There’s more than one way to get air on a mountain bike, but the most common method is to ride a launch, otherwise known as a lip. By continuing along the trajectory of a lip, you and your bike become airborne. The other way is to bunny hop, which is using your own power to jump a bike from flat.
Jumping requires special terrain, and bunny hopping requires a ton of energy. But there’s a technique you can use to achieve the best of both worlds. Today, we’ll learn how to bump jump.
Bump jumping dramatically expands your playground by effectively turning roots, logs, and rocks into launches.
Start with something about 3 inches high which would normally jar your bike pretty good. You’ll need to be traveling at a decent clip. Shift your weight back and pull on your handlebars lightly. The bump will send your front end straight up.
Immediately after, your rear wheel will hit the bump and pop up too, so you need to be prepared to suck your legs up and let the bike do its thing. This part is especially important since a bump jump can send you into a nosedive if you’re not careful. By sucking your legs up, your taking control of where the bike will go, instead of letting it buck you forwards.
As you get a feel for it, you can jump your body upwards as the front wheel hits the bump. Cooperating with the bump like this can multiply its effect and give you some pretty impressive air. If bump jumping looks a lot like bunny hopping, that’s because it is. The difference though is that the bump is doing the heavy lifting, while you just need to worry about controlling your bike.
If you already know how to do jumps and bunny hops, then bump jumps will be much easier to learn. I will say that dropping your saddle greatly increases the height you can get.
Here’s little feature in my local park that I’d normally need to bunny hop. By letting my front and back wheel smack into this root I’m hopping up it smoothly with very little energy. While bunny hops require a massive preload, you can see that bump jumps are just a matter of pulling back a bit as your front wheel hits.
While you can do this on a rigid, a full suspension, or a hardtail, I find that nice fat tires are ideal. If you’re running inner tubes you’ll have a pretty high risk of getting a pinch flat, so you probably don’t want to do this on blunt objects like curbs, at least until you get the hang of it.
Once you’re adept at bump jumping, you’ll find that even parking blocks and speed bumps can become launches.
I haven’t seen a lot of bump jump tutorials for mountain bikers, but I know for a fact that many of you are already doing this. This is a staple technique in BMX, and some mountain bikers do this already without even putting a name to it. By being mindful of this, you can clear a whole patch of roots just by hitting the first one. What do you guys think? Have you already been doing bump jumps, but calling them something different? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll see you next time.