I’ll start by being honest with you, a Front Flip is one of the most difficult and nerve-racking tricks out there.
Riding + Words // Mike Ross Sequence // Justine Belobraydich
The concept of the trick is relatively simple, it’s a forward rotational flip where you launch yourself off a jump and dive headfirst over your handlebars (on purpose), tucking yourself into a ball and hang on for dear life until your tires meet the ground once again. However, pulling all of that off in one smooth sequence in real life is rather challenging.Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Personally, I see it as challenge and find the feeling of landing one extremely rewarding, and it’s just plain EPIC!
In this piece I am going to step you through the process of executing the perfect front flip. When it comes to front flips, you’re really going to need to find yourself the right jump. Preferably you want to start out on a step-up type of jump, or better still track down an air bag. This is all in the name of safety. Air bags are soft and step ups give you the airtime with a smaller free fall. Foam pits or a Water jump are the best way to practice a front flip before you send one to a lander.
Next up, it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror and conquer your fears. Front flips require 200% commitment. It’s a very unnatural feeling to go against the forces you feel from the transition of the lip.
Did I mention you can’t see the landing for almost 90% of the flip? You need to give it everything you’ve got!
I would say the absolute most important piece to this puzzle is timing. Flip too early and you’ll land dead flat, flip too late and you will under rotate. There is also the timing of your legs and brake to add in for good measure. Alright, let’s do it!
You want to approach the jump with the same speed as if you were to jump it comfortably. As you ride up to the middle transition of the lip you squat down and slightly backwards towards your rear tyre. This gives you the potential to use all the power in your legs for step 2.
As your front tyre is within the top few inches of the lip, you now spring up and forward with all your might, and dive over the handlebars. This initiates your front flip and gives you the height to complete the jump.
The most important step! The Snap. It is when your legs go from being fully extended from your spring over the bars, to being tucked into your backside. You need to kick yourself in the butt with your heels as hard as you can. This will give you the forces to spin you around even more.
Tuck into a ball. From the snap you will already be tucked into this position, the tighter the ball the faster the rotation. The trick now is to commit to staying there. It is also a good tip to grab your rear brake, not essential but will help with adding forward rotation due to the centrifugal forces of your wheel stopping.
Spotting your landing is very, very difficult with front flips. At this point in time, you are about three quarters of the way around your flip. Looking under your arm or slightly to the side can help you spot your landing earlier.
Landing. As you spot your landing you start to open up out of your ball to slow down the rotation, so you are able to match the angle of the down ramp with your wheels. Front flips usually have a heavy landing. So, it is key here to brace and be strong as you touch down. Rear brake can help you on your landing if you are slightly under rotating, just like how you use it in manuals or wheelies to get the front wheel back on the ground.