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Help me get over the big logs quickly!

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I have this enduro Sunday that is supposed to have as many downed trees as the Redwood Forest after a nuclear blast.

Twigs to 8" logs, no problem.

Anything bigger and a 1/3 of the time I make it. :D Another 1/3 of the time I make it but the bike pops up hard and smashes the twins (if you know what I mean. :D The other 1/3 of the time I have a spectacular crash. :) Not good odds!!

Other than going around, what is the proper technique for getting over these 8-14" menaces at speed?

Do I wheelie over? Aim for the top 1/2 of the log with the front tire? Any suggestion for +/- the compression/rebound? What is the correct body position? What is a good attack speed? And finally, how big is too big to attempt at speed with the WR?

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

[This message has been edited by ecarlson (edited 04-23-2001).]

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E.Carl,you asked many questions, and there are probably just as many answers. In my experience, I have just enough speed to get the front wheel over then smoothly power over it with the back. If you're smacking your family jewels, you are trying to attack the log with too much speed. The trick is forward momentum, not speed. Also, make every attempt to jump the log at a right angle, ie. perpindicular to it. If the logs are wet/slick with moss or mud... I'll say a prayer for you- those are the worst obstacles, in my opinion.

Before you torture yourself, why don't you spend an afternoon practicing the maneuver MANY times until you feel comfortable. Logs are very do-able with practice, as with most anything in life. If this is too cerebral for you guys, just gas it and pucker your a-hole as you go over.


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like razor says momentum over speed, that means slow & open it as you are within a foot or two. lean back & lighten the front wheel, once you're over the middle grip the tank with your knees & push the bike down & forward.

as far as bike set up goes ask yourself this;

will your bike chug up to the log on an incline WITHOUT stalling? if not get a flywheel weight.

can you 'fan' the clutch on an even throttle? if not get a juice clutch.

finally, does your front wheel deflect left or right at the slightest excuse (& it's a '98 or '99)?

if it does you've got the mid compression stroke problem with your forks.

the biggest difference was my forks, then the flywheel weight & then finally the juice clutch.


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The limiting factor on size of logs is about getting the front wheel above the curve halfway up the log. You then need enough forward speed to get the back to start to climb. A large log then needs to be treated as a jump, stand on the pegs and use just enough power to keep the front rising. Roll the throttle off as or just before you get airborne to bring the front down a little for the landing and the next turn(or use a little rear brake). I look for any takeoff ramp I can find, even a rock a yard or so before the log can be the ramp at speed. If the front is rising and the back follows it up off the ground, then your speed is only limited by the landing platform or the next obstacle. For multiples look for crossed logs for a ramp and try to clear them in groups. At race speed it should be possible to use the first log to jump ten feet or so, clearing the sticks in between. The throttle control is important, don't just give it a big handfull. On the rare occasion when I'm feeling my oats I'll use the front brake to dip and then get the front wheel rising (with a little throttle)where there isn't a bump to use as a ramp.

Trials experts use both of the brakes against the motor and stand to move their weight to adjust the weight on each wheel. Good enduro riders do a similar thing at speed and have precisely the front , back weight distribution that they want for any situation. Another aspect of log jumping is to pre-jump the obstacle yourself, if you drive up from your knees before the jump there is little body weight on the bike as it attempts to climb the log, again you need to compensate with throttle control and rear brake to stop the lightened rear from spinning out on the front of the log.

If you are serious about big logs at speed, you need to treat it as a skill. Analyse each aspect of the manoever and devise a practice drill for each part seperately. When I am teaching a new skill, I spend a lot of time watching a number of experts. If I can I'll video some good examples and frame by frame them. Some college human movements faculties have computer programs that allow you to determine the optimum body positioning through a sequence and then compare these with the actual positions used by the training athlete. As a coach I found that I could compare the Frame by Frame of two riders and see the difference and adjust accordingly. How far you take it just depends on your motivation level.

P.S. Watch out for low branches when jumping logs and remember it's quicker to clear a log cleanly but slow than to pick up the bike.

If your suspension can absorb a 4 inch log or rock without a ripple at the bars, it will take on the big one better too. It's in the initial compression damping.

Good luck!!

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Speed and big logs kill! Technique is the key and there are many you can use. You can practice all of them without a log to start.

This is what I do and it may be too slow for racing but it always works for me. As I approach any log that seems to be over 12 to 14 inches, I slow down to first gear applying front brake. When I am about 3 feet from the log but still moving (key), release the front brake, goose the gas and pull back a little. The front end will come up and you will case the tree if it over 12 inches so be ready. When you case it, bring your body forward a little and let the back tire roll over. Make sure you do NOT come to a complete stop before you cross or you will loose your momentum and get stuck on the log. You can praqctice it anywhere. Technique, timing and momentum. I learned on a mtn bike and transfered over to the dirtbike. To this day I an cross bigger logs on my Mtn. bike. Good luck and post on how you make out and what worked for you.


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I did a lot of log hopping back in Canada (Northern Ontario) and developed a simple technique. Now I use the same technique for desert racing in SoCal and it always works.

There are two basic scenarios:

I. The log is < 10 inches round. Use the "pop over it" technique.

1. Maintain moderately low speed in 2nd gear.

2. A couple of feet before the obstacle, roll off and on the throttle and lean back at the same time to get the front wheel 4-6 inches off the ground.

3. As you strike the obstacle, lean forward slightly so the front doesn't kick up.

4. Stay on the throttle and as the back tire contacts the log and lean back to absorb the compression. This way you won't get bucked off the bike.

5. In the air, roll off the throttle, adjust the angle of the bike if necessary, and let the bike float until you contact the ground. Do not use the "Death grip"! You body will freeze and you will get tossed!

* Make sure you look far enough ahead of the log to ensure you don't case another one on the other side!

II. The log/rock is 10 - 20 inches. Use the "roll over it" technique.

1. Brake hard, get the bike under control and into 1st gear.

2. A foot or two in front of the log, use the same technique to lift the front tire up 6 - 10 inches this time or at least 1/2 the height of the obstacle.

3. Lean forward a lot more this time because the bike will want to go vertical. Ensure you have enough momentum to "get up and over the hump". This is key!

4. This is the hardest part. As the front tire starts to go over (down), neutralize your body position and give it a little throttle. If you have good traction, you should be able to keep it from plating and keep the front tire from "dropping in" on the other side. If you do plate it, the key again is having enough momentum to keep moving.

5. Keep the bike straight, lean back a lot at this point and roll over the other side. The worst thing you can do is put a foot down! Stay on the pegs.

I know it doesn't seem that technical, but I used this technique last weekend to get by a lot of guys that were hung up and stuck on big nasty rocks and made a 2nd place finish in the National H&H. I saved so much energy as well.

I’m not sure where you are, but get out to the woods, and find an assortment of fallen trees. Practice popping an rolling over birch (which are very slippery), pines and dead wood.

Lastly, from now on, every time you come to a log crossing, just keep on thing in mind:

"Pop it" or "Roll it".

That way you use the same technique all the time and just get better and better.

Good luck!



Canadians ride hard too!

1999 WR 400

2001 YZ 426

National H&H and WORCS


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It's kind of like "Bunny Hopping" your bike when you were a kid. Just be careful with throttle application, so you don't Endo over the other side. These guys are all probably a lot better at it than I am!!


00 WZ400

01 Yamaha Raptor

99 Kawasaki ZRX1100

99 Yamaha Warrior

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THANKS for all the great advice!! Just knowing what the fundamentals are will give me the confidence to practice this important skill more. Thanks again!

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