British MTB Enduro Rider, Nikki Whiles, was one of the first to try out the new Hiplok FLX. We caught up with the Marin-Stans Enduro Team rider to find out more about racing, trail building and his recommendation for some fantastic Welsh riding.
We’re sure you remember your first bike vividly – what was it?
My first real mountain bike was a Saracen Exile hardtail. I destroyed all of the original parts and slowly replaced everything until the frame cracked.
What’s your most memorable moment in racing?
Most memorable moment was probably winning my first NPS (national point series) Downhill race in the junior category. It’s was in Innerleithen Scotland and I thought I was going to get smoked by the locals. Those second year junior days were the best!
What essential pieces of kit would you recommend for any ride (apart from the Hiplok FLX)?
Multi tool, tube, co2 cartridges, water, jacket, phone and some money. I always carry plenty of snacks, one of my favourites being Nature Valley bars (chocolate chip).
Do you have a pre-race mantra?
Drink tea, eat biscuits and listen to music. Just before the racing starts it’s nice to slurp down a ice coffee. I think I’m addicted to those things.
Who would you most like to ride tandem with?
Hannah Barnes. But I want to sit at the back
We hear you’ve followed a profession in Mountain Biking in more ways than one with your business, Trailcraft, which specialises in building pump tracks. Tell us about it.
Yes riding and building go hand in hand for me. Digging my own trails to ride is something I have always done and I’m fortunate enough to earn a living out of it now. I love creating new tracks to ride but it’s not always as rosey as people think. It’s hard work. The best part is trying out what we make and seeing other people buzzing off riding it.
What makes a good pump track?
A track that flows with good turns that carry speed. Corners you have to brake in never work and you want nicely shaped features in between. Nothing too steep or peaky, just smooth mellow shapes.
I’m sure there are some trails in the world that you still have yet to conquer on a bike, where’s top of your list?
Canada, USA. Basically anywhere over that neck of the woods.
As a Welshman, you live in the heart of some of the world’s best mountain biking, where in Wales should we head this weekend?
Sirhowy Valley. Trails are kicking off over there with the local boys building loads of new stuff. It’s mega!
Check out Nikki Whiles in action testing out the Hiplok FLX