The Gnarliest Mountain Biker Ever: Josh Bender

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The 2017 edition of the Red Bull Rampage just wrapped up. Predictably, it featured a massive drop that winner, Canadian Kurt Sorge, launched a full back-flip off of. Every year it seems the drops get bigger and the riders get more daring at Rampage. This is mainly a function of improving bike technology, course preparation and improving rider skill/daring as prize money goes up. But it all started back in the 90s when a crazy mountain bike pioneer started launching himself off cliffs in Utah on his 12″ travel Karpeil, breaking a lot of bones and a few bikes in the process.

This video tells the story of Bender and how he went from being the ‘bad boy’ of mountain biking to becoming the spiritual founder of the biggest mountain bike spectacle in the world—Red Bull Rampage. If you watch some modern Rampage footage (it’s everywhere on the internet) and compare it to the footage in this video, it’s clear that Rampage is figure skating next to Bender’s no-rules, full contact hockey. No doubt today’s Rampage riders are skilled athletes capable of more than Bender ever was but none of them would be riding these crazy drops in the first place if it weren’t for Bender. If Sorge is Sidney Crosby, Bender is Tiger Williams.

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