Last weekend we made the short trip out to the Faisst Compound to catch up with our pal and freestyle riding veteran Nate Adams. Currently on what is also his off season he was happy to meet up and throw a few tricks for some photos, and afterward sat down to catch up with him about everything from family to getting signed with Alta Motors. Read on for a look into a current FMX rider’s lifestyle…
What's up, Nate? You seem to always be on the go – fill us in on what you've been up to.
At this moment we're getting ready for the holidays, and I'm getting ready to feed my 18-month-old twin boys. Yeah, life has definitely changed since the last time I did an interview with TransWorld. I've gotten married, my wife and I decided we wanted to have a kid and then we got twins, and that was a year and a half ago now so it has been awesome. I'm a dad now, and the Nitro Circus Tour ended about six months ago so since then I've been riding around California locally and also getting ready for next year's Nitro Tours. It looks like we'll be going all over the world, and also all over the United States. It's going to be fun! So a lot has changed, but a lot of it is still the same – it's dirt bikes, dirt bikes, and more dirt bikes everyday!
It seems like there are a handful of guys now, you included, which have found their path to a consistent income as FMX riders via both contests and demos like the Nitro Tours. Do you think it’s becoming tougher to create a career within FMX?
Freestyle as a sport has grown, and it grows every year. It's still in my mind a new sport, when you compare it to motorcycle racing or something like a stick and ball sport. But there is still the X Games, Red Bull X Fighters used to have their series but the last couple years they cut it back to just the one X Fighters competition in Madrid, Spain. That was kind of a bummer, because I know a lot of guys like myself would train for that series and just getting a single win on that series was a huge deal to keep sponsors happy or get a new sponsor. Like I was saying, there is still the X Games, and now there is Nitro Circus World Games, and also the Nitro Circus Tour, and then you have guys like Eric Peronnard that bring riders to events like the Paris Supercross for demos. But man, if you're not one of the guys that have a name it's tough. It's X Games, Nitro Circus World Games, and Nitro Circus Tour – and if you're not on that tour you're looking for smaller shows and things to ride. It can definitely become a hustle. Those spots on the Nitro Circus World Tour are coveted and no one wants to give them up – everybody wants to ride their best to keep the spot!
That must keep you on your game when you're on tour, because you're constantly performing.
Oh yeah, there's a big difference between going out to the Faisst Compound and running through my tricks for your camera and a Nitro show. It might be raining all day, and the storm blows over for the show. The show becomes your practice, and when they say "Go" it's time to do that backflip cliff hanger or that backflip lazy boy, or that 360. [Laughs] You just have to be on point. Riding a few shows a week, you become so on point and you have to be able to do your tricks on command and it really makes you hone in and perfect yourself.
The Nitro Circus has definitely taken a safety and progressive approach to the sport, bringing softer landings and even those unique front flip ramps. What's your take as a veteran FMX rider?
Everything Nitro does, and obviously it's Travis Pastrana's baby, you see Travis in it. I've gotten to know Travis really well, and I'm lucky enough to have him riding for my company Deft Family Gloves. Travis wants progression. It's all about doing something bigger, and better, and he wants to see things that have never been done. And you see that with Nitro World Games with those ramps with the kickers, and padded landings. They bring air bags out for practice for guys to safely get comfortable. Like…you're showing up to Salt Lake City, at elevation, and some guys are flying overseas with a borrowed bike only bringing their suspension. Travis understands that, and he really caters to the riders in that sense. X Games is also great to the athletes, and I've been riding it since 2001 and love X Games and everyone involved – that's obvious. But X Games is like showing up to a Supercross, like Anaheim 1. If you're like, "I don't like that jump" then it's kind of like, "Well don't jump it then!" Everyone else will jump it, so it's kind of like you have to show up and be on point – it is what it is. If you want to front flip something, you have to know how to front flip a regular ramp. Both forms of competition I think the sport needs, and the fans want to see. I think with the Nitro World Games Travis has been hitting the nail on the head with that, and the X Games has also been doing that for a couple of decades.
So right now you're on an off-season, time to breathe a little.
Yeah, I have a little downtime and have just been trying to hang out with my family as much as possible. Also about five years ago I had my mechanic at the time and one of my best friends Derek Mahoney introduced me to one of his lifelong passions archery hunting. I've really gotten into that, so I'm going to try to get out and do some archery hunting. Also I'm working out daily, and just getting in shape for the Nitro Circus Tour and all of next year. When you get on tour and you’re not healthy, you're not going to get healthier on tour! I don't want to make it sound like it's not fun, but it is a grind and a hustle and you have to be on point all the time. I don't want to be dealing with any nagging injuries, like I did this year with my back. My goal this year is to focus every day on my core and my back, and that's getting to where it's no longer an issue!
And when does the Nitro Circus Tour begin?
They haven't released any exact dates yet, and they plan on covering a lot more ground in multiple countries next year that I can't mention yet, but I always plan to be ready to go January 1st for whatever they throw at me!
Do you have anything in the works otherwise or personal goals you set out for?
Absolutely, I just inked a deal with Alta Motors! Literally it's so new that I haven't even gotten my bike yet! They have been amazing to work with, and they brought me a bike to try and got everything on it from bars to suspension and all of my settings. I basically rode the bike for a short period of time and said, "Yeah, lets do the deal!" So basically when I get my Alta Motors Redshift electric bike I'm going to make that my ride and what I'll be planning to ride for hopefully the remainder of my career. I want to be an electric bike freestyle rider.
Rad, congratulations on that. How was it to adapt?
You know, just being in the air it's a little different but I adapted super quick and I think I'll be able to do everything on it that I can do now on my 450. When I get that bike it's my next goal in riding to be as on point with that bike as I am with my current bike. I'm really excited for it, and they are super fun to ride. I think a lot of people, myself included, before you throw a leg over it you don't know what to expect. After riding it man, it's the future. Their tag line "The Future of Fast" is the truth man – that thing is here to stay!
Imagine if someone came up to a young Nate Adams and told you that in the future you'd be riding an all-electric motorcycle professionally. You'd have laughed!
I definitely would have laughed at them! I also would have never thought I was going to be a professional rider. Then that happened, then another goal to qualify for a Supercross night show happened. Man, I've been blessed and god has blessed me through my career. I'm 33 now and I'm still going, and that's a blessing in itself. Even when four strokes became race bikes, they used to be the bike you'd get someone to put around in the desert. Just a real mellow, tame bike. Then all of the sudden four strokes are coming out and they are just awesome, so powerful. Now ten years or so later I'm throwing my leg over an all-electric bike. It's unbelievable. I had no idea what to expect when I went to ride that thing, and an hour after riding it I'm doing everything on Ronnie Faisst's Supercross track that I do on my 450. Tripling through rhythm sections, hitting the main triple, hitting the whoops, jumping the ramps, and whipping it. It's nuts, I can't even wrap my head around it. An electric dirt bike, it's crazy.
I agree, and it opens up a whole new world with them being silent. Imagine you having a practice compound in the middle of a city neighborhood.
Yep, I agree. And the first example I had after riding it was after I went home and I was putting a Moto Stuff front brake setup on my Honda. So I get done and it's like 10:30 at night and I'm like, "Man I want to ride this down the road to double check everything" because I had to ride the next morning. I couldn't because of the noise, and it popped into my head that if I had the Redshift I could just zip it down the street and hit the front brake to check it without making a noise. Little things like that, it will be a big difference. When I had my compound I didn't ride over the weekends just out of respect for my neighbors. If I had a Redshift, it's on! Seven days a week, who cares! I'm not making any noise. It just goes to so many different lengths and avenues. And you know how you talk to your buddies when you're mountain biking? You can do that when you're riding on the trails, too. Give a little "Woo hoo!" or talking smack or whatever.
It's definitely going to be fun to see the progression. I assume the next time we shoot you'll be on the Alta…
Heck yea, I hope so. That's the plan – I'm going to get my bike, send out the suspension to Enzo, dial in everything else, and we'll be rocking it on the electric bike!