There are going to be times in your riding where knowing how to jump your mountain bike will increase your technical skills and speed. Even if you are not looking to become the next Cam McCaul, having the basics of jumping in your riding resume will help you out on your favorite trails as you rip through singletrack.
By being able to jump your mountain bike correctly, you can do things like…
- Skip over rocks and roots
- Get more traction
- Become a faster rider in technical sections
- Have more control of your bike at faster speeds
How To Jump Your Mountain Bike
- Jumping your mountain bike all starts with a proper take-off. Pick a line and stick with it. Trying to change things mid stream will disrupt your flow and cause problems for you throughout the rest of the process.
- Compress the bike into the face of the jump by pushing down on the suspension. This is known as ‘loading the bike’ and it give you more traction and control as you leave the lip. When you do not load your suspension, your body stiffens up and the rear wheel of the bike bucks upward causing an unbalanced take-off.
- Once in the air, keep your body loose and keep your arms and legs bent while feeling where the bike is headed. If you stiffen up, you will go into an controlled ‘dead sailor’ where the bike tends to go where ever it wants to while your stiff body is along for the ride. This usually ends up in a crash that is nose heavy in nature.
- Spot the landing and push the bike into it creating more traction. Use your arms and legs as your primary suspension, soaking up the impact with body movement. If you rely completely on your suspension, you run the tendency of a hard landing where the bike can lose traction and slide out from underneath you.
Those are the jumping basics that will get you started. The trick is to start small and build your way up as you get more comfortable with your bike being airborne. As you get better at launching your bike, you are going to notice that you start to use this skill in your trail riding to make your ride smoother and faster over roots, rocks and small drops.
Here is a video from Bike Skills to give you a visualization on how this works on smaller jumps.