ADVANCED trials training: jumping gaps on a trials bike
As you progress to A and B grade sections you will be required to jump gaps. This can be done in a number of ways, and you will need to have your zap, splat, wheelie, covering the rear brake, stoppie (nose wheelie) and using a kicker skills handy to master all of them.
the basic jump
Sometimes the terrain allows you to simply jump your trials bike in a similar way to a dirt bike if there is an easy run up and plenty of room to stop after landing - but this is a rare combination in trials competition! The same skills from dirt riding apply, so see our cross training vid on how to jump a dirt bike for details.
basic wheelie & de-weighting the bike
The next easiest technique? The basic wheelie and de-weighting the bike is a handy all purpose technique that doesn't need a lot of skill. Simply compress the forks for a wheelie, then de-weight the foot pegs to ensure the rear wheel clears the gap. This is useful when it's not so important for the rear wheel to clear the gap, or when the take off point is higher than your landing point so no special techniques are needed to clear the gap. See our wheelie training for more details.
using a kicker
Both the above techniques can be enhanced by using a kicker. This can be a rock, small log, or a ridge or rise in the terrain that can act a a launching platform. Trials bikes are so light that even a two inch high object can make a big difference to clearing a gap successfully. Go to our Using a kicker training for more details.
The zap means dropping the clutch and using your body weight to launch the bike across the gap - it is very useful when you have no run up to clear the gap. Apply throttle with the clutch in, ump on the foot pegs to compress the suspension, then release the clutch quickly to throw the bike forward. You can also use your body weight to determine how the bike will behave when jumping the gap. See our double blip & zap training for details.
the splatter (or splat)
The splatter is a handy technique if the rear wheel isn't going to fully clear the gap. You initiate a back flip, but the rear wheel hits the object first and prevents the flip. As the front wheel of the bike is forced down it provides a lot of momentum so the rear wheel will climb the obstacle it hits. Make sure you have someone spotting for you at the top too when learning. See our Splatter training for a full explanation.
wheelie / stoppie combination
Stoppies, or nose wheelies, can be very handy when you need to come to an immediate stop after clearing the gap. If there is sufficient run up then you can clear the gap by initiating a wheelie. The tricky part? While in mid-air, throw your body weight forward to bring the front wheel down to land first. The moment the front wheel had landed, apply the front brake so that the rear wheel stays in the air until it has cleared the gap. This takes a lot of good technique and timing! There are good examples of this in our Jumping gaps video.
holding pressure & zap
Another more difficult technique is holding pressure then using a zap - very useful when you have a tricky obstacle before clearing the gap. Do a wheelie on to the obstacle, hold pressure to keep the front wheelie in the air, then use a zap to jump the gap. You should have enough momentum to ensure the rear wheel goes over even if you don't clear the entire gap. For more details rear our holding pressure article.
jump to it!
So there you have it - a pile of different ways to jump gaps on your trials bike. Once you master all of these techniques you should be able to handle just about any gap you come across. If it is hard to visualize any of these techniques, watch our video Jumping gaps on a trials bike.
Copyright B. Morris 2014
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