Jumping technique: Help, I’m tilting sideways

Hi Lee,

I’ve been mountain biking for years, but I just generally ride xc. After a trip to Whistler (I’m from New Zealand), I’ve got the DH bug, but I find I have real trouble jumping. Well, it’s getting sideways when jumping that’s my problem. I feel like I am hitting the jumps nice and square, but sometimes when I jump the bike starts to drift sideways in the air. I don’t feel like I do anything different when this happens, and it’s not constantly to one side or the other. The fact that I don’t know when it’s going to happen makes me nervous to try and progress to bigger jumps as the longer I’m in the air, the more sideways I’ll get. It seems to happen when I pop off the lip as well as just letting the bike drift off so to speak, but I think it happens more when I try to pop.

I know it’s hard without seeing me, but are there any things I should look for when jumping that may be causing me to drift sideways?

Thanks for any help you can provide. Cheers, Mark.

Basic jumping technique on a basic jump.

Hey Mark,

Thanks for writing, and congratulations on the jumping virus. Riding is about to get even better.

You’re smart to take a pause. If you take off leaning to one side, you’ll land sideways. The longer you’re in the air, the more sideways you get, and the more likely you’ll suffer. Better to know you can consistently nail small jumps before you step it up.

I’m not surprised this issue is more pronounced when you try to pop off lips.

Here’s what’s happening:

– When you pop the lip, you’re pulling with your arms.

– You’re pulling slightly harder with one arm.

– The bike takes off tilting to one side.

– You stiffen up — probably with straight arms and legs — and you and your bike continue to rotate sideways in the air.

– You land with your bike tilted sideways. If you’re sideways enough, you crash.

Try this:

– Keep your hands neutral and load the lip with your legs. This is just like jumping without a bike. It’s all in the legs.

– Your bike will likely stay straight.

– As you arc through the air, bring the bike close to you, and keep your hands neutral. This gives you the balance and range to make small adjustments in case you did take off funny.

– Extend for the landing. Absorb any impacts.

– Repeat every chance you get.

Also read:

Jumping: Big rider with suspension

Pumping with suspension

Controlling mid-air rotation

Oh yeah: And rip it!

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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