Every hall of famer was once a rookie, every celebrated musician had their debut album and every hero was once a nobody with heroes of their own. Every world champion had a first race, and every freeride legend had their first video part. Generation Next, presented by FiveTen, tells the stories of those riders whose names you’ll be hearing for a long time.

There are many young racers with big goals and plans to get there. There are few, however, with the passion, stoke and commitment of Bruce Klein. Downhill mountain bike racing is life for Klein, and every decision he makes is a careful calculation toward better preparing him for those moments when he’s in the start gate. At the same time, there are few with as much genuine love and enthusiasm for the simple act of riding. It’s a combination that makes him a joy to watch on the trail: a finely tuned machine with racer instincts and a hunger for raw speed, paired with the creative and joyful riding of someone whose favorite place in the world is on two wheels.

Growing up at the base of Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains, Klein was shaped by the raw, loose and gnarly descents that characterize downhill in Southern California. Yet as much as he’s been shaped by the trails, he’s molded himself into someone able to manhandle a bike down not only his backyard descents, but racecourses all over the world.

Bike spent some time with Klein in the winter following his breakthrough 2017 season, in which he notched a 14th in Elite finals at legendary Mont-Sainte-Anne, was invited to Red Bull Hardline and landed a spot on the Commencal/100% racing team. We followed him as he prepared for the 2018 season, gleefully pounding out intervals on his road bike, making the pilgrimage to his favorite gyms across L.A., and yes, ripping plenty of dirt along the way. Unfortunately, 2018 has been plagued by bad luck and injury. Yet if there’s anyone that can get themselves back to full fighting strength with stoke to spare, it’s Bruce Klein. Watch out, 2019.

Bruce is full tilt whenever tires hit the dirt. When it’s a big bike underneath him, call the bomb squad.

Focused, dawn ’til dusk.

Bruce claims to not have much style, but …

Gym time is serious business, but Bruce finds serious business to be a bunch of fun.

Backyard laps in the San Gabriels.

Countersteering, anyone? Signed, Bruce Klein.

Prime SoCal winter conditions call for an extra after-gym jaunt.

Previous Installments of Generation Next, presented by FiveTen:

Ethan Nell

Created by Satchel Cronk