How To Bunny Hop A Mountain Bike?

A Bunny hop on a mountain bike is one of the most useful skills. It can get you out of trouble in no time and you can keep moving without losing your speed. A Mountain bike bunny hop can assist you in clearing big jumps.

Mostly, it is called the American hop and you have to get your front wheel up, spring, and scoop your rear wheel just like a skateboard ollie. It’s not an easy move to perform but it works pretty well for both roadies and mountain bikers.

You are doing an English hop if you are using clipless pedals and see both wheel springs and scoop up at the same time. It is also a very helpful technique but, in this post, we will learn the trick using flat pedals. It will take more time to practice and perfect it but it is more effective in the long run.

Can you Bunny Hop a Mountain Bike?

Mountain bike bunny hopping is a lot more than just getting your wheels up in the air. With this move, you can clear obstacles in your path, smoothen your trail, you won’t have to deal with any choppy stuff in your path, and zip along at greater speeds without using your brakes.

You can time your landing and coincide with your wheel for smoother riding experience. You will start looking at the trails with an entirely different perspective. Plus, you can also put a lot less strain on your tires and fork.

How do you Bunny Hop High on a Mountain Bike?

You need to learn how to use your ankles for dropping your heels when you are pushing and grip the pedals when you want to go light. These are two hacks and the first one is more of a recommendation than anything else.

The second one allows you to get more out of your move. It is recommended that you choose flat pedals because they are far more effective in getting your feet on/off quickly. These pedals allow you to quickly weight/unweight your bike on the trail.

If you use clipped pedals, they won’t advantage you at all. Most people complain about flat pedals that their feet don’t stay on. But in reality, they have become used to pulling on the pedals and don’t want to go back. Therefore, if you are looking to enjoy riding and learning new skills without even getting distracted, use clipless pedals.

When you use clipped pedals, your toes will point downwards all the time and your knees will be bent. When you try to stand over the pedals with straight legs, your hamstrings won’t get tight and you will end up in the wrong position.

Types of Bunny Hops

There are three different types bunny hops. And all three of them have their advantages. You can use them in different combinations according to your needs and requirements.

American Bunny Hop

The conventional hop in which you lift the front tire first and the rear tire right after that to clear an obstacle. This hop is better suited for clearing obstacles on different trails and is a suitable move for mountain bikers.

How to Bunny Hop American

English Speed Hop

The speed hop is where you lift both front and rear tires at the same time. It is a suitable move on flat surfaces and roadsters.

How to Bunny Hop English

Lateral Hop

The lateral hop is a sideways jump that a rider makes to shift lanes. And it is a perfect fit for both MTBers and roadsters.

How to Bunny Hop Lateral

5 Step Process to Bunny Hop on a Mountain Bike for Beginners

1.   Pumped Manual

The first thing you need to achieve is to use the rebound of your tire and get the front end of your bike in the air. This move is called the pumped manual. It’s a technique to get your front end in the air. The technique involves the rebound of your tire and not the rebound of your forks. It means that it has nothing to do with pulling back on your handlebars and throwing your weight backward.

Pumped Manual

Doing this will allow you to roll around at a steady pace and you won’t have to do any pedaling. Your heels need to remain dipped, cranks leveled and forearms lowered. You will get the lift from the thrust you get when you move your hands and feet forward.

It’s a quick energy burst that’s mostly forward and slightly downwards. Make sure you don’t push it too hard into your front forks or they will absorb all the force. Your tire will rebound immediately and the bike front will lift.

2.   Stand Tall on the Pedals

The next step is to stand tall on your bike pedals and you will only do it if you stop yourself from throwing your weight backward. Instead of doing that, you need to push through using both your feet and make a stand.

Stand Tall

Making this move is critical because getting that back wheel in the air will be very difficult if you have your entire body’s weight on your rear wheel. Therefore, standing tall on the pedals is important though you will find it difficult too. You will find it simpler to execute after some practice.

3.   Throw your Handlebar Forwards

The next move is to throw your handlebars forwards and also rotate it simultaneously. When you throw it forward, it will allow you to get the back of your mountain bike in the air. Therefore, essentially you are shifting your weight from the back to the front of the bike and scoping your bike at the same time.

4.   Scooping with Your Feet

It’s time to scoop your feet up into the air with your toes pointing downwards. You are effectively applying the force on the pedals to scoop them back and up. Make sure you bend your legs to take the bike as it comes up towards your back. When you are practicing this move, ensure your saddle is down to keep your bum safe from any untimely whacks. 

With your forward pressure on your handlebar, you can push your bike, push your MTB right in front and leave it at the same time. Now the angle with which it can land and the distance that it can go relies on multiple aspects.

It depends upon how hard you have pressed for your pumped manual or even how firm you kicked. It also relies heavily upon how tough you threw yourself forward and how fast you scooped. Balancing your weight properly on your MTB is another crucial factor.

5.   Control and Choose the Wheel that Lands First

A Bunny hop on a mountain bike is extremely useful for going through those slopes with proper balance. This technique allows you to pre-jump effectively without losing your balance or tilting.

While you are practicing, you can also experiment if you want and see which one of your wheels can land first by following various methodologies. Make sure you do all these experiments when you are riding flat.

When you have perfected it, it’s time to take it to a slope and use this technique as a pre-jump. Try to land both of your wheels at the same time on the slope. It’s called pre-jumping and doing this will provide you with more speed and better control on the slope. With time you can practice which wheel you want to land first.

Before you Begin With This Move

For bunny hopping you need to consider learning and perfecting both manual and basic front wheel lift and execute the move properly. After that, you need to work on your back-wheel lift and start from the flat pedals. It’s all about transferring the weight forward and backward. You just have to unweight the wheels to get them into the air.

When you have perfected both the moves, it’s time to do them both together. First lift your front wheel, level your bike, and then lift your rear wheel. These moves will allow you to move along smoothly over ledges and curbs and will also prepare you for a full bunny hop.

Some Practice Tips For Bunny Hopping on a Mountain Bike

Here are some important tips you need to keep in mind before you start working on your hops. These tips will ensure the technique properly with minimal chances of errors.

Don’t Grip Your Bike Saddle Using Your Thighs

Make sure you don’t grip your bike saddle with your thighs. If you are not having a good time balancing your standing on the pedals, just lower the saddle and start practicing cornering and pedaling. If you have a dropper post, drop your saddle low for best results.

Forget About The Brakes and Use Your Momentum

Don’t forget to keep your hands off the brakes as you are coming down on the ground. At this stage, you don’t want to end over your handlebars. For hopping, make momentum your friend and brakes your enemy.

Mind the Suspension, Roadster!

If you are a roadster looking to hop with an MTB like the Diamondback Release or a hardtail like the Mongoose Tyax Comp then it’s just a matter of loading a bike with a suspension. Bunny hopping is not only for the trails but you can use it on roads as well.

Learn Something More to Add Some Style

Once you get more trained, you can learn some additional moves like the nose bonk where you intentionally tap the obstacle with your front wheel just to add a bit of a style to your riding.

Linking the Grip Points

Just be sure to link all the grip points on the trail when you are bunny hopping. You have to preload your hop to generate more weight and force on the smoother bits of your ride and be heavy when you push away.

It will allow you to go light on the rougher sections as you float over them. This way you won’t be trying to lift your wheels over the roots. It’s just the matter of linking the smoother bits as you push when you are on them.

Practicing getting the Rear Wheel Off

Try and practice getting the rear wheel off the ground because it will allow you to transition into step 3 very smoothly. If you can get this out of the way there is not much to do in this skill. It’s all about balancing your weight and keeping it off the rear wheel.

Time Your Jumps to Use the Obstacles to Your Advantage

You can also work on your timing and use the obstacle to lift your front wheel into the air with some additional boost. You can try it out with different angles and speeds. Developing proper timing will help you shift from bunny hopping to pre-jumping.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking to bunny hop on a mountain bike, make sure you learn how to lift your front wheel and rear wheel separately. When you do these moves without any issues, it will allow you to connect both of them effortlessly.

Bunny hopping is a matter of transferring your body weight and using it to your advantage. With more practice and time, you will get better as the transitions become smoother.

A Mountain bike bunny hop allows you to clear your path from obstacles as you can go about the trail with an entirely different perspective. You can use speed and the obstacle itself to your advantage and also won’t have to deal with any stopovers or impacts.

There are different types of hops, they all have advantages and you can use them in combination. American hop is suitable for MTBers on trails while English speed hop is for roadsters riding the Trinx Tempo 1.0. There is a lateral hop as well that allows you to change lanes. 

Bunny hopping a mountain bike is not just about getting the wheels off the ground. It’s about using the ground to your advantage and to be stylish during the process. Of course, you can develop more skills like the nose bunk with time, practice, and put something different on the show.

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo… so you can pin it to your Mountain Bike Board!