Scrubs & Whips

(Scrubbing Whipping)

Not that many years ago, the scrub (or scrubbing) didn't exist in the dirt bike motocross world. Today, the Bubba Scrub, perfected by James Stewart, is a part of everyone's racing and riding vocabulary.

First, let's define the difference between a whip and a scrub. For the most part, a whip is about looking cool during flight, or to set up for corners. A scrub is used to “scrub” off height (not speed as is often said) when going over a jump, generally in a motocross setting. Simple high school physics proves that when you're in the air you're losing speed – unless you're in the air as a result of riding your dirt bike off the top of a very tall building, or out the back of an airplane. The quicker you get your tire back on the ground, the faster you can go.


Secondly, let me point out that I am nowhere near an expert on scrubbing a dirt bike over a jump. I'm more of a scrubbing a dirt bike after I tumble it in the dirt at the “oh no” end of a jump – takes lots of soap and water to get the dirt out. But following is an overview from a lot of online, book, and article research, and from talking with motocross riders. If I've missed a tip, by all means let me know.

When you're judging how good a scrub is, the two things you want to measure is how low the dirt bike is, and how flat you move it through the air. Here's how you can try to do both...

You're going to want traction. You're going to want a LACK of traction. In other words, you want enough slippage so your dirt bike will slide a little bit. This will mostly depend on the type of tire you're riding on, how worn it is or isn't, and your tire pressure. Chances are you already have a comfortable combination of sliding and traction – if not tweak your air pressure.

As you head for the jump you want to scrub, hit it at an angle opposite to the way you're going to lean. Approach the lip heading slightly to the right if you're going to be leaning left. Just before you leave the face of the jump, turn the wheel back to the left. If you did it right, your dirt bike should whip back to the direction you want to head in the air. Everyone hates feeling the front tire wash out (slide) but it actually needs to a little at this point. Squeeze the bike hard with your knees and keep weight on the opposite side you're scrubbing on. Snap your front wheel the opposite way as you takeoff so that your dirt bike starts to straighten up. Now that you're in the air, focus on the landing. This point in the jump will most likely lead to increased prayer intensity as well.

Once that back wheel is planted firmly in the dirt – and assuming you're still on the dirt bike – take advantage of the situation, crack the throttle, and pull ahead of the rest of the motocross pack.

Simple, isn't it? ;)

The bottom line is it's going to take LOTS of practice and commitment. If you're already comfortable with whips, you can start working on scrubs. If not, put in some whip practice time. Trying to scrub without knowing how to whip, is like me trying to come up with a similar funny situation to write about without having a sense of humor.

If you want to see an incredible scrub, Control-T or Control-N yourself to YouTube and type in “ Blake Gillard scrub”. And if you found any of this helpful, feel free to mention this Blog in the comments.