Progressing The Sport: Josh Bender… (VIDEO)

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Every now and then, a rider’s name comes up in office conversation and we’ll jokingly ask if they ‘helped progress the sport’. While it’s a bit of fun for us, there is no denying that some riders – whether cross country racers, downhillers or freeride tricksters helped sculpt our sport in a revolutionary way akin to how Hendrix blew the guitar world apart.

In the first of a very occasional series, we present Josh Bender, the original freerider. And the closest we’ve ever had to our own Evel Knievel.

One of Bender’s bikes, with 12in of travel for huge cliff hucks
Padded bars for the inevitable head-nodder on landing (just look at the videos)
A long saddle to help moving around the bike – and so you never land your plums on the top tube. And TWO rear shocks!
Some readers won’t get this. Others will nod and go misty-eyed.

Josh Bender was the original ‘huck and hope’ rider and, just like Knievel, when things went right, it was amazing to watch. When things went wrong, they went quite wrong, but he usually got up and tried again. Someone in Russia has handily edited together a collection of Bender’s most memorable (for us, if not always for him) crashes together with some charming death metal, so turn the sound down and get stuck in.

And now for a similar video, but this time things go right more than they go wrong.

Bender, we salute you!

Comments (11)

    Its a sign of how bikes, and especially suspension, has improved that most of his big drops appear to be nothing special compared to what goes on at Rampage these days. But somebody had to be first.

    It’s the multiple attempts and multiple failures (and more attempts!) that impresses me…

    On the second vid. At 1:45 – what the…!

    Just amazing someone would step up again and again to ride off this stuff, clearly learning as he went, clearly with bigger gonads than I have…

    In retrospect actually I think his biggest problem was he didn’t carry enough speed for alot of his drops. You watch what the guys are pulling off at Rampage etc. now and they are softening the landing much more by carrying more forwards momentum. Nevertheless, and as per my previous comment, ahhh, memories…..!

    “On the second vid. At 1:45 – what the…!”

    That’d be his second attempt the ‘Jah Drop’ from NWD 3.

    Yup, 2nd attempt, did it once, ended up in hospital, went back, tried again, same result.

    For those about to drop (we salute you).

    The guy is amazing. In Fat Tyre Fury, he did the Jah Drop 4 times. The first time he breaks something, then he comes back the next year and drops it three more times! Ouch,

    https://youtu.be/YVOYzxa_6c0?t=2088

    Now, he’s a bit more relaxed
    https://vimeo.com/26722614
    though I note he’s taken to 29ers. Probably make the drops come alive or something.
    http://www.pinkbike.com/video/242619/

    What a guy \m/

    ….non functioning gonads……….

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