In this post in our series of the best mountain bike tips and tricks, we will explain the basics of jumping your bike. Getting a little bit of air between the bike and the ground is an exhilarating experience and it will impress all the onlookers too. Whatever style of mountain biking is your favourite, jumping is a skill that you can put to use in all of them. So, read on, and we will teach how to jump your mountain bike with style, and safely.
Preparing for a jump
Before you even attempt a jump, there are few things that you need to be aware of first.
Firstly, you must make sure that your mountain bike is in good condition. Check your bike over carefully before you attempt a jump and make sure that there are no loose parts and that the frame is sound. This is something that you should do every time you take your mountain bike out, but it’s even more important when you will be jumping, because a jump places far more strain on the bike and a malfunction while jumping your bike would be a lotmore dangerous.
You also have to be aware that jumping is a skill that takes practice to perfect and it is not for the novice. If you are brand new to mountain biking, it would be advisable to learn the basic skills first, before you attempt any serious jumping. Jumping a mountain bike also takes its toll on you physically, so you will need a certain degree of physical fitness too.
Before you make jumps on a trail, try practicing less challenging jumps on a man-made ramp first. This will give you the chance to get used to jumping and handling the landings. Whenever you attempt any jump, try to visualise yourself making the jump. If you can see that there are too many obstacles to you completing the jump successfully, then don’t even try it.
How to take a mountain bike jump
To make a jump successfully, aim the bike squarely at the ramp and approach it at a reasonable speed, with your body raised out of the saddle. Don’t try jumping too fast, before you have gained some practice. When you get to the front of the ramp, stop pedalling and shift your weight down on the handlebars to the front forks. As the front wheel reaches the end of the ramp, stamp straight down on the pedals, pulling the front of your bike up with you. This is what experienced mountain bikers call exploding. Don’t try any fancy tricks, though; keep your hands firmly on the handlebars and your feet squarely on the pedals.
How to land safely
Ideally, to make a safe landing, you are looking to plant your bike firmly and squarely on the ground. To do this, while you are still in the air, readjust your riding position back to the normal riding position with your arms and legs bent, still holding yourself out of the saddle. Using your body, try to get the bike pointing straight forward, and get the wheels level again. As you are landing, push the back downwards into the ground and that will provide more traction when you land. Don’t forget to keep your arms and legs bent slightly so that they can absorb some of the impact when you hit the ground.
These are the basic techniques that you will need to master to become one of the best mountain bike jumpers. This is another occasion where practice makes perfect and, don’t attempt jumps that you do not feel comfortable that you can make. You should also always wear the right kind of protective gear when jumping your mountain bike. That includes a helmet, proper gloves and knee and elbowprotection too.
We hope that you found this guide to mountain bike useful. Stay safe and have fun!