slippery.

Has the invention of trick positions become stagnant? If not, what was the last trick position you recall?

Dominik Nekolny: Everybody knows I couldn’t care less about inventing some stupid looking silly positions – I do care more about combinations, and hardness of the trick/links in the contest – sorry if you didn’t pulled the shit in the contest, it doesn’t count. 😀
Go cry on your mama shoulder. Other than that I think there is plenty of shits which was not done in state of combination – front wheel and back wheel always gonna have those base tricks which people gonna use for combination.

Pete Brandt: Upside Orbital comes to mind, and Sky scrappers. I wanted to do something that was totally unique and new for me.

Matthias Dandois: I don’t think it has become stagnant. Look at Georges Manos, Matthieu Bonnecuelle, Owen Bohm and so on… it’s endless and that’s the beauty of it!

Part 2, drops next Friday! If you got this far, thanks for reading….

28 thoughts on “A Decade Of Flatland: 2010/2020 Part 1

  1. Love uearing perspective from the best riders much like i did ad a kid in the 80s. End of the day the word progression and how that applies to you are what matters

  2. Good read!
    I Gotta say though after watching Moments again that you posted recently I miss the “era of the brake” and I hope less brake does not continue to be the trend but sigh..
    Martti and many people did stuff and pushed the level on things that I feel just would not be possible w/o a brake

    I just look at riding from that 03-09ish time and I think that’s some of the highest level of progression, most unique styles and variety of bike setups (although some of the frame designs were a bit gnarly).
    In that time you could put 10 riders in a silhouette and you’d instantly know who was who, these days eh not so much, a lot of brakeless stuff looks the same.

    Don’t get me wrong I love today’s flatland and there are definitely some big hitters killing it and pushing their own original style but overall to dismiss a brake is limiting imo.

    • Mickey G: worth noting as I’m sure you have … the UcI world champion and flatmattersonline rider of the year has double front brakes. Dom Nekolny for me it’s all about what your doing not the look. Thanks for your insight, stoked you are back riding again! Great energy with the clips with you and TA!! Long may it continue…

  3. legit next level awesome riders, good read, great content! This is why Flatmatters is the totally package when it comes to covering and showcasing all things flatland.

    Aside from some companies workmanship and designing some lighter parts while maintaining strength, Dom has a good point. A bikes basically still a bike and we’ll always have our own personal preferences that lead to modifications. Looking forward to part 2.

  4. Agree with Micky G, certain tricks seem sloppy w’out brakes & or can’t be done. Yes Dom uses his front brake, & l also agree that it really was &, is about personal preference. In my view, brakeless, has to a point, limited our tricknitionary. I recall having this conversation back when brakeless was starting to get trendy & l & a few others agreed. I think Alex J’s an awesome rider, & we’ve all our ‘choices ‘ hehe, but l & others feel, his brake use, saw him as an even better rider. This may cause so contentiousness, but it’s just an observation. Having said this, how many Chase Gouin’s have we seen when he went brakeless. So, unless you ride so damn good like him, then…

  5. As for parts & frame’s, l don’t think there’s been a significant difference. Coasters are better & l can see the advantages of lighter frame’s, but again, depending riding skills, l believe a too light set up can be a bit of a hindrance.From seeing many use street style bars, yet have standard features on frame’s, such’s lowered top tubes, seems to be a contradiction, because bars are big, & wide, get in the way, at least to me.

    • You’re totally right – That setup (light backend, low and big bars) is basically only good for whiplash stuff. I ran that setup for a while to do whiplash stuff and then had to change.

    • Great read.

      I can understand why DOM is bitter because he has gotten a lot of hate, but without other people’s ‘stupid looking silly positions’ he wouldn’t have any tricks at all. A lot of his tricks were, at one time, seen as ‘stupid looking’ because they were new, different and felt awkward. If it’s not ‘stupid looking’ then it probably isn’t interesting. I respect what he can pull in the contest, but it’ll always be a much lower level of respect than I would give to a banger video part where you don’t know what’s coming next.


      • Hey Paul,

        I 50/50 agree with you, I always respect anyone who can ride with a high level of difficulty and pull their stuff during a contest area. For me, It’s the Yin and Yang of flatland in a way, that rider we all love the video bangers from, equally cant pull much under the contest setting. Whilst I love the video bangers too, there is no feeling like lacing that perfect run under mad amounts of pressure. The challenge is to go as hard as possible in those settings and get the best results, ideally no touch. It’s a chase, don’t unlike the video parts. Although you have more time and are perhaps under more scrutiny on a video where you can watch it over and over….

      • Kind of agree with this, but as someone who subscribed to a similar “style” of tricks that Dom does I also know his techniques and tricks are so fucking difficult it’s hard for me to lose any respect for what he does. Very similar to watching Justin Miller ride except Dom is way beyond him in difficulty at this point.

        It’s also hard not to know what comes next in contest runs just because riders build on those for years and years (Well, some do). Some of Doms video clips from his garage are full of surprises and an even greater degree of difficulty.

        Maybe my respect for what he does comes from having feet that are too big to pivot properly though haha.

  6. And also, there must have been at least 12 riders l’ve talked about bikes been too light, & you’re the only person that sees what l mean Paul. It’s got to be a too light set up, because if l go to aggressively lift the bag end, standing on the font pegs, majority of the time, the whole bike rips off the ground. It’s why I’m looking for something heavier.

  7. I’ve heard a number of riders say, It’s hard to ride consistently & l think this could possibly be the problem. From my own experience, l rode better with a slightly heavier, but suited to me bike. I also said, l applaud anyone that can ride a super light set up.

  8. While I appreciate brakeless riding, it does seem to have its limitations. I will never be convinced that a brakeless decade is as smooth as one when using a brake. Just my two cents. Still, it’s nice to get fresh and differing viewpoints on the current state of our sport.

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