Jumping question...

First, let it be said that my previous bike was a CR250 that would nose dive no matter how I seemed to jump it, so I gave up on jumping with it. After I went over the front twice, I've been terrified to jump.

I now have a 2000 WR400 and have tried a few jumps on it. It seems to be night and day easier to land right. I've got a "private" track close to home now for the first time ever, and it's got some small to medium jumps on it, none are doubles, one is a very small table-top. I've been doing the track faster and faster trying to ease into jumping the jumps. I'm at the point where I'm hitting them at top speed 2nd gear, and once or twice low 3rd gear. Then out of nowhere, I nosedove. Didn't go over the bars, but scared the bejesus out of me and of course now I can't hit them w/ much speed anymore because I **** out. I've mainly got a few questions...

1.) I know the "panic rev" to pull up the nose, and the rear brake to bring the nose down, but I can't seem to remember that in a panic in the air. My main reacion to a nosedive is to brace for impact and lean back. Maybe it's just that I'm not jumping high enough to give me time to think of it. Is there an easyer way to practice this to get it down?

2.) I've kinda figured out that if I'm giving it a lot of throttle, I take off nose high; off the throttle, I'll nose dive every time; forward on takeoff means a forward landing; rearward means nose high landing. So is there any more to it than trying to figure out how much throttle to give er and where to get into a neutral position?

3.) I can't figure out a comfortable way to hit the rear brake in the air. It seems that I normally get ready for takeoff with the balls of my feet on the pegs. I feel stable when I do this, but I can't hit the rear brake if I try. If I put the arch of my foot on the peg so I can just point my toe to hit the brake in the air, I'm pretty much always hitting the brake because it seems too high. Does this mean I need to set the brake up so that the lever is lower? I'm not sure where the brake lever is supposed to be positioned I guess.

4.) I know I'm not going to try any of the trix that I see on the moto videos, but I have been watching a few to see if I can learn their body position and such. It seems to me that since most of their jumps have a down sloped landing (where mine don't), they take off leaning pretty far back, then they hit the brake about half way to nose down to match the landing pitch. Should I be learning anything from this?

4a ) Again, Not that I'm going to be able to do it for a long time, but how do they kick the bike out sideways like that? (nac-nac I think) Do they start to turn before take off? It doesn't look like they do anything other than lean over.

Help is much appreciated. I love to watch people jump, and am determined to not look like a **** out there on the jumps.


2000 WR400F - Throttle stop shortened, Grey Wire Cut, Filter Cover Removed...

I am far from an expert on a bike, so answers to your question from other members will help me also. But, here is my uneducated answer to some of your questions.

When approching a jump, you should be in the attack position (knees gripping the bike at the junction where the tank and seat meet, legs slightly bent, elbows up and out, head up over the cross bar). Forget about pulling up on the bars, you should be using the throttle to control the take off. Asses the jump as you approch it. A gentle ski slope style jump can be hit with the gas on all the way. Back off when you leave the jump, and providing you are in the 'attack position', the bike should remain in good shape. Jumps which are steeper than this tend to kick the rear of the bike up, and therefore sending you into a nose dive. To stop this, you need to give the throttle a 'blip' just as the bike hits the end of the ramp. This will drive the back of the bike 'off' the jump, rather than being 'kicked' off the jump. Again, the attack position can be used. For example, cruise at half throttle while approching the jump, and just as you are about to hit it, give the throttle a jab.

Jumps which are well worn usally develop kickers at the end of the take off ramp. Dangerous as they will seriously throw the back of the bike up into the air. In these situations, its best to back off the gas just before hitting the ramp. Once there, start feeding the gas until you get to the kicker at the end. At this point, give the throttle a good strong burst to drive the rear wheel over, just like before. Shifting your body weight slightly backwards before hitting the kicker will help the rear end to absorbs some of the kick.

Once you are in the air, and the bike is in bad shape, you do as you have mentioned :throttle on to bring the front up, and rear brake to bring it down. Don't touch the front brake, this will cause a serious nose dive (i guess, never tried it!)

if you are in trouble and you freeze, the more air time you have, the more dangerous it becomes because the bike has more time to flip or endo.

Not sure how you jump with the balls of your feet, but everyone i know uses the arch of their feet. This enables good rear brake access when in the air. Be sure to always have one or two fingers on the clutch when you are in the air. This way you can stop the engine from stalling if you need the rear brake.

Good question about the pros leaning back on jumps. My theory is they are so comfortable on their bikes, they know how to throw them around. Seen them take jumps while still on the seat? Confidence.

Think your question is about tail whips, where they get the side of the bike almost flat? From what i know, they use the upward motion of the bike when it leaves the jump to pull off the trick. Not sure exactly, never done one. Can anyone else give their opinon?


I think your best approach is to purchase a decent video, after studying it, go and try the techniques learned. Having someone to tape you on video will be your best resource.

NOT to be insulting, but my 91 Honda CR250 was a beautiful jumper, much better than my '99 WR. I did learn jumping techniques using Gary Bailey's tapes. I ALWAYS landed front end up, whether I was on a tabletop, double jump, drop away, whatever. For me the choice was to either get killed, or learn the mistakes I was making, and fix them.

In my case, it was 100% body positioning.


'99 WZ/YR (you choose!) with ALL YZ mods, de-octopused, DSP Doug Henry airbox w/ velocity stack, FMF PowerBomb header, Stroker SX-1 silencer, SS front brake line, OEM YZ tank, IMS YZ seat.

For the novice jumper, it is "nice" to be aware of all the fancy correction methods, but they should not be utilized or depended upon on a regular basis. It is better to learn the fundamentals of body position and rotation, and proper landing with the bike nearly matching the landing slope. Practice jumping by gradually increasing jump height and distance, and learn from expert jumpers. Ask them to watch you and they will tell you what you are doing wrong.

Very much appreciated guys!

NH Kevin: I'm not sure how many videos you have, and I know this is asking a lot from someone who you don't know, but I'd be willing to buy some of those from you if you don't think you'll watch them again. If you are a trusting individual, I'd be willing to give you a deposit to borrow them. I'd pay for shipping both ways obviously.

I definitely wasn't saying that all CRs are bad jumpers, I just thought something was wrong with it (1985 by the way). Also could have been the fact that I was timid on the jumps with it and kept letting off the throttle at the end of the jump. It didn't seem to matter much though when I tried not to do that. The only way I found to keep it from nosediving was to push down on the fork before a jump so I got extra loft out of it in the air. It seemed pretty unscientific, and didn't work the same every time.

Everyone: About the foot brake: the foot brake pedal is the same height as the peg. When I'm in the attack position with my arches on the pedals, I can't help from be pushing on the brake pedal. Is this my body positioning wrong, or my foot pedal needing to be lowered?

I'd love to find some good videos. I'm never going to be a huge jumper, but I want to know how to take them right if I have to. I think it's dumb to say I'm not going to learn to jump right because I never do MX tracks. I know I'm going to find them on trails too, and I know it helps with balance and control of the bike overall... So I push myself to slowly and safely learn :)

[This message has been edited by Thumper33 (edited September 17, 2001).]


E-mail me at lysdahlbunch@netzero.net. I can have a surprise for you.

Riding on the balls of your feet, IMHO, is the correct way to ride.

The rear brake/gassing it in mid air is not the preferred method of jumping. These methods are to bail you out of trouble. Proper body position & throttle prior to take off is the key to good jumping.

One thing I failed to mention, if your suspension is not balanced right, proper jumping technique may never be acheived. Factory Connection did my Honda CR. It was phenominal over stock. That was with the grim Showa forks, better than the 89's though!

i nosed in again sat night, dinged my left wrist a bit. i ride an '01 wr 426, something that i hadn't thought about befor was the comp breaking when letting off the throttle, i'd done this a couple of times befor i became aware of it. btw, sat night i'd gone over the jump 3x prior, but the angle was pretty steep and i seat bounced at the same time i was trying to correct the attitude from prior jumps and over corrected badly. oh well, i'm still skeered but wt heck, i figure i gotta get good at this stuf eventually. btw, the jump i made myself, i won't ride it again till i get it closer to a 50to 45 degree angle, i'd astimate it at about 70 deg now.

I have quite a bit of motocross experience on a 2-stroke. My 426 is a bit trickier than a 2-stroke. It likes a bit of throttle on take off to minimize compression braking. If your bike does not remain level from a smooth take off ramp with your weight centred on the bike, try adjusting the rebound damping on the shock. More and the front will stay higher, less and the front will drop more. One or two clicks can make a big difference.

I'm very new to the dirtbike scene, but I've noticed the less scared I am, the better. This basically means, the harder I hit the jump, the better I end up doing. Oddly enough I feel more comfortable side by side with another rider or just staggered some. Don't know why exactly, but it just feels better when there is company :-)

Of course this has led to harder landings and suspension issues -- this is because I'm still not making it to the down grade side of the big table tops, coming up short about one bike length. And because I'm a big guy, probably 200 with all my gear.

All I can say is, be sure to give that last twist of the throttle at the point of the jump. I too have endoed a couple times, never leaving the bike luckily.

When this happens, I stay on the bike and take another lap. I try to time it so that I come to the same jump again just behind another rider who is slightly better than and I am. Then I try to match up speeds and stay on the gas, then once airborn back off the gas just enough to level the bike out and gas it if I need to raise the front -- it don't take much gas to raise the front so be careful.

On a side note, these 250s rock.



2001 WR250F

White Brothers E Series Full exhaust

Panoram computer

Fly bars

jet kit

YZ timing I think (bought used)

Grey wire mod

If you're saying that it doesn't take much gas to raise the front, then my whole problem could very well be my letting off the throttle in the air with engine breaking taking effect. I have yet to go out there and try anything again since I started this post, but if I can rebuild a tranny tonight in my other bike, I'm going out tomorrow. Guess that's a topic for another thread.

i have a stupid question. What is meant by riding on the balls of your feet?

I also disagree with the comment that rear brake/throttle techniques shouldn't be used and that body positioning is the key. That may be true, but even the best riders stuff it up, and if you haven't practiced the last resort techniques, you may end up having a serious crash. Your last resort techniques should become second nature and kick in automatically when you need them.


If the rider HAS to resort to using the brake FREQUENTLY to adjust bike positioning in mid air, his body position/throttle technique IS incorrect.

You are 100% correct in that brake techniques are important to learn to fix bad body positioning while in the air. To be used as a full time correction, it is not.

The ball of your foot is the area just aft of your big toe, just forward of your arch. It can be compared to riding in the sacked out area of the seat. It removes some control you have over the bike.

[This message has been edited by NH Kevin (edited September 18, 2001).]

Kevin, thanks for the input. Im not trying to start an argument, but do you still use the balls of your feet while jumping? I find that after doing a no footer or heel clicker and i don't place the arch of my foot on the peg, i feel heaps of strain in my feet. I would imagine leaving your feet on the pegs as you suggest can cause serious injury if you have a heavy landing, and the more i think about it, the more i don't like it. Do you use this foot position while jumping?

DOC you got that right....I had a seriously hard landing on a step up jump this past weekend and my Archilies Tendon still feels like someone hit it with a hammer....

And Yes I was on the balls of my feet, which I believe caused the strain because the force of the impact on landing forced the heel of my foot downward and backward , pulling on the tendon.

I know what everybody say's but I feel more comfortable with my feet centered on the pegs and bent slightly forword... I've never been hurt doing that before...even in a full compression landing.

Mabe I've been lucky, but it works for me...

Bonzai :)

i always thought the balls of the feet thing were strange, but being a horse rider i understood the concept. it seems to me riding on the balls always makes it harder to use the rear break without a body pos shift. thing is, i feel more stable riding on the balls tho, plus if i have the pegs farther back i find i actuate the rear break on landing impact, and let me tell ya, you don't want to do that.

beating a dead horse...

Different strokes for different folks. Whatever is best for each individual rider IS the way to go.

Riding on the balls of my feet, as someone else mentioned, prevents me from (rear) braking when I don't want to. It also allows better control, for me, while riding rockers. I have never resorted to braking in mid flight to correct bad positioning. I have used the panic rev to drop the back end, though.


'99 WZ/YR (you choose!) with ALL YZ mods, de-octopused, DSP Doug Henry airbox w/ velocity stack, FMF PowerBomb header, Stroker SX-1 silencer, SS front brake line, OEM YZ tank, IMS YZ seat.

I just wanted to say that I feel 100% more comfortable on jumps since my ride today. With a little more experimentation, I found that I didn't nosedive once. The key was, as many said, to give 'er throttle as you approach the end of the jump, and let off a little on the throttle, but definitely not all the way. It seems that when I was jumping at the end of a gear, the engine braking was really strong and would perform the same effect as hitting the rear brake. I found the best technique to be approaching the jump at the beginning to middle of a gear and give 'er 3/4 throttle as I go up the jump, then back off to about 1/4 to 1/2 throttle in the air. I thought I could control my front end a bit in the air depending on how far I released the throttle after the jump. I got up to jumping about 1/2 way through 3rd gear, which feels like I'm in the air forever compared to anything I've done before.

Also, I've been trying to keep my feet on the pegs at the arches. I still have a tendancy to move them to the balls, but I do feel like I can access the controls better this way. 30 days to make a habbit? I'll keep doin' it I guess.

Just wanted to say thanks again to you guys, as this has been the most terrifying part of riding for me for a long time, and although it's still probably the most dangerous part, I feel a lot more comfortable about it.




2000 WR400F - Throttle stop shortened, Grey Wire Cut, Filter Cover Removed...

Glad to hear it! i reckon it would be sad to hear you gave up the jumps. i personally think its one of the best parts about bike riding (except for maby nailing a sandy berm flat out!) and its what first attracted me to the sport.

I recently had a friend video tape me while riding, and it was really useful because it gave me a clear picture of my body positioning. I have since made a few small adjustments to my style, and am better off for it. I wouldn't have known if i didn't see myself on the tape. Just an idea, it may help you too.

Glad to hear you got more comfortable jumping. Woodzi hit the nail on the head, though. If your shock rebound isn't set right, the front end will either drop continually or ride too high continually. This can be a big hurdle for some riders. They think it is their technique when it is really improper set up.

On another note about riding ont eh balls of yoru feet. This is exactly what Gary Bailey teaches. Personally, I'm worried about doing what Yamakaze did and injuring something. I virtually never ride on the balls of my feet, even coming up to jumps.


MX Tuner

[This message has been edited by MX Tuner (edited September 19, 2001).]

I have a good reason not to land big jumps on the balls of your feet. It's called ripping your Achilles tendon out by the roots.

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