Jumps don’t always come as beautifully sculpted tabletops with crisp transitions and handcrafted lips. They can come in many shapes and forms on the trail and open up a whole new dimension to how fast you can go, which lines you can get to and how much flow you can find. Any jump that’s not straight is classed as a ‘hip’ and it takes a slightly more advanced technique to get it right. You’ll need to be a pretty relaxed and confident jumper to start with but by adding these tips into your ride and you’ll start to find that you can change direction like you never thought possible.
Your run-in is crucial and will be central to whether or not you’ll be able to make the distance, stay in control and get the right shape. Keep your head up and start to look for your destination. You’ll have to start turning slightly on the take-off, so keep your speed, stay relaxed and line it up. Just like the corners we’ve covered in the past, aim to make the whole process as smooth as possible. You’re looking to make the take-off, jump and landing all in one turn.
Use roots or bumps to take off mid-ride and start adding shape into your jumping, maybe before a corner or out of a rut
Your take-off should mimic how you would normally jump. Other than the angle you’re heading in, try to keep things as relaxed as you can. Ride with the trail and do as the trail allows. If the lip is steep it’ll mean you’ll be going high, if it’s super mellow then don’t go forcing height out of it. With steeper take-offs be prepared for the bike to react a bit more kicky and go with it by letting your body weight move with the bike rather than either sucking up all that energy or yanking on the bars and pedals.
Air part one
This is where things starts to get a bit tricky. With your wheels skyward you need to start looking for your landing spot as soon as you can. Once you can line it all up it’ll allow you to get your timings right. Use your head as a guide and as you spot your landing allow yourself to lean slightly to that side. How much you move will depend on how sharp a corner it is. By dropping your inside shoulder the bike will be able to maintain its curve both upwards and sideways.
Air part two
As you lean into the turn allow your inside shoulder to drop by pushing on the inside end of the handlebar. By extending your inside arm you’ll be able to lean more and look further into the landing. Look at the picture and you’ll see that the front wheel is almost turning the wrong direction. This allows the rider to extend his left arm (in this pic) even more. Relying on your arms and not your legs to angle the bike will keep the whole jump fluid. No more forcing your bike sideways with just your legs.
With any proper jump you should be landing at the same angle as the downslope and front wheel first. Hip jumps are no different. In fact, landing your front wheel first will help to pull your whole bike straight if you’ve got everything a bit too sideways. Just remember to get the front wheel pointing in the right direction.