Handling Large G-Outs with Eric Sorby
By Eric Sorby
Photos and Intro by Garth Milan
If you’re new to the sport, the term “G-out” may be an unfamiliar one to you. However, if you¿ve spent much time in the saddle at all, we¿re willing to wager that you¿ve come into contact with the pesky track obstacle at one point or another. Though it’s got a fancy namesake and a bad reputation to follow, in all reality the G-out is nothing more than a large hole or sudden dip in a track, often found in spots like the bases of downhills and jumps. G-outs are also commonplace on sandy tracks, where the dirt gets eaten away quickly and gaping holes develop in the soft conditions.
So why does everyone fear these little bumps so much? The cause of the intimidation is actually quite simple: due to a whole slew of reasons, mostly stemming from the laws of gravity and the physics of your bike’s chassis and suspension, G-outs hurt. When performed incorrectly, the hit that you and your bike can sustain from a G-out and its inherent impact can literally send a rider hurdling over the bars in the classic “flying W” position. Even when done right, the troublesome little track obstacle can at the very least still bottom out your forks and shock, robbing you of plenty of forward momentum and energy at the same time.
These gravity cavities can be handled in a number of different ways depending on the terrain you’re riding on, but the following tips provided by Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Eric Sorby should get you going on the right track when it comes to wrestling with big hits. Take it away, Eric…
“G-outs are tough to deal with at any track, and the ones that were here at Cahuilla Creek MX Park were especially hard. In this example, the G-out that I had to deal with is at the end of a tabletop that has become unclearable due to large bumps in the face. Every G-out is different, but because of the situation here the setup begins before I can even see the hole. As I approach the tabletop before the hole, since I know I can’t jump over it I instead want to stay as low to the ground as possible and land as quick as I can so that I can get back on the throttle. To accomplish this, I found a small bump on the lip that allowed me to pre-jump off of it. This way I am actually leaving the face of the jump before the top of it. As I hit the small bump that sends me into the air, I concentrate on landing with my back wheel down first. You never want your front end going into a big bump or whole first, especially when your body weight is forward. Instead, get your weight back on the bike to avoid a big crash.”
“Once I transferred my weight to the rear of the bike, I am ready to hit the ground on the gas. Again, I land rear wheel first, which helps me get my front end up and unweighted immediately. In this particular G-out, I have only a couple of feet from my landing to the hole. This is where keeping the front end light is important. Just as you prepare to launch your bike into the bump, pull up on the front end, give the bike some gas, and wheelie over the obstacle. Remember, the key is to get your front wheel over the bump as smoothly as possible. Once your front wheel has made it, your back wheel should follow through with little or no problems. In sections like this, body positioning is also critical. Don’t even think about hitting a G-out sitting down, because your shock spring will act like a catapult and throw you up and over the bars. Instead, get your body mass over the rear wheel while standing up. This will allow your legs to soak up the impact. In the long run, you’ll find that allowing your legs to do the work will let you ride much longer without getting tired because your loweer body is much stronger than your upper.”