It’s 2015. Publishing a list of the ten best front brake riders in this day-and-age makes zero sense. For the average Vital reader, you’ve been alive for a shorter time than many of these riders’ careers - and the tricks they’ve done twenty years ago don’t have names within the 2015 BMX vocabulary. How could you be expected to appreciate a Canadian to bar when you’re overwhelmed with a hundred feeble to hard 180 bars everyday on Instagram? A nosepick with a brake is “cheating” since it’s not a foot jam, right?

While there are certainly riders who have killed it that happen to run front brakes, the ten riders listed here either innovated, progressed, or uncovered what was possible with a front brake. While my own skills on a bike are nowhere near those of these legends, I dare you to find a bigger front brake nerd, so I feel qualified to present you with my version of the 10 best front brake riders of all time (in no particular order).

Dave Freimuth

Burly Tech. Hat under Pro-Tec. Packers.

Dave Freimuth has done some of the hardest technical tricks that will ever be done. Ever. It would rarely just be done on a six-foot-tall quarter, too. Dave has taken a lot of those insane lip tricks and done them on sub boxes. Footjam whips with no feet on, 360 to sprocket to ice on a sub, 270 to over ice and back on a sub, nosepicking vert walls - the list goes on for scary and technical tricks that Dave has pulled. While many of his greatest hits are spread out among Baco and Road Fools, his Etnies Forward section is an amazing standalone section.

Rick Moliterno

American Made. Innovator. Mullet.

If Mat Hoffman is the rugged, coon skin cap-wearing pioneer of air tricks, Rick Moliterno is the Sacagawea of lip tricks. Known for doing the most ridiculous and innovative tricks on both the front and back wheels, Rick paved the way for a lot of modern flatland and ramp riding, as well as for DIY American-made bike companies. A lot of older riders have seen his old Standard videos, but this edit he filmed when he turned 50 (50!!) never really got the attention it deserved.

Dave Osato

Fearless. Super Strength. Canadian.

You do not want to fight Dave Osato. Not that he was known for instigating a brawl, but to put it in perspective, he ripped a pair of jeans off of Andrew Ferris in one swipe. That kind of Canadian super-human strength became his style on a bike. He could absolutely man-handle tailwhip to nosepicks, 540 Canadian nosepicks, and hop 3 whips over 10 years ago. Along with that strength, he also had an incredible amount of finesse and accuracy that let him lace his banger in the 2011 Demolition video, Last Chance.

Bobbie Altiser

Backwards. How Many Footjam Whips You Want? #mustacheperks

At 24-years-old, Bobbie is an infant amongst a list of grandpas. Originally from Hannibal, Missouri, Bobbie moved to Long Beach for a few years and started popping up in edits everywhere. It could’ve been an all street edit, a skatepark mix edit, or a road trip edit - it didn’t matter - he had a trick for anything you put in front of him. From that year onward, Bob has become the most prominent front brake rider of today and for good reason. His NBD tricks and music choices just stick out in your head as something special These days, Bobbie is still slaying it on his bike and giving back to his hometown of Hannibal by running his new project, Pedal'rs Bike Shop.

Tobias Wicke

German. Muscle. Toothpicks.

“Tobias was going nuts on the quarter pipe. I can’t even name half the stuff he does …because it’s all in German." That quote from Road Fools 14 between Morgan Wade and Steve Crandall may seem silly, but it’s an accurate way to summarize Tobias’s riding. Tobias has been on America’s radar since Road Fools 11 where, as a musclebound 18-year-old manchild, he pulled insane nosepick and tailwhip combos that have since become his signature style. Equally as dialed at box jump tricks as lip tricks, Tobias is the kind of guy that could flip whip the same spine he oppo 360 footjam double whips in this Vans edit.

Brian Vowell

Balance. Giraffe height. Hang 5 God.

There was a time when flatland stayed in the parking lots and ramp riding stayed on the quarter pipes. If I could point a finger at the one dude who bridged the gap between flatland and ramp riding, I’d point at BV. Brian built notoriety from a lot of different banger clips in the Baco, Props, and Road Fools videos and they’d always be legendary. Case in point, this INSANE spine combo.

Tom Haugen

Consistency. Straightedge. Perfectionist.

Technical tricks are hard. They take a lot of time and patience to learn and unfathomable amounts of time to perfect. That’s why Tom makes this list. His consistency was legendary. I’ve heard stories where Tom would do a trick perfectly nine times in a row, then dab his foot slightly and start over again until he did ten in a row. Mind you, this is not because he was training for a contest, but because doing tricks flawlessly made riding fun for him. This stuff is HARD and he’s doing it over and over. Perfectly.

Rob Ridge.

That One Spine. Locking Tech 77s. Self-Filmed.

You know what a Rob Ridge edit looks like. They’ve looked similar for probably fifteen years. You know he’s going to rip apart that one indoor spine in England, and he’s going to do insane footjam whips and freecoaster tricks. His latest edit is just one documentation of a long history of edits you’ll have to rewind to make any sense of.

Chad Degroot

Jerry Springer. Baco. Ambidexterous.

My first exposure to Chad was in Baco 10, the last of the Baco series (other than the Baco documentary, which I highly recommend). Since then, he’s been imprinted in my mind as someone who truly personifies what it means to have fun on your bike. Not only is the riding insane, but the Motley Crü track and destructive B roll made Chad stand out as one-of-a-kind to me. These days, Chad is holding down the central Florida scene with his bike shop, Mr. Bikes n Boards, and his bike company, Deco.

Mike Dinello

Purple. Magic. Wizard.

It is a crime against humanity that more people haven’t heard of Mike D. Mike recently began touring with Ringling Brothers Circus, which is appropriate because everything he does is already a circus trick. It may seem like a stretch, but everything he does is an NBD. Maybe not an NBD, but he’s the only one who’s done it. Tailwhip to g turns, tailwhip to bloody booger, 360 no footed whiplash, and most recently the 540 no footed windshield wiper nosepick. Take note of Mike D, everyone - there is an absurd amount of talent in this Midwest shredder you’ve never heard of.

Honorable Mentions

Adam Banton

Adam is freestyle through-and-through. His riding is equal parts creative and aesthetically pleasing. I’ve been a big fan of ATB for years and am psyched he still shreds as hard as he does.

Clint Millar

Clint has killed the freestyle game and held down the Australian BMX scene for years - and is still learning new tricks at age 41! Shoutout to 360 nosepick to tooth chinks!

TJ Henderson

I want to be TJ when I grow up. I don’t know what being on Molly feels like, but I imagine it’s similar to what happens when I see one of TJ’s downside footjam whips or stanky leg nosepicks.

Eric Horrell aka Buddha

Inventor of the toothpick to bar and lover of sub boxes, Buddha has been and continues to destroy.

Jay Miron

If I didn’t put down The Beast, someone from Canada would come to the States and politely murder me with a hockey stick.

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