MUST WATCH // Fox Factory Au rider Wilkin Payens is Australia’s next MTB wonder kid!

Wilkin isn’t just fast and skilled on a bike, he is absolutely phenomenal! The speed, confidence and creativity that he chooses lines down a trail, are all absolutely mind blowing to witness.

It is pretty much impossible to believe that Wilkin is just 16 years old and to say that his future in the sport is looking bright is a major, major understatement.  Fox Factory Australia is delighted to welcome Wilkin to their racing team for 2022 and beyond! Okay, that’s the intro out of the way so now let’s hand the mic over to the young pinner to learn more about what makes him tick!


Wilkin Payens




Blue Mountains, NSW



Race results / MTB achievements that you’re most proud of to date?

Had a fair few super good result over the years of my racing, one of my proudest ones being winning the under 17 Rocky Trail Superflow overall series, where I won 4 out of the 5 races. Another race results I’m extremely proud of is winning state gravity enduro champs in under 19s by 19.8 seconds. This result would have put me 4th in Elite…

Current race bike/s and which Fox Factory Suspension components are they fitted with?

I currently ride a Trek Slash 9.8 with a Fox factory 38 in the signature orange colour and I run a DHX2 in the rear with a 450-pound spring also in the rad orange colour. 

Australia has always been a breeding ground for amazing MTB talent which makes the level of local competition incredible. You have obviously been no stranger to the podium yourself though mate as you’ve risen through the Jr ranks around Oz! What are some things that have given your racing that leading edge?

I find the thing that gives me a bit of an edge is just going out there and having a good time, you’re out there racing bikes with your mates. I don’t know about you but there’s nothing else that I would rather do. Another thing I find super helpful is just good sleep and good food leading into the race and keeping super calm and not stressing yourself out. I also find keeping the same routine the morning of the race helps get me focused and be in the zone to try and lay some hot laps down. Don’t want to say too much. I will give away all my secrets haha.

What is it that you like most about mountain biking and how it makes you feel?

Riding is the best. What don’t I like about mountain biking? Nothing! Everything with riding bikes is just amazing and there’s nothing else that I would prefer to do. The feeling I get when I ride my bike is something indescribable. It’s just amazing and I absolutely froth it so much. Makes it even better when you’re ripping down a trail with some mates, scrubbing jumps and roosting berms.

Bikes are just bloody brilliant. 

What’s your pick: Sushi or pizza?

Both, depending on the day both are mad and make for a good feed. 

What is your personal preference when it comes to setting up the suspension on your bikes; do you like the front and rear end to be firm or soft, and slow or fast? I personally find myself running my suspension pretty stiff with a fair amount of ramp up so it’s a bit more supple for small bumps but gets super stiff for the big hits. I run it hard, so I don’t feel like I get hung up on big compressions. With rebound I find I run it in about the middle, not too slow but not too fast.  

Do you like playing around with the settings of your suspension yourself, tweaking and experimenting to find the perfect combo, or do you prefer to leave all that stuff for the techs at Fox Factory Au to take care of that side for you? 

I find myself changing my suspension quite a lot when I ride at different locations. Some places I like a stiffer set up if it’s fast and smooth and if it’s a bit harsher and rougher I like it a little softer. But I manly play around with air pressures and just set and forget rebounds and compressions.  

What is your favourite way to unwind after a day of riding? 

Ha pretty boring really – most of the time I will just do a few stretches and then straight to bed as I am normally tired from a big day out on the bike. 

Describe your local trail spot or some of the nearby places that you spend the bulk of your riding and training time?

My local spots are rocky, steep and with some big jumps as well. So pretty much just a great combination of things to make for sick tracks. 

What is your ‘go-to’ trail snack when you are out on the bike and need to fuel up? 

My go to trail snack for some smoko is normally 1L of coconut water, few muesli bars and a punnet of blueberries. 

Where is the one place on the planet that is at the top of your ‘bucket list’ that you’re dreaming to visit and ride one day?  

I have to say Whistler in Canada the place just looks next level in terms of how good the trails look and everyone that goes there just looks to have so much fun. So, I will definitely need to get over there as soon as possible. 

What are your racing goals for the year ahead? 

Just go fast, nothing but that go as fast as I can and train hard, so the results come as well. My Goal is pretty much to have fun and go fast is the plan for the next few years. But I do really want to get to some EWS races in the next few years to see how I go on the world stage and just have fun on my bike. [R]