Anthony Napolitan made himself a name as one of the most stylish BMX riders in the world. The X-Game BMX medalist and Dew Tour champ has been working on his mountain bike skills for a few years now. During the pandemic Napo has been focusing on his progression on the big bike and a custom bike build while contests have been hard to come by. Check out the bike in action in the video below, then keep reading for more in our exclusive Q&A with Anthony.
Video, photos and interview provided by YT.
You have been adding MTB to your bag of tricks for some time now. What has been the biggest challenge so far?
I’d say the biggest challenge is the actual racing aspect of MTB. I didn’t grow up racing at all on my BMX because I picked up freestyle first. Getting used to speed in rough terrain has also been an adjustment. I really feel that I’ve adapted very quickly overall.
In which way has your BMX background helped shape your style of mountain biking?
Having a bunch of bike control on my BMX has really helped a ton on the MTB. Mostly all of the freestyle aspect of BMX has transferred right onto the MTB. I will say that I’m very focused on the physical challenge of MTB. I never really had that aspect on my BMX.
What techniques of riding BMX have you been able to carry over to MTB?
When I ride BMX I try to keep the flow going and stay really light and smooth on the pedals. I also try to do that on the MTB. I think that technique goes a long way when it comes to riding chunky terrain at high speeds. Less stress on the bike means better performance.
Obviously, events and contests have been rare occasions the past 18 months during the ongoing pandemic. How has that affected your progress?
As far as my riding progress goes, it hasn’t affected it at all. The pandemic actually was able to give me more time on all of my bikes to learn and progress because I wasn’t traveling as much. So, I was progressing way more than if I had to travel a couple weeks out of every month. I’m for sure looking forward to some MTB events now that the world is starting to open back up.
What have you been up to in order to keep progressing your skill on the MTB?
Currently I’m riding 2-3 hours every single morning. I’m riding local races all across the board, DH, Enduro, slalom, XC. I’ve taken 5 trips to Virgin Utah this year to push my freeriding. I think I’m having the most fun with freeriding!
What goals have you set yourself moving forward?
I want to keep progressing. I’d like to get better at racing slalom. I want to take more trips to virgin to progress my freeriding. I’d also like to get to dark fest and more fest series events in 2022.
You ride the TUES a lot. Tell us about your TUES – What are the highlights of your build?
The paint done by Nathan Sykes is for sure the number one stand out from what I’ve noticed. When people see that bike out in public you can tell that their minds are blown away. I based the color of the bike off some early version samples of my colorway Profile Racing hubs. All of the Deity copper components stand out so well and those accent the gold TRP brakes. Then the entire bike is rounded out with iridescent Titanium Better Bolts. Once the bike catches your eye and people get closer to it, they become mesmerized and really start to look at it in detail. To be honest the bike is lighter than a lot of trail bikes.
You have been working with your mates on custom hubs – tell us about that and the work that has gone into the design.
It was a long time in the making. It took over two years to get the color just right on the anodize. And then when the pandemic hit, it took even longer to get everything in production finalized. In my opinion, it was worth the long wait! Galaxy rust was released in August and was almost instantly sold out. The design initially started out with the idea to do a wrap that look like actual rust. Over time we stumbled across an anodizing company that could do multiple colors in a splatter effect. Once we figured out how many colors and what colors we were going to use, we realized that we were over the idea of a wrap. I thought the colors looked like a version of outer space. So that’s how I landed on galaxy rust.
When it comes to the setup of your TUES, what are you particular about?
I keep that bike so clean! Hahahaha! It’s such a nice bike and I want to keep it in as best-looking shape that I can. I have a clear gloss DYEDBRO protection kit on it. That will help keep the paint in top shape.
Any last words?
I’d like to thank YT for supporting my ideas when it come to this bike. Big thanks to Nathan Sykes Customs for going all out on the paint. He’s beyond talented and we’ve been great friends for a long time now. Thank you to YT, Maxxis, Muc-Off, Deity, Profile Racing, Better Bolts and TRP for supplying all of the components that makes this bike what it is. Huge thank you to Andre Magarao for making a bunch of trips to Big Bear to shoot videos and photos!