How To Bunny Hop Mountain Bike (Expectations Vs Reality)

Bunny hopping is just jumping with your bike over an obstacle.

It is different in the case of ramps because they usually lend you support while making the jump. Ramps usually have an edge at the end, which lets you gather momentum to make the jump.

However, in the case of bunny hopping with the mountain bike, you need to jump on your own without any added momentum to assist you.

In the case of bunnyhopping, you will have to do perform the entire trick by yourself.

Bunny hopping with your mountain bike seems to be tough at first, but it is possible to learn easily.

However, there are a few basics you need to know before you set yourself off. There are so many bike enthusiasts around the world who wonder, “how to bunny hop mountain bike?”

Well, not to worry, we have you covered there. Let’s jump right into it and see what we get out of it.

The context for bunny hopping

Bunny Hopping with mountain bike started becoming popular with skateboard hopping, i.e., the ollie. They both are practically the same thing. You know how skateboarders hop and their skates kind of stick to their feet?

That is how bunny hopping your mountain bike would feel like. The pedals will be stuck to your feet as you jump.

Even though mastering this art of being airborne can be quite challenging, but once you learn how to bunny hop, it will unlock a whole different world. Determining how to bunny hop is essential for motocross athletes and mountain bike riders.

What are the popular methods of performing a bunny hop?

There are two ways you can go about performing a bunny hop with your mountain bike. The first one involves lifting both the wheels at the same time off the ground. This method can be performed better with clipless pedals on the bike. The second method is known as the pro hop, and it involves lifting the front wheel first and then the second or rear wheel. This particular method consists of a lot of core strength and balance between bodily movements and the body itself.

Aspects to consider

There are a few considerations that we need to think about before we move on to the techniques in detail. Jumping and bunny hopping involve the vertical movement of the body. When we jump, we gather momentum through our body and leap. The faster we go through the process of hunching down and lifting our body, the higher we can jump. The same principle is applicable when you are bunnyhopping with added difficulties.

The related consideration to that is when we are on the bike, we are mostly in a hunched position. If you happen to jump from being in the hunched position, your movement upwards will be limited to the extent of your arms. This is why before we hop, we need to lift the front wheel off the ground. This is something we need to take a closer look because it involves certain other nuances and considerations to remember.

One more thing to consider is that most of us use full suspension mountain bikes. That is something which facilitates better hopping. Just imagine how you would jump on a trampoline. You always hunch downwards and push yourself upwards, right? Bunny hopping uses the same principles as is used by us on a trampoline. So basically, before you can jump off the ground, you need to pre-compress the suspension. A lot of people miss out on the importance of quickness in the preload or precompression.

Technique

In this article, “how to bunny hop mountain bike?” we are going to learn the second method, which involves lifting the front wheels first. The preloading process will require putting the pressure on the bike through the pedals from your leg. The energy will go through your hips to your legs and on to the pedals based on which we will be able to jump.

We will use that force to propel ourselves into the air. To be able to get the entire movement out of our hips and legs, we need to lift the front wheel. Moreover, to be able to lift our front wheel in the air, we need to shift our body weight behind the rear axle. However, it is a little more complicated than that.

If we simply move our body backward, i.e., behind the rear axle, it will not lift the front wheel off the ground. On the other hand, if we push off our front wheel and quickly shift the weight backward, then it creates a certain motion that lets the front wheels lift off.

We need to learn the entire motion of preloading because it involves such tiny sub-steps. We need to perform all the sub-steps correctly, one after the other, while balancing. The whole sequence of steps needs to be performed at the same time.

This is why mastering the art of bunny hopping can be so frustrating and arduous. If you skip one tiny little step in between, you will not be able to perform bunny hopping. The reason, of course, is understandable. If you happen to miss out on one step, your body will not be able to create the momentum which is required to perform this trick.

So let us now see how to master bunny hopping through a step-by-step process

  • Step 01 – At first, you need to master how to lift your front wheel off the ground smoothly. Simply follow the guidelines and considerations we have discussed earlier. You need to create the momentum of pushing off the front wheel and shifting your bodyweight backward. Remember that in this process, your use of hands is minimal. You need to create the momentum of moving back by using your hips and legs.
  • Step 02 – the second step involves you to place a long twig on the ground and see if you can lift your back wheel off the ground. This step is essential because you will get to understand and master how you can keep the pedals stuck to your feet while bunny hopping.

There is no curling of the pedals with your feet involved in this process. All you need to do is to put enough pressure on to the pedals to make the entire bike’s body to follow you through the jump. The pedals remain stuck with your feet because you and the pedals are moving upwards because of the preloading pressure.

  • Step 3 – Now that we have learned how to lift off the front wheel and the rear wheel separately, we can move forward. This third step involves doing the entire sequence together and, at the same time, approaching the twig to make sure to lift your front wheel following the first step.

Now remember this, you need to go for the preloading or precompression process before your front wheel reaches the ground. In other words, while your front wheel is lifted off the ground, your hips and the legs will squeeze the rear suspension to create the momentum required for you to hop. We need to do the entire sequence, one by one, with exact precision, as will be required.

  • Step 4 – Now that we have learned how to bunny hop properly, we can move on to our next step. This next step will complete the full circle, but it involves patience, time, precision, and a lot of practice.

We can now adjust the height of our bunny hop and learn how to go above and beyond higher obstacles. You should select an obstacle which is slightly higher than before with a flatter surface. Do not hurry up with this process; otherwise, you will end up falling off the bike and damage the bike too!

Just follow the steps of lifting the front wheel, followed by the process of lifting the back wheel and then complete the process with the third step. Assuming you have practiced well on this flat rock or surface, you can now move on to higher rocks. Remember that the more you practice, the better you get at bunny hopping. Do not forget to carry the bike with you as you jump over higher obstacles.

Common Misconception

We are not pulling and lifting the bike off the ground. Pulling the bike off the ground would involve the contraction of body parts. On the other hand, lifting the bike consists of no muscle movement but keeping the bike off the ground.

There is a substantial difference between pulling a bike off the ground and generating enough energy or force with your body on to the bike to carry the bike up with you as you are airborne.

So you will have to keep your arms extended when your wheels are off the ground. Do not contract your arms to pull up the bike towards you. The entire force or energy has to be generated with your legs.

What is the difference in bunny hopping with a mountain bike and on a hardtail?

In the case of a hardtail, you do not need to preload or pre-compress the suspension before you take off from the ground. The most crucial distinction between bunny hopping on hardtails and mountain bikes is the time factor or timing. Bunny hopping with a hardtail is a much quicker process in comparison to mountain bikes.

Conclusion

That was our comprehensive reply to your question, “How to bunny hop mountain bike?” However, do not forget that safety comes first. If you are relatively new to mountain bike riding, then you should probably strengthen your skills first. Most importantly, wear helmets and other protective gear while learning how to bunny hop. Do not forget that your safety holds the key to your future with bunny hopping.

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