A freecoaster is a clearly defined type of bicycle hub that allows you to roll backwards without pedaling. Is riding with a freecoaster cheating, as some say? Does it make some tricks easier? In my opinion, it does not - but it does allow for certain tricks to look and feel better, not to mention opening up a whole new window of possibilities. Most importantly, they’re extremely fun. I got my first one as a Christmas gift fourteen-years-ago and I haven’t turned back since. Back then, I was doing a lot of fakie tricks with a cassette and it seemed reasonable to give a freecoaster a try. I viewed it as a tool to help express what I wanted to do on my bike. When I was 17-years-old, at the time my Shook “It’s On” full-length video part was released, I officially felt like my riding was developing into what I had envisioned. I think it’s safe to credit a large part of that to having a freecoaster.

With today’s abundance of riders choosing the freecoaster route, I felt it was an appropriate time to recognize ten of the best freecoaster riders of all time. This list is in no particular order - I personally would find that near impossible to do. So, without further ado, these are the ten best freecoaster riders of all time.

Ian Schwartz

Ian Schwartz is a common name you will find at the top of most people’s lists of best freecoaster riders. There’s no denying Ian was one of the most - if not the very most - influential riders to use a freecoaster hub. His vision for riding was a speciality and a rarity. As a former teammate of Ian's, I witnessed much of this first-hand. In 2004, his Props bio came out. That is when Ian first started turning heads and catching eyes all around the world. Let’s have a look at that video once more -

Bruce Crisman

Easily considered one of the biggest pioneers in the new era of freecoaster riding, Bruce Crisman brought an entirely different perspective to things. Bruce took freecoaster riding to a completely new level - being the first to push bigger fakie hops and tricks like the fakie to ruben wallride.

Rick Moliterno

Although we’ve seen him going back-and-forth from a freecoaster to cassette throughout the years, Rick Moliterno was one of the leading riders who truly advanced freestyle riding using a freecoaster hub. Rick threw down some of the most unreal lip tricks going from in-and-out of fakies. On top of Rick’s inventive riding, he was one of the main guys who stepped up challenging the big corporate brands who ruled the 1980s by starting his legendary rider-owned brand, Standard Byke Company, in 1991. Shown below is a cut from his Baco 3 section from that same year.

Shane Weston

Shane Weston might be a terrible basketball player, but he sure is a damn good freecoaster rider. As part of the newer generation of freecoaster riders, Shane has brought trick combos no one else has done in the past, nor is doing currently. Shane delivers trick combinations - such as box jump tricks - in-and-out of backwards lines leaving everyone wondering how it’s even possible.

Krt Schmidt

I would bet a lot of the younger generation hasn't heard of Krt Schmidt. Krt was one of the first riders who caught my attention using a freecoaster. Like Rick Moliterno, Krt co-founded Standard Byke Company and was mostly known for insane ramp riding with some of the most unimaginable linkings of tricks. It was in the early-to-mid 1990s that Krt started to put a lot focus into developing more tricks going backwards. As a perfect example of that, here is some classic footage of Krt destroying a street spine.

Chad DeGroot

As one of the most influential riders in the history of BMX freestyle, Chad DeGroot is a shoo-in when it comes to the best freecoaster riders. With having a deep history in flatland and using a freecoaster since 1988, Chad’s riding is very diverse, making him one of the most fun riders to watch and someone who I grabbed a lot of inspiration from for my own riding.

John “Luc-e” Englebert

Known for yellow bikes, crank-flips, and - of course - great freecoaster riding, John “Luc-e” Englebert had to make this list. One of my favorite moves from Luc-e would absolutely have to be his signature sliders across street spines. Also worth mentioning, he is the inventor of the luc-e grind and quite possibly may have been the first to do nollie to grinds.

Paul Osicka

Famously known for his front-end flat moves, Paul Osicka’s riding later developed into some of the most unique in the history of BMX with an arsenal of moves consisting of a variety of backwards moves intertwined to various tricks - one being the slider, a personal favorite of mine. A lot of riders today don’t recognize the name when I mention him and it’s a shame because Paul’s riding was smooth, dialed, and ingenious.

Eric Bahlman

Eric Bahlman has been running a freecoaster long before the trend fully set in, but it’s here recently that Eric has really been making a name for himself with some of the most ridiculous backwards combinations ever. If you were to crown the king of backwards manuals, Eric would take the title no questions asked.

Garrett Reynolds

Few may wonder how Garrett Reynolds is making this list and some may already know exactly why. Yes, Garrett hasn’t been on a freecoaster for a great amount of time, but he has undeniably distributed some of the most incredible freecoaster riding ever in the short time he has been on one. Take his Red Bull edit that was released this year for example. Absolutely amazing!​

BONUS: Devon Smillie

Devon Smillie is very new to the freecoaster game, but he’s already doing stuff that’s never been done before and pushing the boundaries of technical street riding. Devon delivers intricate tricks and lines leaving him high up on the list of top current riders creating some of the most progressive street riding in the world.

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