In this guide, we’re going to provide some insights on how to jump with an adventure motorbike which is loaded up with saddlebags, luggage and adv gear.
Jumping on any offroad motorcycle brings with it a world of fun, but a world of pain too when you miscalculate everything. Any experienced rider would know the feeling of hitting a jump and either coming up short or overshooting the landing. Worst still is tilting up or leaning too far downwards while in the air, with no time to correct such mistakes.
Add in the weight of an adventure motorcycle, and you potentially have a recipe for disaster which can quickly end a trip. So in this guide, let’s show you how to do it safely.
How to Jump an Adventure Bike
This guide is of course theory in its nature. Any practice attempts should be done in a controlled environment with no luggage while riders are fully kitted up with safety gear.
The process to actually jump is quite simple:
1. Lighten your bike
Every ADV rider out there needs to lighten up their gear. Often it takes years before we get down to a reasonable size.
Not only should you get rid of luggage which isn’t being used, but you should also go down to a smaller motorcycle if you want to hit jumps properly.
Take off all your luggage at a trail and leave it on the side. The lighter weight will help you feel more confident and more agile.
2. Find some small jumps
There is no need to become Ricky Brabec (Dakar 2020 winner) in the first 5 minutes. Start with small jumps which are no larger than 10 inches. Yes – 10 inches.
See – all you want initially is the feeling of jumping and being airborne. Time stands still while you’re in the air, even on the smallest jump.
Avoid the purpose-built dirt bike parks with jumps already setup. These are often built for air-time for lighter bikes and not for 700cc+ bikes.
3. Relax your mind
Many of us are nervous about jumping on a heavy ADV bike for the first time. Calmness when riding generally begins in the mind. I
f you’re nervous, then you can expect the takeoff or landing not to go so well. Instead, focus on relaxing on the smaller jumps.
4. Stand up on the pegs
If you’re sitting when jumping on a motorcycle, then you can expect a sore backside. Do this enough times and you won’t feel like jumping ever again.
You need to get up on those pegs. While yes, it does raise your centre of gravity, it also provides a lot more control and a feeling of ownership towards your jumping abilities.
Standing in an attack position is the best way. Elbows bent, head forward and knees bent. Your backside should be slightly behind the natural seated position but not leaning back.
5. Add some throttle speed
Adventure bikes are heavier than dirt bikes, and for that reason, you’ll drop much sooner while in the air. Falling short has its advantages but is dangerous if you’re avoiding an obstacle.
We recommend that you add more speed than what you need while ensuring the end of your jump is clear for miles in case you overshoot your landing spot.
You should be in the middle of your rev range, so ensure you’re in the right gear for the jump and the speed you choose.
6. Use your body weight to jump
Jumping on an adventure motorcycle requires your body to be involved, as opposed to just the physics of the jump, the motorcycle and speed.
Before reaching the lip of the jump, immediately raise your body on your motorcycle while simultaneously adding speed. This will give you additional height and distance.
This is known as loading-up or springing where you utilize your own body weight to lift the motorcycle higher. For adventure riders, this is important given the weight.
7. Pull in your clutch
As you take off in the air, the sudden lack of resistance is going to make your back tyre spin. And if it spins for too long, you risk out-revving or stalling mid-air.
Pull your clutch in to control the motorcycle power while keeping the throttle in the same position as to take off. Release the clutch before landing.
8. Land the jump with power on
Just as you land, add some power. Avoid the temptation to hit the front or brakes unless a crash is imminent, but do have your toes resting on your rear brake just in case.
By adding throttle when landing, this is going to take the shock out of landing and have you powered on for the next encounter on the trail.
9. Practice Practice Practice
Now that you’ve done your 1st jump on a heavy adventure motorcycle, it’s time to practice some more. Either stay on the same jump for a while or start looking for larger jumps in your local area.
What’s most important is that you practice the right clutch and throttle control to keep the revs in the right range. For some riders, they pick this up very easily especially if they had dirt riding experience in their younger years. For other riders, it often takes months to feel confident.
A word of caution with jumping
Just remember that most riders don’t jump with their adventure motorcycle for various reasons. Either their bike is too heavy, they’re worried about crashing and the damage it causes or simply are too old to have this much fun.
There is little benefit in doing big jumps with adv motorbikes, unlike dirt bikes. However, you might be interested in simply doing wheelies to get over obstacles.
Either way, don’t ignore the recommended minimum safety gear. In fact, if you’re doing jumps, then you really should have a neck brace on.
If you’re still too nervous, avoid the need to show off or simply join an adventure motorcycling school. You’ll find these across Europe, the UK, the USA and Australia.
In summary: Jump into it
Jumping successfully with adventure bikes simply requires you to start small and grow over time. You will need to have a solid amount of fitness and flexibility to absorb the landing shock, paired with copious amounts of offroading experience.
But once you master these skills, it becomes hard not to show off in the field on a group ride. Just don’t take it too far. 🙂