Need advice for jumps!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Need advice for jumps!

    First thing yall should know. Im 25 and just started riding downhill about a year ago. I love this sport but obviously I know I'm past the point of doing it as a career. I feel like I have progressed fast considering I have to make at least a 4 hour drive to get to any place yall would call downhill. So I don't get outo as often as I'd like.

    One of the areas I struggle with is jumping. I'd like to be able to get some decent air and eventually start whipping and all that fun stuff. I seem to have a problem taking off of jumps. From my understanding, it's the same as a bunny hop. Unweighting your front wheel by shifting your weight back and then exploding upwards with your weight going through the pedals. Is this correct? Or does jumping take less effort than a bunny hop? And is there a setup I can make for practice around my house? I ride a transition TR450 for downhill and a Transition bandit for "other".

    I apologize if this is already in the forum somewhere but I feel like I've read and watched so many jumping videos and can't seem to get it down correct. Maybe I'm just old and inept...

    Also, always looking for riders in NC.

  2. #2
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    Depends on the jump. a lot of jumps I've noticed if I bunny hop I way over shoot the jump. For DH I'd recommend just hitting the jump and if u fall short next time come in with more speed. Also if there is a local dirt jump park id practice jumping there.

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  3. #3
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    I don't think it's because you're too old. 25? Ha! I'm 41 and can jump just fine (at least for my needs). Though to be fair, I raced BMX and rode moto as a kid, so I learned to jump in my tender years.

    You didn't really say what specifically about jumping (other than takeoff) you are struggling with. Without that it's hard to give you any specific advice.

    Your description of take off sounds correct in a general sense though, not all jumps require such an aggressive "explosion" off the lip.

    On bigger jumps you have to preload sooner and push off with your legs in a slower and more controlled fashion, compared to smaller steeper jumps. I find I have to be a lot more aggressive with the small/steep jumps. Those jumps will pop you up in the air, and not necessarily the way you want. By being more aggressive with that push off with your legs on the transition you are controlling that pop, rather than letting the jump dictate it.

    Also, there are some nuances to jumping a DH bike that differ from jumping a hard tail (or BMX or shorter travel trail bike). Preloading your suspension and getting your fore-aft weight distribution correct are really important on a long travel DH bike.

    Two tips a well respected riding coach (Gene Hamilton) gave me that really helped me stay centered on take off. One was to find your center by bouncing on your pedals as you approach the jump (or any technical section of trail for that matter). If your weight is too far forward or back bouncing on the pedals feels weird. So as you approach the jump just give a couple small bounces on the pedals to find center before you preload for the actual jump.

    The second tip was to look further ahead when approaching the jump. This also applies to all riding situations, keep your head up and look well down the trail. If you are staring at your front tire, or right at the transition of the jump as you take off you'll have a tough time staying centered on the bike. So, look past the jump, your lower peripheral vision is all you need to see the jump approaching, and this helps you spot your landing sooner. You have much better balance when looking up and ahead than looking down. To test this, stand on 1 leg, look down at your foot and see how hard it is to balance. Then try standing on 1 foot again

    I know you said you have watched a lot of videos on jumping, but have you checked out the skills videos from GMBN? I've found their stuff is spot on, and very well explained and demonstrated. Their videos tie together the bunny hopping and jumping techniques pretty well.

    As with anything riding/skills related, best thing you can do is practice. The problem is, there aren't a lot of places outside of DH parks that you will find jumps more suited to DH bikes. You can hit up the local BMX tracks and dirt jump areas, but many of those are built by guys riding 20" BMX or smaller DJ bikes, so the jumps have super steep (vertical) transitions and are very lippy.

    You can hit those on a DH bike, but it's not ideal.

  4. #4
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    Don't lean back while jumping. It'll cause you to have a propensity to rotate forwards while in the air. Watch pro-jumpers, they are weight the bike forward off of jumps. You only lean back off drops maybe.

  5. #5
    NWS
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    For every jump, there's a speed that will launch you right to the sweet spot of the landing. If you're going slower than that, you'll need to push with your legs as you go up the face of the jump so you don't case it. If you're going faster, you'll need to pull your legs in instead so you don't get launched past the sweet spot. if your speed is just right... you kinda just let it happen. Stay firm, don't boost it or suck it up, just ride it.

    If your speed is off by a little, these are very subtle motions. If your speed is off by a lot, they can be pretty pronounced.

    You generally want to aim to have all of your weight on your feet, and none on your hands. Your hands/arms/front wheel all just follow the curvature of the jump, and the lift comes up through your legs.

    Mostly it just takes a boatload of practice. Find a trail with jumps that are in your comfort zone (even if that's just knee high) and ride them until you nail all the landings. Then look for a trail with jumps that are a little bigger. Repeat until satisfied.

    You're not too old, I'm 44 and hitting 30 footers consistently. My comfort zone is more like 20 feet but I'm working on that.

  6. #6
    NWS
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    Forgot to add... the bunny-hop motion comes in for flat landings and step-ups. If the landing is steep you want to be rotating slightly forward in the air, so you land both wheels together, and pulling up on the bars at liftoff will interfere with that.

    With smaller jumps you can mostly think of your body staying level through out, while the bike climbs up the front and dives down the back. As jumps get bigger your body starts to follow the angles of the dirt more and more.

  7. #7
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    According to the Don ^^ it's like doing a manual on the jump face and then a bunny hop once you're airborne... My $0.02

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    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  8. #8
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    I stay relaxed and as neutral/centred on the bike as possible. That seems to work fine for all the jumps on Freight Train, ALINE, and Dirt Merchant.

    Don't touch the brakes anywhere near the approach to the jump or on the lip!

    Start small; gain skills and confidence in the air. Work your way up to bigger features.

  9. #9
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    you can always build small jumps by your house or close to it...start with small jumps and table tops and work up to larger
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    Don't lean back while jumping. It'll cause you to have a propensity to rotate forwards while in the air. Watch pro-jumpers, they are weight the bike forward off of jumps. You only lean back off drops maybe.
    I went to a lift-assisted bike park for the first time this year, and I found this out by some trial and error. My back wheel would tend to pop up on jumps, making me feel like I was going flip over. I found that if I shifted my weight forward on the approach the bike would stay more level.

    If 25 is old, then I guess I'm ancient (I'm 55). I'm mostly an XC/trail rider, and I never rode BMX or anything like that, so I have no jumping skills, and I'm also slow and cautious. But I enjoyed the bike park and felt like it did help improve my skills and confidence.

  11. #11
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    I'll say that I found jumping to be one of those things I practiced and practiced and then one day it clicked. I also learned later... I was 32.

    One of the things that helped me most was spending hours upon hours at a pumptrack that is close to me. There's also a set of jumps there. I know there are not pumptracks everywhere... but that definitely helped me.
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