Dirt Bike Jumping – What and What Not To Do

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Dirt bike jumping can be one of the most amazing feelings in the world – or it can be one of the scariest things you’ve ever experienced. Most of us know what it’s like to hit a jump and go into a nose dive, pull an air-wheelie or even worse, miss the down ramp! It’s definitely a gut wrenching feeling and often has bone breaking consequences.

Next time you’re out hitting motocross jumps, step-ups or natural hill sides – think about these tips…

How To Jump A Dirt Bike:

Most often it’s best to be in the central standing position. When approaching the jump it’s important to choose a good line and the correct gear. You don’t want to hit it at an odd angle which could kick the rear out or send you off to the side. And you want to use an eventhrottle, or slightly accelerating as you leave the up-ramp. As you become better you can back off the throttle just as you leave the up-ramp which will help direct the front of the bike down for the landing over steeper jumps.

If you accelerate too much it can send you into an air-wheelie styled jump. If this happens, lean as far forward as you can, pull the clutch in and tap the rear brake to try pull the front of the bike down. Of course, if you’re upside down already this won’t work ;-). 

If you back off the throttle too much when hitting the up-ramp, this will send you into a nose dive. This one’s scarier than the air-wheelie. To lift the front back up, you want to get the rear wheel spinning as fast as you can by accelerating in the air. These techniques do work, but only to a certain extent.

When landing, use your legs to help absorb the impact and remember to keep your elbows out and your wrists straight. This helps spread the pressure evenly through your arms, chest and shoulders, so you don’t damage your wrists.  Oh, and be sure to use a good quality chest protector, as your first few times you’re sure to crash at least once.

Always accelerate just before landing. This not only makes you faster on the track, but directs the bike in a straight line (esp. important in rutted/uneven terrain).

Dirt Bike Jumping: Extra Tips

  • If you cross it up (when the bike goes sideways in the air), try not to panic. Keep your body in line with the front suspension and accelerate before landing. You’ll be surprised at what you can pull out of by doing this.
  • If you come up short (or case out), stay on the bike. Rev the bike hard before landing to tighten up the chain and stiffen the suspension. Use the bikes suspension to absorb the brunt of the impact – your legs can only take so much before they snap!
  • Most importantly… Check the jump and landing first! Ride next to it if you can or better yet, watch someone else jump it to get an idea of speed, entry line etc.
  • Remember if you’re jumping the ridge of a hill, make sure you know there’s no one else coming from the other side. Two experienced riders here in N.Z died when they hit each other on their home track doing just this. Tragic.

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Jim Harmer

I'm the co-owner of Dirt Bike Planet. I live in Star, Idaho and enjoy dirt biking with my wife and two boys throughout the Idaho mountains.

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