Technique: How to build mountain bike dirt jumps, part 2

Construction technique for hip jumps and step-ups

Earlier this year we showed you how to create tabletops and doubles to jump on your mountain bike. This time we're looking at hip jumps and step-ups. The tools and rules are the same.

Hip jumps

A hip jump is a good way to link jumps at the end of the trails or give you more routes through sets of jump. Its landing is angled from the take-off, for turning in the air as you jump.

1 Find an area to build your jump – UK freerider Chris Smith recommends creating a hip jump by adapting a natural feature, ideally a bank rising 45 degrees out of the ground, giving you a natural landing.

2 Clear the area of debris and rake it down so it’s as smooth as possible.

3 Shape a take-off transition into one end of the bank with a spade. It’s easier to stand at the top and carve the transition, then rake away excess dirt from the bottom of of the jump.

4 Build a landing up to 45 degrees from the take-off, making sure it’s long enough for a safe landing.

5 Smooth everything off and leave it to set for a few days, until it holds its shape when you walk over it – that’s when it’s ready to ride.

Another way to build a hip jump is to add a landing to a tabletop you’ve already built – just build it at an angle to the take-off (up to 45 degrees).


A step-up is like a big  double, with extra height on the landing:

A step-up is essentially the same as a double, except that the landing is built much higher than the take-off. The landing also has much a longer base. We built a big double last time; here’s how to modify the process to end up with a step-up

1 Find a suitable area for your step-up. You need one that’s clear of trees and with plenty of room for the take-off and landing.

2 Arrange logs and branches into two piles to make a solid foundation. The two piles should be about 6ft apart.

3 Pile dirt on top of logs, making sure they are completely covered, and tread it down as you go.

4 Shape the landing fi rst. This time round, the landing needs to be higher than the take-off. Start off by making it about 3ft higher, so about 8ft tall overall.

Step-up: step-up

5 Walk the back end down into a nice gentle slope, and use a shovel to whack it and pack it all down.

6 As well as being higher, the landing also needs to have a wider base than a double. Otherwise you’ll find that the extra height will mean it will end up coming to a point rather than having a flat, level top.

7 Next, shape the take-off. It should be about 5ft high. As with the big double, the curve of the take-off needs to be longer than your bike, and the shape should kick you in the air a little.

8 Walk it into a smooth slope, run the bike up and down it and whack it down.

9 Leave it to set for a few days – when it holds its shape when you walk over it, it’s ready to ride.

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