People who like adrenaline sports could enjoy dirt jumping. However, knowing how to ride a bike is not enough to do it. You need to master this art in order to avoid injuries and to do it like a professional because this maneuver is not easy at all. You need to learn the proper techniques and to have the right equipment. Some confidence along the way is required and recommended as well, especially if you’re an experienced rider. For those who lack experience, practice is required until achieving a good riding level.
Let’s explain first the basics of the dirt jumps.
The definition of dirt jumps and bikes
Dirt jumps are the name of the type of jump done over a concrete, dirt, or soil surface and becoming airborne. After that, the rider is supposed to land safely on the ground. Although other vehicles can be used, it is common to use a dirt jump bike for this matter.
A street BMX bike has a shorter top tube than the BMX bike made for dirt jumping. Other than this, the dirt jump bike can be reinforced, with treaded tires and large padded seats that make the landing smoother. For example, there is a Hybrid BMX/Jump bike – a scaled-up BMX with 24-inch wheels that has strong alloy rims and a lightweight Chromoly frame and that allows it bigger jumps and more challenging competition courses. Although dirt Jump/Freestyle mountain bikes look similar to mountain bikes, they usually have a more rigid frame and a lower standover height which helps to keep the seat out of the way while jumping or performing any other demanding maneuver. Some of the frames have short travel rear suspension to allow single-speed use. The wheels are usually bigger than a mountain bike’s. Firm suspension is desirable for dirt jumping.
Now that we have explained the basic things about dirt jumping bikes, we will move on to the equipment you need to do this sort of activity.
The protection for your head
Dirt jumping is a sport that can lead you to different injuries. One of the most serious ones is the head injury, so make sure you always wear a good helmet. Find a comfortable helmet and that way you will get used to wearing it every time you go dirt jumping. Helmets can be with an open face or full face. It is understandable to go with an open-face helmet on a very hot day, but if you don’t want any risk at all, then full face protection is the best option for you. Don’t be dissuaded by the price of some of the helmets because your health is priceless.
Protection for your knees
After the head, the knees should be the next body part that is fully protected. You can get knee pads for that matter and you will be protected from bailouts that happen from time to time. Even if you crash, they can reduce the impact of the accident and will make you more confident since you will know you are protected and won’t be worried that much during your performance.
The flat pedals
It is inevitable to bail at some point as we marked before. Since this can’t be fully avoided, it can be at least reduced. Flat pedals are one of the ways to do it. They allow you to play more while handling the jump, you can try some new positions or tricks you have learned. Combine good flat pedals with a pair of solid flat sneakers as well and you will be set for dirt jumps.
Protection for your hands
Last but not least, your hands deserve some protection as well. Get a good pair of gloves that will keep them protected from dirt, concrete, mulch pits, and sweat as well since you will control any slips off your hand off the steering wheel. Your grip will be firmer with the gloves and this can make you feel more comfortable and confident.
Now that we have explained the basics about the most important equipment for the dirt jumps, let’s add some information about the physical preparation for them.
Have the right body position
Staying in the right position is a crucial step because if you’re in a sitting position you won’t be able to land well so it is important that you stand, not sit. Your upper body should be at a 45-degree angle with your hips and your knees should be squeezing your bike. Don’t be too far nor too forward nor too far back. These positions are not natural, just try to stay in a neutral position because you want your weight distribution to be balanced. Any change in this can cause problems like falling on your back.
Your throttle needs to be as smooth as it could be. You should be comfortable with your pace and stick to it. The throttle must not be let go too fast or be twisted too quickly. Be moderate and never aggressive with the throttle as a beginner. If you don’t do so, your body might be out of balance. It is crucial that the body position and the throttle delivery be synchronized.
The landing is the last step if you have done everything correctly, but it is not the least important one for certain. Keep squeezing the bike with your knees both while in the air and when you’ve landed. It is highly recommended to distribute your landing onto both tires at the same time. This has to be practiced. The type of landing area is important as well since the flat terrain will make you land a little bit more on a back tire. Make sure you know your terrain before dirt jumping.
Like every adrenaline sport, dirt jumping brings along some risks and it is up to you to prevent possible accidents and to follow some steps in order to have a safe landing and successful and professional bike jumping. To sum it up, you need a good bike or if you don’t own one and can’t purchase it at the moment, consider a bike loan. The protection for your head, knees, and hands is crucial, and don’t go without it. Don¡t forget about the quality flat pedals that can help you a lot. Practice your body position and don’t worry if it’s not perfect in the beginning. Along with that, practice your throttle delivery and if everything is done correctly, make your landing safe and smooth. Soon, you will be able to perform bike dirt jumps as a true professional.