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Discussion Starter #1
Getting airborne is not my happy place.

When I was a kid we used to build ramps and jump stuff all the time but I'm a fat old man now. The problem is that when you go to trail centres there are drops and jumps on all but the tamest trails, so you have to deal with them.

A year or so ago I saw this LINK and thought it was a splendid idea. Big thanks to this Seth guy for taking the time to put, not just this but so much other helpful stuff on the net. This way I can practice going over and over a ramp until I really feel comfortable with it. So I finally got the wood and made one:

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Now I know that most of you guys are laughing at my little ramp but trust me, when you're fifty and not very good at jumping this is one intimidating hunk of plywood. I accidentally made mine slightly higher than Seth's, which maybe wasn't too clever ;0)

The idea is that you can roll over it and build up your speed gradually, but it doesn't quite work that way. Yes, you can roll over it but if you go a little faster you hit.... the opposite of a sweet-spot. Your front wheel spikes into the air but crashes down, missing the back of the ramp, while your back wheel is still on the ramp. Pretty horrible. You either roll it or or go fast enough to get fully airborne.

Thankfully, once you commit to flight it feels ok. The bike follows a natural-feeling path and, as long as you do the right things, it works out. My son and I had a play on it this afternoon and here's what I've learned so far.

Commit. Half-hearted efforts will punish you.

Get the seat the heck out of the way. I think it's the kicker nature of the ramp but it really throws the bike up at you. If the seat is not slammed it's going to buck you into next week.

Get back. If your weight is not right back you're going down noise first, which is horrible. Get this bit right and the landing will take care of itself.

So thanks for the great idea Seth. I haven't crashed yet but I think it's inevitable so I'm not going over the ramp without being fully padded up. My son is jumping about two-feet further than me but he's a teenager and I'm just happy to be not crashing so I don't mind ;0)
 

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...Get back. If your weight is not right back you're going down noise first, which is horrible. Get this bit right and the landing will take care of itself...
I'm not amazing at jumping or anything, but you probably want to have a balanced weight distribution. Putting your weight back will just load up your rear shock and lead to a nose case.

Nice ramp though. Are you putting it above a slope or just hucking it to flat?
 

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It's funny, I had no issues jumping a 240 lb motorcycle overr 110' triple jumps, 4th gear hard on the throttle, where if you were off line, a lovely kicker sent you sideways.

Yet, on a bicycle, I struggle to get off the ground.

We did a downhill day a while back, and I just could NOT get my Remedy comfortably off the ground. However, after multiple adjustments, I ended up doing pretty well by slowing my rebound down considerably in the rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Putting your weight back will just load up your rear shock and lead to a nose case.
Right now I'm just doing what works. If I don't get off the back of the bike it nose-dives. When I take off the seat is coming up to my chest, and that's with it right down.

Are you putting it above a slope or just hucking it to flat?
Flat. Never even thought about anything else! It will fit in the car so we can take it other places if we want but we can get up enough speed coming down the drive to get in big trouble as it is. Maybe one day I'll be good enough at this to try bigger stuff but I doubt it. If I can cope with small to medium drops and jumps at trail centres I'll be happy. Takes too long to heal at my age.

However, after multiple adjustments, I ended up doing pretty well by slowing my rebound down considerably in the rear.
Yeah, I run my shock like that too. I don't like the back end too lively. I have a lot more compression and rebound damping on the rear. It's probably 'wrong' but there you go ;0)
 

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My 0.02...

Drops are easier than jumps. Work with drops first if you can. To me the key to doing a good drop or a good jump are similar, but you don't necessarily have to do what I'm going to say with drops, and that is preloading.

I typically preload off of drops to get better air and control the angle I land at, but you don't have to, you can just roll off them. You can do that with jumps as well, but you may find that with a jump, the lip may do some weird stuff to you if you don't preload.

You definitely do want to come back in your manual type position after you preload off a ramp like the one you've shown. It will help your back tire come off the jump properly... if you just ram into it flat it will feel like the jump is deflecting you backwards... well, because it is. You want to match the angle of your takeoff with your preload. This is why drops are easier, there's no lip.

My suggestion is keep playing with your wood ramp, because it looks good. You can build a simple "fun box", basically a 4x8 piece of plywood reinforced with a 2x4 frame to make a landing ramp. You can put that at different angle or up at a height to practice difference landing scenarios. You could even set the fun box off a ledge and practice drops.

At the trail center though, practice those drops. My suggestion for now would be to absorb the jumps for now and keep low until you master preloading off a drop at the trail center. Once you feel like you are popping off those flat launches (drops), then start to progress to doing the same thing with jumps. I still find that the ones with wonky lips to be less than elegant air time, but I don't crash them. Sometimes the lips are just less than ideal on heavily ridden trails, so you just deal with it. Use your speed, preload and launch angle and just land it like it throws you, as long is you aren't getting tossed over the bars, you'll live.

Good luck, and have fun. You can learn to jump well without hurting yourself. I did.
 

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Tell us what parts you're using.
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Learning to jump is hard. If you can, get someone to coach you in person on this.

Asking the internet for helps on jumps is just going to get you pissed off. People who are really good at jumping will give you lots of advice on advanced stuff you're not ready for.

I will tell you from personal experience, you do not want to land rear wheel first. It hurts when your front wheel washes out and you're in the dirt.

I'm working on landing both wheels at the same time. And yes, it's scary but you'll get there :)

Drops are a mental thing with me and I have a hard time with them, but I'm working on them and jumping right now.

Are you using an mtb or DJ for learning to jump?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm using a 30lb full-sus bike. That's the bike I need to be able to jump. My son has a steel hard-tail.

When I was a kid I always used to land either both together or rear first. There was a time when I could choose! ;0) I destroyed my bike jumping it. Bikes back then were not designed for that kind of abuse.

I'm worse at drops than jumps. I can do drops up to about a foot. I know what you mean about pre-loading off drops, my son does that. He hops over the edge of the drop so he doesn't touch the lip of the drop at all. It looks very smooth and cool. I can't do it.

I don't understand what you mean by this 'fun-box'? I can't picture that at all.
 

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Yeah. Mtcl was easy. Mtb not. Throttle/clutch make a big diff.

On the ramp: Going up isn't scary, it's the coming down. A tabletop is a good place to start as there is no drop beyond how high you launch.
 

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If you can lift 30lbs, you can jump the **** out of it ;) It's all timing and preloading.

This is the best pic I could find of a fun box:

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It's the basic idea, but we didn't build them with legs. We'd just stack them on stuff like 4x4s, cinder blocks, whatever... just something stable.

Basically think of building a 2x4 framed wall and putting a piece of plywood over it. It's just a platform that can be angled or raised. Or just left flat and used as a nice landing surface. The 2x4 framing will make it nice and stiff you can launch onto and off of it. Just a piece of plywood is too flexy.

You can also take a couple and angle them up trees and make 1/4 pipes, berms, whatever. It's like the most basic bike/skate park building block.

As far as those drops. Practice preloading off those little ones. The flatter the take-off, the better. Real steep drops I just roll and get my ass over the rear wheel. Also if you guys have little 4" or so logs across the trail at any point, practice preloading off those. Not bunny hopping, just loading up like you will bunny hop, the as your front tire hits, let the bike get light and the same with the rear tire. You may not get any air, that's not the point, it's to feel preloading and releasing the wheels. When you get the timing perfect you can fly right over stuff like that without hopping or losing much speed. It's like a prelude to pumping.
 

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Oh, one other tip that will help with pouncing off stuff. Lower your rebound settings on your shocks. Set the bike up so it's a bit bouncy. That will help you with the feel but it might suck to ride on other stuff. Once you get some feel for it, you can add some back and change your timing a bit. Also adding a touch more air in the springs might help. FS will want to absorb bumps, you want them to toss you, so a little help in the other direction while practicing may help you get the feel. Once you feel that preload and pop, it's just timing and confidence.
 

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If you can do proper manuals and bunnyhops, then you can do drops and jumps. just have to work on speed and timing. There are videos explaining this much better than I could.

Nice ramp though. Jumps about that size are my comfort zone too :).
 

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My buddy recently built one just like it, it's a good design and super fun.


I'm not amazing at jumping or anything, but you probably want to have a balanced weight distribution. Putting your weight back will just load up your rear shock and lead to a nose case.
I'm not a great jumper either but it sure seemed like I had to start the jump with my weight back in a semi-manuel position and then level it out or else it tended to nose dive on me. Its fun getting the hang of the weight distribution and I could either land it flat or rear wheel first. Next I want to practice crossing it up a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you can do proper manuals and bunnyhops, then you can do drops and jumps.
Well, I can't do either of those! Guess I'm kinda learning backwards here eh?

The other thing I need to learn is how to keep my feet on the pedals. Not been a big issue today but if I'm not careful I can easily 'float' my feet up off the pedals. I did do it a couple of times today but got away with it. Has caused me to almost crash in the past. I think it's due to subconsciously trying to pull the bike up with your arms and legs.

I see what you mean about the box now. I think you overestimate my skill level somewhat ;0)
 

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I have to admit, I'm more comfortable in the air on my 26er than my 29er, just seems like less bike to manage. I'm not really a jumper. There is a bridge on one trail I ride that I would huck a bit off the end and jump over the down ramp, probably a 2 foot drop. I've not really gained the confidence to do it on my 29er, seems like I did once and didn't get my weight back and landed more forward that I would have like to whereas I was landing pretty flat on the 26er. There is a little 1ft drop on a trail I ride a lot that I sessioned a couple of months ago on my 26er SS; I need to do the same on my 29er.

I'm also old.
 

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Don't need to know how to manual, don't need to know how to hop. Just need to know how to push down and make the front wheel heavy and then light, and same with the back. And know how to shift weight to the back of the bike.

Wheels don't matter. 29ers feel a little more awkward at first, but it's all the same. Get the seat out of the way, that's a big show stopper. Can you jump with a seat up high? Yeah, I used to do it all the time. Now? No effin' way. Too easy to get bucked over the bars and I'm too old for that ****. You guys are too because you're older than me ;)
 

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Well, I can't do either of those! Guess I'm kinda learning backwards here eh?

The other thing I need to learn is how to keep my feet on the pedals. Not been a big issue today but if I'm not careful I can easily 'float' my feet up off the pedals. I did do it a couple of times today but got away with it. Has caused me to almost crash in the past. I think it's due to subconsciously trying to pull the bike up with your arms and legs.

I see what you mean about the box now. I think you overestimate my skill level somewhat ;0)
Are you trying to start a clipless vs. flats thread? ;)
 

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Landing front wheel first is actually a little softer than flat or rear wheel first. You have to get used to the feeling of nosing down though.

Keep your weight centered over the bike instead of back. You tell the bike what to do in the air rather than simply having your carcass along for the ride on the flying bike.
 

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If I don't get off the back of the bike it nose-dives. When I take off the seat is coming up to my chest, and that's with it right down.

I have a lot more compression and rebound damping on the rear. It's probably 'wrong' but there you go ;0)
When I was a kid I always used to land either both together or rear first. There was a time when I could choose!
The other thing I need to learn is how to keep my feet on the pedals.
Get back. If your weight is not right back you're going down noise first, which is horrible. Get this bit right and the landing will take care of itself.
I like jumps a LOT. I'm not amazing at them (i started mtb too late in life i think), but i will seek out every possible thing to hop, and then hop when there's no reason. I think i'll always be working towards jump mastery and never really be totally proficient. When i'm confident i do it right; stay centered on the bike, push in to the lip, let the bike ride up close to me, and now i have room to wiggle/kink the bars, take a hand off, whip, and choose which wheel lands where. It feels awesome.

When i'm nervous or scared i do what i think you're doing and use the bike as a shield. I roll my weight back on to the rear wheel and stiffen up, and the jump sends me where i go. I never get to pull the bike in close, so i lose the ability to pick my landing with arm/leg extension. I lose the distance i get from pressing in to the jump, so i don't go as far (big problem when hitting doubles!), and since the bike and i aren't flying as a unit i rely on my clipless pedals to keep us together.

I've mostly overcome it buy popping off every little stick in the trail- when i do it right a pool cue size stick sends me soaring, so i get the feedback on my technique. I still screw up with depressing regularity though, so i doubt i'll ever hit the big boy doubles.


Fun!!!
 
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