Every rider needs to know how to jump a mountain bike. Jumping isn’t just a skill reserved for professional mountain bikers and adrenaline junkies.
Learning how to jump no matter what skill level you’re at will improve your handling skills, making you a much better mountain biker.
The benefits of learning how to catch big air on a mountain bike not only lets you take on more challenging trails, but is also a lot of fun.
However, before you can jump it’s important that you work through a series of steps:
- First Step: Learn to manual (lift the front wheel off the ground)
- Second Step: Learn to bunny hop (lift both wheels off the ground)
- Third Step: Combine a manual with a bunny hop while working on the three parts of a jump—the takeoff, the air and the landing.
Watch this video from Global Mountain Biking Network to see how it’s perfectly done!
Here’s how to jump a mountain bike
Jumping a mountain bike is not that hard once you learn the proper technique. You must learn how to exert pressure, and control the timing of this pressure through each wheel.
NOTE: First master pumping – Pumping is a fundamental skill in the world of mountain biking. Essentially a downward body movement that pushes weight through the bike and into the tires, pumping enables a rider to maximise potential from trail undulations and gain free speed in the process!
It requires being able to generate speed without pedaling. Then snapping your arms, legs and feet from being bent to straight. Get these steps correct, and you’ll be able to get your mountain bike airborne.
ARE YOU READY TO GET SOME BIG AIR!!!
1. Get ready to take-off like a jet
Start with a jump you’re comfortable with. Then roll towards it at a speed you can handle out of the saddle.
Make sure to keep your weight in the center, over both wheels, while keeping your chest low.
Now, compress and feel the force of the lip against your tires.
Focus on each wheel separately. Start with the front wheel followed by the back. Don’t try to lift both wheels at the same time.
Slowly transfer your weight from your hands to your feet. What you want is that by the time the front wheel reaches the lip, there’s no weight pushing through it.
The same as bunny hopping, you want to press down and then release your weight through each wheel when jumping.
The lip of the jump will provide all the lift your wheel will need to follow the trajectory of the jump.
Jumping is a less explosive movement than a bunnyhop. Make sure to keep your head and core following a smooth arc by using your elbows, knees and ankles to do the pushing.
2. Weight transfer timings
Keep in mind that the point at which you transfer your weight from your hands to your feet is very important.
Imagine a line just past halfway up the lip of the jump — this is the point at which you need to change from pushing with your arms to pushing fully from your feet.
To prevent from flying over your handlebars, don’t push into the lip through your arms when you get to this line.
Also don’t forget that as the jumps get bigger, or your bike’s suspension increases, this line moves further back.
3. The landing
Done right, you’re going to get big air on your mountain bike. Getting airborne is hard to accomplish, but once you do, The fun begins.
Now all you have to do is get the landing right. In order to do so, spot your landing and use your arms and legs to absorb the impact.
Landing on both wheels at the same time softens the impact.
Don’t touch down on the rear wheel first or you’ll cause the front wheel to wash out. Steep front wheel landings will throw you over the handlebars.
And stay off the brakes.
How to jump a mountain bike tips
- Start by learning on a tabletop jump, rather than a double, because you’ll have a flat, safe area to land on if you mess up. Don’t go too big too soon.
- If you’re struggling to jump using SPD pedals, try fitting some flats.
- Play around with your timings too and find what works best for you.
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