Bike jumping isn’t just for adrenaline junkies; it is a skill that any mountain biker may want to consider learning. It is becoming a feature of trail riding and is one of the most fun things you can do. Some jumps may look super tricky, but when you grasp the techniques, you’ll find it isn’t as difficult as it might look.
Read on if you’re confident on your bike and ready to jump. Here we go through the fundamentals of how to jump a mountain bike.
When you master consistently controlled jumps, getting your wheels off the ground is one of the best feelings of mountain biking. The experience of floating above the trail becomes addictive and fun, enhancing your skills for regular riding.
These strategies can apply to technical obstacles and textured trails when you choose whether to go heavy or light on a jump.
Confident and smooth jumps come from slow movements and driving your weight back into the exclusive feature for consistent force and drive. The effort involved in jumps should mainly take place on the ground. Leaving the ground, you should feel like you’re floating and locked into all that stability in the shape of the take-off.
What Is the Best Mountain Bike for Jumps?
Fortunately, you can learn to jump on most bikes. However, Hardtails are great bikes to start jumping on. Hardtails are best for cycling on various surfaces and environments, and their versatile and resilient nature makes them perform well on most terrains.
They offer a rigid rear end for simplicity and pedaling efficiency. The suspension fork absorbs bumps providing more stability for your upper body, and you won’t have to work against your suspension when jumping.
Alternatively, bikes with shorter stems and wider bars are more comfortable and inspire confidence.
Be sure to give your bike a good check-over before starting, as learning to jump can be pretty intense on the bike because of the heavy landings. Also, ensure your wheels are well tensioned on the spokes, and everything is tightened up—especially the back wheel, as it will take the most battering.
Padding and Protection
You’ll need a helmet. Ensure the chinstrap is tight and the helmet fits well. Knee, shin, and elbow pads should be a consideration as you start to push your jumping boundaries.
If wearing them makes you feel constricted, that could outweigh the benefit. Remember that overall, your padding and protection won’t make you invincible, and all may not be ok if you slam into something or fall off your bike.
How to Jump a Mountain Bike
Ultimately, mountain bike jumping is about exerting pressure and your ability to control the timing of that force through each wheel.
First, you’ll need to ensure your pumping is up to scratch. Picking up speed without pedaling by changing your legs, arms, and feet from bent to straight is critical in understanding how to get your bike into the air.
For this, you’ll need a jump. A jump could be a grass bank, a curb, or anything you feel comfortable using to help you take off. Perhaps watch someone else take the jump first.
Cycle toward it, out of the seat at a comfortable speed. Ensure your weight is kept central, over the wheels, and drop your chest. Begin to compress, then feel the pressure of the lip (the edge of take-off) against your wheels.
Manage both wheels separately; handle the front and then the back. Gradually shift your weight from your hands to your feet. The idea is that once the front wheel touches the lip, no weight is driving through it.
Pushing down and then freeing your weight from both wheels as you jump is similar to bunny-hoping. However, the lip of a jump provides the elevation your wheels require to follow the path of your jump. This means jumping is not as explosive as bunny-hoping. Instead, the idea is to use your elbows, ankles, and knees to do the pushing as you keep your head and core following a smooth arc.
Timing Your Weight Transfer
The point where you shift your weight from your hands to your feet is crucial.
Picture a line just past the middle of the lip of the jump. This is where you’ll need to switch from pushing using your arms to thrusting completely from your feet.
However, if you’re still pushing into the lip with your arms once you reach the line, you’ll end up bucking forward and over the bars.
The line will move back as you tackle bigger jumps or your bike’s suspension increases.
When airborne, you can relax, as the most challenging part of the jump is out of the way.
Identify your landing spot, then use your legs and arms to absorb the impact. Try landing on both wheels simultaneously. If your rear wheel touches down first, this can cause the front to wash out. This is when your bike loses traction and slides out sideways from under you.
Sharp front wheel touchdowns may cause you to go over the bars.
When landing, you should focus on keeping off the breaks.
- Begin to learn using a tabletop jump instead of a double. Then, if you mess up, you’ll have a safe and flat space to land. Start small.
- If you find it challenging to jump with SPD pedals, consider fitting flat pedals.
- Experiment with your timings to get a feel for what works best.
Taking Flight on Your Mountain Bike
With bike jumping, the most important thing is that you can influence the bike while in the air. With the proper knowledge and approach, any mountain biker can take flight on their bike. The key to successful jumps lies in understanding and applying the fundamentals.
While it may seem intimidating, start with a small jump, practice a lot, and build your confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to mastering any jump you desire.