Watch: How to Whip Small Jumps on a MTB

So you want to throw huge whips like pros do over giant tables and doubles, but you’re riding small jumps like these. While it’s not easy to throw huge whips over small jumps, you can make the most of them. Today, I’m going to show you how.

First of all, you’ll need a jump with a separate lip and landing, like a tabletop or a double. You’ll also need to be adept at jumping already, since throwing a nice whip means making it look easy.

Most mountain bike trails have things you can launch off of but that doesn’t mean they’re ideal for whips. A purpose built jump with a landing is what you’re looking for.

Since small jumps only provide limited airtime, you’ll need to boost it as high as you can. Whips require a lot of time in the air if you want to make them look stylish. If you can’t boost jumps yet, watch some tutorials and practice before moving on.

Learn to jump smoothly, or make it down the transition without slamming your bike or your rear wheel. Sometimes this means landing a little nose heavy which we’ll get back to in a minute.

Now, you want to experiment with leaning to one side when you take off. If you’re
an experienced jumper you’ll naturally try to compensate by bringing your front wheel straight again. This is a good thing, and it’s the key to doing a whip. Throwing a whip starts with taking off at an angle, and the rest of it is bringing your bike back to hit the landing. What you’ll end up with is this squirming motion like you see here. Tweaking this out is how you get a nice whip.

Now it becomes apparent that you can’t always land totally straight, and this is okay most of the time. Since your rear wheel might still be kicked out a bit when landing, you want to keep your weight off of it until you’re rolling away. I find it useful to land a little bit nose heavy so that the front wheel—the one that’s straight, takes the brunt of the landing. This makes your whip look smoother and more natural.

And that’s the point of a whip; to look smooth and bad ass. Even a barely perceivable whip done smoothly looks better than a huge whip done sloppily, in my opinion. In any action sport, you could define “style” as making things look easy. Everyone has their own style, and no two riders will whip or do anything the same. Even if you’re not throwing giant tweaked out whips, you can work on making your current whips look smoother, which is really the important part.

Now for some tips. When you’re learning, increase your tire pressure so your crooked landings don’t result in flat tires. Also, like any type of jump tricks, you should drop your saddle way lower than usual. Most people will feel comfortable whipping a certain way, so if you find a jump that’s hips in that direction it actually makes it a little easier to land smoothly. If you’re catching your rear wheel hard on landings, try tilting your bike more, and pushing your rear out less.

Do you guys have any tips for whipping small jumps? What size of jump do you think is the smallest you can get away with? Share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll see you next time.

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