Zhao Xuan, a Chinese rider with wings!
Wednesday 15 February 2012
by Ben Swales

PNG - 336.4 kb Zhao Xuan is a Chinese rider who has been impressing us all with his incredible web videos. We decided to get together with him for a quick chat to find out what makes him tick. The Red Bull rider is a familiar face to many on the international circuit, having attended several BIU world rounds in recent years, but his progress since then has been nothing short of phenomenal, thanks to daily training sessions and a singular determination. We wanted to find out more about this Chinese pro rider who is able to dedicate so much time to his passion thanks to his sponsors and who dreams of one day coming to Europe to compete on the UCI circuit.

This was made possible by another rider from Hong Kong, Esmond Chu, who has come on board with Tribal Zine as our correspondent in China. Zhao lives in mainland China, where the Internet is very strictly controlled, so it was impossible for us to contact him directly, through Facebook, as we would normally have done. Esmond acted as our intermediary and translator. This 17 year old student is also a keen competitor, but has put his passion on standby in recent years to concentrate on his studies. He will take up his bike again in April, and should hopefully be coming to Europe with Zhao this summer to take part in the BIU world rounds. Thanks to him, we bring you this interview with Zhao Xuan, a prodigious rider who is as friendly as he is passionate. Thanks to both of them and to Yaxin Guo for the photographs.


JPEG - 120.4 kb Hi Zhao. We’re all really impressed by the level of riding and the quality in your videos. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and for joining the ranks of the Tribal Riders! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, and thanks for your support! I come from Chongqing, one of the biggest towns in the Sichuan province. My name is Zhao Xuan and I am 21 years old.

You ride on the Chinese national circuit, but also in international competitions. We met you at the last BIU worlds.

JPEG - 78.9 kb Yes, I have taken part in BIU competitions twice. The first time was in 2009 in Pingtang China, where I rode in the junior category. The second time was in Italy. I rode in Elite and finished in 13th place. My aim is to stand on the podium, so I keep training hard and try my best to take part in BIU competitions. Most of the BIU and UCI competitions are held in Europe, however, and it really costs too much for me to travel around the world. I compete in every national competition, but there are only about 5 each year.

Who are your sponsors? We see from your helmet that you’re sponsored by Red Bull!

Yes, Red Bull are my main sponsor, and I’m also supported by Breath. Breath is a new brand of trials frames and components.

You compete on the BIU circuit, but from your riding style, you could cause a bit of a stir in the UCI competitions as well! Why do you not compete in UCI events? Does the Chinese Federation work with them as well?

There is a UCI organisation in China, so you can see some Chinese track cyclists etc. racing in the UCI World Cup or World Championship. However, they don’t organise trials competitions and don’t even support Chinese trials riders to compete in UCI events. I really can’t understand the reasons behind it, maybe because Trials is not an Olympic discipline.

What a shame! Speaking of the Olympics, where they love to talk about personal bests, what are yours?

JPEG - 70.5 kb I can sidehop 140cm to two wheels and 135cm to rear. I can bunnyhop 135cm and hook 170com.

Blimey! That’s impressive! Tell us a bit about trials in China. What are the most popular brands over there?

The best riders in China ride Breath bikes and, of course, some of the good riders also ride other bikes - ECHO and ZHI are the two most common. I think the European brands, for example KOXX or Monty, are also well suited to Chinese riders and look perfect in comparison with our local brands. However, their prices are relatively high and not many of us can afford them.

Are there a lot of competition riders? If we were to judge by the videos of Chinese riders that we see over here, we’d guess that the level was pretty high?

There are lots of riders in China, but most of them do not train hard and achieve only a fair level. They have to work or worry about their living, so trials in their minds is only a sport for relaxation. When comparing with the French, Spanish or English riders, we are not that professional, but I will keep training hard and waiting for the next BIU competition or even the UCI events.

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It would be great to see you on the UCI circuit! You met Benito Ros and rode with him while he was in China last year… That must have been pretty cool, to spend some time with the Grand Master?

JPEG - 107.8 kb Riding with Benito had always been my dream! I love his style and everything he does. I started riding in 2003, and right from the first day I watched his videos. His videos inspire me on my bike and give me more enthusiasm to ride. I met Benito at the UCI World Cup in St François in 2010 and he looked even more perfect than in the videos. Benito also came to Hong Kong to for a show in summer 2011 and I was lucky enough to get a chance to ride with him. The experience was unforgettable. I hope that I can ride with and compete against him in the future.

The best of luck with that, we hope we’re there to watch! Thanks for your time, see you soon in Europe!

Thanks for the interview and for your support, it encourages me so much! See you soon!

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Zhao’s latest videos

January 2012

A month ago…

Three months ago…

Four months ago…


Some more photos by Yaxin Gup.

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