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Video: Sending Mountain Bike Drops with Christina Chappetta - What You Need To Know

Jul 15, 2020
by Pinkbike Originals  

Christina is here to show you the basics of how to hit drops.


  • 28 1
 Another solid how-to! Also, props to the filmer - tack-sharp focus!
  • 10 0
 Thanks you! Cole is on fire!
  • 15 0
 @christinachappetta legit pushups.

Drops are a strange one for me... I cant think about exactly what to do on them in general, just gotta do them and learn how it feels while working your way up in size. Especially when there are so many factors to consider: speed vs horizontal and vertical drop distance, angle of the landing, smooth vs choppy landing, what comes after the drop and needing to brake or turn right as you land or not, and more. Each drop is almost a unique situation in and of itself.
  • 12 0
 Would agree for sure! All features can become completely different entities depending on what's happening around them! I find watching a video of myself riding features to be super helpful! If you don't have a pal on your ride to video, set you phone up on a stump and then you can easily see what needs adjusting. Good luck!
  • 5 0
 @christinachappetta: thanks for the idea, self-filming and reviewing my technique is something I've never tried before.
  • 10 0
 Watching a roadie buddy learn to do drops recently. Uncanny just how badly beginners want to:

1. Do a bunny hop off the lip with all of their weight forward.


2. Arms out straight, weight locked back long before the lip of the drop.

I'm not sure which of these techniques would cause the most carnage, they're both amazing choices.
  • 5 7
 @mobiller: Then watch this:
This would be number 1, wouldn't it?
  • 4 3
 Where did these drops come from and what language do they speak? I attempted to jump off a curb today with my arms fully extended and landed on a garbage man. After he beat me up feel like I have a better understanding of these mystical drop creatures.
  • 3 0
 @mobiller: Based on what we see every week on Friday Fails, option #2 tends to be worse - it results in more over-the-bars face plants. Plus many of the same people grab a handful of rear brake as they go off the drop and it's the perfect recipe for serious carnage.
  • 4 0
 @lkubica: Independently deciding Rémy Métailler is making beginner mistake #1 while disregarding Chappetta's solid advice above sounds like a formula for...success?
  • 6 0
 @srjacobs: Option #2 is very popular, with excellent results. Best part of this technique IMO is that it makes the front wheel drop straight down after leaving the ramp, resulting in maximum and immediate OTB ejection. Best when paired with a granny gear approach.

I would argue that option #1, while less common, is the more spectacular choice though. It puts 100% of the weight on the front tire, so any trail irregularity will result in an extended inevitable crash. Elbows bent head forward, rolling down the landing ramp...what will they hit?!?

Immediate vs delayed gratification I suppose. Both fantastic crashes.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: Remy!!!!
  • 4 4
 @mobiller: Generally speaking, a beginner doing bunny hop, WTF? Beginners do not bunny hop, if you do, you are not a beginner. Remy is definitely jumping this drop, not putting his ass back. I suppose because you have less control when you are too far back and he had very low speed. And because Remy can jump as he wants, keeping front wheel when he wants.
I would put this other way round - if you are a beginner, do as Cristina says, but only if you have enough speed. If you are not a beginner, you can hit such drops as you want really.
  • 3 0
 @mobiller: #2 has to be worse. you see it in Friday Fails every week. no doubt, their buddies told them, "just put your weight back. youll be fine". Christina's advice seems solid here, push the bike out as you leave the lip. to me, it feels like youre just kind of letting the bike flow off the edge and your body just kind of floats back as the bike falls. its something that i really had to learn by doing, especially on slower speed drops where you dont have the opportunity to get a bunch of speed coming up to them
  • 2 0
 @sooner518: it's interesting, I have never once actively "pushed the bike forward" off a drop. I fully agree that it feels more like a "let the bike flow forward" smooth motion that comes naturally once you work your way up to it.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: Yeah, Remy is definitely popping off the lip as opposed to just rolling straight off it, probably because 1) he was concerned with coming up short so the extra pop can make up for the lack of speed, and 2) it looks better on that drop. Some drops are much more like downhill step-down jumps as opposed to plain drops, and need a bit of pop/jump to make it work IMO.
  • 4 0
 @sooner518: I suggest passively observing a beginner friend doing both of the wrong techniques in the name of science. We need a definitive answer.

Maybe give him a full face...
  • 4 0
 @lkubica: A lean way forward and yank up on the bars beginner bunny hop is right up there in skill with doing a skid.

Granted, a proper functional j-hop manual type of bunny hop is definitely an advanced skill.
  • 5 1
 One tip that also works anytime you are in the 'air' -move the bike sideways or turn the front wheel slightly - that makes you the #Pilot and not the #Passenger (dead sailor) when you straighten it out for the landing. Some might even accuse you of having steeze if you do it right.

-Not directed at CC, but at we punters of the world.
  • 2 3
 @jorgeposada: Broham-n-cheese sandwich; it is 2020, the technical term is sanitation engineer...

or you meant to say; "...arms fully extended and landed on garbage, man."

You are welcome for the hate blockage my dude!
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: agree. I’ve very rarely, if ever thought I needed to actively push the bike out.
  • 2 1
 @endlessblockades: very true, just doing something in the air gives you control, that's why many people pump the bike in the air when doing jumps. It definitely helps!
  • 1 1
 @TW80: Only one this is certain lady, you have access to a intraweb device.
  • 9 3
 Yeah I know how to hit drops (small/medium). If anything that makes it harder to for me to understand how the pros can hit massive rampage size drops. The precision needed in speed and run in line to hit the often narrow landings is mind blowing!
  • 6 0
 Practice, and great big Jupiter sized bollocks!
  • 9 0
 Can you do a video on tables? Had a bad scare last week...
  • 1 0
 @bgilby Check out my wife's videos then video yourself, compare and keep practicing
  • 11 3
 But can she drop the Grim Donut shod with ReTyres?
  • 1 0
 ReTyres come in 26". I think the Grim Donut takes 29". You'll need the Grom Donut for this.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: And in 28" size, per their website.
  • 6 0
 Tell me more about the dead zone....
  • 7 0
 it's a no go zone... Don't go there.
  • 5 4
 @christinachappetta: thing is now I kinda wanna go there to see what happens. Like church
  • 2 0
 Would love to know if and how these instructions would change for someone on a hard tail. For those people out there who have managed to figure that out, I'd love to hear if there's anything that would need adjusting or enhancement from Christina's guidelines for drops - thanks!
  • 2 0
 I think one of the hardest parts about learning drops is finding the right feature to progress to next. I really like skill areas that have side by side drops of increasing size so that you can step up the size of the drop in even increments. I also like drops with long run-outs so that you can make the drop feel bigger by just jumping deeper. The skills area at Duthie Hill has a great example of this.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the video. This is very helpful. I find the biggest challenge for me on drops (and other stuff) is getting over THE FEAR. I'm on my second year mountain biking and find so much that holds me back is psychological. Somehow knowing it's all in my head doesn't make it that much easier...
  • 1 0

Thank me later. The video quality is not the best, but it is by far the best progression lessons I have seen. You will build confidence so that you're not having to ignore the fear.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: thanks.
  • 2 0
 Thanks Christina! Looks like i gotta take a re-look at my drops as I have been popping off them instead of shoving the bars. Didn't realize it was a no-no! Gonna go watch the rest of your videos Smile

:wave: to the Kiara girls if you're reading the comments hehe.
  • 1 3
 Shoving the bars works great for medium to fast drops, but you will definitely have to pop the front wheel up a bit for slow to some medium speed drops. A combo of both works the best i think.
  • 7 1
  • 4 1
 Love it, this is some great music and love the overlay of herself giving instruction while she was riding in background!

Yucky it Smile
  • 4 2
 Great video! A lot of the videos out there start off with mentioning manuals as a prerequisite to drops, like manuals are super easy for everyone. The thing is you don't really need to manual for a drop!
  • 6 0
 With manual people mean manual-like movement, they are based on similar principle.
  • 2 2
 Another good video for those looking to improve their drops:
Again no use of the word 'manual' Smile
  • 4 0
 @DanTae: doesn't really matter if you use the word or not, the movements have similar root and that's why some people call it a manual drop, easy to distinguish from a jump/pop/hop/bunnyhop/yank up/etc drop
  • 1 0
 @DanTae: Useful link. Cheers
  • 1 1
 @DanTae: Great shout, Kyle and April's vids somehow seem to hit the sweet spot for an actual beginner wanting to learn the basics with the way they break down and describe elements of skills. My better half had watched others before, had some pointers from me and some stuff never clicked. Then she watched Kyle and April and boom - she took one vid/skill per ride and successfully pulled it off 100% of the time. I was actually amazed by the visible improvement in her riding since she discovered them.

@mtbcrosscountry-com It does matter though. It maybe doesn't for you but you are not a beginner. Me telling my wife "it's like doing a manual" vs Kyle/April not doing that was the exact difference that helped her understand drops.

It shows a more experienced rider is not automatically a good coach because we forget things obvious to us can confuse a beginner - like unnecessarily inserting a skill they can't do yet into another skill that they're learning that moment.
  • 3 0
 @DanTae: Coaching MTB my observation was that being able to manual to even a small extent, like off of a curb long enough to land on two wheels, was the key difference between an at-risk beginner and a competent intermediate.
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: I guess everyone suits a different approach, I do some coaching here and there and using the word to differentiate those 2 drop styles work for the people and they can easily try both techniques without being able to manual at all. I guess it always have to come with a good explanation and demo, which Kyle/April do awesome job no matter if they call it manual-ish move or not.
  • 1 0
 I like this a lot. On a holiday in Whistler, my buddies new to the gravity side of MTB wanted a lesson. So I said I would be tag along and get some tips. The instructor was great but she did advocate the slight bunny hop method. When she saw me do the extend method we discussed the merits of both but agreed, regard the extend method: 1 puts your weight more behind the bars and pedals projecting you forward rather than down into the ground 2 you leave the drop balanced and less likely to pop off skewed 3 it's easier to apply at speed, eg racing. She thought the bunny hop approach to ease beginners into jumping and clearing obstacles.
  • 1 0
Would you say that there are times where its better to let the front wheel drop before the back wheel when the landing is more flat? I feel like I see World Cup and EWS riders doing that a lot even when the landing isn't steep. When I learned drops, I tried to always land both wheels at the same time but that meant I had to let them both fall at the same time. When I land though, I kind of just bounce back up a bit and it slows me down. Maybe there's something to be said about actually landing front wheel first even if it isn't a steep landing?

Loved the video!
  • 3 2
 I don't think I've seen the push forward lunge technique show before on how to ride drop-offs videos. They were for flatter landing though. Nice to see a different kind of landing covered.
  • 1 0
 I rechecked the other recent 'how to' video and the landing wasn't flat. Still, it's interesting to see a different technique. All drops are different and knowing a different way to ride it might come in handy sometime.
  • 1 0
 Great "shopping cart" demo! The "tow-in"/follow a friend approach is great advise for the bigger drops! Send it! Have fun!
Great vid! Thanks!
  • 2 0
 Travelling to hit my first real large drops this weekend, this post couldnt have come at a better time
  • 3 0
 Just watch Kyle Warner's videos. Best tutorials on the interwebs.
  • 1 0
 100%, I haven't seen anything else that was so well communicated to actual beginners. Most others sound like they're talking to someone who already knows that stuff. And April is the perfect sample student for those because on the one hand she really is an mtb beginner, but on the other, her moto background and general athleticism allows her to progress quickly so there is a super clear and authentic "before-after" in each video. No "pro pretending to do stuff wrong" here.
  • 12 9
 Well this is awkward.
  • 7 5
 Another useful infomercial
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta nice video. What trail was the filmed on, with the drop to the wood berm?
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure it's Bart's Dark. It's a surprisingly awkward drop, it's not big but has a super short transition.
  • 7 0
 Bart’s Dark Trail. I rode it a week ago. I’m an expert at ride arounds. I can show you all the avoidance techniques.
  • 1 0
 @kingtut87: thanks! I'll be sure to head out there. Never ridden in that section of Whistler before.
  • 2 0
 @Someoldfart: hehehe. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 @Someoldfart: Geez, that made me laugh!
  • 1 0
 @Someoldfart: ...avoidance techniques. LoL!!
  • 1 0
 This is great. Super helpful for riding. (What shorts are you wearing in the video? They looks awesome.)
  • 1 0
 Great video. Sharing it with some friends. Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Double Chappetta @ 2:33
  • 1 0
 oh you droppin huh
  • 1 0
  • 2 4
 That facial expression @ 2:30 though...
  • 11 2
 Double chin for the win hahaha love it!
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