Higher Learning 101/360 - Bike Magic

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Higher Learning 101/360

We can’t jump. And if you can’t jump it’s tough to know where to start. Well, “on the ground” obviously, but beyond that? Most people who kind of forgot to learn to jump when they were young enough to bounce just ride tentatively at something small and hope for the best, or more likely don’t even bother. But now’s the time to try, for John Cowan can jump and he’s made a DVD to tell you how to…It’s odd that there are so few instructional MTB films around, but Higher Learning 101/360 is one of those few. Kona-sponsored dirt jumper Cowan starts off with the basics of judging speed, getting off the ground on small jumps and landing. Finding a nice tabletop jump is the key, it would appear, before moving on to doubles. A ten-year-old demonstrates these bits, which is either encouraging or disheartening depending on your perspective.

Then it’s on to adding a bit of style, with hip jumps, MX whips, X-ups and things which Cowan makes look very easy indeed. The next stage of the progression is taking various limbs away from the bike in flight and then there’s advanced stuff like 360s to finish off.It’s all presented in an encouraging and relaxed style by Cowan, with jumps shot from different angles and run in slow-motion so you can see what’s going on. He doesn’t make it sound like rocket science but he doesn’t attempt to pretend that it’s easy either. The DVD format lets you easily find particular tricks, and the production values are high. Occasionally we got an arbitrarily loud bit of soundtrack but that’s just a niggle.

Being a DVD, there are of course sundry extras, including a John Cowan interview and an impressive gallery of still photos of the man in action.

Positives: Gets you started in the right direction with a logical progression.

Negatives: Quite pricey

Verdict: We’d like to see more instructional videos to this standard. Well, we’d like to see more generally, but preferably this good. It’s very well put together, and our only real criticism is that it seems a bit expensive at the same price as (longer) freeride vids. But if you want to learn to jump it’s a great starting point.


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