Revo Magazines DIY Dirt Jumps Article

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Farkin Activist
OK, here at Farkin we’ve been lucky enough for the boys at Revolution to allow us to reproduce their “how to build dirt jumps article” that was in issue 05 December 2006 (yes the one with the Farkin stikas…)
So props to Holmes and crew, check their mag out as a lot of work goes into making a high quality quarterly mag, or 2020 BMX if you’re more that way inclined,. Photos and article are by Wacka to the best of my knowledge. If you want to discuss it, check out this thread which also has a great DIY and is open for your discussion.

Revolutions:- How To Build Dirt Jumps

“Now, I know you may be thinking that this sound’s pretty lame “how to build dirt jumps”, how hard could it be! But after spending a fair bit of time digging and riding at all sorts of trails, you tend to pick up a few things, especially what feels good to ride. So when it comes time to dig you can get creative and almost turn it into a bit of an art work, without having your hand down your pants.

So I’m going to break everything down for you from start to finish and hopefully it will help you out if you haven’t had much experience digging trails.

• Location: If you don’t already have a place in mind or an old jump site you can renovate then you want to find somewhere that is reasonably quiet, remote and preferably legal (National Parks will fine you if they catch you!) There have been many dirt jump sites that have been sanctioned by the Local Council because the riders in the area filled out petitions and approached the Council. There needs to be reasonably good dirt around so the jumps pack in well and don’t just fall apart after your first ride on them (clay is ideal). If you have no choice and are stuck with dusty or sandy trails, you can always try putting rolls of carpet down the landers and kickers with a length of wood screwed to the ground side of the carpet at the top of the jump to stop from sliding down. You can also try building wooden kickers with dirt landers if you want, but that takes a lot of wood, time and money.

• Tools: If you don’t have access to tools then you and your mates should go to your local hardware and pick up some between you, and don’t forget to ask about warranties,. You’re going to need a Matic, a couple of shovels and preferably a wheel barrow and radio. The shovels you want are a post hole digger which is good for shifting bulk amounts of dirt, and a wide flat one with sides which is good for shaping kickers. They’ll cost you about $30+each (Cyclone’s are reasonably good for the price), You can pick a decent Matic up for around $25+ (the one’s with the solid fibreglass handle are good and cheap). Now, wheel barrows are great but very expensive. You can get a decent one for around $150+. A radio that can be run on batteries makes life so much better and if you’ve got an
I-pod, get one with an AUX input that’ll set you back $20+ but you don’t
need to buy that from a hardware store.

• Getting Started: So now you and your friends have got a place to dig at and some tools to dig with,. The best time to start digging is after a few days of solid rain so the dirt is nice and wet so it’s easier to dig and the jumps pack in much better and dry a lot solider. So, you’re starting your new line. Go and find an area that is on a slight downhill that’s long enough for a few jumps and with good dirt close by. You should take your abilities and experience into account when deciding on how big you want to make the jumps whether they be low and mellow with a short gap, if any gap at all, for the inexperienced beginner. Or a tall steep and gappy rhythm section with transfers and hips for the experienced dirt jumper.

• Digging Pits: If you’re a beginner you’ll want to dig well off to the side of your line so that if you goof out you won’t crash into a big hole. But if you’re confident it’s a good way to get dirt by digging pits in between the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. jumps to land into. This makes for taller jumps and gives a better ‘pump’ between them. You should also dig out the actual gap of the jump itself. Generally to get a rhythm section to work well the jumps get progressively bigger and bigger as you build up momentum thru the pack.

• Kicker: So, as you’re digging pits, chuck the dirt in the spot for the kicker. Build it wider than you think is necessary because it make it easier to build taller. As you go, compact it by whacking it with a shovel on all sides and even jump up on top of it and stomp it in a bit. When you’ve got it to the height, width and angle that you want and all the sides are compacted, get out the wide flat headed shovel and give the face of the jump a good smoothing over by sliding the shovel up and down till there’s a smooth and even gradient. Then let it sit for a couple days.

• Lander: A stepped up lander is great because it allows you to go a bit faster, boost higher and throw tricks easier, but that normally means shifting a whole lot of dirt. When building a lander, you want it to be at least twice as wide as the kicker so you don’t have to be really precise when landing. You can also use a bit of fill like small logs etc. for the base of the landers and you can use the dryer, dustier dirt because it doesn’t matter quite so much and just like the kicker compact it as you go. Give it a good smoothing over and let it sit for a couple days.

• Maintenance: Once you’ve got your new trails up and running unfortunately you will have to maintain them. You will need to keep the place clean and tidy by taking all the rubbish left around home with you and disposing of any trees that may have been accidentally knocked down. Otherwise the neighbours and locals will get pi$$ed off with you and shut your trails down! Cranking the radio and burnouts don’t help things out too much either.

• Random: When you get a bit more familiar and skilled at building jumps you should do a bit of experimenting and try putting a roller or rollers into, or in between jumps. Hips are great too and you can try linking up hip runs with berms and transfers are one of the most fun things to do on dirt! Remember it’s summer now and there’s heaps of snakes and spiders out there under that log you’re just about to put in that jump your building so take it easy.

Live to Ride”


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