Our CEO Nick has been riding and racing mountain bikes and BMXs since he was a kid! He’s also a qualified mountain bike guide. So we got Nick to do a video to demonstrate the bunny hop as well as describe the technique step by step below.
Not just a party trick
The bunny hop goes beyond being a cool trick; it’s a great skill to master for off-road riding – from tow paths to black DH runs. You can use bunny hops to clear roots and logs, get yourself out of deep 4×4 tracks or gullies and even clear puddles!
Before you start
To learn to bunny hop properly, you need to ditch your SPDs – bunny hopping is not about pulling up with your legs whilst clipped into your pedals! Ideally get some proper MTB flat pedals and flat pedal riding shoes. If you’re watching your wallet, get a nice wide flat platform pedal and an old pair of trainers or skate shoes. Find a nice quiet road, car park, driveway or park to practice on. Just make sure you have enough space for the entry and exit to your hop.
How to bunny hop – step by step
- Ride at a jogging pace, or a bit faster. You want to go fast enough to provide momentum, but not so fast that you can’t control the bike. You should start in attack position – standing over the saddle, knees slightly bent (don’t grip the saddle with your legs – your knees should also be bent outwards) and your arms also slightly bent and look ahead.
- Push down! Yes down – A bunny hop is a mixture of both pushing and pulling, in fact, it’s more about the push than the pull! – About 80-90% of your action should be pushing away from the ground. Only the remaining 10-20% of the action is pulling. As Nick approaches the speed bump he compresses – pushing into the ground with his feet and hands.
- Just before the front wheel is about to touch the obstacle rise up and back (which moves your weight to your back wheel). This motion, together with the rebound from the compression (your push action) will bring the front wheel up. Try not to tug at the bars. You are relying on your weight shift and the rebound to get your front wheel up.
- Now Nick’s front wheel is above the speed bump, he needs to get the rear wheel over it. To do this, he throws his weight forward pushing the handles bars down and forward, whilst also scooping upwards with his feet (toes down, push back into the feet and sweep them up towards your backside).
- Now airborne and successfully clearing the speed bump, look towards where you want to land and that’s where the front wheel will go, and the back wheel will follow.
- Nick soaks up the landing letting his arms and legs compress. He doesn’t touch the brakes (and you shouldn’t either) – he just rolls out of the landing and moves back to the attack position, looking ahead for the next obstacle or ready to brake if necessary!
- Now it’s time to put it all together and into practice. Start small and work your way up. Small logs and speed bumps are a great obstacles to practice on. Happy hopping!