Better Homes and Pump Tracks

Does mowing the lawn make you yawn? Are the daisies making you crazy? Well, forget all that and turn your yard into something fun and useful: a pump track. We recently transformed a back yard here in Boulder, and I must say it came out nice.

Head designer/trail boss: Pro downhiller and tough guy Steve Wentz

Shoveler/sandwich maker: me

Design time: two years of dreaming capped by a three-hour white-board meeting

Berms: 5 or 9, depending on how you count ’em

Rollers: 16

Possibilities: infinite

Cubic feet of dirt moved: 2,600

Digging time: 50 man hours

Digging days: 10

Blood blisters: 7

Stroke of genius: the combo rollers/berms. You can ride around the big outside triangle, or you can cut a sweet S across the yard. Ride mini loops, big loops, figure eights, whatever.

Video! Low res 14MB Quicktime Superlow res 3MB Quicktime

Click for bigger

Video! Low res 14MB Quicktime Superlow res 3MB Quicktime

In the first session the track was a bit mushy, but after a few weeks it’s packed hard, and the blue grooves are appearing. You can carry ridiculous speed along the fences, and the crossover line is just stupid. Right, left, right, left. Swoosh swoosh swoosh swoosh. You hit the last berm so hard you bottom a Fox Talas with 200 psi. So sweet!

This is a bike skills laboratory. In each session I focus on a different part of the track or a specific movement — and I learn something every time. This track will make us all great riders, not to mention strong ones. You use every muscle in your body, and to go fast requires very explosive movements. It’s more like bump skiing or motocross than classic mountain biking.

Are you watering and feeding grass, only to cut and discard it every week? You know what to do: Kill that grass and build a pump track!

Me, Lee, squashing the mighty SX.

Judy, pro XC speedster and newly sculpted pumpstress.

Me, straining the first time I went for this little stepup.

My favorite part of the track, right in the middle.

There’s something so cool about this. Jon “The Doctor” Watt.

The Doctor with the superlow shoulders. Do you think you’re low? Probably. Are you this low? No.

Steve isn’t just the president of Wentz Track Design Corp., he’s also a client.

Abby, another pro XCer, fills her bag with some more tricks.

Jess and her triceps roll the west-east/yin-yang transition.

Bobbi “Snap!” Watt, low and fast out of the berm. If I was another pro 4X woman, I’d be building my own pump track right about now.
52 replies
  1. patrik says:

    Lee, do you realize how cruel it is to show the public this? especially when i dont even have a home to dream about putting one in….looks like way too much fun, WAY too jealous!!!!

  2. leelikesbikes says:


    Dude, the road is your home. (Everyone: Patrick is the Cannondale team mechanic). The wide open spaces, the fine food, the adventures, all those girls looking for mountain bike dudes. … Well, there’s the adventures. …

  3. Dan says:

    Thankyou for showing me probably the coolest thing I have ever seen.

    So much fun pack into one little space. Changes the festivites of a sunday afternoon barbeque for sure. *Sooo much to think about before I try to build one…*

  4. Justin Brown says:

    You’re a dirty dog!! I am green with envy!! All I can think about lately are backyard dirt jumps/pumptracks/etc. You have given me a goal to shoot for. Hours of fun with the newest addition to your back yard. You are lucky that you don’t live near me ’cause I’d be moving in. Have fun

  5. Steve says:

    I myself built a pump track here in Sonoita Arizona. It went through a few reincarnations before it was right, and I am still tweaking it here and there. I must admit I cheated and used a Bobcat for the brunt of the heavy stuff, and then shaped it ever so gingerly by hand. I really like the idea of the crossover in the center, and rest assured I will be incorporating one into my track this weekend. In addition to the pump track I have also built a plethora of trails, ladder bridges, teeter totters etc. I have 45 acres to work with and I must say, having a pump track less than 50 yards from by back door is great.
    Great website! Keep up the good work and be surer to ” Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up”

  6. Nat says:

    I’ve been trying to decide whether the effort involved in building one of these tracks would pay off. You’ve answered that one. Even my girl is smiling about that track!

    The land I have to build on may be just a tad smaller – do you think you could get a similar effect with the same design or would I be better to tweak the design a little?
    Would be great to see a few more dimensions on the diagram and possibly heights of the jumps – I know I’m being a geek – just want to save myself some of the trial and error time 🙂 (and that track just looks soooo good).

  7. Pee-Who says:


    You fargin dog you! That track is sick..! When are you going to invite me to this place? Is this your house?

    I read you stories of a new moto, new SX and new track almost weekly. You lucky “Bastages”.


  8. Andrew says:

    That trail is so cool, if I didn’t live in BC I would be tempted to build one myself. As it is I live near many sweet trails so it would be to much effort!

  9. Marz says:

    I was just scanning through the pictures and marveling at a cool backyard and some hard work when a voice over my shoulder goes,” Don’t—even—think—about—-it.” It’s like my wife can read my mind or something, freaky.



  10. leelikesbikes says:

    Thanks everyone. Steve is a genius with this stuff. When I get a chance I’ll post some side views and more detailed specs. Let there be pump!

  11. Fortfun says:

    Nice looking track, however there is a ‘Pro pump track’ here in Fortfun Colorado, but it takes some sweet finess and skills out the ying yang mang.

  12. Steve says:

    I need to add a small bit of advice here. The first track I built, I went by dimensions I found in a magazine which led me to Lee’s site. I found that a few of the turns seemed just way too tight. I built the berms higher and higher, hoping I’d still be able to cary speed, but I literally found myself spinning the bike around when I hit them hard. I ride an Enduro Pro and the wheelbase was a bit long for the berms. The second track, I made the turns a bit longer ( they are still tight, but very rideable) I also have 20″ and 24″ bikes as well, and those seem to be faster. It may be the lack of travel ( being “0”) that the power of ” the pump” is transfered to the wheels and track better. It’s a ton of fun either way.
    I’m going to start a second track here soon near the first, but make it strictly large bike specific. That will mean opening up the turns a bit more.
    If your thinking of building one, re-read the articles, plan it out, rent a bobcat and dig dig dig. I have to say, building it is half the fun.

  13. leelikesbikes says:

    Steve is talking about the original pump track at The Fix in Boulder, a diagram of which appeared in Decline magazine. One of the 180-degree berms has a radius of 38 inches — very very tight! It took us all a while to rail that thing.

    That track is fun but very hard to go fast on. This new one is built for speed. But I still want to get my mitts on a 20 …

  14. Kevin says:

    yeah… that is rad Lee.

    i’ve been thinking i should build stuff in my backyard for a while now. too small for a mini-slopestyle course. too big to be ignored this off season. pump track it is. i’ll contract wentz to jimmy up a design. pump tracks are the new pools for boulder. woo.

  15. leelikesbikes says:

    Nat: You can d the same basic thing in a smaller space. Either an outside loop with a crossover, or a figure eight.

  16. Steve C says:

    Lee, That was it! The 180 degree berm with a 38″ radius. Spun me around flat on my back more than once. When I built the second track, I actually plotted it out with marking paint, and rode around it a few times. raked out the paint, rode it again. It took a bit of planning, but I figured it was worth the planning time since once I had the bobcat delivered I could focus on the building. It has till taken a bit of tweaking here and there, and it’s now to the point where a large push broom is what I use to keep it smooth. Crashing is akin to sliding on cement. The surface is like glass and it only gets faster. I am adding a step down soon, and am going to incorporate the crossover. I also want to expand it by one more loop to link two pump tracks together. I’ll send you some photos when it’s done if you’d like.

  17. replicant says:

    anyone got some links about doing such backyard projects? my yard is dead and i was gonna pay a landscaper to fix it up, but well .. this looks a tad more fun 😉

  18. Steve C says:

    The only info I was able to find was right here on this website. I did an extensive search and this is where it’s at.
    Decline magazine did a short article with a drawing and accompanying dimensions. I built one using those measurements, and found that improvements could be made . Decline magazine pointed me to Lee’s site.
    It was a good starting point though.
    The track posted above this message board looks real good. Funny thing is it’s really sim ilar to mine aside from the crossover ( which I am incorporating this weekend) and the angled stretch on the left. Mine has a slightly longer berm ( jacuzzi) and then take left over a roller that straightens out that stretch. The dimensions though are real close. Mine is a tad bit bigger ( ~80×50 )
    It’s a trial and error type a thing outside of what Lee supplied us with ( Thanks Lee!)
    Plan it, build it, tweak it, tweak it some more and then ride ride ride!!!

  19. Steve C says:

    I don’t remember the dimension detail in the article. I actually built my rollers at about 2 feet, and one tabletop is about 2 1/2 -3 feet tall. The tall rollers really kick you down the backside, but I am wondering if I knock ’em down a foot or so if the track would be even faster due to the shorter upside of the rollers.

  20. leelikesbikes says:

    2-foot rollers are plenty fast, as long a they’re spaced out and gradual. As you know, the key is zero contact on the fronts and mega pump on the backs.

  21. Yosei says:

    Haha, Boulder is gonna become pump-track central — two at the fix, one at the super-secret suburban spot, and soon, one at my house. You’re welcome to help build, Lee. 😀

  22. leelikesbikes says:

    They are apparently not stoked. No one has said anything to my face, but yesterday I received a letter from the homeowners’ association. “Tearing up your backyard and converting it to a bike tack is contrary to our covenants.” Game on.

  23. scott says:

    re: the neighbors who don’t like the pump-track…

    You should do a count of how many basketball rims are mounted on garages in the neighborhood. And backyard batting cages, putting greens, trampolines, and especially in-ground pools. All entail some sort of construction, and in the case of the pools, pretty much the entire destruction of the back yard. If some sports are deemed suitable, then why are they discriminating against other sports?

  24. leelikesbikes says:

    Seriously. As a matter of fact, the neighbor who complained has one of those free-standing basketball hoops in her front yard. The other neighbor has a trampoline. Funny.

  25. Paul Benson says:

    man im an XC racer, and if theres one thing xc racers suck at, its being flowy and smooth like that, im gonna build something like that, righto ut sie my house is a forest, im gonna dig dig dig and dig more and make the worlds longest pump track for 26″ bikes, haha its gonna take me a while but itl be awesome 😀

  26. leelikesbikes says:

    Nice Paul!

    You can make a 3-hour pump track. Heart rate monitor, power meter, blood samples every lap, lactate tests .. yeah baby!

  27. Sara says:

    I came across this page doing a search on building bike trails. I wanted to build something for my little ones to ride on in the yard. I have never heard of a pump track before,but it looks like a lot more fun than a flat trail.I may use it as well.
    I do hope the city will not make you remove yours. One would think having a fence around the track would be enough for the neighbors. Best wishes, and thanks again for sharing!

  28. tyler says:

    hey lee great site… im very inpired. i sent you an email asking about some more of the technical information. but im very pleased to see that someone has built a pump track so close to me. i live in fort mill ,sc which is very close to charlotte,nc and “Lee Likes Bikes » Blog Archive » North Carolina pump track action ” say that they built one. i checked out the video and was wondering if the guys could post some more infromation such as maybe a neighborhood or something so that i could come check it out and maybe ask some questions about the building of my own track thnx.

  29. Erik says:

    Saw your articles in Mountain Biking Magizine and took a look at your site. After seeing the video of your track, I started one in my yard, just weeds anyhow. The problem I’m having is getting the berms tall enough without the face being vertical, and spacing on the rollers. I’ve got about 2 bike lengths from top to top of the rollers, but the seem too harsh, don’t know if it is how steep the are or what. Do you know of anyone in Reno that might be of some help. My neighbor said he rode with you a few weeks ago on your way back from the Sea Otter, wish I’d known, I’d had you take a look, it was about half way done. Thanks for any help.

  30. rick&jr says:

    Hey,lee my dad and i are gonna build our own track in are back yard and were wanting to know what the spacing between 2ft high rollers and dimensions and radii of turns.
    Thanks for any help
    P.S we like bikes too=]

  31. leelikesbikes says:

    Rollers work well when they’re about a wheelbase from tip to tip. For big rollers, more like 1.5 wheelbases.

    Turn radii: anywhere from about 6 to 14 feet. You can go faster in wider turns, but tighter turns give you more pump.

  32. Isaac says:

    tell you what: since i’m too cheap to buy this custom design or e-book, i’ll just make the “Best Suburban Pump Track in the [known] World” and i’ll give you feedback about the track or pictures about it, if you want.


  33. Dave Arnold says:

    Really cool but seems like a lot of shovelling. Did you really do it all by yourself? It looks like no comments or posts for almost a year now. Do you still have the track? What ever came of the problem with the neighbors?


  34. Rod says:

    We are planning to build a pump track in a area measuring 45m x 17m. I have had a look at your original design. I am sure things have moved on since then so would welcome any tips/advice. We are planning to use 300mm of Type 1 stone for the base and 20mm of whindust on the top for the track itself. This is a project for a village in the Scottish Borders near to Glentress and Innerleithen which are well known for their mountainbike trails here in the UK…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] vi igång projekt mud-hackaton med sprillans nyinköpta dirtification tools för att bygga the best suburban pumptrack in the world. Det känns […]

  2. […] Check out Better Homes and Pump Tracks […]

  3. […] Here’s their inspiration: Better Homes and Pump Tracks on […]

Comments are closed.