Here is why, how and when to pre jump out on the trails!
Words: Jared Rando Photos: Nick Waygood
Pre jumping is something pro level mountain bikers do all the time. Often the movements are so subtle and fluid they go unnoticed for the most part, but at other times the motion is blatantly obvious. The concept to pre jumping is simple – keep the bike on the ground as much as possible where you would normally be flying through the air and utilise the terrain to your advantage. When you are mountain biking, traction equals control and when you are off the ground, you have no traction.
Pre jumping is a way to anticipate the terrain and use it to your advantage. In effect what it entails is a small jump (bunny hop) into a feature to get you planted on the ground sooner. It can be used on jumps, drops offs and basically any feature which has the potential to get you off the ground. When done right, it can also be used as a tool to generate speed from a feature which might otherwise slow you down or a feature you might have to slow down for (case in point being the backside of this fire road crossing). This is a great example of why pre-jumping is beneficial and when and how to do it.
Without pre jumping
You can see with the below sequence, by simply flying off the edge of the fire road, I’m catching some air and landing a long way down into the trail. The faster I go, the further down I land. If I go too far, I’m going to land on the flat so I have really no option but to slow down or risk a harsh landing on the flat which isn’t a great idea on a narrow trail. I also lose speed through the landing. Fun, for sure, but not a great result.
By pre jumping from the fire road my landing point is always the same at the edge of the fire road transition. The faster I go simply means the further back I have to pre jump into the transition. I don’t need to slow down and as a bonus, landing at the top of the transition allows me to utilise the transition to generate some “free speed” to carry down the trail. Here’s how to do it: