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So you think you have mastered the dirt bike, or at least mastered the basics. The logical next move is to challenge yourself by learning a few basic tricks. I mean, what is the point of riding a dirt bike if you can’t pop a few wheelie and jump a few dunes, am I right? You can easily learn how to do a wheelie on a dirt bike too, but start off with the basic jump!
How to Jump a Dirt Bike
First, you need to locate a jump. It doesn't matter if you find the perfect terrain with small jumps to start or you make your own. Finding a dirt bike track with jumps already installed is your best bet, especially for an amateur rider.
Remember to be safe, and remember you are no Evil Kenevil and stay in your lane. Don’t attempt the master jumps just yet. Check the landing zone, visualize in your mind how you would land the bike and how it would feel. Perhaps even take your bike for a trial ride (without jumping) and ride over the bumps a few times just to get familiar with it.
Beginners always start small, just for safety reasons. In all likelihood, your first jump won't be a real jump. It will be a step-up, a little elevation on the track.
Basically, it's just a tiny bump to get you familiarized with the feeling of a jump. Keep at it until you can stably make a successful “jump”. Aim to get one wheel off the ground first, then eventually both. You do this by increasing speed slowly.
We understand that you might feel a bit of peer pressure with other masterful riders zipping and zooming off high jumps and doing insane tricks, but everyone has got to start somewhere, right? Maybe a private track or isolated environment would put you more at ease.
Watch and Learn
A lot of you might not be practicing with a veteran, so you find yourself here reading through instructions. But a great way to learn is with a hands-on approach, such as trying yourself with smaller jumps or watching the more professional riders. Keep an eye on how they make the jump, from the big movements to the minute details.
When in doubt, why not reach out? Ask the more seasoned riders questions, some of them may be more than happy to help.
Perfect the Technique
Here is where it gets tricky. It’s hard to show you in words how exactly to contort your body, but here goes.
You need to be in a stable position. The central standing position is where you get the most balance. Step firmly on the footpegs with your knees slightly bent with your upper body leaning forward towards the handlebars.
If done correctly, your head should be over the handlebars and your elbows should be bent, but remember to keep them up. Don’t let them drop below the handlebars – point them straight out to the sides.
You control the body of the bike with the power of your knees. Squeeze it with your knees and with the help of your calves, take the pressure off your feet but still remain in a semi-relaxed position.
As you approach the jump, accelerate on the throttle ever so gently. Make sure it’s a gradual process; you don’t want to face plant. Keep a steady grip on the throttle, it’s easy to twist it without realizing.
Only use low gear during jumps. As you perfect jumps, you will automatically get a feel for which gear works best for which jumps.
For the landing, you need to grip the sides of your bike with your knees as you would a horse for control. This ensures stability and your legs will absorb the impact of the ground rather than your hindquarters or any other body part that may not take it so well. Right before you land, accelerate on the throttle to keep your bike going.
Types of Jumps
As mentioned, start with the step-ups first. Once you’ve mastered those, move on to the tabletops. Resembling the top of a table, tabletop jumps have an elevated plateau.
Doubles and triples are up next. This just means jumping over 2 or 3 hills one after another. After that becomes second nature, you can try to jump over 2 or 3 at once.
What do you need to keep yourself safe?
Try not to land on both wheels at the same time, as it will increase the chances of losing balance.
Always try to keep your weight centered so you don’t tip upon landing.
If you do start to tip in midair, angle your wheel forward and keep your body in line with the front wheel. That's the best you can do in hoping for a smooth landing.
If you are on a public track, watch out for other riders and make sure to keep out of each other’s way.
Remember to practice, practice, practice!
A part of the learning curve involves falling and getting back on the bike – it’s a test of resilience and determination. Don’t lose patience and keep trying, you’ll get it one day.
Being aware of the dangers that come with riding and the potential mishaps that may happen can also help you better prepare and prevent any accidents from happening.
And this might be simple, but make sure you have a proper upkeep of your dirt bike to ensure it's always in the best condition to minimize risks. See our tips on how to clean the air filter of a dirt bike too!
Remember these tips and good luck on your next jump!
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