Intro and Photos » Garth Milan
There are a handful of tricks that are considered essential to going fast on a motocross bike, and seat-bouncing sits high on the list of the most important techniques. Normally exercised on tighter courses with lots of jumps, the seat-bounce is used to propel a rider over an obstacle such as a double or triple jump when there is little room to muster up speed. By sitting on the seat and twisting the throttle at the same time, the rider loads the rear shock through a combination of his own weight and torque from the engine. The shock responds by using its coiled-up energy to bounce the rider up and over the obstacle that lies ahead.
This month, Team Makita Suzuki rider Sebastien Tortelli rendered his services to the readers of TWMX, perhaps for the last time, as Seb is packing his bags and heading back to Europe to contest the World Championships. Before he left, though, we caught up with Tortelli at Glen Helen one last time to pick his brain on this important skill. Be advised that this is an advanced move, and beginners should start small before trying to seat-bounce their way over the triples at Anaheim…
“As you can see from this photo sequence, I am riding my RM-Z450, but this technique is universal no matter what kind of bike you are on. While I go through the steps of the seat-bounce, notice that I have my finger on the clutch in the preceding corner as well as throughout the entire takeoff. This is important because it allows you to reach your peak power when coming out of the turn before the lip, and will often mean the difference between making it over an obstacle and coming up short.”
“After exiting the turn, I quickly adjust my body for maximum spring. For this jump, I sit down in the middle of the seat with my elbows up and my head leaning slightly forward. As I hit the face, I twist the throttle hard and give the clutch a quick stab for maximum power.
“Once in the air, I aim the front end where it needs to go and begin to bring my body into a standing position. Since the bike is front-end high on takeoff, I begin to level it out too, and as I stand I also prepare myself for landing, because you never want to land in the seated position.”
RULES TO REMEMBER
“Body positioning on the saddle is critical for seat-bouncing. You need to find your balance point; if you sit too far forward, you won’t achieve the springing effect you are looking for, because there won’t be sufficient weight on the rear shock. On the other hand, if you’re sitting too far back on the seat, the bike will endo and your front wheel will drop on you.
“Besides finding your balance point, another rule is that the faster you are going, the farther forward you will want to sit. The slower you go, the farther rearward you must sit for additional leverage. Also, be aware that the higher you go, the more airtime you get, and the additional time spent in the air will add time to your laps. The idea is to get the least amount of air possible while still getting over the jump cleanly. The more times you practice the technique, the better feel you will get for it, and soon you’ll be able to gauge your speed for the appropriate launch.”
To get a better idea of what Sebastien’s doing in the sequence, and to see the stills in motion, click the video link near the top of the article.