Video: Get More Speed From Trails With Pumping - How To Bike Episode 6

Sep 9, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  


HOW TO BIKE

EPISODE 6



Ever wonder how your riding buddies keep pulling away from you on the trail even though you're not braking? Well, they are probably using the terrain to their advantage and pumping in the right spots to generate extra speed. Join Ben Cathro as he explains the secrets to free speed.




We'd like to extend a huge thank you to Santa Cruz Bicycles, Deity, POC and DHaRCO who supported this project.







101 Comments

  • 86 19
 The secret to free speed: ebike
  • 9 5
 You beat me to it. Well done.
  • 14 7
 apparently there are motorbikes that are so slow, they need some extra pumping
  • 30 1
 I guess you haven't seen the price of ebikes, they certainly ain't free!
  • 8 1
 On the climbs.
  • 10 11
 Soon such #moped secrets shall be behind the immortal and undying paywall
  • 37 14
 Man the e-bike content is out of control since Outside took over. Every time I open PB my interest fades a little bit.
  • 13 0
 PB is seriously trolling us with that headline/thumbnail.
  • 7 4
 @maxlombardy: dude, get your filter on. I see none of it unless they sneak it in somewhere (like this video...though my like of Ben outweighs my dislike of mopeds).
  • 9 4
 You actually don't get any free speed on the DH sections with an e-Bike.
  • 3 0
 @CSharp: Can still pedal out of corners easier DH.
  • 6 3
 Actually feel faster on a bike. The motorbike was sluggish on the straights where pedalling was not needed. Just slowed bcse of the weight bogging down. (Both sus was set fast)
The enduro bike just glided over no bogging or slowing, boost the step down, roost the corner and off I go!!!!
  • 2 0
 @bigtim: Only thing stopping me, at my age I really need one too
  • 7 2
 I save the battery for the climbs. Run it in neutral for the descents.
  • 4 0
 Free Speed in the context of this video: Speed without pedalling.

How fast does an e-bike go without pedalling it!?
  • 1 0
 Who is giving away bikes?
  • 1 1
 An upvote for your joke, a downvote for the ebike.
  • 39 0
 Ben, you are so good at this. Thank you to you and pinkbike for putting the time in! You're understanding, explanations and demonstration style are all really good. Pumping the transition makes sense and I hadn't thought about it that way.
One thing I noticed is that as you pump the end of a turn or the transition of the turn you're increasing your steering noticeably. Do you think that's an essential component of the pump? There will be people who don't understand that the only reason you can get away with that is because you're increasing the force on the tires at the same time you're doing it. If riders aren't generating significant additional force and increase their steering they're going to push their front tire.
  • 5 1
 It's not an essential component of the pump, it's more a benefit that comes from doing it. You don't HAVE to turn sharp as you do it but usually the best place to do it is where the turn is at it's sharpest. I find lack of pumping doesn't necessarily cause the front tyre to push, it's more improper weight distribution, but once you get up to a certain speed the pump does becomes a requirement.
  • 14 0
 This is the one I’ve been waiting for and it’s even better than I’d hoped. I’ve always felt I only had half the picture on pumping, a tonne of slightly conflicting bits of info and a load of unanswered questions. Well not any more!

Normally I advocate for Ryan Leech (by choice, not paid) and that does cover pumping (and the very closely related stomp), but this is an even more succinct hit list of exactly what’s what.

I’ve never heard anyone talk about the different places you pump a corner And the idea of pushing the bike through the downslope and then waiting for the downslope transition to pump is another thing that is rarely mentioned.

Really good stuff, many thanks.
  • 4 0
 That is a crazy compliment getting compared to Ryan. I’ve seen some of his free content and the detail and insight he offers is next level. Glad you enjoy.
  • 26 10
 excuse me...waiter (PB)... there seems to be some eBike in my Ben content.
  • 23 7
 It's not going to make you happy but there's going to be more ebike content coming from me. Not because of any shady marketing tactics like you might think. It's actually because my ebike is my favourite bike and it's pretty much the only bike I ride when I'm at home. More laps in less time for fun, training and filming makes it an easy choice for me. I'm honestly puzzled why people hate so much. It's just a tool that serves a purpose while also bringing me a lot of joy. Will always use to a variety of bikes in the content I produce for pinkbike and unfortunately for the haters the Ebikes are going to be a part of that.
  • 2 0
 @ben-cathro: is it possible to simply blur it out or place a black bar over it in editing? ...joking aside, I get it, you do you...your videos are fantastic and seriously some of the best content PB has put out lately (eBike or not)
  • 4 1
 @ben-cathro: well said. Ebikes are rad. Great training tools and super fun to boot. Love the series and feel like it's already improved certain facets of my riding.
  • 8 2
 I remember an engineer telling me that it was impossible to gain speed by pumping. I asked him how he thought skateboarders were able to get more speed on halfpipes. Again he said, not possible.
  • 20 0
 probably wasn't a mechanical engineer..
  • 27 0
 Must have been a software engineer. Haha.
  • 17 0
 can't skateboard if you're a sphere in a vacuum, silly
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: I actually think he was.
  • 3 0
 Some doctors prescribe the wrong meds and kill someone, just saying.
  • 6 0
 @kilpatrick: what if you're a block on a frictionless inclined plane? Asking for a friend...
  • 4 0
 As an engineer, I can tell you that some engineers get stuck in what they know and the ways they can prove it. I once had someone tell me that physics says helicopters shouldn't work. I told them that they where looking at the wrong aspects of physics, because they clearly do work.
  • 2 0
 Which is probably a good thing. it keeps the rest of us safer by keeping them working within the limited realm of their complete understanding.
  • 1 0
 @Barrold: what was that Carl Sagan thing about to bake an apple pie, you must first invent the universe? I think he was talking about the origins of all elements, but I also took it to indicate that if your fundamental theory doesn't permit your own existence, it's wrong.
  • 4 2
 @Barrold: I'm a physicist and helicopters most definitely do not work. Ridiculous. They arent real. Open your eyes. Ebikes, however, are unfortunately real things.
  • 5 0
 @Edgibson:
Helicopters don’t “fly” they repel the earth with loud noise and long spinning knives
  • 3 0
 @Barrold: how can you tell someone is an engineer?
  • 1 0
 @Mikevdv: I thought they flew because they're so ugly that the Earth pushes them away.
  • 9 0
 Be wary of anyone that offers you free speed, it’s a slippery slope
  • 2 0
 Always take it to the testing tent before indulging…
  • 7 1
 Where are all the people offering free drugs we were warned about as kids?
  • 8 3
 Not surprised with some of the ebike comments. I've mountain biked for over 27 years and alway seen the way forward, I had hidden tools / spares on my bike 20 years ago and people laughed, I was and early adopter of 1x systems and folk thought it was a joke riding without a chain device, recently someone was commenting on my 'waste of money' 'slow' AXS seat post, until I pressed the button which instantly wiped the grin on their face!

I don't have an ebike yet, but if I did, I can seen the benefit of getting those extra laps, or a winter ride when the trails are snowy or theres lack of daylight. Use ebikes as a tool for riding like anything else, if you don't like them go back to your triple chainset, fixed post, rigid bike!
  • 4 2
 Cool story, oh great one.
  • 8 2
 It’s a tool that allows me to do more of what I love. I understand the debate about the classification of it as a bicycle but I don’t get the hate against their existence. You still ride them in exactly the same manner.
  • 8 0
 I’d love a 3-5 day clinic camp with Ben.
  • 4 0
 Maybe in the future…
  • 1 0
 Putting my name down too
  • 5 0
 Gold standard online tutorial. Best video I have seen on pumping, which to me is a key skill in transforming from a passenger into a pilot and unlocking a LOT of fun on the bike.
  • 1 0
 Pump like a pilot ‍✈️
  • 4 0
 This is such a great video, and Ben points out something that few instructors do - that it's not all about pushing down. For me, it is all about the slo-mo that starts at 2:04. With a nice little hop I don't have to push down the transition because I'm using the force of gravity to 'heavy' the bike down the slope. So, I emphasise the pulling up more than the pushing down e.g. what Ben says at 6:41 to 7:01. And if I can bump-jump a rock or root into the transition, then I'm using eff-all energy to cane it.

I race gravity and XC, and I can tell you if you are in an XC race and can just float along the trail spending no more energy than a few tippy toe moves with your calves while your competitor is pedalling to do the same speed, you are at a great advantage when you hit that uphill fireroad.
  • 5 1
 The little unweight before the pump is so key. I even find myself doing it before turns. Brake, unweight, release brakes, skrrrrrrrt.
  • 7 0
 Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?
  • 8 0
 She turned me into a newt!
  • 6 0
 @ben-cathro: Glad to see you got better!
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro: Did you get better?
  • 3 0
 I think we are seeing here the benefits of the Cathro training platform. The Cathro Training Platform (CTP) is LARGE, is TALL, and has GANGLY limbs. This allows the CTP to exaggerate all movements with enormous clarity, improving the rate of training of viewers. You want to see the body crouched - you've got it. Do you want to see the body extended - yep, easy to see. The CTP is an excellent demonstrator.

The CTP benefits from having thrown itself down mountains in competition, and smashing itself up significantly, and then recovering. This RESILIENCE of the CTP is noteworthy. The CTP is know for holding large amounts beer, but during this time the utterances of the CTP become more garbled. Avoid advice from the CTP when it is in this state.

The CTP also is widely recognised on The Circuit = known as Line Man most recently. Hey Bro, Wassup Ben, Caaathro, frequently are heard in the woods. When the CTP is off the bike, it often can be heard fluffing lines to camera.
  • 5 1
 Great vid as always. I appreciate the work that you and the team put into these. One minor point: I think at 5:09 you confuse convex and concave.. I show myself out
  • 2 0
 I have to say con…CAVE and remind myself that caves curve in the way so that I don’t get it wrong. Sometimes my brain doesn’t work fast enough.
  • 5 0
 In other words, go ride a pump track to practice these skills. It is crazy how much it will help.
  • 5 0
 Its pretty crazy how a little pump track work can improve your trail riding
  • 1 0
 I practiced pumping by going really slow over the first roller of a BMX rhythm section and then see how much speed I could gain by the end of the straight. By going in super-slow, you have no choice but to work every hump for all its worth.
  • 3 0
 Yup, pump tracks are sick for sharpening many crucial skills.
  • 1 0
 Actually, the one time I realized how much pumping actually does is back when I was running a double ring crankset (32t and 22t at the front). I swapped my chain the evening before a group ride and then at the ride realized the 32t ring was worn and got the chain skipping. So I only had the 22t which was fine for the slower parts but useless when it was a bit faster. So that forced me to pump wherever I could and indeed I could keep up just fine.

But yeah, the pumptrack is ideal for practice as feedback is so clear especially on the BMX. Which makes me wonder, my hardtail has 26" wheels and the saddle slammed (in a 400mm seattube). It gives me more than enough room for pumping. My BMX obviously is even lower and runs 20" wheels. I'm much faster on the BMX (at the pumptrack) than I am on the MTB. I thought it is because of the smaller BMX wheels but someone else told me it is because of the suspension fork on my MTB (which has 120mm of travel). Anyone knows which is true?
  • 6 0
 Less brakey more pumpy
  • 1 0
 Essentially… yes.
  • 1 0
 Question for @ben-cathro: In pump track rollers the front wheel is on the way up the next upslope while the rear wheel is still coming down the previous downslope. Does pumping that feel like a bunny hop? If so, are you timing the stomp part of the bunny hop so that you're pulling the front wheel up so it skims the upslope and then your legs are firing at the same time to drive the rear wheel through the compression? I.e. are you doing the preload on the downslope, then firing the bunnyhop as the front wheel hits the next upslope?

I've been trying that recently and I do get that rrrummmppp noise and it feels like it works, but not sure if that's what I should be doing, or if I'm just making it vastly more physical than it needs to be!
  • 4 0
 You’ve described that perfectly! Feels like you’re doing a deadlift. Driving through the legs with tension in the arms. Generates speed while you drive the back wheel through the transition while guiding the front wheel up the next feature.
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro: I see this as long overdue validation for the vast amount of overthinking I've given this subject!
  • 1 0
 Ben says don't over pump with the arms - but check out - Kaspar Woolley - absolute gorilla pumper... www.pinkbike.com/news/video-raw-lightspeed-trail-destruction-with-kasper-woolley-in-squamish.html especially from about 46seconds.
  • 2 0
 I have been riding for many years and I still pick up some good info from these vids. Great content.
  • 2 0
 Ben is entertaining and does help us mortals with skill development! Thank you.
  • 1 0
 ben cathro.... late praise on another subject but nice 2nd place at rd2 british nationals. Is 2022 the full on WC comeback year?
  • 2 0
 man I always wondered about the flat corner pump, makes more sense now
  • 2 0
 Never really thought about it till I started teaching.
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro: my terrain is also super loose dust here in so cal, will pumping increase or decrease my chances of washing out? currently I give my bike some mean lean to slide it rather than dip it but idk
  • 2 0
 Please remove the background music when Ben is talking.
  • 2 0
 can you believe how that big giraffe can shralp a corner?!! aye carumba.
  • 2 0
 2nd faster cornerer in the Savannah. Cheetah still has me by a hair.
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro: This Thomson's gazelle disagrees.
  • 1 0
 I saw an interesting video suggesting removing the front and rear tyres, had ten very good reasons to support the idea.
  • 1 0
 I usually pump the egos of my buddies so that they ride shit they shouldn't and get good footage for Fails and Sends.
  • 2 0
 Hehe Wilhelm scream..
  • 2 0
 Can you imagine if he got paid $0.01 every time it was played. Trillionaire.
  • 1 0
 Is the yellow bike an overforked tallboy ??
  • 1 0
 Only slightly. 140mm Fox 36 which is within the travel spec for the tallboy.
  • 1 0
 Would these skills be good for racing?
  • 1 0
 I pump myself every night as i cry into my pillow
  • 1 0
 The speed progression starting right around the 6:00 mark is insane.
  • 1 0
 Poosh!!!!
  • 9 12
 Whats up with the motorbike contend?
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