Jumping your bike isn’t just about looking like Robbie Maddison, it’s a useful skill for clearing obstacles when out on the trails. Clive Rumbold talks us through the technique required and shows you how to jump a motorcycle like a pro.
Apart from it being fun to do and entertaining to watch, over and above this, jumping your motorcycle can have lots of uses in an off-road environment.
Off-road bikes are generally kitted out with superb suspension systems – this makes life easier when you go over pot holes, puddles, logs etc. It can be a much smoother, refined journey though, if you can jump your bike over these obstacles.
Photo: Matthew Coote
This skill is about the art of timing, balance, control and commitment, because if not performed correctly, it could go spectacularly wrong! As such, we would definitely recommend riders who have never tried this before to get professional training.
You can use this technique on most motorbikes, but trail/off-road bikes are generally the easier bikes to jump.
Find a suitable feature to jump the bike over. A raised surface lip (on the point of take-off) is ideal – you can also jump your bike off a flat lipped surface or even a dip – but more effort will be required.
It is not necessarily about the speed you are travelling at the point of take-off. It helps, but a bit of momentum will help carry the bike more distance if needed.
You should be stood on the pegs with MotoScotland’s proprietary ‘Head Up’ (i.e. looking at the distant head level balance point). Your body weight should be slightly back in anticipation of jumping the bike – as this helps lighten up the front end. Your state of mind should be relaxed, calm and decisive.
Setting off towards your jumping feature, accelerate up to around 15-20mph (although this can be done at other speeds). The bike engine should be in the middle of the rev band, ready to go when later needed, so make sure the correct gear is selected.
As you approach the jumping point, raise your weight up in the foot pegs and then push down hard, bending your legs (as if you were jumping/bouncing on a bed to take off). The bike suspension will compress, bottom out and then start rising.
As the bike’s suspension is rising back up, you need to blip the throttle quickly to deliver a quick burst of power onto the back wheel – this is going to help you get the propulsion for the lift. It has to be an urgent throttle blip, not a steady opening of the throttle.
As you blip the throttle, you need to pull up the handlebars to help the front end of the bike up. This should all be completing just as the front wheel reaches the jumping point so that the bike takes off at the correct point.
If executed properly, the bike will take off smoothly and rise up in an arc and then land back down. It is essential that you keep your head up so that when you land, you land in balance and looking in the direction you wish to be travelling in.
If you are overzealous with the throttle blip, your body position or handlebar pull, it would be easy (depending on the power of the bike) to pull the bike back over yourself and crash! If the front wheel is coming up too far, you need to dab the back brake to send it back down.
Once you get the timing and control right, you will then be actively looking for suitable features to jump your bike off/over. Once you have it nailed, you’ll know how much fun it is and how it makes you feel alive and engaged with your bike.
As with everything on a motorbike, the more practice you have, the better you’ll get.