About Chris Akrigg
There’s very little that Chris can’t make his bike do. With a background in motorcycle and bike trials, he’s forged a career of riding the seemingly impossible. And making it all look smoothly effortless, too. And that’s true whatever bike he’s on: from trail bikes, to fixies, to gravel bikes to hardtails, and beyond, he can turn them all up to 11.
“He’s forged a career of riding the seemingly impossible”
Since 2009 his ever-growing catalogue of riding films that cross a wide array of bikes and terrain has clocked up millions of views. Each video is packed full of inspiration and riding wizardry to fuel your fire, with a style and an outlook that’s all his own.
CHRIS’ E-160 RSX
Chris rides a size large Whyte E-160 RSX with just a few small changes from the stock spec you can buy.
He’s running Industry Nine wheels shod with Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres, with steering taken care of by Renthal’s FatBar, Apex stem, and Push-On grips.
“On the e-bike I find a really nice and soft suspension set-up feels like I get more grip out of it”
“A lot of people think I run a hard suspension set up on my bike but it’s quite the opposite,” he says of his set-up. “Especially on the e-bike, I find a really nice and soft suspension set-up feels like I get more grip out of it.”
In addition to his E-160 RSX, Chris also has three other Whyte’s in his bike shed: the award-winning 629 trail hardtail, T-140 RS 29er full suspension trail bike, and the Gisburn progressive gravel bike.
The Early Years
“All my memories as a child were all connected to riding. My dad was a motorcycle trials rider. He'd go to competitions, and I'd throw my push bike on the trailer. Then when he was riding a bike trial, I'd just go around on my little push bike trying to emulate the moves of the motorbike riders.
“I never saw riding push bikes was a thing that I wanted to do. It was just something that I did, and that was going to be the stepping stone to being a motorcycle rider. I wanted to be like Jordi Torres – who was an amazing motorcycle rider and I always loved his style. Dougie Lampkin, too, a fellow Yorkshireman and a multiple world champion. Also, people like Hans Rey – one of the first people I actually saw riding mountain bikes and doing it as a professional – and Ot Pi, a Spanish multiple world champion as well.
Style Over Tricks
“I think for me it's more of a style thing. That's what I like to see. And whether that's BMX, skateboarding, surfing, like any of that sort of thing, I just like style and I'd much rather see somebody do something stylish, or in a different way that I've not seen before. That's more interesting to me and gets my juices flowing rather than somebody going higher, spinning round or going upside down more than the last person did it. I’ll always take style over tricks.
“I’d much rather see somebody do something stylish, or in a different way, that I’ve not seen before”
“Back in the day, I remember watching them guys do all their stuff on VHS videos and I couldn't believe how good they were. I never think you can learn something of somebody that's not at least as good, if not better, than you. That's how I saw it. I always used to like being the underdog. So I was chipping away at people. It's pretty nuts, you know, that years down the line I've ridden against Ot Pi in world champs and been a teammate of Hans Rey.
6x British Champion
“I got good results in motorcycle riding, but it wasn’t until I started riding push bikes that I really I found my feet from a competition level. I rode competition trials for 10 years and managed to work my way up to being six-time British champion.
“After that I started riding video stuff. That's when I didn't ride just rigid trials bikes. I started riding suspension bikes and that opened a lot of doors with me applying my skillset to riding full suspension bikes, fixies, and then BMX as well – I rode a lot of BMX. I also raced downhill for quite a while. That all brought a whole new look and speed to my riding which added to the trials stuff. Now I feel like I've got a really good, rounded skillset that I can jump on pretty much any bike and make it happen.
“That all brought a whole new look and speed to my riding”
“The e-bike stuff's one of the most exciting things. I think the reason why I've ridden for a lot of years is because I always embrace new things and new challenges. Once I jumped on an e-bike for the first time, I was like ‘Wow!’ There’s a lot to learn – they’re really cool and really good fun. But then you get to, ‘Right, well actually, what can this help me do? What can I do better than I've done before? How can I make this my own? And how can I push it and make my bike do what other people can't make it do?’
“I’ve ridden a lot of different types of riding and I’ve found that’s all come in to play now which has all gone into a big mixing pot. Now I’m riding e-bikes it’s my favourite thing to do.
“How can I push it and make my bike do what other people can’t make it do?”
A Product of His Environment
“Yorkshire is an amazing place. Growing up, the trials scene was brilliant, and I do believe that you’re a product of your environment. I love riding rocks; love riding slippery rocks; I like riding in the rain; I like riding slippery roots and all that sort of stuff. I like finding really difficult, unusual lines that nobody would even look twice at – but that I feel I need to ride.
“I just like to find the ugliest, most slippery, most inappropriate line that you wouldn't want to walk down, let alone ride a bike on. And I feel that if it's meant to be ridden or it's been designed to be ridden, that I wouldn't be there as it’s not the sort of thing that I'd want to ride.
Riding into Battle
“Although I'd say that I don't like getting into battles to do stuff, I do like getting into battles to do stuff. I think I just really enjoy finding new stuff to ride. I like the process. I like being out on my bike. And it's a way that I can express myself that nothing else'll come close to.
“If I find something and then I do it the first time, I get a little bit of a buzz because I’ve done something, but then also in the back of my mind I’d feel like, ‘Well, that isn't hard enough. Let's find something that's more annoying and more difficult’ that it'll take me a lot longer to do, which eventually I'll get the reward for.
“It’s a way that I can express myself that nothing else’ll come close to”
“I think it is a puzzle. And I I really enjoy that: it gives me some sort of feeling inside that I'm like, ‘There is a puzzle there.’ After all the years of riding I feel like I've got so many different techniques in a bag that I can pull out. A lot like pedal craft: I ride a lot of switch (riding with my non-dominant foot forward) and I feel like I'm pretty good at calculating where I need to be, from a pedal point of view, to miss certain things and from a range point of view, where I know one pedal stroke will get me to where I need to be. There are quite a lot of super fine details in my riding that people won't pick up on unless they really know. And it makes me sort of tick inside.
“I feel like being able to put really good riding together smoothly is probably one of the things that I really want to do, for better or worse; better being that it looks awesome, I hope. But the flip side of that is if you make it look really easy and smooth, then people think it's really easy – and it's really not. So it's a bit of a catch 22 where you want to really try and ride super hard lines, but then you want to make it look easy and smooth and also not let on that you rode it switch footed, or whatever.
“If you make it look really easy and smooth, then people think it’s really easy – and it’s really not”
The Feeling Inside
“Sometimes I want to make it look really aggressive and be strong on it, smashing through it. Then other times I just want to make it silky smooth. For me, it’s about how it feels. So if I ride something and filmers say, “Mint, we’ve got it. Move on!” I'll be like, “No, I didn't feel right – it wasn't the right one.” And then I'll do it again. It could be one time, or it could be a hundred times more; its once I've got that feeling and I know I've got it right. For me, that's perfection.
“Confidence is so important. I think it gives you probably one of the best feelings in the world. I really do. Like, if you're riding confident, you feel like at one with your bike and you could just march into battle on it. That is one of the best feelings when you're on your game, you're feeling strong, and you’ve got a good headspace.
Scaring Old People
“If I'm not riding push bikes I still enjoy riding motorcycle trials and I’m lucky enough to do that with me Dad. I've also got classic road motorcycles, which I love riding, also building. I’ve also got a 1961 Ford Anglia with a slightly peppy engine in which I like going out and scaring all the old people in.
“It’s got a slightly peppy engine in which I like going out and scaring old people in”
“Strange as it seems, I do like I sometimes go for a ride on a bike with nothing else involved. No, tech riding – I mean it always gets a bit technical – but just going for a loop on a mountain bike ride. That's really cool. I don't really do that all that often now, but when I do that feels like quite refreshing.
There's No Secret
“I think everybody says there's no secret. You just got to do a lot. That’s the honest answer, it really is. I don't think there's any secret to it. You just got to do a lot and make it fun so you want to keep doing it.”
“You’ve just got to do it a lot and make it fun so you want to keep doing it”
1st World Cyclo Trials Expert
1st Red Bull Bike Battle
Starts filming riding videos
First social riding video on a fixed gear bike: One Gear, No Idea
1st Red Bull Cobble Wobble
First full suspension video: A Hill In Spain
1st Red Bull Mini Drome
Multi-bike edit: Five
Full-on raw tech MTB video: As It Lies
Cyclo-cross/gravel video: The Guide Raw
First e-bike video: Akrigg Full Force