Video: Get Back Into Dirt Jumping With These Tips

Mar 29, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  


Want to get back into dirt jumping and re-live the glory days of your youth? Is your dirt jump bike sitting in the corner gathering dust? Christina Chappetta teams up with all round shredder Eric Lawrenuk to share some tips on getting back into dirt jumping.








113 Comments

  • 40 1
 Stay loose and mobile in the air, learn how to bail (and learn when you should), and don't be too proud to wear a full face.
  • 12 0
 I tell everyone I wear a full face because I don't want dentists to have more money to buy more Yetis. I hear mouth guards are important to preventing concussions for some reason, but I haven't taken that step yet
  • 2 0
 sums it up pretty nicely. thx
  • 6 0
 @getsendywithit: Dentists hate this guy!
  • 2 0
 Too true on that last bit - I was getting confident at our local park and hitting the XL lines and whatnot wearing my open face helmet.... and then I faceplanted on the pump track of all places. Wasn't too bad but it was a little humbling, could have been worse.
  • 1 0
 @rickster470: Ruby Hill?
  • 17 0
 I love videos about dirt jumping! I always thought I was pretty bad at it until I started getting better and realized the secret ingredient is practicing lol
  • 7 0
 agreed! I usually get on the little bike a few times a year and it takes me a while to warm up so I hope to put it to use even more now.
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: Haha, thats awesome! I've been thinking about getting a dj bike, is it worth it? I've been jumping for awhile now, and some of my friends are telling me to get a dj cuz ive been using my enduro bike lol.
  • 4 0
 @DAN-ROCKS: It's a game changer for sure, but my golden rule is never buy a bike you won't ride. I've got the time and jumps/skatepark near me to spend time on my DJ several time a week, so I spend a lot more time upgrading and maintaining my DJ than my trail bike (somehow).

Riding a dirt jumper makes the jumps way more fun. The bike is less forgiving, but the handling is miles better and pumping and popping with a hardtail DJ is very different than with a full squish. It takes some getting used to and plenty of practice, but it will make you a better rider on your enduro bike. I'd say you ought to borrow/rent a DJ from one of your buddies (beer is your friend here) for a full session or two, not just for ten minutes. If there's little things you don't like about the bike, that can be changed: DJ cockpits are simple and easy to replace. Just try to get a feel for riding a DJ on jumps and try out manuals, pump tracks, bunny hops, etc. If you wish you could keep riding it after a couple sessions, you should probably buy one, especially since you said you've been jumping for a while now! Good luck!
  • 3 0
 @getsendywithit: Thanks bro, thats great advice! I will fs try it!
  • 15 1
 As a less than expert rider, I've found that dirt jump is actually a fundamental skill to MTBing. Its like the pumptrack...a critical skill.
  • 5 0
 Totally agree! The basic bike makes you feel all the tiny movements and how they can be effective! It will make you a better rider in all aspects!
  • 4 0
 @lornny: yeah its been amazing how its opened up my riding a bit, that muscle memory TOTALLY comes alive on the trail and really saves your ass by simply having proper mechanics.
  • 5 0
 I have to agree with this. All my mistakes are magnified when riding my dirt jumper. It really seems to force me to be very precise with my riding. I also notice when I jump back on my enduro bike riding feels so easy by comparison.
  • 2 0
 @WalrusRider: Totally. I've been taking my dirt jumper to the skatepark a lot recently, and it feels like I'm a beginner again. I ride my dirt jumper a lot, but skatepark is pushing me like dirt jumps used to. The unforgiving transitions and weird transfers require such precise bike handling that it forces you to progress quite quickly. It's pretty scary too; Hitting a new transfer makes me feel like a kid again, working up to the large line of dirt jumps one feature at a time!
  • 2 1
 @getsendywithit: If you get a rigid fork for your dj, it'll make being precise at the skatepark a lot easier. DMR used to make the "trail blade", a rigid 20mm thru axle dj fork, not sure if they still make it, or something similar. I'm on my second trail blade. They're very tough, took me 7 years to break the first one, which was a long time compared to most parts at that time. It's better for being precise on dirt jumps too, as a commented in a lower thread.
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: Haha I'll pass on the rigid fork, I've considered it though. My fork is pumped up a lot, so it's not too bad to adjust to in the skatepark. I ride a lot of dirt jumps anyways, and having suspension has been a lifesaver (or at least it saved my wrists) on a few jumps in the last year; nose-heavy overshoots and nose cases happen :/
  • 11 0
 Love all of your content Christina! I really appreciate showing all the cases (no seriously). I find it really intimating watching all these DJ vids on youtube and insta, where everyone is smashing jumps. It makes DJ feel out of reach for someone just starting out. You really make everything about this sport so much more approachable. Cheers! Keep on, keepin' on!
  • 12 0
 Maybe this is too basic but..... Step one is really learning to bunnyhop. If you can’t bunnyhop you won’t know how to go off the lip properly.
  • 3 0
 It is not too basic. I'd say it is the fundamental skill for proper DJ. Bunnyhopping teaches you to: keep the pedals stuck to your feet, boost yourself out of danger, rotate the grips to nose in, unweight the system, preload, absorb landings, time a perfect two wheel landing. And more...
  • 3 0
 @iamamodel: totally agree. The top comment is telling people to “stay loose,” which is helpful when you need to bail but frequently ends with me doing the “dead sailor” which is terrifying on larger jumps. One can certainly be too tense but preloading, pulling up and tucking is wayyyy better advice than just “staying loose.”
  • 10 0
 Fun times Christina! It was so cool to see you achieve your goal of riding the entire big straight line, and continue to do it with confidence all afternoon! Braaaaap
  • 5 0
 Thanks doggy!!! What a difference from when we first walked in hahah goes to show a few hours of laying around and progress will be made!
  • 8 1
 Got a dirt jumper a while back. It feels sketchy as hell compared to my 150mm travel 1300mm wheelbase enduro bike. It's like learning how to ride all over again. My bunny hopping technique is getting way better though!
  • 5 0
 Ah yes, I feel you! Same hahah especially the flat shoes! They kept me honest though and after my second drop in I barely remembered I wasn't clipped in. Makes bigger travel bikes seem so easy!
  • 5 0
 Ya, try going between a 180mm travel 29er with 500mm reach and a 20 inch bmx bike. It's a little rough on dirt mechant.
  • 6 0
 Great vid. Its the best (and fastest) way to build skills no question about it.
  • 3 0
 Took a few years off of dirt jumps, fundamental that I fogot when going back was loading evenly on the lips. Seeing those big lips found myself loading rear too hard in fear, causing catapulting- ironically the thing that I feared lol.

Christina illustrates it at 5:40. Stay even, keep the front and rear of the bike on the same trajectory. Load the rear last and it'll still be finishing it's arc when the front lands= OTB.
  • 7 1
 Wish I had dirt jumps near by... Frown
  • 4 0
 Ask your local bike shop, they probably know a hookup. Also, I have had good luck around skate parks that ajoin wooded park areas.
  • 11 0
 Get a group and build some!
  • 13 0
 Build some. If they don't last, so what, it was time well spent.
  • 2 1
 there is a dirt jump track literally 2 blocks away from my house, only been there 2 times, one of the 2 was when i took my daughter and niece to test their balance bikes. Man i wish i had the time.
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: You don't live two blocks from the Boise Bike Park do you? Seems like you are from Idaho.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: oh sorry my friend i havent updated my bio in ages, i live i northern mexico at the moment.
  • 8 0
 Go find a open part of county land, approach the parks division with a plan, then get it built. We did this last year and got 2 parks built. This is the small one.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQq11sQN4t0
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: Ahhh, either way, you should get out there more often Smile
  • 2 0
 @Narro2: at 2 blocks away.... try to make the time! Even if it's just riding with your daughter. It's so fun and the pure joy that comes from it is so rewarding.
  • 2 0
 check out some pumptracks if not?! Still a very fun and playful place.
  • 2 0
 @Svinyard: This is rad!!! So cool to see the plan in action. Hood River has always been great at supporting MTB in my opinion, love it there! Excited to check this new spot out when I visit next. Thanks for sharing and I hope this inspires others to work with their local communities to get these ares going. Everyone can benefit from a skills area like this.
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: Yeaaah! The second park is the White Salmon one. Its bigger (more room there). Cool project and dove-tails nicely with Golden Eagle. Just opened today! We've got some stuff in the works for Family Man staging area as well.

www.facebook.com/WhiteSalmonBikePark
  • 3 0
 @HB208 @mtbschrader @christinachappetta @alwaysOTB @Narro2 youre all right. I am going to go find some land near my house with a couple friends, and start it up. I’ll post my progress on my page. My town isn’t going to be geared towards parks very much, so these might have to be secret Wink
  • 6 0
 Holy hell guys, That place looks amazing! Great video, keep it up!
  • 2 0
 Good timing! In Moab this week, and go8ng to hit the DJ Park with my kids - 14 and 27. They both jump regularly, me - not so much. I’ll see if I can follow along.
What bike is Eric riding? Rocky Mountain Flow? Ricky doesn’t make a DJ anymore.
  • 4 0
 It IS an older Rocky Mountain flow frame, been on it for a few years now, a new paint job with a rattle-can makes it feel new every now and then Smile
  • 2 1
 Wicked!!! Moab was where I spent a lot of time dirt jumping back in 2013ish... The crew at Poison Spider was so fun to session with and Wendy Palmer is still one of my hero's from that area!
  • 1 0
 @lornny: my son is riding the Flow I got for my wife a few years ago. It’s like new. There’s a trail crew updating the jumps and BMX track this week.
  • 1 0
 @sledMXer: so rad!!!!
  • 2 0
 here’s a physics question for you - if i follow someone half my weight who clears a gap jump how much faster than them do i need to go to make it? assuming same equipment/technique etc.
  • 1 1
 Follow someone you know, very skilled jumpers hit jumps slower, poorly skilled faster. Don’t think weight matters.
  • 5 0
 In terms of physics, you need to go the same speed. Acceleration of gravity is independent of mass (i.e. objects fall at the same rate). It just takes more energy for you to reach that horizontal speed, assuming you have to pedal.

(This is for bikes and not astrophysics, so I'm making the assumption that wind resistance, friction, gravity based on altitude, etc are essentially negligible between riders).
  • 1 0
 @transitter: I can attest to this hahah when I'm nervous, I'd way rather go big and overshoot but when I follow guys like Eric here it forces me to slow down and do things properly.
  • 1 1
 Speed should be the same. Maybe just a tad slower than them since the air resistance (drag) will affect them slightly more than it affects you.
  • 5 2
 Buy DJ bike. Wait 13 months. Lose interest. Cancel deposit or take possession of DJ bike. Let it sit in garage for a year. Sell DJ bike for half of what you paid. Profits.
  • 6 0
 The sad story of many dj bikes. But they can last forever so never let them go!!! And they're tiny so how much space do they really take up?!
  • 4 0
 Lose interest? Who are you? Keep that DJ for life! Everyone should always have a dirt jumper in their quiver.
  • 1 0
 I just sold mine because I just bought a house and needed furniture funds. That being said, I know the person I sold it to and he's making way better use it than I ever did. Every time there was DJing weather, I'd just go ride trails. So it was a no brainer on which bike needed to go.
  • 3 0
 My dj bike like 10 y old, why sell it, just keep and play when u have passion and time
  • 2 0
 If you are riding a new set of jumps for the first time visualize the line going well instead of just hoping for the best. Be confident in your ability and let the jumps do the work.
  • 4 0
 Visualization is key, great point! Just look at Slopestyle riders waiting to drop-in. They go through their run in their head, making small body movements as they pretend to do the trick. It all comes down to muscle memory and training your brain.
  • 2 0
 @lornny: Yeah, I've noticed that Matt Jones quite often mimics riding his bike when preparing to do something new. "Air handlebars" and all.
  • 4 0
 step 1 - grow up riding bmx step 2 - be better than everyone on your first day on a mtb.
  • 3 0
 Great video guys!
I’d like to add maybe don't be afraid to pick up a broom or a hose or a shovel to leave the jumps better than you found em.
  • 5 0
 I actually made sure to touch base about this, and maintaining/fixing the jumps. And to ask a local about how to fix it if you don’t know how, but it got left out of the video. We might do another that’s more detailed on etiquette, style and other in-depth details.
  • 5 0
 Just got a dirt jumper!
  • 1 1
 Something seen, but not mentioned by the video, is how a safe launch often involves leaving the jump prior to the lip. And boosting a jump seems to involve this, too. Is this correct?
  • 8 0
 Boosting a jump normally involves using ALL of the lip, and almost doing a “J-hop” off the very top but you are going to need more speed to make-up for going straight up. I would really focus on the “feeling” of pumping the transition of the lip, and staying “strong” as you leave the lip, and then relax in the air. Don’t think about if you are leaving the lip early or not, it’s all about the feel Smile
  • 2 0
 @lornny: Wise coach to the rescue here!
  • 5 1
 Stay forward on the bike, this is the biggest failure for us who aren't good. We get scared and hang back a bit. If you watch the good dudes...they are WAY forward and aggressive on the little bikes. That stops the weird front tire wobble off the lip etc. Then its like riding a halfpipe on a snowboard. You gotta get your body to "flow" up with the ramp....not just stay stationary going and deadend into the ramp. That's the "Pop" part. Sink/Pump into the begging of the ramp (preloading your fork and preventing nose dive)...then get your head to flow up mimicking/flowing with the arc of the ramp (pro halfpipe trick, your body will follow the lip rather than squash into it) and then have a little pop off the top by standing up as your front tire leaves. Its that motion memory that keeps you safe and predictable off of a jump.
  • 5 0
 @Svinyard: good tips. So hard to explain these techniques in words, and having different ways of explaining it really helps!
  • 2 0
 Awesome tips, the only thing for me is to get forward into dirt jumping to be able to get back later.
  • 2 0
 Step 1: We can have lots of fun
Step 2: There's so much we can do
Step 3: It's just you and me
  • 1 0
 I've always been "OK" at jumping my BMX, but when it comes to my trail bike, i feel like my suspension setup is throwing me off.
  • 3 0
 Try making the suspension a little stiffer, and slowing down the rebound a bit Smile
  • 1 0
 You need a different technique to jump a full suspension bike. Lots of videos on youtube that help.
  • 3 0
 @lornny: I decided to take a note from Sam Pilgrim's book and pumped my fork and shock up to or near max air pressure then put about 40 psi in my tires this passed weekend for a dirt jump day. Man what a difference! I could easily clear some of the steeper jumps that I usually had to use a lot of body input to clear.
The only drawback is having to re-dial your suspension and tires before the next trail ride.
  • 3 0
 @Avanwin: nice! Yea it’s crazy how much of a difference this can make! Thank god for air-spring suspension eh? Haha
  • 1 0
 I've always been "OK" at jumping my BMX, but when it comes to my trail bike, i feel like my suspension setup is throwing me off.
  • 3 0
 You create incredible content Christina ! Awesome job once again !
  • 1 0
 The last time I went to a dirt jump I saw Norbraten at 14 doing 15 ft suicide no handers like he was warming up.
  • 1 0
 Big step up between this video and the one she also just released with Remy Metailler. Beginners and straight to advanced!
  • 3 6
 Don't forget to like and subscribe!

(If you're looking for a few more mechanics on how to jump a bike, I must recommend this youtube video by Kyle & April www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSGJqFXrEdU&ab_channel=Kyle%26April-RideMTB)
  • 3 0
 Their videos are great, but if you're going to learn to dirt jump you should always start on a dj specific hardtail. Nothing else compares.
  • 4 0
 @ADGproductions: totally agree. A Hardtail is key to feeling those tiny movements and how they effect what is happening
  • 2 0
 @lornny: Exactly. Or a bmx. People always sleep on a cheap bmx to learn fundamentals on.
  • 2 1
 How stupid is it to ride a static 20 inch BMX as a DJ?
  • 6 0
 Not stupid at all! Sure it’s a lot smaller than an MTB, but zero suspension will really help you feel how those tiny movements effect what your bike does.
  • 1 0
 @lornny: awesome! I ride it at my local skate park a lot, but I'm kind of hesitant to take it to a place that's less smooth and has bigger jumps. I don't really have a budget to buy a 3rd bike so a proper DJ is not in the cards. Thankfully my BMX has a full chromoly frame, but should I buy chunkier tires as well?
  • 3 0
 @imnotdanny: I think getting some dirt tires on the BMX is a very good call, you want that extra tread! You will definitely feel the chatter, but your body will get used to it after some time. Be patient and enjoy the progression!
  • 2 0
 I have a rigid fork on my 26" dj. I think it's better than suspension for dirt jumping. It makes it a lot easier for me, (I'm not super precise in my riding) to be a lot more precise while dirt jumping. It's more predictable to push off the take off. It's a trade off tho, cause when you do get the speed wrong (but not so wrong that you should bail), you're more likely to sprain a wrist or similar with a rigid. Though I mostly just ride street now anyhow, and rigid is far better for that.
  • 2 0
 It is superior, since bmx cheaper, stronger, u can easy putfreecoaster,
  • 2 0
 Literally going to pick up a BMX today that I ordered last week for the DJ's. Chunky dirt jumps in the wild, was also wondering if I should grab some knobbies for it...
  • 2 0
 @50percentsure: yes. I bought myself a BMX bike recently and unless your riding perfectly groomed, recently watered clay jumps, the park/street tires that come stock on most bmx bikes will wash out all over the place on dirt. Knobbier tires designed for dirt jumping make a huge difference. Granted where I live is extremely dry and dusty.
  • 2 0
 @lornny: what, in your opinion, are the best tires for BMX/DJ bikes? I would like to have one set of tires that will handle most terrain these bikes will see (concrete, wood ramps, dirt ramps, and street) competently, as I can't afford a second wheelset to mount different tires to and changing them every time I ride somewhere different is rather a pain.
  • 2 1
 @imnotdanny: you want maxxis dth, basically the gold standard DJ tire.
  • 2 0
 @LumberJake: awesome, thank you! I've looked at these and they look great for my uses. Would you recommend a wire bead or folding? Not sure how much of a difference it makes once it's on the bike.
  • 2 0
 @imnotdanny: what are your dirt jumps like? If they’re perfectly groomed like a bmx track, then yeah the dth is your best bet. If they’re dusty, crumbly, and rough around the edges, get a Maxxis holly roller or ikon. You’ll appreciate the extra grip and the extra rolling resistance will be very minimal when you’re riding park or pavement. Folding vs wire bead isn’t super important. The folding will be lighter and allow for tubeless if you want a super light pump track machine but otherwise wire is fine for dj bikes running tubes.
  • 2 0
 @diegosk: The nearest track I know of isn't in the best shape, but I don't go there often. Mostly ride at the local skate park, which is why I'm hesitant to get holy rollers just bc I don't know how that tread pattern will hold up to concrete park. The dth tires seem like a better compromise, but I don't really know what I'm talking about here.
  • 2 0
 @imnotdanny: yeah dth is your best bet then. A holly roller would be fine in the park, but if that’s where you spend the majority of your time, the dth will feel better
  • 2 0
 @diegosk: Ok, thank you for the advice! I don't need to replace my tires yet, (they're stock fitbikeco tires) but these will definitely be my top 2 choices when I do.
  • 1 1
 I'm team "get a bmx and go to the pump track.... once you can manual the rollers you're ready for jumps."
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