- do's and don'ts
- Über uns
Pull on the handlebars, move your body weight back. Aim to get your centre of gravity over the bike's bottom bracket. If you get this right it will take the weight off the front wheel and shouldn’t take too much effort from your arms to get it off the ground and into the all-important balance point. Use your rear brake if needed. Keep your arms pretty much straight and look straight ahead. Keep one finger on the rear brake lever. A manual is easier to achieve on a slightly inclined road.
Stretch your arms while still firmly gripping the handlebar, and achieve balance while being seated and pedalling forwards. It is easier to achieve a wheelie on a slight gradient. You’re aiming for the same feeling you get when you pedal hard on an uphill climb and the front wheel lightens due to how hard you’re driving the pedals and using the rear brake. Keep your arms straight and balance out any wobbling motion by using your knees. As with the manual, keep looking straight ahead.
With arms and legs slightly bent shift your centre of gravity towards the rear wheel of the bike and pull back on the handlebars, causing the front wheel to lift. At the same lift your hip and move it diagonally forwards, towards the bar to apply backwards and upwards force to the pedals, while pushing down and forward on the handlebars. Apply a weighting compression force downwards into bars and pedals to achieve an undulating movement, with both wheels touching the floor at the same time. Make sure your arm and leg joints are relaxed.
Steep bends and gradients
Reduce speed before entering the bend and turn your head towards the exit of the bend. Loosen the brakes and position your balance point centrally. Thus, the shocks are evenly stressed and speed can be generated by dynamically pushing the arms forward. Scan the ground for possible obstacles and position your bike at an angle of 90° to the ground with your pedals in horizontal position.
By dynamically pushing the handlebar (front wheel) forward with your arms and at the same time bending your knees you can prevent somersaulting over the handlebar, as your balance point is put behind the bike’s centre. As soon as the rear wheel has passed the step, the balance point is put back in central position. This technique can only be applied as long as the bottom bracket does not hit the ground.
Drop - passive
Roll over the drop edge at a reduced speed and push your front wheel forward and perpendicular over the drop. At the same time bend your knees in order to create more space for the rear frame of your bike. Keep your eyes on the anticipated landing spot and keep your body stretched while in the air. Stretch your arms and knees before landing so they can absorb the pressure caused by the landing. Only brake once you have landed safely.
Drop – active
Slow down and jump actively with both wheels in the air. As you get closer, look for the landing spot but keep your head up. As you approach the edge, relax your body and, depending on the incline of the landing, push the bike forwards with your arms. Stand in your neutral position and stay loose and relaxed so your joints can absorb the pressure caused by the landing. In the case of steep inclines try to land with your front wheel first.
By dynamically bending your knee joints into compression, the shocks are “preloaded”, which allows you to pull the bike out of the jump while snapping your arms, legs and feet from bent to straight. In order to stay safe while in the air you should keep your body tense and focus on the anticipated landing spot. Push the front wheel forward and absorb the pressure caused by the landing with your joints. Try to land on both wheels if landing on a slight inclination but on the front wheel only if landing somewhere steep.
A Pre-Jump is nothing else than a bunny hop so the movement during the build-up to the manoeuvre is identical. The two techniques differ in terms of landing. As the landing spot will always be in a sloping area the rear wheel is higher up than the front wheel. By applying the pre-jump technique you avoid going too far and landing on the flat. Furthermore, this technique builds up momentum if applied correctly.
The pre-jump technique can be applied almost anywhere.
Freeride, Cross Country
Freeriding and cross-country routes usually have a variety of trenches, bumps and obstacles that have to be navigated at high speed. Most bikes (RaceFully, All Mountain Fully) have a shorter deflection but as the speed is relatively high and inclined landing spots are short you should jump earlier in order to prevent landing on the flat. Landing on the flat is not only bad for the bike but also reduces speed and stability.
All downhill routes have drops that are usually approached at high speed. You can navigate such obstacles by
a) actively pushing the drop in case you are too late for braking,
b) braking just before the drop and aiming at the landing spot precisely,
c) or by applying the pre-jump
If applying the pre-jump you are jumping several metres before the ledge, which allows you to land safely even at a high speed and thus maintaining the speed.
Execution and effect
Preparation: Cycle towards an obstacle – a trench or drop – at high speed. After accelerating, stand up so you are positioned centrally over the bike. Keep your arms and knees slightly bent and your sight on the ledge ahead rather than the point you will jump off from. Your pedals should be in a horizontal position.
Jumping: Depending on your speed you bunny hop one or two bike lengths before the ledge. Lift your front wheel first, then the rear wheel. Rocks or roots are ideal ledges to jump off from. Try not to jump too high but rather stay close to the ground.
Pushing: Stretch your arms as soon as the front wheel has passed the ledge, and push the front wheel in the direction of the anticipated landing spot. Position your bike parallel to the landing point as soon as the rear wheel passes the ledge, and push the bike with arms and feet to allow both wheels to touch the ground at the same time.
Landing: Absorb the pressure of the landing with arms and legs as soon as the wheels touch the ground. By pushing your bike further into the compression you gain speed.
It is easy to learn how to do a pre-jump. Keep trying to navigate obstacles and jumping of different ledges at different speed levels.