Today we’re going to go through a few basic tips on how to get confident doing drops. There are two main ways I like to break down thinking about riding off a drop. One where we just want to float off it – we’re in no rush to get to the ground – and another where we’re coming up to a corner or a jump after the drop and want to get our tyres on the ground as quickly as we can.
If we’re just going to be floating off the drop, we’re not concerned about where we’re landing too much if everything’s nice and smooth and safe. Maybe we’ve got a sweet down ramp or something like that. What we want to do is come in at a nice even pace. We’ll be centred on our bike in a strong riding position. A little bit of bend in the arms and a bit of bend in the legs to prepare for landing. As we come off the drop we want to un-weight and think about where we’re landing. We’re taking our arms up with the bike as if we’re going down in a push-up; the same thing with our legs as we take up some of the weight of our body. We’re not just relying on the suspension we’re going down in a squat to be nice and strong in the legs and arms – we don’t want to be straight-armed and super stiff.
If we want to get our tyres on the ground as soon as possible, we want to be on the top of the drop coming in at the same sort of speed. We’ll want to squat into the bike before we go off the drop to soak up the bike. As we leave the drop we’re going to push the bike down. It’s kind of the opposite technique as before. Now, this is horses for courses – we need to take into consideration how big the drop is and what type of landing we’ve got before we get stuck in. Here we have a perfect example of a drop where we want to get our wheels back on the ground as soon as possible. There are two big consecutive drops – one after the other. We’re coming in from a steep and loose section with a lot of speed. We’ll want to come in as settled as we can. If we push in off this first drop, we can be nice and planted to do a little bit of braking before we go off that second drop.
There we have a few key pointers to think about and practice doing drops with. Any time our wheels are going into the air we want to make sure we’re nice and settled before takeoff. Consider what type of drop you’re going to do: are we going to soak up the drop or push into the drop? Also, make sure that you know there’s a nice safe run out. As you get more advanced maybe you can pre-hop into the drop or something like that. Take it easy because anytime your wheels are coming off the ground you’ll want to be nice and confident! Have good air awareness and don’t be rushing anything. Happy trails.
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