If you are into mountain biking on difficult terrain, then it is normal to encounter difficult obstacles along the way. One way to navigate and get over these obstacles is to bunny hop on your bike. But how to bunny hop a mountain bike?
In this article, our team will show you different tips and tricks in bunny hopping your mountain bike. This skill is a must-learn for you because it is something that you can use all the time when getting over obstacles in the trail.
Learn to Bunny Hop the Right Way
If you are into mountain biking, you have probably heard about bunny hop and its importance. The bunny hop can be used in dealing with obstacles you usually encounter on mountain bike trails.
Whether it is a slippery or rocky path, you can make your bike jumps in these obstacles rather than driving the bike straight into these things. But doing the bunny hop requires different techniques to create heights when jumping your bike.
These techniques will be the same techniques that will be used anywhere, regardless of your bike components. Whether you are bike riding on a hardtail, full-suspension, or having different pedals, these techniques are always helpful.
Different Parts of a Bunny Hop
The bunny hops start with a pump and a manual. The pump part is where you go and make your bike from a neutral position, then stand up in the middle of the bike. Then you can pump down into the bike, making your body an L-shaped to the back of the bike and your hips.
Exactly the same is the manual technique where you can go down and back, taking your weight right over the rear wheel in order to lift the front wheel. You need to make your arms go straight as you go back.
Meaning, you will need to use your weight to lift the front wheel while not using your arms to lift the front wheel. If you use your arms to lift the wheel in front, it will be hard to lift `the back wheel.
The key is to form an excellent L-shaped between your thigh and back because it helps in lifting the back tire. It will also help in making you stand forward easily for the legs to extend and the hips to go up towards the bar to pop up the back wheel.
If you are too high in forming the L-shaped, you will need to swing your hips forward, and that is a difficult situation swinging your hips towards the bars. The easy way is to stand up to help your rear wheel lift.
Lifting the Wheels Can Be Difficult to Master
The most challenging part of a bunny hop is to be very good when lifting the rear wheel. Always remember, it is all about using the weight in relation to your hips to have a perfect lift. Some people cheat when lifting the rear wheel, especially when they are using clips.
Some bikers will just pull up with their feet. Sometimes it works, but when pulling up your feet, the hips still remains over the back tire. Once you get the timing wrong while dropping the back wheel into the obstacle, there is a chance of casing the jump really hard, which will cause you a very hard landing.
In addition, if you rely on pulling up with your feet in lifting the back wheel, you will be limited on picking up the back wheel until you run out of space. The best way is to use your hips up and forward and then lift the rear wheel as much as you want. This method is called the spot hop.
Most of the bikers with SPD do the spot hop where you draw a square shape to your wheels instead of getting the nice shaped front wheel than the back wheel using your hips. So, if you use the square shape SPD hop, it will not really work to get over those obstacles.
Start Practicing a Perfect Bunny Hop
If you want to practice your bunny hop, I suggest practicing one wheel at a time. You can get an iron stick while putting it on a trail, then roll your bike slowly for you to lift your front wheel up over the stick.
Then wait for your rear wheel to get close and then stand up and forward to lift the rear wheel.
If your wheel hits the stick, it is not a big problem but make sure that there is no weight on the wheel when it hit the stick.
So, the excellent technique when learning the bunny hop is to stand nice and tall, big pump will help if you have a full-suspension bike where you squash the suspension in. When it comes to the hardtail, it is relatively the same technique, but you go straight down and back in the L-shaped to your rear tire.
Always remember to make it nice and low on the rear wheel, then stand and forward will help to pop the rear off the ground. Also, timing is very important, especially when you standing up and go forward as the front wheel is coming up.
There are other bikers that do it too late. So once they do their manual, the front wheel is now dropping, then that’s the time that they go with it, which is too late. It will be very natural if you go with the front wheel, but you need to come up and towards the front wheel as it reaches its peak.
Upgrade your Bunny Hop Practice
If you are now familiar with the slow movement during practice, you can upgrade by starting rolling quicker at the stick, still doing one wheel at a time, and you should expect to convert it into a proper bunny hop.
Expect both wheels to be in the air at the same time, but you are still using the front wheel, then the back wheel technique. You are still not doing the two wheels at the same time. If you find it hard to lift the rear wheel, just practice getting nice and low to that rear tire while using your hips up and forward.
My advice is for you to practice and be confident on the rear wheel in terms of timing and fitting all in one go which is the hardest part. So, if you want to familiarize bunny hop, you will need to execute the manual and pump technique first.
Learning how to bunny hop a mountain bike can be a real challenge to any biker. But if you have the desire and the guts to learn, you can spend some time practicing what is stated above. You can also ask expert mountain bikers to help fast-track your learning.