Dirt jumping bikes are really starting to take off as a popular alternative to BMX’s. Their sleek look combined with their tough appearance has many people suddenly interested in owning one.
What parts make up a good jump bike, however?
1) Gears (or lack of them) – A lot of jump bikes emulate the single-speed design, similar to the system used on BMX’s. A high gear ratio of XXX is frequently used, which gives the rider just the right amount of torque to instantly shift the bike when required. Lack of gears also means that there are fewer moving parts to go wrong, making the bike more reliable. Some jump bikes, such as the Specialized P2, do offer a choice of gear, but they also usually have the option to convert quickly into a single speed as well. Horizontal dropouts on the rear of the frame allow the chain tension to be set perfectly.
2) An ultra-strong, lightweight frame – Jump bikes need to go high up in the air, and the best way to make this easier is to make the frame as light as possible. Common materials used in the frame construction are Chromoly (Cro Mo) or 7005 aluminum. The geometry of a typical dirt jumping frame tends to be very squashed, with a very low seat post to give the rider maximum range of motion.
3) Wide treaded tires – The tires on a jump bike tend to be very broad, and are deliberately underinflated to cushion landings in addition to the suspension. Slicks are out since the tires need all the grip they can get!
4) Tough wheel rims – The wheels of a jump bike need to undergo some intense pressures form repeated high-impact landings. Reinforced rims prevent buckling when springing some massive hucks (high drops off objects).
5) Mechanical disc brakes – This kind of bikes need some serious stopping power, so they almost always come fitted with disc brakes. The best DJ bikes come with hydraulic versions, which prevents any dirt from interfering with the brake mechanism.
6) Awesome suspension – The vast majority of jump bikes have front shock suspension only. Really high-quality absorbers tend to be used, with adjustable travel to get just the right amount of firmness to suit the terrain.
All of the above combine to form one mean dirt jumping bike machine!
Perfecting the BMX and Jump Bike Ollie
When learning to BMX bike, the first trick one will usually learn is the ollie, which is a jump where both bike tires leave the ground nearly simultaneously. At first, ollies will likely be very low and short, but with time, a BMX biker may ollie many feet off of the ground!
Before even attempting the ollie, a biker must become very familiar with his or her BMX bike. This is most easily accomplished by extended riding. It is important that the biker feel extremely comfortable shifting his weight while in motion. Weight must be distributed differently between the pedals and the handlebars during different stages of the ollie. Therefore, the biker must be comfortably redistributing his weight at different times.It is also extremely important that the BMX biker is capable of riding while standing nearly straight up. BMX tricks cannot be accomplished with the biker’s weight on the seat. Before the ollie may be successfully attempted, the biker must spend a good deal of time riding while standing on his pedals. Once the biker is fully comfortable cruising, standing up, with his pedals in the middle position and some weight on his handlebars, he is ready to ollie.
The main trick to the ollie is proper weight distribution. Weight should be distributed evenly between the hands on the handlebars and the feet on the pedals while riding into an ollie. The pedals should be even with each other in the middle position. A lightweight should be distributed between hands and feet.
To begin the ollie, one must pull up on the handlebars gently while leaning forward or “in to” the BMX bike. If one does not lean, the rear end of the bike is unable to follow the motion of the handlebars and the rear tire will not leave the ground. Once the bike has lifted off of the ground, the rider must lean back and push the rear tire back to earth. All of these motions must be accomplished very quickly and smoothly.
Once the rider has successfully lifted his bike off of the ground, he should practice slow, low ollies until he feels completely comfortable and manages to achieve lift-off on every attempt. Once this feat has been accomplished, it is time to increase the speed and the force with which he pulls up on the handlebars. This will necessarily increase the height of the ollie.
How to Do an Ollie on a BMX Bike by Video
Best BMX Tricks for Newcomers
New to BMX? Here are the best BMX tricks for newcomers to start with.
Getting into BMX? I’m guessing that you have been bitten with the BMX bug, and truth is, once you get bitten there’s no getting out of it. BMX is a fast-paced and exciting sport that is constantly growing. However, out of all the extreme sports, it is possibly one of the hardest to pick up. As a newbie to BMX, you are going to find it very hard to get good at it quickly. Certain BMX tricks can be incredibly difficult and may take years to fully master. However, as a newbie, the first thing you should do is focus on the most basic tricks.Here is a list of the 3 simplest tricks for a newbie to pick up.
One of the first things to master in BMX is the bunny hop. The bunny hop is simply the act of hopping the bike completely off of the ground. Uses for this include hopping onto curbs and hopping over obstacles. The bunny hop is honestly the first thing you should work on as it is instrumental in many more advanced BMX tricks.
The second trick that you should work on is a no-handed. This is one of the simpler BMX tricks as all you have to do is take your hands off of the bicycle. You will use this if you get into vert BMX as well as some street BMX. A simple way to practice a no-handed is to start out slowly and practice riding with no hands
The third trick you should work on is the wheelie. A wheelie is when you lift either the back wheel or the front wheel of a tire as you ride. A wheelie is instrumental once you start to learn manuals. To practice a wheelie I suggest you start out by lifting either the front or back tire and practicing your balance. Once you feel comfortable you can start moving slowly and lifting, this will feel incredibly awkward at first but keep practicing and you will get used to it.
The above tricks are the three best BMX tricks for newcomers to start out with. They will seem very difficult at first but just keep at it as things will get easier with practice. Remember, BMX is a very intricate sport and it can be a lot of fun. However, it will take a lot of practice to master.