what is a pump track

What Is A Pump Track: Everything You Should Know

A pump track is a continuous loop of round bumps and banked turns that you ride not by pedaling, but by “pumping.”

Pump tracks have evolved into the ideal setting for teaching riders of all ages new skills and reliving silly childhood memories all over the world. However, let’s take a step back and talk about what a pump track is in general before we get too carried away.

What’s a Pump Track?

A pump track is a collection of berms and rollers made of dirt, pavement, or both that are intended to be ridden on without the use of pedals. How is that even possible? Well, by employing the proper pumping techniques, which we’ll discuss later, riders can build momentum through sections of rollers, enabling them to carry speed through turns and back into another section of rollers. From simple backyard projects to more elaborate machine-built tracks, pump-track designs can vary. However, the concept remains the same whether you have 2-foot-tall paved rollers in your backyard or 6-foot paved rollers at a city-funded track. After the basic concept is established, the possibilities for a pump track are endless. In fact, some more experienced riders will frequently jump their way through these tracks because they are more adept at building speed and maintaining it throughout the course.

What Are the Benefits of Riding a Pump Track?

For Porter, translating pump track skills to mountain biking trails is the “big ticket that a lot of people don’t think about.” Riding a pump track improves your bike handling abilities, such as cornering, weighting and unweighting the bike, and jumping, and teaches you how to gain momentum over particular trail sections.

“You simply begin to interpret the trail in a different way,” he says. Instead of assuming a mound of roots up ahead will slow you down, he advises, try using them to increase your speed instead—just like a roller on a pump track.

A pump track enables you to repeatedly roll through a variety of features to develop your muscle memory until it becomes automatic out on the trail. Muscle memory and practice are the foundation of most bike-handling skills. And when you’re dealing with more technical terrain, that really comes in handy. “You start to be able to spot the perfect point in the berm to aim for, and then you start spotting that on the trail,” Porter says.

However, this does not imply that a pump track is only useful for mountain bikers. Since cornering is a skill that is useful in all riding styles, including road, gravel, BMX, and cyclocross, pump tracks can teach riders from these sports a thing or two.

Another outstanding benefit? We dare you to attempt a few laps without perspiring and becoming out of breath; it’s a good workout. “It’s like doing intervals without doing intervals,” Porter claims that this makes it much more enjoyable.

What Are the Pump Track Types?

Different kinds of materials are used to make pump tracks.


Dirt was used to carve the first Pump tracks. Because all that is required to build a pump track with this method is a shovel, some space, and labor, it is still the most popular and cost-effective way to do so. The disadvantage of dirt pump tracks is that they need more frequent upkeep because the elements and use will quickly erode and change the design.


Composite fiberglass, a type of pump track material with a high level of resilience, performs best under adverse weather and heavy use. The most popular type of modular pump track we provide is fiberglass, which only needs minor maintenance after a few years.

The various user groups’ varying preferences can be catered to by combining different pump track material types into hybrid facilities.

what is a pump track


Concrete, a material of higher quality, is also used to make pump tracks. A pump track made of concrete needs more planning and money, but it requires less upkeep. This could be installed above ground or built into the surroundings.


Although it is possible to build a pump track out of wood, this is not a very popular choice because of how quickly slick wood surfaces can get when exposed to rain and other weather-related elements. At the bike park in Finale Ligure, founder Erik built the first track out of wood.


In order to build a pump track that blends into the landscape, asphalt is frequently used as the building material. The finished product creates a dedicated pump track that is permanent and low maintenance. The relatively higher cost of the material in combination with the need for planning and approval is the biggest barrier for prospects. Accidents on an asphalt track might be more abrasive than those on other surfaces.

What You Need to Ride a Pump Track

The Bike

Whatever you’re riding, make sure to slam the seat all the way down so it doesn’t restrict your ability to maneuver the bike. Inflate your tires high to roll quickly, but no higher than the maximum psi advised for your particular tires. For better performance and acceleration on a full-suspension bike, lock out the rear suspension (if possible). Porter, however, advises keeping your suspension open if you want a more authentic trail feel.

The Gear

If jeans and a T-shirt are all that you have to wear, that’s fine. Although Porter says if that’s what you’re used to, feel free to use them if you need to put your foot down quickly, flat pedals and sneakers are usually preferable to clipless cycling shoes. A helmet is always required, and you should also wear gloves, knee pads, and elbow pads if you’re new to the pump track or practicing advanced maneuvers. When practicing tricks like jumps, especially on an asphalt pump track, you should wear a full-face helmet.

A “dirt jumper” is a bike made just for pump tracks and, naturally, dirt jumps. It has 26-inch (or smaller) wheels, an extremely short seat tube and chainstays, and either no front suspension or very little suspension. But according to Phillipsburg, New Jersey-based cycling skills coach Jon Gabor, mountain, BMX, and even cross bikes can easily lap it up.

Do You Need a Special Bike for a Pump Track?

No specific bike is absolutely needed for pump track riding. However, given that the tracks are condensed and demand that the rider be agile on the bike, smaller, more nimble hardtail bikes like dirt jump bikes or BMX are advised. Speed generation is more difficult with larger bikes and longer suspension travel.

What Are the Types of Wheeled for Pumptrack?

The question of what kind of machinery can be used on a pump track comes up frequently. We’ve heard about kids just running around it for fun with no equipment at all, but you’ll find a quick and easy reference guide below listing the most common items used on a pump track, as well as items that shouldn’t go on a pump track.

Mountain, road, BMX, and other types of bicycles)

  • Scooters
  • Roller Blades
  • Longboards

How to Ride a Pump Track?

According to Porter, the first skill you need to have (apart from knowing how to ride a bike) isn’t actually the “pumping” motion, it’s knowing how to ride while standing. The most likely people to struggle with this are children and new riders, so practice standing and riding on flat ground first if that’s the case.

Pump the Bike

Start your practice sessions on low rollers or pump bumps. Prepare yourself by standing up from the saddle, extending your elbows, and assuming a low, forward stance as you approach the roll-in. Unweight the front of the bike as you climb the rollers; as you reach the top, switch your weight to the center; and as you descend, push your arms and legs into the dip. Over each hump, continue doing this pushing-pulling motion.

“If you were to watch someone, their upper body is mostly staying in place and they’re using their arms and legs to push their bike through the dips,” Porter explains. “The acceleration is being caused by them pushing their bike through the bottom and down the side.”

Always ride off the saddle on rollers, keep your feet flat, and keep your knees and elbows pliable to absorb bumps and maintain speed—especially on larger rollers. Even if you see other people doing it, you shouldn’t sit down when riding roller coasters. To better absorb the rollers and pump through them, you should always be in a ready position.

If you pump at the right spot and time on the pump track, you will feel that acceleration immediately, according to Porter. After some practice, you’ll be able to tell the difference between performing something correctly and incorrectly. It then becomes a matter of developing muscle memory and perfecting your timing.

what is a pump track

Pump Track Etiquette

You should be aware that there are some basic guidelines that everyone should follow before going to a pump track. Like skate park etiquette, it’s similar.

“If it’s a dirt pump track, try not to skid because it breaks the riding surface,” Porter says. “Watering something can help if it’s dusty and dry and there’s water nearby.” It will be easier to maintain the integrity of a dirt pump track’s surface if you slightly wet it before riding, especially in dry conditions. In the same way, avoid riding it if it’s too muddy.

One of the most important is sharing. Take just a few laps when it’s your turn. You can ride simultaneously on various parts of the track if someone else is traveling at the same speed as you. Keep an eye out for other cyclists and ride predictably, holding your line when a rider is behind you.

Rail the Berms

Keep your speed up and your body in line with the bike as you get closer to a berm. Lean hard into the turn while drawing the inside knee up and shifting your weight to your outside pedal for traction. To go through the berm rather than around the outside, keep your eyes up and look forward through the exit (rather than down at your tire).

If the berm is constructed correctly, Porter claims that your bike will still be perpendicular to the riding surface. “The center of the berm is where you want your tires to be. Your margin for error disappears if you move too close to the edge. The bottom has loose rocks and other debris, so if you get too far down there, you’ll slide out because of that.” If you ride the center, the berm will send you flying.

Porter admits that it can initially be intimidating. Work up to your maximum speed by practicing on small berms. He claims that if you pump through the berm quickly enough, it essentially becomes another roller. You can increase your speed through the berm, just like with rollers, if you do it correctly.

Porter’s most important tip for working on your pump track skills: “It’s very easy to tense up, so keep a relaxed attitude.” You won’t be able to control the bike in the necessary ways if your body is locked up. Keep your arms and legs loose so they can absorb the motion of the bike moving underneath you as you ride over rollers and through berms.

Advanced Skills

Your initial objective can be to complete a lap with as little pedaling as possible as you get more comfortable riding the pump track. Work your way up to two laps after that, then more.

Once you’re really at ease on the pump track, Porter advises learning how to do a manual, which is a kind of out-of-the-seat wheelie. The key is to not try lifting your front wheel, but instead “getting down and back on the bike, and pushing your back wheel through the roller,” he says. It is a way to navigate a section of rollers even more quickly. When practicing this, simply maintain one finger on the rear brake.

Multiple lines for jumps, tricks, and other antics are frequently present on pump tracks. However, Porter says jumping is “a whole other ball of wax” and requires a lot of practice and progression. “Although every pump track is unique, the pump track is a great place to start preparing for it.” Many have good lines with double-capable small rollers and tables for practicing jumping.

Who Can Ride a Pumptrack?

Everyone! Pump tracks are trending public sports facilities because they serve “all ages, all abilities” with impressive benefits. The majority of riders pick up riding a pump track after a few laps because it is simple to do. Users of all ages—2 to 82—can benefit from this. These are just a few of the many reasons why a pump track’s return on investment is favorable for its users and communities, including the design’s development of crucial mountain biking and bike handling skills and the ability to keep kids off busy roads.

Are Pump Tracks Good for Beginners?

Pump tracks are used by riders of all ages and abilities, so they mustn’t be too difficult to ride for beginners yet are testing enough to have even the most skilled riders coming back for more. Building a good pump track with plenty of variation in the shape, height, and spacing of the rollers is frequently a matter of variety.

Do You Pedal on a Pump Track?

WHAT’S A PUMP TRACK? In its simplest form, a pump track is a set of dirt or paved rollers and berms designed to be ridden without pedaling.

What is the Purpose of a Pump Track?

A pump track is a looped series of rollers and berms—swoopy, banked turns—for bike riders. It’s designed to maximize your momentum, so you can ride it with minimal pedaling.


A loop, berms, rollers, scooters, skateboards, roller blades, dirt, concrete, asphalt, fiberglass, old, young. Although a pump track can be many things, its fun factor is why people enjoy it. Therefore, we advise you to ride one right away because experiencing something firsthand is the only way to fully comprehend it.