Mountain bike trails can take riders all through the outdoors. Sometimes, however, the outdoors can impede your enjoyment on these routes. Fallen trees, large rocks and other debris can force you to dismount your mountain bike and clear the object before pedaling off again.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just hop over the obstacle and continue the fun on two wheels? A well-executed bunny hop can allow you to do just that. GT Wing Project athlete Rachel Strait has the ins and outs of this cool and useful mountain bike trick. Jump into a newfound cycling skill with these tips and techniques.
WHAT IS A BUNNY HOP?
A bunny hop is when you elevate your front and rear wheel, suspending both in the air at once. Think of it as a mountain bike rendition of an ollie on a skateboard. You pop your front up first, followed by your rear.
KEY FACTORS BEFORE TRYING
According to Strait, before you jump right into practicing your bunny hop, you should look at these three factors:
- Bike Weight
A lighter bike can make it easier for you to pull up the front and rear into the air.
- Lowered Seat Position
A lowered seat height can help you get your bike up in the air higher. Lowering your seat clears the rear from hitting your backside while executing this mountain bike skill.
- Flat, Grippy Pedals
Grippy pedals can help you pull and scoop your rear wheel up. “Much like a skateboarder performing an ollie, it’s important that the pedals stick to the rider’s feet when performing a bunny hop,” Strait says. Having flat pedals can also develop the right techniques from the start rather than relying on being clipped in.
HOW TO BUNNY HOP
Make sure to begin your mountain bike training on grassy, level ground. Push off from your start position and get up to a comfortable coasting speed. When you feel ready to hop into the trick:
- Stand up in your saddle and bend your elbows. Like compressing a spring, this position helps you get ready to bring your front wheel up.
- Pull and pop your front end up while shifting your weight back.
- With your front end elevated, push forward on your handlebars and bring your knees to your chest. These last few movements should help your rear wheel leave the ground and come up as it follows your front.
You should be fluid through these movements with a slick pop, scoop and push. You shouldn’t be surprised, however, if you don’t get it on your first try. “You’ll realize that performing a bunny hop is actually quite difficult, so don’t get discouraged,” Strait says. “Practice makes perfect. Keep trying.”
BUNNY HOP USES
When you become comfortable in your bunny hopping abilities, you can then begin to incorporate it in your riding. Not only can bunny hops can be a fun mountain bike trick to perform, they’re also quite useful. Clearing obstacles, gaps and other structures can be a breeze with a well-executed maneuver. Also, bunny hopping rather than dismounting and redirecting can save time, leading to more fun on the route.
Learning how to bunny hop a mountain bike can be a great way to improve your trail riding experience. Use these techniques and put some pep in your mountain bike step on your next adventure.
Looking for more tricks to add to your mountain biking skillset? Cruise along with these Pro Tips on how to manual.