Dirt Jumping Mountain Biking
Dirt Jumping is the newest craze to hit mountain biking. Traditionally Dirt Jumping was done on BMX and Freestyle bikes, but riders are now seeing the increased usability of bikes with multiple gears and bigger tires. Like motor cross riding, dirt jumpers take their bikes high enough to do some serious tricks and some serious damage if they mess up. Back flips and 360's are becoming more common on huge jumps, and several riders have attempted back flip tail whips, but none have been successfully landed thus far. Injury is common with Dirt Jumpers, because of the huge air that Dirt Jumpers get.
Many community's are building dirt jumping courses with the help of sponsors, where riders of all skill levels can go and jump their bikes. A lot of people build their own courses for dirt jumping is unpopulated, hard to find areas. Just make sure you don't share your areas with dirt bikers. Your course will most likely be reduced to nothing in a short amount of time.
Because of its high flying tricks and massive media attention in the Xgames and other televised events, Dirt Jumping has become a great spectator sport. Unlike XC mountain biking, dirt jumping is a very fast paced event that appeals to television media.
Dirt Jumping Bikes
Dirt Jumping Bikes are similar to Urban style bikes. They are usually hard tail, and smaller than mountain bikes, find some good frames here. Dirt Jumping bikes are built with strong tubing, and very strong components that can withstand large drops. Most common frame manufacturers are now producing, frames specifically for dirt jumping. We are now seeing a different style of hub dropout, called a horizontal dropout made specifically to withstand impacts from jumping. Dirt Jumping frames also have replaceable dropouts because this is one area that breaks and is extremely difficult or impossible to replace on a traditional bike. Make sure you have a sturdy frame for dirt jumping and the size is usually about 2" smaller than your XC mountain bike, assuming that it is sized correctly. We recommend the Azonic Steelhead frame for entry level dirt jumping. It's a solid steel frame with all the features and a low price. It runs just over $200 for the frame. Its an awsome bike for an awsome price.
Dirt Jumping Forks
Dirt Jumping Forks are being made with large amounts of travel and solid axle through hub construction replacing the traditional quick release mountain bike hubs. This makes the wheel and the hub much stronger, and more resistant to breaking or damage. Most good fork manufacturers also make forks specifically for dirt jumping. We recommend Marzocchi, because they make great forks, and they keep their prices reasonable. Check out the Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 1.
Dirt Jumping Safety Gear
Since dirt jumpers commonly jump over 10 or even 15 feet in height, safety equipment is essential. A good quality helmet either a full face helmet or very good protection is needed. A standard MTB helmet, usually won't cut it. Good gloves and Good Firm Shoe are essential, and shin and elbow guards are a good idea as well. You can take some nasty falls dirt jumping, so don't push you limits too far, and don't try tricks that you have no chance of landing safely. This is especially true with inverted tricks like back flips, where even a slight mistake can cause a serious injury or death. If you don't know how to, and you're not comfortable with it, then don't do it. And learn how to bail 'away from your bike' if things start to go wrong.