STORY LANCE RUSSELL PHOTOGRAPHY JOE SHEPHARD
To throw a decent whip is every riders dream. It gives you confidence, respect and blows up your Instagram! The hardest part is giving yourself the opportunity to practice. Make time for it. Spend an entire day throwing “bum whips”, don’t be afraid to look like a fool when you’re learning. Those who can throw a huge whip, had to start small. How many times do you think Justin Barcia has thrown them? A thousand? Tens of thousands?
I was lucky enough to get 5th at X Games Sydney Best Whip! So with that experience, I’m going to share every step. You can get a huge head start.
Step 1: LEFT OR RIGHT
Find out which way you prefer to whip. For example, I am personally more comfortable having the bike out towards the right, while I lean towards the left. I call this “whipping to the right”.
(Quick tip: You can find your whip direction right now, without the bike. Stand facing away from your friend, clear your mind and have your friend gently push you forward unexpectedly. If you naturally put your right foot forward first, you would most likely whip the bike out towards left and lean towards the right. If your left foot steps first, you would most likely whip to the right and lean to the left).
Step 2: WHIP-LINE
When you approach the jump, follow a whip-line. Let’s say you whip your bike out towards the right, like me. Your whip-line will start slightly left of centre of the jump. As you approach closer and climb the take off ramp, start steering the bike slightly to the right.
What you will find is this lets you fly in a straight line as you throw huge whips without shooting off the side, missing the landing.
STEP 3: THE SECRET
This is my biggest secret and the most important step. Watch or feel for the lip/top of the jump. As soon as your front wheel reaches it, drop your shoulder to flatten out your bike, and simultaneously sit back as far as you can. Leaning back stops you nose diving. This step is so important because it’s the timing of your lean that makes or breaks a big whip. Not only that, but the harder you lean and longer you lean from this moment can make you whip bigger than anyone… if you have the balls to do it!
STEP 4: PIVOT
I found the best way to control a whip and make it swing out backwards came from simultaneously turning the handlebars on full lock (turning towards the direction you whip the bike out), pivoting off the steering lock while you push down with your feet on the footpegs. You are pulling the handlebars past your torso, as your feet go out towards the landing ramp, which literally makes you turn backwards in the air.
STEP 5: GYRO
Have you ever wondered why pro’s always rev their bikes in big whips? There is actually a bit of science to it. Your wheels act as gyroscopes, they are the reason the bike can come back straight. So, rev your bike once your whip gets bigger, to help it come back faster.
STEP 6: EXPERIMENT
I use unique ways to bring the bike back. Such as turning my handlebars a second time in the opposite direction to help the bike come back when it becomes hard to recover. Everyone has their own style, and you will need to experiment to find your preferred way.
Always take small steps. Make sure you can bring back small whips straight again, before trying bigger whips. HAPPY WHIPPING!