Emil Johansson has quickly turned out to be a true MTB prodigy. He started his international competition career last year with 26TRIX in Leogang, only a year later he was crowned FMB World Champion. Emil’s whole year has been a success story: starting to ride for TREK C3 Project, collecting podium spots at Crankworx events whilst bringing home the Crankworx World Tour title in 2017, and fulfilling his dream of being part of the Red Bull family.
Despite his young age, Emil is incredibly well composed. He is mature, insightful and very wise for his age. His maturity highly translates into his riding, as being able to focus and keeping calm comes in handy while flipping a bike 6m above the ground. Sweden has brought a lot of talent to the mountain biking world, and Emil is definitely the latest bright edition.
Looking back to the beginning of the year, when Emil had just joined the TREK team, he was in awe himself, saying a year ago he didn´t even have an FMB license. Now that the FMB Diamond Series season is over, it´s fair to say that Emil exceeded everyone’s expectations and succeeded in reaching the ultimate goals. Emil himself is incredibly humble while talking about this, saying all he wants to do, is to ride his bike and that`s all that matters.
You are 18 years old and officially the youngest ever FMB World Tour Champion. Looking back to when you travelled to your first big international comp at 26TRIX, did you think this would be possible?
Emil Johansson: I am the youngest rider in the Diamond Series and it’s not easy having less experience with contests and big jumps compared to the older riders. Taking the overall title is something I have worked towards the last two years, but that I was going to be able to do it this fast was not something I had in mind back at 26TRIX 2016. I have worked hard for it, so I am happy that I was able to take the overall this season.
How did you change your bike set-up comparing to last year? What are the most important features of your bike in comparison to the past?
I started riding a full suspension bike which makes landings smoother and the bike just feels more stable in the air. I have just found more benefits with a full suspension bike so I kept riding it all the season.
You just got a shiny new Red Bull helmet, it must feel great to be riding for the same brand as riders you’ve always looked up to. What was your emotion when they handed you the helmet at Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler?
It has always been a dream of mine and I have always wanted to be a Red Bull athlete, but that I already got it this season was a big surprise.
When you look back at the season, what has been your highlight event? On track and off track.
I loved being in Montpellier and in Whistler, because it was an awesome vibe all week long. But nothing really beat the contest and vibes at Red Bull District ride! With so many people watching the contest and being a part of something that big – simply unforgettable!
What is your personal riding style, how would you identify yourself and your progress compared to the beginning of the season?
I don’t really now. Maybe more of a slopestyle rider, because that’s something I really enjoy doing. Before this season, I haven’t really done any slopestyle besides Red Bull Joyride last year. What I like about it is that it is very challenging to come up with really good tricks all the way down the course instead of only getting to do your best 2 ones.
What are you plans this coming winter?
I am really looking forward to have a bit of an off-season with not as much traveling and more focus on riding. But it’s my final year at school, so I need to put some time into that, too.
What are your personal goals for 2018?
Keep having fun and pushing myself and my riding as far as I can.
Thank you for the interview, Emil, good luck for the next season!
You would like to see more of Emil? Then check out his run from Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler:
and his run from Red Bull District Ride 2017:
Get a glimpse of Emil’s bike here:
and check out SRAM’s Steps to the Top on Emil:
Emils best results of the 2017 season:
- 1st FISE World Montpellier – FMB Gold
- 2nd Red Bull District Ride – FMB Diamond
- 2nd Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler – FMB Diamond
- 2nd Crankworx Les Gets 2017 – FMB Diamond
- 3rd Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza – FMB Diamond
Photos: Rich K photography