Trail Riding Tip: Leaping Logs

Dealing with sizeable logs can be intimidating, but get the technique right and you may surprise yourself

STORY SHANE BOOTH | PHOTOGRAPHY MATT BERNARD

Leaping-Logs

APPROACH

Always make contact with a log straight-on. Any attempt to deal with a log of this size at an angle will end in tears, especially when it’s wet and slippery like this example. Try to read the surface as best you can, especially where you will apply the throttle and clutch to lift the front wheel. Misreading the amount of traction available at this point will send your front wheel straight into the log.

BODY POSITION

Attack a log like this in the standing position. Grip the bike tightly with your legs to help it stay straight and discourage the rear end of the bike from skipping sideways. Stay strong on the bike so you don’t collapse or fold down on impact with the log.

COMMIT TO IT

As spectacular as this looks, it’s actually the best way to deal with a log of this size. By wheeling as high as Hop has in this photo, you can see that by the time the rear wheel hits the log and forces the front wheel to come down, the frame rails and engine cases have cleared the log. If your wheelie isn’t quite high enough, your frame rails will hit the log and most likely cause the bike to come to a stop and throw your weight forward. Once the rear wheel hits the log, pull the clutch in and use your momentum to get the rear of the bike over. This is where plenty of riders get it wrong; it’s easy to think you need to add a burst of throttle when the rear wheel hits the log. In this case with a wet and slippery log, it will almost always end up in a disaster. The rear wheel will spin up and most likely spit the bike violently sideways.

PREPARE YOUR LINE

If you are unsure about a log and the only option is to continue, you can always pack some smaller branches or even rocks to build a bit of a ramp up and do the same on the backside of the log, too. If all else fails, get your mate to help you lift the bike over and then return the favour.

PLAN B: ROCK OVER IT

This is one way you can get over a log, especially if it’s on the larger side and you are unsure about it. Approach the log slowly and pop the front wheel over it, allowing the frame rails to land on top of the log. At this point, pull the clutch in and let the bike balance there like it’s on a centre stand. From that point you can rock the bike forward over the log and keep everything under control. If you feel like the bike may flip over forward from this point, you can also get off your bike and drag it off the log.