Sure, the Fourth of July fireworks may be over, but now it’s time to fill the air with some of your own. Learn the basics of jumping from our very own Daniel Slusser! Just be sure to get the protection you need to continue the learning process when you are out practicing. Full face helmets, a neck brace, knee guards, elbow guards, and upper body protection are all a good idea to have. The best way to learn this skill is to approach it with confidence; and proper protection will help to provide the confidence you need.
Setting your suspension to rebound a click or two slower than normal will help with the learning process by preventing the dreaded buck. A slower rebound setting will also help to tame a rough landing.
As you approach the jump take an attack position on the bike with your arms and legs flexed. At the base of the jump, called the transition, weight your pedals as you pull up on your handlebars. Smoothly increase the upward pull on your handlebars toward the lip of the jump while keeping your weight centered between the wheels.
Once in the air it is important to keep your arms and legs loose. Don’t tense up, or you will tilt off axis and land crooked and off balance. The bike needs to be able to float underneath you so that it can naturally straighten out, even if it left the lip of the jump slightly off axis.
After you’ve passed the apex of your airtime, relax your arms to allow the front wheel to drop and meet the landing while extending your legs slightly to prepare to absorb the landing. As you touch down, focus your center of gravity on your pedals to avoid putting too much weight on your handlebars and front wheel. Use your legs to absorb the landing.
Visualizing yourself using these techniques and completing a successful jump can really help with the learning process. Keep practicing on small jumps and remember that jumping is a skill that requires finesse. It’s all about subtle, controlled movements, and this takes time to develop; but it’s worth it. You’ll be safer on the trail and have a lot more fun.