Laying your bike flat in the air

Hey Lee,
Great book and great site. I have tried and tried and tried, but I just can’t seem to do a good table top. I only get the bike over a few degrees. Can you describe the best way to start to get the bike flat on its side.

Hey Chris.

I’m not great at this either. Here’s what I’ve seen, heard and felt:

– Loose grip. You have to let your hands move on the grips — otherwise you get limited by your wrists’ range of motion.

– Very relaxed. When you turn your bars, the gyroscopic forces will try to lay your bike flat. If you’re tense this won’t happen.

– Bring the bike very close to you in the air. This gives you the range of motion to move the bike around. When your arms and legs are straight, you can’t do much of anything.

– Practice on a hip jump. You’re already turning.

– Forward foot on the bottom.


Check out page 117 of Mastering Mountain Bike Skills. Brian Lopes is pretty good at this:

Click for big.
11 replies
  1. stacy says:

    i believe its all about you, your brain, and your bikes head tube……..

    all your desire of control from your body to your bike ,interfaces THRU the head tube.

    heres a really good way to learn table tops………
    jump on a trampoline, no bike of course, and doing your best air guitar, i mean air bike,blast some table tops……tweak, tweak, tweak, TWOCK!, thats it……your body can now do a table top…….
    take it to the bike and the dirt………
    hit your fave jump, and start tweaking till ya get more and more tabled……
    now realize to get that sucker really flat , you gotta get that head tube to listen to you…
    the head tube is the answer for flat tables………

    quit your laughin lee!!!!!!

    we would buy bmx action mags in the early 80’s up in calgary, and try to do the body poses we saw in the magazines(stu,bubba hayes,eddie and mike king,lopes) on my trampoline first……i swear!……..within an hour we have it dialled on our bikes….

    we all agreed it was the control and ‘placement’ of the head tube at the apex of the jump that was the capper………


  2. matt says:

    thanks lee i was just trying them this morning, got home and saw this. would have liked to do it the other way around.

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks Lee and Stacy. As soon as this stupid weather clears up. I am off to practice what you said. Keep up the Great Work!!!

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    “Before you can “be the head tube” you must first realize, that there is no head tube.”


    And there is no spoon, either.

  5. Esteban says:

    something that also helps clear ur mind is if in mid air u try to take a look under ur shoe…this worked for me, hehe, weird but true story. kind of clears ur head of thinking what u have to do, and u just do the normal thing to look under ur shoe, but in mid air which suddenly transforms to u doing a tabletop. cheers

  6. mark says:

    Right before you jump, practice digging your knee into the frame and raising your rearward foot up -just like you’re going to do once your airborn. This looks stupid but works wonders.

    Go for hight, lean back and imagine you’re jumping over a hurdle, this will make the bike lift itself into the table… and get a nice steep jump.

    Third, this is the hardest part. Once you jump, worry about laying the bike into a flat table first, and landing secondary. -this is the best way to commit … and don’t worry, most of time you’ll be like a cat and do what ever it take to land feet side down.

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