How to Whip a Dirt Bike


how to whip a dirt bike

How to Whip a Dirt Bike and Do It Like a Pro

Motorcycles are very cool and dirt bikes might just be the coolest of them all.

Anyone who has ever ridden a Razor Dirt Rocket SX500 McGrath Electric Motocross Bike knows the joy of doing a good old fashioned whip on the bike.

Related: How to Ride a Dirt Bike like a Pro

It is one of the oldest, coolest and most exciting moves you can attempt on a motorcycle.

The moment you are able to do your first whip is a moment of unparalleled excitement and joy. It may take months of practice to perform a perfect whip on a Coolster 70cc semi-automatic dirt bike. A whip is a move that shows your flair and daring as a bike rider.

What is a dirt bike whip?

A dirt bike whip is a move that involves the bike rider launching off a jump and maneuvering the back end of the bike to the front so that the bike is in a horizontal position.

Once at the peak of the jump, the rider will maneuver the dirt bike’s back end to its original position in order to safely land.

Key elements of the whip

The whip sounds like a simple move, which it is, but it is quite difficult to pull off. Practice is the only thing that will make your whip perfect.

The key elements of a successful bike whip are proper form and the right location for the jump.

Pertaining to proper form, ensure that you are relaxed and are on the balls of your feet.

Riding the bike on the balls of your feet ensures that your center of gravity is low which means you have increased stability and though it may sound easy it is also easy to forget especially when attempting a whip.

The other key element concerning a whip is the jump and generally speaking, the bigger the jump, the better the whip.

A big jump gives a rider enough space and time to successfully perform the move and land safely.

The jump should also be comfortable meaning it should have the least amount of kickers.

A comfortable jump will ensure nothing goes wrong and you can jump higher and feel more comfortable doing the whip.

How to whip dirt bike

Step 1: The Setup

A dirt bike whip is done right out of a corner so the turn is extremely important. It is crucial to judge the right speed to execute the move.

As you approach the jump, ensure you are in a mid level gear so that you have enough speed to get the jump right but not too much speed that you are out of control.

You should start looking ahead as soon as you come out the corner. The reason is that you want to clearly see the face of the jump so that you can pick a clean line from which to launch.

For an ideal take off, you should let off the acceleration for just a moment at the bottom of the jump to properly align yourself with the take off line.

You should then accelerate up the face of the jump for the best jump angle and also for the proper lift off the jump.

Accelerating while launching the jump will bars your bike from slipping and sliding on the face of the jump due to a lack of speed.

Step 2: The Lean In

You are now on the face of the jump.

Pick the direction in which you want to whip. The side does not really matter and depends on personal preference.

Don’t think too much about it and go with the side that feels most natural. The direction you choose will decide how you whip.

The whip is a jump with a step up that turns.

You will want to start turning, or as it is more popularly known carving, as you come up the face of the jump.

‘The carve’ should ideally result in a half moon shaped line that goes up the face of the jump.

‘The carve’ allows the bike to start whipping even before you take off the ramp and your momentum will push the bike sideways coming off the ramp.

You should also ensure that you lean with the bike as you prepare for takeoff as soon as you choose your line.

When leaning, ensure that you are on the balls of your feet and that your weight is leaning forward. This position gives you good balance and ensures a nose-down landing which is crucial to landing safely.

The lean during takeoff is also crucial if you want your whip to have good rhythm.

Step 3: The Takeoff

As a beginner, it is better to practice taking off for a whip sitting down rather than standing up because it is a lot easier to whip sitting down than standing up.

Moreover, it gives the dirt bike more pop as you take off for the jump.

As you prepare for lift off of the face of the jump, push against the frame on your inside leg which will depend on which direction you chose for your whip.

This maneuver adds more force to the inside of the machine and keeps its trajectory going in the direction you have chosen.

Your dirt bike’s rear end will begin to come out once you begin the jump. Loosen up your outside leg, just barely, to maintain the bike’s whip position.

Your outside leg should already be off the outside peg which should help your whip.

As you leave the ramp, your bike’s bars should be completely locked. Having your bike in this posture increases the wheels’ gyro to get the bike to be completely under your control.

Step 4: Airborne

Once you are airborne, your bike will continue falling on the inside and it will begin to float out, so to speak.

At this stage of the jump, you will want to let the rear of the dirt bike come around to a degree.

As stated earlier, it will be better to attempt this sitting and as you progress you can try it while standing.

Turing the bike while airborne is a learned feeling with which you will become accustomed to in time.

Therefore, it is a good idea to build you prowess slowly.

Ensure you are not completely central on the bike. Lean back, and once you takeoff use your body weight to lean off the side off the bike, and pull the handlebars towards you so as to further tip the bike over and accentuate the whip.

 As you get the bike even flatter, you should push the dirt bike with your outside leg so that you can kick the back end of the bike out.

Moreover, you should push the handlebar downward with your outside arm to further flatten the bike and continue doing it until you are at the apex of your jump.

Step 5: Descent

It is at this stage that you will want to bring the dirt bike’s rear end around as you finish the whip.

Your bike will go from being nice and level to uneven and unstable as the front end starts dropping. You should start steering out of the whip now.

Straighten out your handlebar and stop pushing the dirt bike with your inside leg.

This maneuver will stop the back end of your bike from coming out too far.

Transfer your body weight into your outside leg and push against the bike’s frame to so as to straighten out the bike’s rear end.

Accelerating the bike at this stage of its descent will cause the back tyre to come around and the bike will straighten.

The extra force from the throttle is what accomplishes the bike’s straightening movement.

Your dirt bike should almost be completely straight now. You are now coming down nose first and should be spotting your bike’s landing position.

 A bigger jump is paramount because it affords you more time to select the best landing position possible.

Also if your whip is not smooth, you may lose time stabilizing the dirt bike which you should be using to spot and calibrate your landing position.

Step 6: Landing or Touch Down

Landing may very well be the hardest part of performing a whip because a whip with an imperfect landing does not count.

The one thing you have to keep in mind to ensure a successful landing is to make your body and your dirt bike as straight as possible.

The balls of your feet should be firmly placed on the bike’s pegs when bracing for landing.

You should also tuck in your knees when bracing for impact so that you are firm and steady on the bike.

If you are not completely straight at the moment of landing, ensure that your body is as straight on the bike as possible.

If your body is perpendicular or at an angle to the machine and you stiffen your body when your bike touches the ground, your dirt bike will swap back in the opposite direction and slam you onto the ground which is not a fun experience.

Step 7: Rollout

As soon as your front end touches down, your handlebars should be turned completely in the direction towards which you are travelling.

You should do this even though the rear end of the dirt bike might still be kicked out a little bit.

Achieving the above bike position is crucial to ensuring a smooth rollout once you land.

Proper form and bike position will help you complete the whip and jump perfectly.

Extra Tips – How to Whip a Dirt Bike

Take your time

You may have seen a pro dirt bike rider do an awesome bike whip on the Motocross circuit and that gave you the impetus to try one yourself.

What you should realize is that the rider has probably been riding dirt bikes for years and trying different moves during that period.

They have tried for months on end until the move became as good as the one you saw.

 As a beginner, take your time learning to whip your dirt bike. Start with the basics.

Practice your jumps then move on to carving off the face of the jump and afterwards try whipping.

Take as much time as you need and don’t be frustrated if the progress is not as quick as you expect.

Ensure your bike is in good condition

Another thing you must ensure before performing a dirt bike whip is that your bike is in perfect working order.

Performing a whip on a shaky bike is a recipe for disaster.

So many things can go wrong if you attempt a whip with such a bike.

The jump may not be as powerful, you may be unable to turn the bike coming off the ramp and the number of disaster scenarios that can happen when landing are countless.

Take your bike to the mechanic and get a complete check.

Only when you are sure that everything is in good stead should you try whipping the bike 20ft above the ground.

Higher jumps not farther jumps

When performing a whip on a dirt bike, the jump is of special importance.

It determines how good the whip will be and how long you can hold it and also determines how you will land.

When whipping a dirt bike, it is better to aim for higher jumps that longer ones.

The farther up you are in the air, the larger the opportunity for a smooth, unhurried whip and the resultant coming around of the rear end when landing.

A farther jump may also mean that you may jump early and completely miss a landing spot which can cause disastrous injuries.

Confidence

It has been said that the key to doing anything successfully is confidence and the same goes for whipping a dirt bike.

Practice is a key factor to building your confidence.

However, during a race your emotions can get the better part of you and ruin your whip. Keeping calm and being relaxed is very important.

If you doubt yourself when turning your bike 20ft above the ground you may end up seriously injuring yourself.

Be confident, trust in your bike and your skills for a better whip. 

Daniel Mose

Daniel is a big fan of dirt biking. I own KTM 250 SX-F. I love learning how to maintain this dirt bike and ensure it lasts long while serving me without any issues. Join me in this journey as I document stuff that we, as dirt bike lovers, ought to know.

Recent Content