How to whip a mountain bike

Ed Thomsett shows how to get your bike sideways for no other reason than looking rad!

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A good whip is a great trick to have in your arsenal. If done right, they always look steezy and you can adapt the technique to add style to almost any jump.

Whipping is one smooth, arcing motion that starts before you leave the ground. Decide which is your preferred direction to whip in — some riders favour the side of their leading foot and some the opposite.

To whip to the left, approach the jump on the right-hand side of the trail. As you hit the transition, carve left across it, so that if you took off straight you’d miss the lander.

Once in the air, hang your body weight off the right-hand side of the bike and pull it sideways to whip the back wheel out and get yourself back in line with the lander.

Steeper jumps help because they kick you higher and you can nosedive the bike into the lander to straighten it up.

The most common mistake is to take off straight and then try to turn the bike in the air, but with no sideways momentum, the bike stays in-line.

Here are a few different styles of whip

Three tips for getting that whip

Practice makes perfect

1. Full 90

Getting the bike completely sideways means fully committing to carving the take-off. Get used to the feeling and build up gradually, going faster and leaning over more each time.

2. Flats on

Flat pedals are better for learning on because they give you more freedom to twist your feet, without the risk of unclipping. An unintentional unclip mid-whip is a terrifying experience — trust me, I’ve been there!

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3. Tabletops

Wide tabletop jumps are the best for learning whips on. There’s more room for error and you can get off balance and land with the bike a bit sideways with less risk of destroying your back wheel.