Are MTB jumps your nemesis?

Humans have been trying to figure out ways to fly throughout history, and if you’re a mountain biker, no doubt you’ve been trying to figure it out on your bike too.

The Sandwich Master, David, is a very proficient mountain biker whose riding has really improved since he moved to the alps full time and had to try and keep up with me… depending on the trail, it’s now sometimes me trying to keep up with him. However, jumping is still not his strong point, so I decided it was time help him improve so that we can enjoy jumpy trails together.

Find out how he got on in this video!

There are three basic steps to getting air on your bike:
1. Preload
2. Stand up on take off
3. Stay relaxed and Land

David had these basics, but didn’t necessarily look as though he was in charge of the bike (rather, it looked the other way around – as if he was just along for the ride), and he would often pitch too far forwards and land in a nose-dive.

First of all we checked his take-off, and it turned out he wasn’t straightening his legs fully as he took off. This is a key element to your jumping technique. If you don’t stand tall, you’ll never get any real boost or pop, and may struggle to actually clear the jump to land properly on the landing area. There are times when this can also contribute to a nose dive.

For David, his nose dive was actually being caused by doing too much preload on the jump in question. All jumps are built differently and sometimes they are not built well. On the two jumps in this video, the first jump in the line doesn’t require a great deal of preload as you approach – just the tiniest amount. Of course the leg extension is still important, and then we needed to work on getting him to allow his legs to bend to bring the bike up underneath him to level it out.

So next time you head out, get someone to video you in slow-mo to make sure you’re fully extending your legs, and if you’re having any nose-dive issues, experiment with the amount of preload you do. Perhaps you’re doing just a bit too much and you can make it more subtle. If you’re consistently not making the distance of the jump, consider adding more preload before you add more speed – pure speed is not always the answer. The key is to experiment a little and not only will you succeed on the jumps you’re trying today, but you’ll be gaining experience for any new jumps you ride in the future.

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