When people do really big jumps on a bicycle or motorcycle, they'll swing the tail of the bike way out to the side once they've taken off. Then it rotates back under them by the time they land.

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Do they do this just because it looks cool? Or do they have to do it for stability reasons?

EDIT: After hunting up a bicycle image of this effect, it's clear that it's a trick.

  • 3
    It's pretty hard to do it and needs much of training. So yes, it looks cool.
    – Alexander
    Nov 21 '15 at 17:21
  • Cool pic BSO but a bike would have been better.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 21 '15 at 19:25
  • Can you please add another pic, on a bike? Cause i have the impression the answers imply you are asking about a tabletop (which is in the pic you show now), while I actually think you're asking about this typical move dirtjumpers do where the tail goes only slightly to the left or right and which is completely different from a tabletop
    – stijn
    Nov 23 '15 at 13:26
  • @stijn added bicycle pic
    – BSO rider
    Nov 24 '15 at 10:17
  • well yes that's a proper tabletop
    – stijn
    Nov 24 '15 at 12:09

Its definitely not for stability, its a trick called "Table top". The flatter they look in the air the higher score.

  • I know this is late, but on the BMX bike image, that is a table top. The dirt bike is doing something called a 'motowhip.' For a table, you need to be parallel with your bars turned, if you're just parallel, it's a motowhip. BMX riders use it to get over spines easier because it can transfer the weight on steep transitions. MX riders use them to lower resistance to soar a little farther and faster, but it is also in it's most basic form considered a trick. Apr 19 '16 at 15:03

It's a trick -- it looks good on camera and would count for points accordant with degree-of-difficulty and "sticking the landing" at an adjudicated comp. The bike and rider become effectively parallel with their upright-riding stance; as opposed to perpendicular when in contact with the ground.

It's also a marketing cliche in biking. Like an "ollie" or a "kick-flip" on a skateboard - landing this grants credibility and implies talent, courage, maybe stupidity ... depends on the actual vs. perceived talent level.

To be clear - cuz looks cool.

  • 1
    Sometimes you need to do something while in the air otherwise you may "dead sailor" the jump. Why not style it out?
    – Rider_X
    Nov 21 '15 at 21:45

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