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RushWay trials mechanics

Adding power to the kick

The combined action of lowering the front wheel and moving your hips forward gives you extra torque and power for the pedal kick. This also compensates for the vertical tilt that results from pulling on the handlebars during the jump.

trials riding tutorials Carles Diaz, right on the edge, arms stretched.

trials riding tutorials Aurelien Fontenoy tucks to cover extra distance.

This will also prevent you from leaning too much on the rear upon landing. You can enhance the rebound effect of the rear tyre with a small hop as you drop your center of gravity, compressing the tyre precisely onto the edge as you lower the front wheel.

Taking off at a slight angle, about 20 degrees from the gap instead of facing it (with your lazy foot facing the gap) allows you to kick-in more power and for longer, until you are in full extension on your front pedal. This will effectively increase your reach and extension potential.

After take-off, you will also be able to swing the bike sideways, increasing your reach to land further.

Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

More power into the kick

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1° Balance over the rear wheel at about 20 degrees from the gap instead of facing it.

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2° From a high up position, let suddenly the front wheel drop and regroup so as to perform a compression hop.

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3° The rear tyre gets pinched right on the edge, you end up arms fully stretched ready to kick in the pedal.

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4° Pull the bars to you and accelerate into a jump extension. Taking off at a slight angle allows you to kick-in more power.

For increased power, you should use the whole bike as a cantilever, pulling the handlebars to your abdomen to surge forward more efficiently as you kick in the pedal.
The cantilever effect will be more efficient if you keep your arms stretched, enabling more torque to be transmitted into the pedal kick (because you'll end up pulling the bars up while pushing down on the front pedal).

Position yourself for the kick

trials riding tutorials Hannes Herrmann tilts the bike vertical for a secure reception.

trials riding tutorials For a longer reach, tuck your knees and pull the bike up.

Now that you can pedal hop, make the most of it. A correct rear wheel position can make all the difference between a face-plant and a nice powerful gap transition.

When you are about to leap from a rock or a wall, a rounded or a flat edge is more forgiving, since the rear wheel will always roll off it nicely.

But when performing a pedal kick from a narrow edge, for example from a pointy rock or a railing, be careful to always position the rear hub right above or beyond the edge (on the gap side), like shown on the pictures (a) and (b).

Never start with your rear hub behind the highest point of the edge (picture c), unless you want to put yourself into desperate crash situations.

As you kick in your front pedal, part of your effort is transferred to the rear wheel into a torque (a rotating force perpendicular to the radius of your wheel). To simplify, if we were to consider only the rotating wheel (not your whole impulse on the rock), its reaction force (blue arrow) will propel you off the edge.

Rear wheel position before the kick

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The rear hub is right above the highest point of the edge, the wheel will provide the maximum torque horizontally, for an optimum gap distance. There is no vertical reaction, all your energy goes into the horizontal move.

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The rear hub is a bit beyond the edge on the gap side, the rear wheel rolls down and this drags the bike down while you try to tuck for the gap crossing. The downward reaction (red arrow) is lost energy and makes your jump ineficient.

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The rear hub is behind the peak of the edge, the wheel can get stuck behind when you kick. The vertical reaction upwards (red arrow) will flick the rear wheel up (face-plant guaranteed in most cases, this is no fun!)

Plan a: best case scenario
In the optimum case (picture a), the rear hub is positioned at the vertical right above the edge, this ensures the most kick back from the edge with a reaction force that is completely horizontal. From the kick alone, there is no vertical reaction and you will perform the longest jump.

Plan b: less than optimum
If you kick in the pedal while the hub is already standing beyond the highest point (picture b), then the reaction to the wheel torque (the force that reacts from your kick into the wheel) can be decomposed into a horizontal (green arrow) and a vertical (red arrow) components. In this case, the vertical component represents energy that is wasted downwards, that could have been used instead to propel yourself across the gap.

Instead, it pushes your rear wheel down and makes it more difficult to lift the bike up. Now, this would be the right approach for drop-gaps. You can play on this roll-down effect to kick your rear wheel directly towards your targeted landing spot if it is situated lower.

Plan c: definitely scary
If you still kick the pedal when the rear hub is positioned behind the highest point of the edge (picture c), the reaction to the wheel torque (blue arrow) will be decomposed into a vertical force upward (red arrow) and a horizontal reaction (green arrow).

That would be ok if you kept your weight behind or above the rear hub, maybe for a small re-adjustment hop to get right on top of the crest. But if you kick too hard and lurch forward over a gap, the upward reaction will flick the rear wheel up and tilt the bike down as you shift your weight forward.

This is a sure way to plunge over the bars. Effectively, it is as if the rear wheel was stuck behind a small step, and that could be the start of a face-plant.

Adjustment and pre-load hop when lowering the front wheel
Typically, when you are in perfect balance on the back wheel, on a rail or a pointy edge, the front wheel is fairly high up. Now, when you lower the front wheel before the kick, this rolls the rear wheel down by about a foot (with the hub coming behind the edge).

That's why in most cases, the compression hop before the kick is also a repositioning hop, bringing the rear wheel back again in a good position right before the kick.

If you want to avoid a re-adjustment hop, then start in balance with the rear hub just a bit behind the edge, so that when you lower the front wheel you end up with the hub exactly at the vertical to the edge (picture a), ready for the perfect kick. Try to focus on this and you'll notice a huge difference in your kicks.


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