Pump track question: Stacking dirt too high?

I am preparing to build a track like yours.”lee’s pump track” With a high water table I have to import dirt. I’ve made my french drains, and planed it all out. I saw a video clip of yours and got concerned. If I import dirt should I expect to see my track close to twice as tall as yours? that would be fine but will it ride as fast? I want to feel confident that if I spend a dump truck load of money on 8 dump truck loads of dirt that I will have a track that rips.

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!

Hey Ron,

Yeah sweet fun style!

If you import dirt, your track will stick up twice as far as mine does (because mine is dug into the ground). If you follow the proportions detailed in the ebook Welcome to Pump Track Nation, the track will rip in a big way.

Buy the dirt. Water. Pack. Water. Pack. RIDE!

From a sesh last June:

Brian Lopes is in town to see his friend Ernesto and set up a track for the Jeep King of the Mountain Race in Vail.

As you might expect, he was ripping it pretty good.

Fast and low, low and fast.

Factory Clay Watson with the crossover approach.

Partial cast list: Bobbi, Petr, Grant, Ryan, Jon, Clay.

Dylan is the manual master.

Evan’s intense like a Wolverine.

James cuts through the yard — and a throng of fans.

Out of the berm and over the tricky little double-table. Sweet style.

There it is.

Everything about Joey’s turn is tight and right — except for that tuft of hair.

Joey rips the Patio Straight while Hershey plans his next move — usually onto the track.

That Jon Watt — I’ll tell you what.

Waaatt Waaaaaatt Waaaaaaaaatt!!!

Super low, looking where he wants to go, letting his bike follow the high line.

To nail this transition, you have to pump this berm VERY hard.

I’m supposed to be on a Caribbean island right now. But with this in your yard, why travel?

Lopes takes careful notes.

Have I mentioned the P.1 rips? This is probably the best dollar-to-fun ratio in the sport.

Petr Hanak, shortly before his axle snapped.

Petr rocks my SX. Funny: That bike does things with him that it won’t do with me.

Zach is the newest member of our merry band, and he’s learning to rip like a champ.

Alas, this track is no more … an innocent victim in the divorce.

— — —

Everything you need to know: Welcome to Pump Track Nation

10 replies
  1. Stephen says:

    really too bad you lost that track. divorces = not cool.

    so what does the new track look like then?

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Stephen: I don’t have a pump track yet, but I’m living on an acre of land with a 3% grade … trying to buy the house, then it’s ON!

    John: Brian isn’t really ripped — it’s all about lighting …

  3. ron says:

    Dirts on its way. Your plan shows 8″,10″ and 12″ rollers. It sure looks like more than that in your pictures and video. Did you start with that and add more as you progressed on the track, or is that just how it is from trench to top of each roller?

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    actual measurements — yeah, good rollers are smaller than you’d expect. you gotta stack the dirt almost twice as high (depending on the dirt) then compact it like crazy.

  5. ron says:

    I took the next 6 days off to dig like a dog. Thanks for all the tips. Congratulations to you and Arlette. Hope she likes dirt.

  6. ron says:

    I’ve got the track set. It rips. I find myself having as much fun figuring out how to make it faster as I do riding it! I shovel as much as I do ride, but its worth every minute. I’ll send pictures some day when I finnally get it the way I want. You wait and see, its a piece of art! Thanks for the start of my new addiction.

  7. cmc says:

    lee, i just gotta step in here and remind everyone about something you said in your book about rollers. the goal is to turn the flat earth into patterns–waves, inclines, declines, transitions, turns. etc. think rollercoaster. rollers aren’t just “bumps that your roll over” with flat space in between them. you’re building a pattern to flow over/through, like surfing and snowboarding. the troughs or pits matter just as much the peaks for your pump.

    if you wanted to have 3 foot tall rollers, that would be fine. you’d just have to get some paper and draw a wave pattern. stretch the wave pattern to have longer “wavelengths” until you have the same mellow steepness as your smaller rollers. so your peak to peak distance would be a lot longer. but it would still be easy to ride. in fact, i would argue you would get an amazing pump on a section of monster-rollers because more of your wheel will rotate on transition.

    as a long-time bmx’er/skater recently turned dj-mtb’er, i am a little disappointed to see some people thinking within the backyard micro-pump track box. ESPECIALLY CITIES, PARKS, ETC. that have a lot of space. there are such amazing things you can do with all that space.


    check out these bmx track drawings: http://www.prm.nau.edu/prm423/bmx_track.htm .

    bmx dirt jump spot, PA,10 years ago. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7642045646966211441#8m8s

  8. Aaron says:

    Ron, I’m also building a track similar to Lee’s and plan on importing dirt. How much dirt did you end up using? I’ve used the calcuations in the e-book as best I can and was wondering what you ended up using.

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