(This is a comment re: Controlling mid-air rotation.) Wow this is great – I am 35 and trying to improve my jumping as well – it is good to hear of other people not in their early twenties trying to get “new school.”
My question is regarding using your brakes while in the air: I heard you can drop your front or rear wheel using your front or rear brake in the air. Is this correct? if so, what are the physics behind it?
Yes it’s true.
When you grab your rear brake, your front wheel drops. I occasionally find myself doing this on sets of tight doubles. It points my bike down into steep landings and helps me get better pump.
Here’s one way to look at it: Your rear wheel has lots of rotational inertia. When you grab the brake, some of that inertia transfers from the wheel to your brake caliper, then to your frame. Voila, your bike rotates forward and your front end drops. This is a pretty advanced move, and is not to be trifled with.
The opposite works on a motorcycle. If your front end drops, give it gas and the front end will come up.
BTW: Don’t grab your front brake in the air. That could complicate the landing. If you have a throttle, go ahead and use that.