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Pictures from the day with Bespaliy Brothers in their hometown Kharkiv, Ukraine

Brotherhood - big interview with Bespaliy Twins

May 292019

Professional BMX brothers is quite a rare thing. Should we say that Pro BMX twins is unique? We went all the way down to Kharkiv to meet Monster Energy’s Max and Igor on their home turf, cruise through the spots together and feel the atmosphere of the BMX capital of Ukraine. Below is a conversation about BMX in your fifties, insta-clips, filming top-tier edits and more. Make yourself comfortable.

for many guys here BMX terminates exactly at a point of their folks’ rejection

Riding through your entire life is real? How do you picture your riding at 50’s?

Igor: We will surely stay in BMX, this way or another. It’s a bit hard to tell or imagine how is it going to look like exactly at 50. Today we see riders, who are about to hit their 40’s, still keeping it pro - just check out the recent X-Games Real BMX parts from Corey Martinez or Brad Simms. These dudes make me dream confident about the daily cruises or light plaza sessions we are going to send as we get old.

Max: We will also be coaching young riders, support the culture and share the experience in every way possible.

The largest obstacle to ever emerge between you and your bike?

I: I’ve been missing out a lot after two real serious knee surgeries. The doc has told me I would be better off switching to swimming or something, but I have never thought of quitting. It’s impossible to do - I have even started to dream riding while sleeping. What’s more, Max did make a lot of hype by the time - I’ve been watching him and it has pushed me to recover faster.

On the other side, what was the most powerful support to keep you rolling?

I: We are blessed to have our parents supporting everything which comes to BMX. When we were kids, our dad used to bring us riding magazines and DVD’s from abroad. He was also the one to register us to the BMX-racing classes. It was extremely important back then since for many guys here BMX terminates exactly at a point of their folks’ rejection.

Yeah, it’s a miracle you were not pushed to attend track & filed or basketball classes instead. Does the parental support keep the same over time?

M: Yeah, especially now, when they see we are making something out. Well, obviously there were some hard times after we’ve moved to Moscow. We were expected to find the job finally, so our folks were stressed out a bit, but still kept flexible.  

I: We knew the success is about to come. It couldn’t be any different, since we’ve been putting in a lot of work. And it has worked out. Monster Energy has become the first sponsor to start paying us money - it was unbelievable.

About the sponsorship. The majority tend to see just the sweet part - benefits, bike parts, money. What about the flipside of rider responsibilities?

M: Kids often text: “What a luck! Free bike!”. How can you think that way? There is very little to do with luck. It hasn’t come out of the blue. Being a pro does not really go down to mere riding skills. It’s also about the personality. Communication with the audience, giving feedback and advices is also a responsibility of the rider. We invest a lot of energy into this process.  

I: I went through a lot of stuff while having troubles with my knee injuries. A lot of guys are now asking for advice for that matter and I do consult everybody. I believe it will help many of them - back in the day I’ve really needed a dude who could explain me everything.

Our signature is being the BMX twins - We are kinda lucky with that

Why do you think Instagram is booming in the BMX scene right now?

I: Professional athletes have strict regimes and workout plans. BMX has more of a lifestyle aspect. You are the boss, so it is important you have the inner motivation to keep it going, otherwise it’s easy to relax and give it up. Insta-clips are a sort of a daily call to action and satisfaction.

Isn’t it incomparable - IG clips to some bigger body of work?

M: True, it isn’t. You need to drop some of your finest stuff in the edit once in a year or two, or put a lot of work into the DVD. People will always talk about big videos and rewind your bangers from there. Instagram clips are forgotten the same day.

I: We are just trying to say that we are now skipping the stage whereas riders film a couple of edits per season. Nobody bothers anymore, since it makes more sense to showcase your level in the real time via IG. That’s why, once superior resources like TCU have transformed into Instagram profiles.

Which one of the three BMX pillars do you focus the most now: skills, creativity or social media reach?

M: I guess we do emphasize on the creativity now.

I: There are way too many shredders emerging now, who are sending the craziest stuff almost every day. So, it has become extremely important to stand out among even powerful riders now. Our signature is being the BMX twins. We are kinda lucky with that.

Have you ever benefited from your similarity? Like replacing each other on exams or, say, dates?

I: It’s ridiculous, but after 11 years at school, teachers have not managed to distinguish us. Sometimes we could change the seats with each other and nobody could tell who is actually answering - even the classmates. It would make sense to replace each other during exams if one of us could excel in school, but none of us could, so we have missed this privilege.

M: We would rather spoil each other, haha.

Can we tell who is who by the railride style, at least?

I: I am sending big downrails, kinked rails.

M: For me it’s more uprails, rail manuals and long flatrails. Just set the new record here in our village - 24 meters railride. But I can do better. Just give me a longer rail.

Is there anything beyond BMX you enjoy together as much?

M: We’ve always felt like bikes and still everything is spinning around the BMX. Camaraderie is extremely important here; you will have some hard time riding alone. Our strength is that we always have fun together, so we don’t really need anybody to have a perfect session.

I: I remember, we somehow managed to wreck even the three-wheel baby bikes when we were kids. While grandpa had fixed one of them, Max was messing around with a single bars in his hands, enjoying it so much, it made me want to exchange - a bike for just a handlebar. So we did. In a few moments I’ve realized that running is hard and boring. “Give it back!” - I said.

M: We are also into Kendama now. Kendama is cool, I recommend everybody to try that.

Let’s get back to those good old web-edits. What kind of preparation, pressure and teamwork do you face while filming serious projects?

I: Oh, the recent project with Rich Forne is the best thing we had so far. Working together was extremely interesting.

M: We began the preparation three months in advance - writing down the spots and the tricks, filtering the finest stuff. We had some 10 days to film the edit. The hardest thing is to start, and it’s mental for the most part. It’s very scary to get wasted from the very first clip - the worst-case scenario. Then you start to bother with the obstacles you don’t really care in casual circumstances - either the nightfall has come all of a sudden, or the security guard troubles appear somewhere they never did, or the spot is full of cars for the entire day. So, we did not send all the tricks we possibly could.

I: On the other hand, working with a pro filmer appears to be way easier and less stressful. It’s rare, when you have a dude who you know will do the best job possible, so you can focus exclusively on riding. Moreover, Rich is a rider himself - so he realizes what is it like to film one clip for hours. He’s never pushed us, cheering us up all the way with the most positive energy, giving advices. It’s very important, since pressure from the filmer impacts both the motivation of the rider and the quality of the final take.

Which Monster Energy riders would you like to join in the common project the most?

I: All of the ME street riders - Lacey the beast, Donnachie, Mills and others - they are real shredders. That’s why I would rather go for a project, where we could get all of them together right here - that would be fun. I believe we need to invite foreign riders to Ukraine and Russia more often and generally promote the CIS as a BMX destination.