How to pump through rollers

Absorb undulations in the trail to stay fast and smooth

A ‘roller’ is a hump or series of humps in the trail. The best way to ride them smoothly is to keep your wheels on the ground. They’re usually found on fast sections so you need to absorb or ‘pump’ them so you don’t get bucked or sent into the air. Pumping them will also help you generate speed and stay smooth.

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1. Pump

1. Pump
Prepare your approach
Russell Burton

Approach the roller stood up, in a neutral position, with your pedals level. At the bottom of the transition from flat to uphill, push your bike into the trail using mainly your legs. It’s important that you do this at the bottom of the roller and not on the upslope itself.

2. Unweight

2. Unweight
Get your position right
Russell Burton

Go light over the upslope by allowing your arms and legs to bend and your bike to come up underneath you. If it’s a big roller, you may have to push the bike forwards slightly as it comes up underneath you, so the saddle is in front of your hips.

3. Pump again

3. Pump again
Pump the downslope
Russell Burton

Once your wheels have cleared the upslope you need to pump the downslope. Extend your arms and legs and push your bike into the trail. This will generate forward speed. As the suspension re-extends, your body weight will stay high and in a straight line.

4. Repeat

4. Repeat
Keep practicing
Russell Burton

You should now be back to your start position and ready to repeat the technique on the next roller. If you feel like you’re out of sync or you got bucked up and down, it’s likely that your timing was out or you didn’t unweight enough over the upslope of the roller.

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5. Advanced

Once you become more confident, you’ll get to a point where the rollers are too close for how fast you’re riding and you’ll end up out of sync. Two techniques can help you here — popping a manual through the rollers or doubling them up.