How To Become A Better Mountain Biker: Jumps

Hugo Magnusson
July 10, 2023

When it comes to pushing the limits of mountain biking, few events captivate the imagination and showcase the art of jumping quite like Redbull Rampage. Held annually in the rugged landscapes of Utah, Redbull Rampage brings together the world's most fearless riders who soar through the air with awe-inspiring grace and precision. If you've ever found yourself mesmerised by their jaw-dropping tricks and incredible airtime, you may be wondering how you too can elevate your jumping skills to new heights.

Here are five points to help you improve your jumping skills with a mountain bike on jumps with kickers:

  • Develop proper body positioning: Maintaining the right body position is crucial for successful jumps. Keep your knees and elbows slightly bent, with your weight centred and low on the bike. As you approach the jump, lean slightly back to counterbalance the bike's upward trajectory.
  • Master the pump technique: The pump technique involves compressing and releasing your bike's suspension to generate momentum. If there is a downward slope before the jump compress the suspension, then explosively extend your arms and legs as you transition into the upward slope, propelling yourself into the air. This will give you more air time in a controlled manner.
  • Find the right speed: This is one of the hardest aspects to master and where confidence is key. When coming in to a jump, normally your instincts tell you to hit the brakes and slow down but this will often lead you to end up too short and instead land on the knuckle with a lot of impact. Not ideal for the wrists. When finding a new jump, do a couple of speed checks and slowly roll over the jump or, in case of a gap, stop right before the lip and then try ta calculate how much speed you need to clear it to the landing. The best thing is if you have other people around you who have already hit the jumps and who can tow you in to the jump with the right speed. Or if you are a couple of mates, work together to find the right speed and do some party train laps together in a collective, supportive manner. From experience I've learnt that the key and biggest challenge is to have confidence enough to tell your brain NO when it wants you to hit the brakes right before take-off, trust yourself that you've made the correct speed estimate and go for it!
  • Learn to time your take-off and pop accordingly: Timing is crucial when it comes to jumping. Approach the jump with an appropriate speed, and as you reach the lip, extend your legs and push down on the pedals while pulling up on the handlebars to launch yourself into the air. This is also called popping and will give you more control in the air by taking charge of the take-off to find the right balance. The opposite would be to just effortlessly follow the bike over the lip and will most probably result in very little balance in the air and the classic "Dead Sailor" position. Something we do not recommend unless you are looking to feature on Pinkbike's Fail Friday segment.
  • Land Smoothly and Absorb Impact: Landing properly is essential to maintain control and prevent crashes. Aim to land with both wheels simultaneously, keeping your bike level. Bend your knees and use your arms and legs as suspension to absorb the impact, allowing for a smooth and controlled landing.


The one trick to rule them all! We have all seen the pros go massive at Redbull Rampage and The Dark Series while stylishly whipping the bike sideways before pulling it back for landing. You don't have to go massive to pull this off, even just a couple of inches of the ground you can make the airtime look stylish. The first step is to tweak the handlebar after popping into the air. Pull one side down towards yourself and the ground, then press your feet in the opposite direction of the downward pointing handlebar to move the rear of the bike sideways.To get the bike into landing mode, turn the handlebar and press your feet back towards the original positions. You might also need to push the opposite side of the handlebar a little extra and lean forward to get it back in time. And remember to keep your vision towards where you are going in the landing.



When you are hitting drops with a flat take off and without a kicker it's important that you lean back a bit in the take off to avoid your front wheel of diving. You don't want to pop too much in the take off since you will then get more impact in the landing. So you kind of want to squash the take-off while keeping the bike straight and in control.

Remember, practice and patience are key when it comes to improving your jumping skills. Start small, focus on technique, and gradually progress as you build confidence and experience. Confidence is key while mastering jumps so again, start with smaller jumps to build confidence and progressively work your way up. Practice on jump lines or at dedicated jump parks that offer various sizes of jumps, allowing you to increase your skill level gradually and comfort zone. Always prioritise safety and wear appropriate protective gear while attempting jumps. And of course, have fun!

If you are new to jumping and prefer to learn the art of jumping by watching video instead, we highly recommend taking a look at the below video from Global Mountain Bike Network:

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