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Is 4X dying?

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2/10/2011 8:53 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/13/2011 11:50 PM

Within the United States, 4X racing appears to be at an all time low. On the regional level there are fewer events than ever. Nationally, our premier series offers very few 4X races. It also seems as though most event promoters are putting less time and money into 4X courses.

Internationally, we've recently heard from two staples in the World Cup 4X scene that they are switching their focus back to DH (Graves in 2012 and Dan Atherton this season), although I'm not sure of their motivation to do so. Regardless, they are making the move back to DH. For various reasons, there is also less and less media coverage from World Cup 4X events.

Do you think 4X is on it's way out? If so, what can be done to restore it to its former glory?


2/10/2011 11:41 PM

was it ever alive?


2/11/2011 12:13 AM

t.odd wrote:

was it ever alive?

It certainly had its heyday, maybe 5-6 years ago? All those in favor of bigger jumps? Worked for BMX...


2/11/2011 12:27 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/11/2011 6:53 PM

I vote to nix the 4x and really run with the super slalom idea... Just a short DH track with lines smooth enough for a hardtail.
It doesn't even have to be a DUAL slalom. Bring it!


Ass Ass Ass

2/11/2011 2:05 AM

spankthewan wrote:

I vote to nix the 4x and really run with the super slalom idea... Just a short DH track with lines smooth enough for a ...more



2/11/2011 3:00 AM

it needs a rebirth, its dead right now, tracks suck being the main problem


2/11/2011 4:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/11/2011 4:51 AM

Unfortunately it seems to have lost its luster. Even Sea Otter dropped it a couple of years ago. Compared to todays BMX racing which has gone to ultra smooth tracks, paved turns and smooth tires 4x is the closest thing to what BMX racing used to be in the very beginning. Unless there is a local 4x series it's tough to train for unless you race a local cruiser bmx race.


2/11/2011 6:03 AM

Dual Slalom is the way to go, 4X is a joke, it should never have been in the 1st place. If you want to race like that go play with a BMX bike and stop wasting people's time!



2/11/2011 7:01 AM

coming from a bmxer/ 4x racer i think 4x needs a rebirth.
its different than racing bmx and thats why i find it fun
it puts a twist on both bmx and mountain biking together and makes for some great racing
i agree that the tracks are the problem with the decline because all you hear about at the races is this track is fun to ride but sucks to race.
not bashing on the track builders but the tracks need to have more passing room instead of 7 different lines into one corner


2/11/2011 7:11 AM

Look, I know it's winter on Vital and things are slow, but this issue has been beat to death on the Forums espacially on Ridemonkey. Why come at it again when most people posting here are from the States and will say age old argument about slalom that's been discussed a 1000 times before???

Not to sound condescendant, but saying that 4x is dead in GENERAL is an ethnocentric view of things . It's just not true. In Europe, things are going really well. A couple of solid national series as well as the Euro wide series attended by the best riders.

The thing is 4x is actually kind of dead in the USA (except the Fontana series and the MSC series in Colorado, where people actually care about it; if you go at the Arvada bmx track, lots of people practice their 4x skills).

In Canada, it's now almost officially dead. The Nationals have not been announced (and not looking good either) and the only series is the indoor series in the Vancouver area.

BUT that does not mean it's dead everywhere.

These two threads sum up pretty good how the situation is.


2/11/2011 7:30 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/11/2011 7:31 AM

Honestly, quite an americo-centric bunch of opinions here so far... time for my five cents (sorry, bit lengthy)!

In Europe, we've got a European 4Cross Series for the first time in 2010, organized by Michal Prokop's manager Zdenek Pol from Czechia. And in the Swiss city of Winterthur, with only a bit over 100'000 inhabitants, we've got two 4Cross professionals with Roger Rinderknecht and David Graf.

Unfortunately, the dates of 4Cross Worldcup races and European BMX cup races seem to clash a lot in 2011, which is bad, as quite some 4Crossers in Europe want to qualify for the Olympic BMX races at London 2012.

The main problem that 4Cross faces from my point of view is the lack of really good and permanent race tracks - even for the Worldcups, most tracks get built from scratch every year, which is insane. In Switzerland, the first track specifically built for 4Cross, including a proper start gate, is being built at the moment and going to be opened in late spring / early summer.

From a media perspective (yes, I am a bike journo), 4Cross is ace: The courses are short, as are the races - both of which is favorable for media to produce cracker features. It's exciting ellbow-to-ellbow racing with jumps, berms and different lines. And the format "first two advance to the next round, the other two go home" is pretty easy to understand.

On boring courses: Check for a replay of last year's Worldcup race in Leogang - that was a banger! Prokop and Fischbach both had frightening crashes when trying a very daring triple combination close to the finish, both walked away unhurt. Racing was thrilling from the gate to the line - what else do you want?

By the way, I do not trust the likes of Sam Hill and their claim that they would compete if 4Cross was to be replaced by (yawn) dual slalom. If the race for the DH worldcup overall is going to be tight, these guys will focus on DH. So there is really no need to adapt 4Cross to the wishes of some DH stars. 4Cross has its own stars, and they deserve that status. Too bad there's no Northern Americans in that select group of riders, but Mitch Ropelato could be up there, and he's not the only one.


2/11/2011 7:38 AM

Good (by today's standards) 4X tracks are too expensive for most promoters to build. While a BMX track can deliver value over years, most 4X tracks have to recoup their costs in a weekend. That's not possible -- unless we racers are willing to pay $hundreds per entry.


2/11/2011 8:03 AM

Slalom is always my favorite to race, Favorite to watch, and thats never gonna change. I like to see the best rider win. not the best gate jumper.


2/11/2011 8:08 AM

well Athie is getting back to DH as he has suffered loads less injuries in it than 4X and his recent accident really gave him time to think about where hois heart is, most riders who race 4X will admit its bloody mental the injuries on offer due to insane moves being pulled from way back. as for Graves - he is still racing 4X to my knowledge but says he wishes to focus "some time" to DH again. with graves maybe this is because he wants that title too----- possible maybe? he has never really stopped the DH either has he even when doing the business in 4X.

i race dh and love it!! But i love watching 4X and id like to race it but never will simply because i cannot be arsed getting a broken leg or elbow cuz of somebody else, hell threre is plenty of opportuntiy for idiots to hurt me at the megavalanche so i dont wish to increase my risk on a monthly race scene-shame but there it is.

if you ask me - you across the pond have ropelaato (hope thats right) and he is bloody good, fast, and exciting, even if a little wreckless @ times but has now gone to the SPS for DH I believe, other than him you have had nobody worthy of mention since lopes, who was a bloody good racer and also exciting to watch - shame he isnt at it any more..... the question for you is this - is your mass sponsorship looking for glory now that lopes has quit it and its all moving to DH as you now have good young uns such as gwinny who MIGHT start winning!!!!

FYI - the British and european scene in 4X is getting bigger, stronger and faster - check any WC start line or check the web throughout march to October and you will see a massive presence and amount of events, some extreme, some national, some club, private etc. new courses are arriving in the UK again also which is very positive...

this said, if anything - i suggest that its not the sport thats dying, but the Americans interest in it....and i dont believe for 1 minute your interest is lacking because of funding for circuits, most of ours in Britain are built on farmer land and are not that expensive to maintain. ... you have so much land to use, and to run a 4X bike as well as DH and XC must be easier as stuff is cheaper there--you know it is so PLEASE dont get stuck into me on that point...


2/11/2011 8:17 AM

Mudstud wrote:

Honestly, quite an americo-centric bunch of opinions here so far... time for my five cents (sorry, bit lengthy)!

In Europe, ...more

Man the topic is getting older by the minute. Every SINGLE argument that's been said here has been said a 1000 times by many diff. people.


2/11/2011 8:20 AM

I have never lost a gate in an amateur 4x race.
I'd rather get eliminated in the 2nd round of a DS race than make the finals in a 4x race.

Why? Because dual slalom fucking rules. DS is competitive in every single round by every rider. DS focuses more on cornering than anything else. Slaying corners is cooler than speed jumping stuff and drinking protein shakes.
Dual and 4x are made-for-tv sideshows. As a US racer, bike maker and sponsor I don't give a hoot about 4x. If I had budget I'd give some bikes to badass euro 4x racers though. It is a viable, cool sport that can look great on TV. It's not a good fit for North America though.

BSX as conceived by KIS and other UK promoters in the late '90s is a great event. Build some half ass berms and jumps, turn up some turf and send a bunch of peple down a widely taped track in full mayhem mode with poly-unsaturated-full-tilt-boogie.

We don't have the resources to build 4x tracks in America. We do have a few shovels and ski and snowboard gates.

We need to focus on promoting events that promoters can actually afford to run.


2/11/2011 8:20 AM

Im experiencing dejavu, I've heard this idea before!


2/11/2011 8:34 AM

Zoro wrote:

Man the topic is getting older by the minute. Every SINGLE argument that's been said here has been said a 1000 times by many ...more

Then don't read it? I for one never hashed it out on other sites, so rock on Vital for bringing it up.

What about more permanent tracks, like Angel Fire? It's good to hear that Europe has a strong/growing scene. Obviously it's possible to revive. I'm for it. Let's go America.


2/11/2011 8:36 AM

I think 4x will still be here for awhile. I also think that we as racers and riders first have to make the effort to help promote it. If the riders in the industry don' t help it grow, no promoter will take on the challenge either.


2/11/2011 8:55 AM

I've been racing 4X & DH for six years or more. In the last few years the only tracks that are at a WC level are, Sol Vista, and Angle Fire, NM(IMO). Are tracks SUCK! I've never raced at Fontana, Ca. So I can't really say, but I'm sure someone will tell me. We have tons of talent all over the US right now. But if we cant build tracks that are as TECH as the World Cup level, or as big. What is the point? We have been paying more and getting less. I know it cost lots of money and labor to make it all come together. But there is no excuse for a bad track design! Race promoters LISTEN TO YOUR RIDERS.


2/11/2011 9:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/11/2011 9:54 AM



2/11/2011 9:39 AM



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2/11/2011 9:52 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/11/2011 9:58 AM

Honestly, I've never heard a proposal to change BMX to some kind of split course / head2head format. And there it's even eight guys fighting it out on one and the same track. So how come four guys on one track are considered such a problem? I really don't get it. Injury-wise DH is still worse than 4cross, and Affie almost killed himself at his very own dirt jumps, not in anything related to 4cross.

As for dual, for most people who do not ride this stuff themselves, it's dwarfed by 4cross being an ellbow-out format. Still, reckless bullies do not win in 4cross - because they also eliminate themselves with brainless attacks. Compare it to snowboarding: There's also Boardercross and alpine Dual slalom, where's more excitement?

The notion that 4cross is in some kind of crisis is not shared in Europe at all - it's doing well, the numbers of starters are growing like the number of races. And it would be hard to argue that the centre of gravity of mountain biking is not in Northern America anymore. It shifted to Europe quite some years ago, in fact.

One last thing: Stop comparing shoddy-built wannabe-4cross tracks to marvelous dual slalom tracks such as the one at Sea Otter. If you want to start comparing, than do it with tracks that are right on par.


2/11/2011 9:57 AM

it will be revived by DUAL SLALOM
thats the only thing that can save us now, and i have hope


2/11/2011 11:44 AM

The new Valmont Bike Park in Boulder has slopestyle runs, dirt-jumps, and a DS track. They made a wise choice to forego the 4x track in favor of DS...


BMA Film Festival coordinator

2/11/2011 12:37 PM

camdenthekid wrote:

it will be revived by DUAL SLALOM
thats the only thing that can save us now, and i have hope

Tell that to someone in Czechia, where 4Cross is roaring.
Revived? It's not dead at all!
Revived by what? Hmmm, okay...

Seriously, you guys better discuss why 4Cross has such a hard time in Northern America whereas it does not in Europe.


2/11/2011 1:45 PM

Mudstud, We understand it is growing over sea's. That isn't the point. We(Americans) are simply saying this is what worked or what people liked, was DS. I raced BMX most of my youth tell I got into 4X. 4X is alright, but there is no skills competition like DS. What the people want are good races, and if you want to have a god race you need a quality track. Not a follow the leader to the third turn, followed by a inside block pass! We need flow, corners you can pass in, jumps that are to the correct scale, passable tracks. I think if racer promoter want to revive 4X it's quite simple, Build better tracks, Listen to THE RIDERS!


2/11/2011 2:20 PM

Just like the Eastern Europeans are sick of hearing about the death of 4x, North Americans are just plain old sick of hearing about 4x at all.

We also don't engage in cycleball and artistic cycling.

It's your sport now. Have fun!


2/11/2011 2:52 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/11/2011 2:53 PM

Its that time of year again lets get some hits up on the website
so i know lets hit 4x because it always gets a great response and we can then do the what is better dual slalom or 4x all over again.

Come on you guys its just old americans just trying to re live their youth.
when i was a boy i remember when i could beat Brian Lopes, yeah like anyone of you ever did that?

should provoke a response eh?


Chris Roberts - international race organiser. British 4x, European 4x.
Member of Fourcross Alliance & Imtto. or

2/11/2011 3:07 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/11/2011 3:36 PM

It Seems to be the Same old people Crying about 4X and how it needs to go and Slalom needs to take its place. This Discussions never going to get anywhere or end. The fact is Both Sports can coexist togther. The Mountain States Cup race in Nathrop was DS and 4x. The Event was Awesome!!!!! They Should be run together. Friday DS, Sat 4X, and Sunday DH!!!!!!! And I know everyone thinks its so Expensive to Build a 4X track and thats completly False! Check out the link below to My Mega Track I build in my back yard with a Bobcat and 2 friends. Took us 30hrs to Build and only $500.00. Our Problem here is everyone building the tracks thinks they have to add all these retarded obstacles to make a race exciting and wont listen to anyones advise!! MKreg said it best "Listen to the Riders"........