For mountain bike enthusiasts, going up in the air with your mountain bike not only allow you to handle some of the most challenging trails, but it also does come with a lot of fun.
However, before you could pull off this amazing bike trick, you need to have the right skills and techniques.
Compared with a number of mountain bike skills you can pull off today, jumping takes a lot of dedication, training and most importantly practice.
There is no way you can pull of this trick at your first try.
BEFORE YOU JUMP
Assess your skills
This, probably, is the first thing you need to do before you could actually jump your mountain bike. Take a very honest assessment of your current status and find out if you can really do jump a mountain bike. When it comes to jumping, usually, you need to have been doing mountain biking for a considerable length of time, advisably spanning a couple of years. You should actually be very comfortable about pulling off this incredible trick.
Check your mountain bike
Not all mountain bikes are designed for jumping, and before you go ahead and do any other thing, you need to find out if that particular bike is designed for jumping. In this case, we are talking about the kind of suspension your bikes come with. Although it isn’t really necessary, most professional riders prefer a bike with either front or even full suspension. The key thing here is you want something that can absorb as much shock as possible, especially when you land after that huge jump
Take your time and scout
Since you want that jump to be perfect and minimize your chances of crashing on the ground, take your time and take a quick scan of the trail well ahead of time, especially if this is your first time. The key thing here is to avoid any surprises. Is that a gap or just a small barrier? You need to know what is ahead of time.
Pump into the take-off
This is now one of the trickiest of all. As you aim for that takeoff, pump your bike into it. This will help you achieve a number of things; first, it will help compress your bike’s suspension. Secondly, the rebound you get from your fork will help you fly into the air. At this pointing time, you need to make a few tricks on your bike. Pull-on the handlebars immediately the front wheel reaches the top. Ideally, you need to keep the front move in the same direction where the takeoff is actually leading it.
IN THE AIRUp
When the front wheel has taken off the ground and you sense it is at the top of the takeoff you need to jump with your legs. Here, you have to keep a number of things in mind. First, if your mountain bikes come equipped with rear suspension, you need to time your jump with the rebound from the shock. The energy you get from the two will help you get further into the air. Secondly, if you don’t pump and jump, you will lose the much-needed balance when you are up in the air.
Timing is everything
When we talk of the back wheel, timing is crucial. If you spring up too early, that is right before the front wheel is at the lip, you will actually be wasting a lot of preload, and that could see you coming short on your jump. On the other hand, if you extend a little bit late, you will realize there is also nothing for the wheels to push off.
Normally, how well your body reacts when you are up in the air is key. It is here when you might want to be as calm as possible. Take a deep breath and try to relax and remain calm. It is important you do this as that will allow you remain balanced. Your landing will also be very smooth and you can adjust the bike beneath you with so much ease.
Look ahead and remain active
When you are up there in the air, you also need to look ahead. The point here is you to keep your eyes to the landing. Identify your correct line and try to give it a special kind of attention, especially to the angle of the slope.
Identify a nice landing spot
Right before you hit the ground, scan the area and identify a nice landing spot and directly aim for it. At this pointing time, these two must match; the angle of your bike and the angle of the landing area. This will allow you to land nicely and allow the two wheels to touch the ground all at the same time. With a steep front wheel landing, you may end up flying over the bars.
On the other hand, letting the rear wheel touch the ground first can be disastrous. The rear wheel touching down right before the front wheel can make the front wheel wash out. You might want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Right before you land, as you try to control the bike and stabilize. You also need to extend your legs and arm. This will come with a number of benefits. First, when you land, your legs and hands will suck up all the shock.
Point exactly when you want to go
Where you want to go is also important at this pointing time. Once you are on the ground, do some maneuvers and have the front wheel pointing in the direction you want to go. Where your front wheel is pointed, the rest of your mountain bike will also follow. So you might want to be very careful as improper pointing of the front wheel could send you crumbling into a valley or a thicket.
What You Need To Keep in Mind if You Are Learning The Technique
Like we said earlier in this article, jumping is one of the most technical mountain bike tricks you can pull today. If you can do well, it comes with a lot of fun and on the other hand, if it is wrongly done, it can actually cost your teeth and a series of fractures. If you are eager to learn this amazing technique, here is all you always keep in mind.
Always listen to yourself
Listen to your instinct. If you feel you are not ready, do not do it. If that jump you are about to do doesn’t feel right in a way, don’t attempt doing it. Take your time and figure out those steps you need to take in order to improve this skill. Come up with a workable plan that will help you get there.
Don’t be in a rush to learn
Talk to any professional mountain bike jumper today, and they will all tell you this skill take quite a substantial amount of time to learn. You can’t just wake up today and do it correctly. Ideally, you need to progress slowly. Start with those simple jumps and move to bigger obstacles as your skill progresses. It is as simple as that.
Always measure your jump
This, probably, is one of the biggest secrets about jumping a mountain bike you can learn today. It is one thing that can decide if you are going to complete that jump or you are going to crumble to the ground before you could complete jumping over that gap or obstacle. Measuring the jump can actually help you pace out the distance to be covered before you could take the actual jump.
Start with platform pedals
There are a couple of pedals types we have in the market today, but platform pedals come highly recommended for mountain bike jumps. As a beginner, platform pedals will actually allow you to learn how to jump without necessarily having to lift the bike with a clipless pedal that normally comes attached to your bike shoes. Second, is all about safety. If things go south while you are up in the air, you can easily escape the bike if you find you are not able to control the bike.
Add more air into the tires
Adding some air into your tires is also paramount. This will allow you to achieve the right speed, especially as you approach the jump. This can also help keep the tires from rolling off the rims if at some point you find yourself landing a little bit sideways.
Confidence is key
As with any other great skill or technique you learn today, one of the best things you could do if you want to be a successful mountain bike jumper is having confidence in your own ability. Although it cannot be really helpful if you are not up there yet, confidence can slowly build you from an amateur to one of the best mountain bike jumpers ever. The trick here is to start simple. Try practicing with those simple jumps that you feel safe and try doing them slowly. Try to move to a more and more complicated jump as your skills progress.
Practice is everything
This cannot be overemphasized enough; like it always said; practice makes everything perfect. If you can find a place where you can ride over a series of jumps then pushing back right to the top is incredibly helpful. It doesn’t stop there; even when you think you have acquired the right skills, keep practicing with friends and also try to find out some of your own ways you can use to pull off those mind-blowing jumps.
Your safety is key
When you are learning this move for the first time, chances of you crashing over and sustaining a few injuries are practically high. For that, you need to always put on your armor right before trying to jump. We know you are going to wear a helmet, but it shouldn’t be just any helmet. If you can get a full-face helmet; that could actually give you maximum protection.
In the end really, learning to jump a mountain bike takes a great deal of time and practice. You should also be willing to try those daring jumps. Lastly, also remember, jumping a mountain bike is not something you can learn in one afternoon. Depending on how sharp or fast learner you are, it can take you days or even weeks to learn this move.