Jumping a dirt bike is not for people who are afraid of heights, and especially for the faint-hearted. If you haven’t done your first dirt bike jump yet, let me warn you that it will probably be one of the scariest things you will experience on a dirt bike. Over the years, there have even been deaths while attempting to jump a dirt bike, but if you do it the right way and wear all the safety gear that it is required, nothing tragic is going to happen to you even if you happen to fall.
There are somethings that you will need to observe before making your first jump. Assuming that you’ve found a decent place where you can jump your dirt bike, make sure you stay aside and watch as other riders jump their dirt bikes. Analyze their technique and even ask them questions regarding the steps, after you’ve done that, you will have a more broad idea of what to do and what not to do. This article isn’t about teaching you how to jump a dirt bike, because you can learn that better by watching videos on youtube and seeing it in live-action while other riders do it. This article is about teaching and giving you an idea of what you can do to control the dirt bike better in air.
As I was saying, make sure you observe first and see how careful other riders are when approaching the jump, watch what their body position is and how they land. I’m mentioning body position because it’s the most crucial aspect that plays a huge role in how you start the jump and how you land the jump. If you’re able to perform the starting point properly, it will be easier for you to control the bike in the air, but if you don’t, then you might have trouble controlling the dirt bike in air.
Tips on making the jump
In order for you to be able to control the bike in the air, you will have to start the jump the proper way. There are somethings that you will need to be careful of when approaching the jump. First, make sure you have enough speed to actually make the jump. Enough speed doesn’t necessarily mean to go full throttle, make a small jump first just so you built yourself up emotionally and mentally. The higher you built your jumper the higher your confidence will get, so start small first until you feel like you’ve progressed.
Before heading towards the jump, make sure you are at a straight line with the jump because hitting it at a different angle can be hard and maybe not a good idea for a beginner. When on the way to the jump, use an even throttle, but make sure you don’t ease the throttle when approaching the jump because this might have a bad outcome sending you and the dirt bike into a face dive. If you don’t have enough speed while making the jump, your front wheel will first make contact with the ground which is not a good way to land.
While running up the ramp and at the point of leaving the ramp, make sure you lean forward towards the handlebars so that you reach a balance between the bike and you. In doing so, you’re avoiding going backwards as you approach the ground.
Assuming that you’re doing that, afterward, you should stand up as you run up the ramp, and your body weight needs to concentrate in front of your footpegs while having your body close to the handlebars. This standing up position is going to help you with control, but we will get more into detail about that later in this article. Avoid sitting down when you land because your body could take heavy damage especially your spine, but you can always sit down for tricks and maneuvers when you’re in air after you’ve mastered your jumping skills.
How to control dirt bike in air
As soon as the rear wheel leaves the ground try pushing slightly back on the throttle. Remember how I said try getting closer to the handlebars with your body leaning forward while approaching the jump, while in the air try leaning away from your handlebars.
That’s simple physics, as soon as you hit the ground the landing will force you to lean forward with the momentum of the bike. This is something that you should take into serious consideration because if you are too close to the handlebars while in the air when the bike hits the ground you might hit the handlebars with your chest which can cause serious injuries.
How to achieve mid-air adjustments
Once you leave the ground, there are a few things you can do to adjust the angle of the bike in the air, whether it’s to recover from a mistake, or to get the bike better set for a landing. These two techniques are good to know and have ready to use.
First is to help lower the front wheel in the air. To do this, pull the clutch in and lock the rear wheel, this will lower the front wheel but you’ll have to be careful because it can happen very quickly. Once the angle you want is achieved, you can release the clutch and get the rear wheel turning again.
The second technique is for when the front wheel is low. What you’ll want to do is to lean back and twist the throttle wide open which will help slow the rotation and hopefully get you back on the ground safely. Both techniques need fast reactions so practicing is a good idea, especially the rear brake technique.
Top 5 jumping mistakes on a dirt bike
For the sake of the article, I’d also like to point out the most common mistakes that I see everyday people do while jumping a dirt bike. Make sure you read every mistake carefully and try to avoid doing it because those are the things that might actually result in a bad landing.
- Improper throttle delivery (What you’re looking for is a smooth delivery from the base of the jump all the way through the top to make sure the bike tracks straight and stays in line.)
- Improper balance position (Squeeze the bike tight clamping on from your hips down and then move with the power, so as you turn the power your body will match the wrist and that’s really important as you’re going up to face. The incline works against you so it’s important that you lean your body into that to be safe.)
- Sitting and/or standing at the wrong time (Don’t sit when you’re coming up to the jump, but while in air, you can sit but not until the last second to the point where the bike hits the ground because the impact force will swing you on the ground with a face dive.)
- Improper landing (You should be really attached to the bike to take the hit not only with your suspension but with your leg. So, when you squeeze the bike, take the first part with your legs, and let suspension take the rest. Also, make sure you’re landing on the gas because it will help straighten up the bike if you’re landing a little bit sideways.)
- Visualize the landing spot (Most of the time people fall of their bikes while jumping because they don’t look forward to where they’re landing. Make sure that your vision is up far enough to where you can make the right decision going into that jump base.)
Take in mind that all of the techniques require practice, so before trying your first jump make sure you ask around and get advice from people that are doing it. The risks of dirt bike jumping are too high, but once you get a grip of it with the right approach and the right measurements to control the bike in the air, you will land like nothing happened.
There’s an unexplainable adrenaline and joy in jumping a dirt bike, and once you try it for yourself, you’re not going to stop doing it, which is good because that way you will also practice mastering it. I hope this article was helpful, and if by any chance I left questions that are related to this topic unanswered, make sure you contact me and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.