Re-Print: Style Police - The No-Hander
Look Mom! Is my variation of this legendary style legit?
13 Apr 2018
Words by Joey Spinoza | Originally printed in DIG 99.8 'The Legends Issue' October 2012 | Illustration by Mike Hughes
If you think about it, the no-hander is probably the first trick you learned on a bike. I’m sure it wasn’t the first trick you pulled in the air, but what kid didn’t learn how to ride with no hands? Ever since legendary BMX racer Antony Sewell pulled the first no-hander on dirt back in the early eighties and Jeff Carroll followed soon after in the skatepark, riders have taken the trick and put their own distinctive spin on it. We thought we’d take a look at some of the styles that are now loved and loathed in equal measure... except for number one; that’s just rad wether you like it or not.
1. THE CLASSIC
It’s always good to start with a classic, and it doesn’t get much better than this… the original tuck no-hander style. Pioneered and perfected in the late eighties on vert by Mat Hoffman, and on dirt by Chris Moeller, this became the standard. Arguably, this is still the definitive no-hander, but if you’re going to learn them you better have your protractor ready. 70° on one arm and 290° on the other. This version gets the DIG stamp of approval…
2. THE SUICIDE
This wee guy isn’t even doing a Suicide correctly, but hey… This is one you don’t see all too often these days and for reasons that could hold fashion to ransom. It was also the first variation that caused a division between riders and sparked debate about which looked better. Possibly first seen in public by legendary BMX MC/Huntington Beach Karaoke King Grotbags and DIG ‘Straight Edge’ issue inspiration/Boy Racer Stuart King, they could be found throwing their hands way back behind them circa ‘92. And it was just ten years ago that Ratboy could be seen flapping his arms down stairs with a seatpost longer than his top tube. Now riders are pinching their cranks, and the seatpost and suicide no-hander have almost disappeared… for now. The never-ending fullness of circles should no doubt see this one rear its ugly head once more.
3. The Creeper
Throwing sweets to the kids eh? Willy Wonka be creepin’, son! Look out Charlie, this dirty old bastard wants to hug you mid-run! The never-ending no hander, where the hell are the Oompa Loompas?… We have no idea where this monstrosity came from, but if you’re going to do something, do it right, right? This can be seen all over, especially by the wobbly dude at the skatepark, listening to Papa Roach, who’s helmet is always off to one side just a tiny bit. Throwing your hands off to the side with your elbows at a 45° angle won’t get you anywhere, apart from a world of shit talking. Last seen doing the rounds at FISE.
4. The Fear
“Hey! Did you see my no hander?” “Nope.” This is a common no-hander variation that you can find at your local skatepark these days, reserved for the kids learning to take their hands off. You will often notice that it’s only the fingers that have actually been removed. If we’re not seeing the sweat stains under your armpits, you didn’t pull it. Nice shirt wee man. Nearly...
5. The Onion Picker
Prior to Nathan Williams firing his arms straight down and the style debate wide open, an unknown French farmer used to ride by and pick onions with similar precision and ample amounts of speed. However, farming techniques aside, this one caused a bunch of controversy when it was first seen and picked up a flurry of nick names such as, ‘tuck no-touch my toes’ and ‘this little piggy’, amongst others. Even though this had a solid influence over no-handers for a couple of years it may already be consigned to the history books. For now anyway....
6. THE ZOMBIE
The riding dead. You don’t see these every day, but when you do you’ll know about it. You may recognize this variation primarily from the stretched limbs of Ryan ‘Biz’ Jordan, but it actually appeared on our radar circa ‘88 via a little known BMX Action test team rider by the name of Brian Hernandez. Bonus info: this is actually a real photo of the newest addition to the Bone Deth team.
A first look at his new Verde rig
Some truly Old School history that you don't see every day...