Extreme racers, EnduroCross athletes and riders who like to test their ability to execute seemingly impossible riding antics embrace trials moves that have carried over into big-bike extreme riding. If you watch Cody Webb, Colton Haaker, Taddy Blazusiak and Graham Jarvis, they perform moves on full-size machines that started life as hard-core trials skills. The speeds are slower. Finding traction is critical. Using your body to compress the suspension—and timing this with perfect throttle control in order to gain lift—is not something that the average B-rider can even fathom, let alone achieve. We shot Kyle Redmond while he was riding our test KTM 300 for photos, and in between trail shots Kyle would go play. Here he is doing a rock splat, a high-end maneuver that frankly gave us chills. According to Kyle, it’s very similar to the move Cody Webb did last month when he did the pre-jump log splat.
The first thing to remember is that Kyle didn’t just ride up to a TV-sized rock and see if he could manufacture some lift and clear the rock with a slow-rolling, second-gear approach. Instead, he finds a lift point (many times a rut with a bit of rise in front of the obstacle). In this case, it’s a very small berm some 8 feet from the obstacle.
Kyle rolls slowly up to the take-off point (in second gear) and revs the machine hard while squatting down into the rear wheel. This move is all about timing, and his body pushing the rear end down while he’s accelerating. It creates lift off the small ramp. It’s the clutch, power and a body squat that compress the rear suspension, working in unison to inspire the machine to get air.
The front end is carried super high, as it’s critical to clear the obstacle. As the rear tire splats into the rock, Kyle shifts his weight back, legs flexed and accelerates off the obstacle. The rearward body position fights the fact that the rear suspension is going to react hard to the hit. Kyle says he must stay aggressive and let his body counteract the violence.
The technique is very similar to a splatter trials maneuver, but at higher speeds and, of course, on a 240-pound dirt bike, not a 152-pound trials bike. Clutch use and weight transfer are the keys to making this a success. Go at it half-baked, and the end result could be messy.