INTERMEDIATE LEVEL TRIALS TRAINING: DOUBLE BLIPS & ZAPS
You can get over small obstacles simply by rolling over them or using a small wheelie. But if you try to cross medium-sized obstacles with a wheelie you will probably slam into it with your bashplate and risk losing your balance and momentum.
The double-blip uses two blips of the throttle and your body positioning to help the trials bike jump up an obstacle. Done properly you won’t need much speed so you are prepared for the next bit of terrain. You will need to have your wheelie skills on hand, particularly the ability to land your front wheel in a desired spot.
As with the wheelie, you bend your knees then give the first blip of throttle as the suspension rebounds.
The term “double blip” refers to the two distinct blips of the throttle associated with this technique. The double blip involves a first blip to initiate a wheelie into the obstacle, followed by a second blip (along with body movement) to achieve vertical lift up and over the obstacle.
You need to land the front wheel between half and two thirds of the way up the obstacle. This will compress the suspension, ideally at both ends. However, if there is poor traction land the front wheel closer to the top, or actually on top, of the obstacle.
Now apply the second blip of throttle as you throw your body weight forward. With the right timing, the rear wheel should come off the ground and cross the obstacle without needing traction or acceleration to get over.
Start with a small log or ledge to begin with, and work your way up to bigger obstacles. It is surprising what you will clear once you get the double blip technique working correctly.
It goes against your instinct to ram the log or ledge with your front wheel, but if you simply land the front wheel on top you won’t get the lift you need as the suspension won’t compress.
What about bigger obstacles? The zap is essentially the same as the double blip, but with the second blip you drop the clutch for extra acceleration. It is a lot harder to get the timing right compared to the double blip, but can make a huge difference when it all comes together. Expert riders can launch their bikes up on to obstacles over six feet tall without using a kicker!
With the double blip, move to bigger obstacles, undercut ledges, and vertical rock faces as you become more experienced. Resist the urge to build up more speed on your approach for bigger obstacles. You still need to come in slowly but apply extra acceleration on the second blip of throttle so that energy is exerted upwards, not horizontally!
Get another rider to spot for you as you attempt bigger obstacles. The basic idea is that they will grab your bike if needed to stop you falling backwards. They will need to be wearing their gloves and know the safest parts to grab for (e.g. avoid the spokes).
As you gain confidence with the zap, see if you can keep the front wheel up in the air as you clear the obstacle. This will prepare the way for holding pressure, an advanced trials technique. You can also use the zap to jump gaps – remember to keep the rear brake covered!
The zap, combined with covering the rear brake, leads to advanced techniques like hopping along on the rear wheel alone, a very advanced trials technique.
Copyright B. Morris 2014