At 35-years-old, the four-time X Games gold medalist has been competing in extreme sport’s biggest event for about 15 years, becoming one of the best along the way. Kagy also spends much of his time on other kinds of bike, whether it be in the dirt or on the street, so when Harley Davidson wanted to let him try out one of their new motorcycles, it seemed like a no-brainer.
Between the craziness of the birth of his daughter and competing in both X Games Vert and Big Air, Kagy was handed the keys to the new Harley Davidson Street 750, part of the new Dark Custom series. While he didn’t try any tricks on it, Kagy did take a joyride – and was happy to tell us all about it.
We got a chance to speak to Kagy on Friday afternoon, after a disappointing finish in BMX Vert, to discuss how he likes the new location, his vert results and his motorcycle test ride.
CraveOnline: So how is Austin?
Chad Kagy: Austin is hot! By me saying hot, there’s no complaining there, because winter wouldn’t go away at home. Austin is always a cool city but overall, in reality, Austin is sunshine, heat, good food and music – everywhere you turn.
Crave: Does the backdrop look as cool in person as it does on TV – because the background for the vert competition was awesome last night!
Kagy: It was unbelievable. Standing up on top of the deck, getting ready to drop and then just seeing a sea of people from the railing of the vert ramp all the way back to the capital building. It was a couple blocks of people, four lanes wide, flowing all the way through.
Crave: For you and some of the athletes, is it nice to get out of Los Angeles? Not get out of it, but you’ve been competing there for so long, is it nice for a change of scenery?
Kagy: Los Angeles had its perks for a few reasons, being in southern California, the unofficial hub of the action sports and the industry is mostly there, so it was beneficial for those reasons, but it is so nice to get out of the city after 11 years there. Just to have different scenery. I’ve been with X Games long enough [to know] that we used to do two years in each location and after doing 11 in L.A., we were ready to move on and share action sports around the United States with these fans.
Crave: Can you take us through your performance last night at the vert competition?
Kagy: My epic failure of a first run was spectacular. I’ve been having some really good vert sessions riding with Vince Byron, Mykal Larrin and Steve McCann lately out in Pennsylvania at Camp Woodward. All of us have these ideas and these plans and our riding has been going great, but leading into this, high hopes – and then my week slightly changed and I adjusted. I had one of the most amazing things happen, my daughter was born on Tuesday.
Crave: Oh, congratulations, man.
Kagy: Thank you. Monday night was zero sleep, Tuesday night was five hours of sleep and then Wednesday afternoon I jumped on a flight and got into Austin at midnight – so, competing yesterday was exhausting. Whatever the combination was, my timing was off a little bit on my frontflip flair and I had to jump out and I landed on my kneecaps pretty hard, so that limited my second run. My first run was really going well – everything that I wanted to do worked out all the way until I crashed. Which, I guess, that wouldn’t be good for just about anything, ‘well, I was a perfect driver until I crashed’.
Crave: The good news is you still have the BMX Big Air on Saturday.
Kagy: True. I’m hoping I can get a little bit of swelling out of my knee and then redeem myself tomorrow.
Crave: Yeah, a little bit of redemption – exactly. Now, let’s talk a little bit about the bike, the Harley Davidson Street 750 motorcycle. What exactly makes it unique?
Kagy: It’s a cool, different style of Harley. They did the full liquid-cooled motor, which makes it operate a little different. It’s got that quick, snappy throttle response. And the visual appeal of it is it’s going after that dark custom, you know, it’s got black-out pipes and the 750 is not one of those crazy-huge, giant bikes that weighs a ton. It’s really nimble and quick – it’s fun to ride.
Crave: Are you accustomed to riding motorcycles of this caliber; do you get out and ride a lot?
Kagy: I have ridden motorcycles. The first half of my life was all dirt bikes and then I’ve been riding street bikes and cruisers. I have a motorcycle at home and I recently sold a track bike that I did a little bit of club racing out on the east coast with, so I’m familiar with motorcycles.
Crave: There’s got to be some good trails out near your home in central Pennsylvania, with all the mountains out that way?
Kagy: There is some good stuff, especially since Woodward owns half of a mountain out there, so we just go cruising through the trees.
Crave: You got a chance this morning to ride one, right?
Crave: How did it handle for you, compared to other bikes you’ve ridden?
Kagy: It is light, but easy to maneuver. It’s easy to kind of pop it left and right. Obviously, they don’t want us to go out and try to jump on the racetrack and go ripping around there but you go up the little winding road, go around the track doing our tour, we’ve got some curves going left to right, and it easily managed through that. It’s a really comfortable position [to sit in] and easy to ride.
Crave: Back to the X Games. Going into this weekend, what were you most looking forward to?
Kagy: Saturday night is what I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. With all the Nitro Circus stuff I’ve done in the past and the amount of jumping, I’ve just been having a lot of fun on the jump and the big quarter and unfortunately I haven’t put as much focus in on vert. Then again, in freestyle, you’re free to do what you want and it’s not like I have a coach telling me I need to put four more hours a day on vert. It, unfortunately, showed last night but hopefully, like I said, I can redeem myself.
Crave: Speaking of Nitro Circus, when you do those stunts on a nightly basis, pushing it to the limit, is that good practice for competition?
Kagy: It is really, really good for competition practice, as far as a jump goes but because we don’t have a quarterpipe, you’re practicing a lot of your jumping skills but you’re only getting 50-percent of what’s on a megaramp because the quarterpipe is the dangerous spot. It allows us to push the envelope.
Crave: BMX aside, what – or who – are you most looking forward to watching this weekend?
Kagy: Hm, let’s see. I want to go in and watch a bit of the street skating stuff. The course looks really cool, like if we’re taking BMX out of the equation. They took out best trick out of motocross, just because of risk factors, but taking that out means the guys have to do all their tricks in their runs – so I take that back. I’m going to go street skating but with all the friends we have through Nitro Circus, I’m hoping that I get to watch some of those guys stand on the podium and bring their hard tricks, that are from Nitro Circus, out into their regular moto run.
Crave: With all the friends you made doing that, you must have a lot of horses in the race.
Kagy: Yeah, we could go anywhere from Adam Jones to Beau Bamburg. It’s just a wide variety of people in there, so it’s really cool – it’s on the motorcycle side of things too.
Crave: We kind of pegged you as a Stadium Super Truck guy, not sure why but with it being the first time [in the X Games] and, personally, we know we’d love to drive them around.
Kagy: I would love to drive one of those and I am excited to see how Travis [Pastrana] does in his first year running one of those things. I’m into my core sports, though. I like going back to my roots. I know moto wasn’t one of the original X Games sports but having those cool motorcycles in there, that have been there for over a decade, I like going in an supporting my boys.
Photo courtesy of Harley Davidson