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  1. #1
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    Jumping Technique

    I kind of tense up when I jump or drop. This must be wrong, because I ended up jamming both wrists on a drop the other weekend. I should be relaxed in the air, right? Not so relaxed that I'll come off the bike. But relaxed enough to absorb the impact smoothly. That's how the pros look when they're downhilling and stuff. Crouched but not stiff. Always pliant. How do you guys do it?

  2. #2
    Life is Good
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    I'm not much of a jumper but I know that you should be totally relaxed when hitting jumps/drops. They say that when you hit something like that you should KNOW that you are going to land it, I mean... it shouldn't be scary or anything but fun.

    Pick up Brian Lopes' book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills. It has a whole section on jumps and drops and that stuff and it really helps
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  3. #3
    I walk up hills
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    In my case I guess I just treat any part of a trail the same, I'm always looking 20-30' ahead so by the time I hit a drop or jump I'm actually thinking about the next section of trail. This all playing in with what Judd97 was taking about, I know I'm going to land it as I'm already thinking about the next section of trail, your instincts just take care of the balance, and you just kinda flow through the obstacles.
    I guess this is why after coming back to MTB's after 10+ years I still feel comfortable bombing down some reasonably technical downhill stuff, I don't think it to death

  4. #4
    Hi!!!
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    First off I suck at jumps. I am definately not an All-Jumper, but I am aiming to be.

    One of my buddies was saying it helps to point your elbows out instead of keeping them in (like what I do all the time). Does anyone else do this and how does it help?

    I'm always grabbing brake right before I hit the jump .
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  5. #5
    I walk up hills
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    Yeh generally you want your elbows out so you can absorb the shock as much as possible, however this is not always possible as you do have to move your weight back to stay balanced as well, especially when braking
    You also want to keep your chest down, head up and have a nice loose grip on the bars, I call this my attack position.

    It's like a little dance

    Elbows out, chest down low and head up in the turn or on a straight, then when braking a steady transition of the weight back, with arms outstretched.
    Then just move steadily into the attack position again.

    When you get it right it just feels like the bike is dancing around, doing it thing underneath you but your body it floating smoothly down the trail.

    Sorry for the essay, like I said just getting back into the sport so I have put ALLOT of though into this stuff as of late.

  6. #6
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    I can almost guarantee that you start holding your breath just before said obstacle. The reason I figure that is because it is the same problem i had. What you need to do is slightly distract yourself by focusing on your breathing, especially while in the air.

    When you hold your breath your whole body gets tense. Also one of the main thoughts in your head is brace for the impact of the landing. If you let your breath out while in the air you relax and subsequently the landing becomes more smooth and softer for you.

    I learned this while in Whistler from Andrew Shandro and Jordie Lunn. By the time I left I was doubling my height in the air and extending the length. It is easier to control your trajectory when relaxed and mess ups are more recoverable and less likely to happen.

    Now for body position you always want to be centered. for the most part my body position is like the position I would be in to take a high speed turn. Feet flat with my leading foot forward. Slight bend in the elbows and knees. Head up and with my back not haunched over. and my arse off of the seat a few inches.

    When i jump i pump into the base of the jump then pop off of the lip. Almost like an extended bunny hop but with less effort exerted. As I approach I ready myself then as I progress up the jump I move my body forward then in the air i push the bike to where I need it for the landing I'm expecting.

    If you are doing takeoff to landing jumps (DJ style doubles) you need to learn to rock yourself forward so you land on the same plane of the landing. If you are doing trail jumps (over a log pile or rock to a transition less landing) you only need to level out enough to make your landing on your back tire first with the front tire only a few inches off ground.
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  7. #7
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    I can jump easy skiing but am just learning on a bike.

    Choose your jumps wisely straight easy ramp, and a landing that is a contiuation of the flight line.

    practise you will begin to think that one jump is easy and then move on.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd97
    I'm not much of a jumper but I know that you should be totally relaxed when hitting jumps/drops.
    I''m scared out of my pants, EVERY time i jump, huck or bomb a tight, tech downhill.
    OK, i don't do anything over about 6 or 7 feet, but that's big to me. Plus, I'm 40, and brittle.
    A friend gave me some good advice.
    "Do it scared!"
    But then again he's a badass!
    Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.

  9. #9
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    Keeping your elbows out also helps to keep your front wheel straight. If your front wheel is straight when you land, even if the rear wheel got tweaked out a bit in the air, you can still roll out a landing 99% of the time.
    Stay loose, so that if you do get a little wild in the air, or your landing zone is populated with obstactles, you can flow with the bike when it hits something oddly shaped or placed.
    When you're launching off of a fairly horizontal ledge, keep your speed up & shift your weight back slightly just before leaving the ground. This helps keep your bike level through the air, as well as slightly dropping the rear wheel just before touch-down.
    Having your rebound correctly set up is also very important..... Otherwise, you could get bounced off of your bike on a fairly hard landing.

    As stated before, looking ahead 20-30 ft while riding helps incredibly with your ability to take drops, jumps, & other obstacles. Don't ignore them, just register that they're there, and let the bike worry about the rest. Especially with +6" of travel, modern bikes are capable of sucking up some pretty serious terrain, as long as the rider helps out a little.
    Lose the death-grip on the brakes, especially just before an obstacle.... Unless you KNOW that you need to check your speed to keep from overshooting a landing or trail-bend. If you see something freaky coming up, 20-30ft ahead, slow down then, and roll it out.
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  10. #10
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    I'm still learning and growing into my bike but I have realized that when jumps and drops feel best it seems that my body angle changes little in realation ship to the ground while the bike does all the tilting beneath me.

    But I still land pretty stiff when landing on flat, but this usually happens when I hit the jump well because I'm attacking it rather than trying to survive it, so I've yet to find the balance between an aggressive take off and a loose landing.

    nice interesting thread.

  11. #11
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    Hah got you beat in one dept by about two hand fuls of years.

    I also use the young probe concept. Young expendables go first and tell me how it was.

  12. #12
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    Start small

    and practice. Build yourself a small jump to practice on. After you can nail it over and over without any hesitations build a bigger one. Repeat.

    Look for a local BMX track or build a pump track, ride it a lot. Learn how to pump your bike and generate speed as you compress in the beginning of a transition and extend towards the top of the transition. Learning and practicing on just your jumping skills will help you and give you more bike handling skills when you are on the trail.

    Everyone has good tips, a lot if it is trial and error also, you learn real fast especially when you get hurt/crash. It sounds like you need to pull up a little more when going of drops, let the rear take more of the impact.

    I'm not the best jumper and I don't go big. But I like to build/practice jumping so I can ride most of the obstacles on the trails I ride. Just have fun, scare yourself sometimes/push your limits, and keep riding. Also wear some pads if you need to.

  13. #13
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    This is good advice !

    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson
    and practice. Build yourself a small jump to practice on. After you can nail it over and over without any hesitations build a bigger one. Repeat.

    Look for a local BMX track or build a pump track, ride it a lot. Learn how to pump your bike and generate speed as you compress in the beginning of a transition and extend towards the top of the transition. Learning and practicing on just your jumping skills will help you and give you more bike handling skills when you are on the trail.

    Everyone has good tips, a lot if it is trial and error also, you learn real fast especially when you get hurt/crash. It sounds like you need to pull up a little more when going of drops, let the rear take more of the impact.

    I'm not the best jumper and I don't go big. But I like to build/practice jumping so I can ride most of the obstacles on the trails I ride. Just have fun, scare yourself sometimes/push your limits, and keep riding. Also wear some pads if you need to.

    Build you own and spend hours teaching your body what it feels like.

  14. #14
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    You guys are awesome

    Great advice from all of you! Thanks so much. I was getting discouraged about it, but you all have pumped me up to go out there and do it again. And again... And again... Until I'm comfortable jumping what I want to jump.

    Thanks again.

  15. #15
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    Second the Lopes book...

    Quote Originally Posted by Judd97
    I'm not much of a jumper but I know that you should be totally relaxed when hitting jumps/drops. They say that when you hit something like that you should KNOW that you are going to land it, I mean... it shouldn't be scary or anything but fun.

    Pick up Brian Lopes' book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills. It has a whole section on jumps and drops and that stuff and it really helps
    I picked up some really good stuff from this book. Provides techniques you can go right out and work on.

    I have had the opportunity to ride with guys that are much better riders and watching and learnig from them has helped a lot. I am by know means an expert, but I do know what works best for me...staying loose and relaxed while doing drops and jumps is a must. Focus on where you want to land and always, always commit to pinning it.

  16. #16
    Hi!!!
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    I watched Ian and some of those riders rip down Super G while on the liftride up. Very smooth and relaxed whereas I look tense and choppy. Although on Sunday I was able to hit a handful of jumps with no problems. Definately not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but alot better than what I didn't do my first time up at Tamarack.

    However I still have problems with that first tabletop up at the start.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelaySlave
    I watched Ian and some of those riders rip down Super G while on the liftride up. Very smooth and relaxed whereas I look tense and choppy. Although on Sunday I was able to hit a handful of jumps with no problems. Definately not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but alot better than what I didn't do my first time up at Tamarack.

    However I still have problems with that first tabletop up at the start.
    Those guys rip and make it look easy that is why I enjoy riding with them. They make you push yourself and as a result you get better. Key is to stay light on the bike (let the bike do all the hard work) and do all your braking and set-up early and on "good" ground prior to the jump, turn, drop etc... Jumping is far easier for me on a motorcycle then it is on a bicycle. I think it is just because I am used too much more suspension, weight and the ability to dial in power. However, the basics are pretty much the same. I try to load the bike (suspension) right at the base of the jump and pop off the top while tying to suck the bike back up to me while in the air. No brakes while attacking the jump or in the air and spot the landing not your front tire. I am still learning and basically suck at jumping right now but when I focus on this technique it goes much better. I try to work on sections instead of just bombing the trail all the time. Another technique I learned for braking that works incredibly well is instead of just grabbing a fist full of brake, brake while compressing the suspension. Bounce on the bike slightly while braking. You will be amazed how much it shortens the braking distance. Another thing I have to remember all the time is ride the bike, don't let the bike take you for a ride. In other words stay aggressive and move on the bike. When I get lazy and just try to trail ride a DH techy and fast trail like Tam Super G, I get real sloppy and usually find myself on the ground at some point. Sorry for the essay but just my two cents from a newbie rider.

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