“Dropping,” or jumps, are one of the most exhilarating things about mountain biking. It’s also one of the scariest and most dangerous parts. The key to staying safe while drop like a pro is to know your limits and be confident in your skills before you try anything new. With that said, here are some tips and tricks for dropping like a pro:
What is a drop in mountain biking?
A “drop” is essentially an off-camber section of the trail with a short uphill and downhill slope that allows for them to jump or drop from one level down (or up) to another.
Types of drops in mountain biking
There are three main types of drops in mountain biking:
usually less than one foot off the ground or at hip level, this type is easy to roll over and can be quite fun.
These vary from waist height up to about chest high on an average person. They’re still not very difficult but are more intimidating.
These are above shoulder height and can be quite difficult to clear without injury because of the rapid transition between uphill and downhill slopes. They’re very dangerous, so it’s best not to try anything beyond your comfort zone until you’ve mastered other types of drops.
How to do a drop on a mountain bike?
Before doing any drops, make sure you are comfortable riding along the trail and can maintain full control of your bike at all times. If it is bumpy, use bigger gears to help keep momentum through some sections. You’ll also want to find a semi-secluded section of the trail without too many hikers or other bikers. It’s best to practice drops on a section of the trail that doesn’t have any obstacles or other riders.
Start by walking along your intended path until you find an ideal spot to jump off at (keep in mind where you’ll be jumping back up). Try practising jumps one foot, two feet and three feet high before attempting bigger ones. As with anything new on a bike, take it slow.
When you’re ready to drop, maintain your speed and position yourself in the middle of your trail (on flat ground) with both wheels off the ground at the same time. Make sure that when you land (and especially if you don’t), there’s enough space for both your front wheel and your back wheel to touch down.
Keep your head up while going over the drop and maintain a straight path, don’t let yourself get pulled off-course by the trail’s slope (uphill or downhill). It’s also important that you absorb some of the impact with your front suspension (when necessary) in order to keep from damaging any components of your bike.
To make things easier, you can also try jumping off of a higher object first (like on stair sets) before attempting to ride down an actual drop on the trail.
Benefits of doing drops on your bike
Dropping is a lot of fun and not to mention, an exhilarating rush! It can also help you learn how to control your speed and make quick decisions. Plus, it’s great for practising body positioning when riding along the edge of trails (which could come in handy one day if you ever find yourself hanging onto the side of a mountain face).
Where to do drops
While it may be tempting, don’t try doing drops at the top of a mountain. Instead, find a section of trail that is relatively secluded or an object to jump off in your backyard before attempting anything on the actual trails. If you’re not confident enough yet, take some time to practice jumps and drops using a BMX bike or a dirt/mountain hybrid bike.
Risks of doing drops on your bike
Dropping is very dangerous and can be potentially lethal if you’re not careful, so never attempt anything that feels uncomfortable or beyond your limits (especially when it comes to height). Never try jumping off something high into the air unless you’ve had plenty of time to practice and are confident in your skills. It’s also important to keep an eye out for other riders or hikers when doing drops on the trail (or off something high).
Why should you learn how to do drops on your mountain bike?
Drops are a lot of fun and also help you stay in control while going down trails. It’s best to start small before attempting anything too high or dangerous, so don’t try doing drops at the top of a mountain unless you’re confident enough!
How to do it right :
Before doing a drop, make sure you’re in control of your bike and can keep full speed while going down the trail. Keep an eye out for other riders or hikers on the trail when doing drops. Also, try practising jumps off something higher first before attempting to drop on the actual trail.
Tips on dropping mountain bike
1) Start small
Drop on trails with features that don’t require any significant amount of speed to clear them (small tables). This will help build confidence before trying bigger drops.
2) Work up gradually
Spend time practising on lower intensity features such as rollers or berms before progressing into more difficult sections such as steep rock gardens or drops.
3) Avoid dropping blind
Try to avoid dropping blind as it is easy to overshoot your landing and take a spill. Instead, look ahead for lines that you can ride up or down from before getting into position on the trail.
4) Invest Time
Spend time practising in less risky locations such as bike parks which often offer small features to get your skills dialled before heading out into the backcountry.
Mountain biking is a great way to get in shape, have fun and explore the outdoors. While it’s easy to pick up some basics from friends or on YouTube, there are plenty of tricks that can make your mountain bike experience more challenging and enjoyable for you – here are just a few. Have you tried any of these? What other tips would be helpful for beginners looking to take their skills to the next level? Let us know!