Josh Bender’s old school tricks may seem a thing of the past, but a new generation of freeriders are daring to perform extreme tricks in competitive events. This year, VEE Tire Co. has welcomed Vincent “Vinny T” Tupin as their freeride hero. Born in France, Vinny T is known for his airborne tricks while maintaining speed on changing terrain. Press play to see more.
As for tires, Vinny T prefers the Flow Smasher in muddy terrain for its versatility, and the Flow Rumba for dry conditions because it allows him to pull tight corners with control and lasting durability. He is excited to test the new VEE Tire Co. Gravity Core this year as well. To learn more, check out this exclusive interview below. All photos are courtesy Mike Sakas and Keno Derleyn.
Q: Describe yourself in three words.
A: I don’t like to describe myself, but my friends say that I am crazy, friendly and shy.
Q: Besides your phone and wallet, what items do you never leave the house without?
A: A beanie or a cap and long socks.
Q: How do you set your goals every year to maintain your competitive level?
A: I set my goals in many ways. It can be tricks, freeride lines that I’ve never rode before, or simply the desire to progress every day.
Q: As a pro freerider, what is the biggest difference between your life previously and now?
A: I can ride my bike whenever I want.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Continue to do videos, do some trips, and ride Fest Series jumps.
Q: Who are your sponsors for 2017?
A: My sponsors for 2017 are Scott, Syncros components, Chatel Bikepark, Hope Technology, FiveTen, Bos Supension, Magic Downhill, Box Components, MTB Morzine Beds, Sensus Grips, Mozartt, and of course VEE Tire Co.
Q: Do you have any specific setups for your bike?
A: I ride 27.5″ wheels on all my bikes except my DJ bike. I like to have stiff suspension, although my bikes are pretty much similar as the original bike.
Q: What is your suspension preference?
A: I like to ride my Scott Gambler stiff. When I ride Fest Series jumps, for example, I need a bike that can keep the speed between jumps and can take big impacts. I also need a slow rebound on big jumps.
Q: What is the most important aspect in choosing tires?
A: The grip! Where I live in France, I need tires that can run well in the mud and snow in the winter. Vee Tire Co. Flow Smasher is perfect for that type of terrain. In summer, it is generally dry so I can ride tires with less spikes, like the Flow Rumba. The compound of the tires are also very important.
Q: In the beginning of your career, what was the most difficult trick you learned?
A: Hard to say, maybe the backflip was the hardest at the beginning. I was not too crazy and this trick worried me. Now, it is one of my favorite things to do.
Q: You love to do big tricks. Did you learn any new tricks for 2017?
A: I want to do bigger tricks with my downhill bike.
Q: What events did you choose to join this year?
A: The Fest Series – it’s always a good time and we push our limits every time. Then, Crankworks in Les Gets, France; Innsbruck, Austria; and Whistler, Canada.
Q: What has been your ultimate riding experience?
A: Riding Loosefest (Fest Series) in Belgium. It is still the biggest jump I have ever done.