How To Bunny Hop On Mountain Bike – A Cheat Guide

How to Bunny Hop on Mountain Bike

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Bunny hopping is a great skill to learn that will can you out of trouble when hiting tre trails. A good one gets both wheels in the air and above the ground to get your bike over rocks, roots, and obstacles without you having to slow down or stopping to walk over them.

The skill will also impress your friends. While it’s challenging to learn, it’s definitely worth the it. We will show you how to bunny hop on a mountain bike, hoping you’ll take every step into account and become proficient at bunny hopping.

As they say, practice makes perfect.

American and English Bunny Hop

A bunny hop is sometimes referred to as “American bunny hop” which involves lifting the front wheel first and springing up to “scoop” the rear wheel, just like an ollie on a skateboard. 

There’s also another bunny hop known as “English bunny hop’ which works with clipless SPD pedals. This allows the front and rear wheel to leave the ground simultaneously. 

How to Bunny Hop On MTB – Beginners Cheatsheet

If you are looking for how to ollie or how to bunny hop on a mountain bike, then we have the answer.

While it’s a valuable technique, we mainly focus on bunny hopping with flat pedals. American bunny hop is more effective though it takes a little extra practice.

Let’s get to it:

Accelerate at a Moderate Pace

Start pedaling your bike until you reach a moderate speed. If you move too fast, you’ll not be able to execute the hop. Avoid pedaling too hard when learning this trick.

Even though you can increase your pace as you perfect the skill, start at 4 to 6 miles per hour. Some talented riders can bunny hop from a standstill. Don’t worry. You’ll get there.

About three feet from the obstacle, stand up on the saddle and balance your pedals horizontally. With your elbows and knees loosened, be in the ready position bending at the hips. This will position you over the saddle.

Lift the Front Wheel

It may seem like a better idea to hop off the ground with both wheels, but it will only works if you have enough speed and are on SPD pedals. Learning to lift the front wheel first will allow you to jump over larger obstacles easily and more safely while you continue perfecting the trick. Your aim is to arc over the obstacle smoothly and not get caught midway.

To lift the wheel, crouch into the bike, and press the front suspension forward by shifting your weight into the handlebars and pedals.

Once immersed, pull the front wheel up with your arms, and push your feet into the pedals. The tire will rebound immediately, and the front of the bike will lift.

Stand Tall and Follow Through

As the front of the bike lifts, don’t be tempted to shift your weight backward. Instead, push through and stand tall on the pedals.

This is crucial because if you move all your weight backward, you’ll have difficulty getting the back wheel in the air.

Once the front wheel passes over the obstacle, push the handlebar forward as you suck your legs towards your body to bring the crank area and the rear wheel up and over the obstacle.

Some mountain bikers call this “scooping backward with your feet” because you suck the bike up from underneath you.

Point to Note

Stay off your brakes as you touch the ground from the other side. For this skill, brakes are your worst enemy, and momentum is your best friend.

If you are a road cyclist looking to bunny hop, start learning with a full suspension or hardtail mountain bike. Learn how it feels to load the suspension of the bike and fly over obstacles.

How to Practice Bunny Hops

When practicing bunny hops, you should work with each wheel individually. Draw a line on the ground and work on your timing. Try to ensure no wheel touches the line.

Start working on your speed slowly until both wheels are in the air at the same time. When you nail that, add a small stick and try bunny hopping on it. Once you jump over the stick at speed, you can now progress to the trails.

Also, learn to control which wheel touches down first. If you manage to handle that, you can take your skills to a drop and attempt a pre-jump. Your wheels must touch down together on the downslope.

The pre-jumping technique gives you much speed and greater control. You spend the least time on the air and land so great that you get a more forward momentum resulting from the jump.

Different Types of Hops

Speed Hop

We talked about American hop, which is the most common bunny hop. There’s also the English hop, also known as speed hop.

As the name suggests, you only need a little speed to lift your bike off the ground. It’s the lowest of all bunny hops, judging by the height you’ll gain.

The trick with the speed hope is preloading your bike with your weight by pushing down your arms and legs simultaneously.

As you push away, scoop the bike underneath you with your feet to bring the bike with you. Your effort should be 90% push and only 10% pull. More push, less pull is the way to go.

Lateral hop

This style is an extension of the popular bunny hop. Once you learn how to bunny hop, you’ll find yourself trying to understand this as well. Once you get the hang of it, it will help you get out of ruts or change your trail line.

The simplest way to learn it is by rolling along a grassy slope or smooth road at a walking pace. Counter-steer in the opposite direction of the way you intend to go to to create a tip.

Once you are off-balance, hop to that angle and look to where your wheels should land. It can be easier if you can land the front wheel first to pivot a little and turn your rear wheel back in line.

Big hops

This is supposed to be higher than a bunny hop. Once you learn how to drive your weight back and pull it up, pulling the bike underneath you as you throw the handlebar forward will be easy. You’ll be good at this.

You must drive away from the ground with a powerful push to perform this hop, and it’s for the experienced.

Grip points

This is yet another bunny hop, but you have to preload your hop first. That way, you’ll be able to generate weight on the bits by exalting your body weight as you push away. You then go light on the rough bits by floating there.

You aren’t trying to lift your wheels into the air and avoid running over the roots. You are trying to link all the smooth bits on the trail by pushing on them.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How to Bunny Hop with a Hardtail

When learning how to bunny hop, you can do it with any bike. It doesn’t matter whether it’s full suspension, hardtail, fully rigid, with clipless pedals, or flat pedals.

You can successfully learn how to do hops. Some people have done their highest on hardtails with flat pedals.

No matter what bike you have, it is vital to lower your seat to give you more space to maneuver your bike while learning the trick.

To bunny hop, you’ll need to lift yourself in the air. If you can’t do this, there’s absolutely no bike that will help you achieve your goal. Your weight is far more than the bikes.

However, if you find it hard getting the back wheel up, and you can comfortably ride on clipless shoes and pedals, wear the shoes and try bunny hopping with them. They might make your work easier.

How Do I Improve My Rabbit Hop?

When you say rabbit hop, it means something else, and you’ll be directed to sources that address people who keep rabbits as pets. Let’s stick to bunny hopping. To improve your bunny hops, you should practice more and more.

With time, you learn that there’s a time and place where you can put a little explosive strength.

You probably want to master the skill of lifting your front wheel or bunny hopping higher to clear the obstacles on your trail. Whatever the reason you want to improve, you need to be a little more explosive on the trail.

Keep on practicing. The best hoppers started from scratch just like you and perfected the skill after some time.

Avoid taking advantage of the “rubber band effect,” which is the power needed in other sports but not on MTB trails.

Most of the time, you will be on the trails, and you’ll have to react quickly and not have much time to move, making it hard to explode. For this reason, you’ll need to build strength in the hips.

What is a Bunny Hop on a Bike?

A bunny hop is a bicycle trick allowing the rider to launch the bike in the air as if they are jumping over a physical thing, such as a ramp.

The bike’s pedals stick to the rider’s feet as they both become airborne, just like the skater seems to stick with the feet when one is performing an ollie.

While it’s challenging to learn, the rider becomes skilled and helps him/her to avoid obstacles like potholes. Bunny hops are mostly down with BMX band mountain bikes.

Related: How To Drift Your Bike The Right Way

How Do You Make a Bunny Hop Bar?

Now that you have learned how to ollie on a mountain bike, it’s wise that you take it to another level.

You can do it as a sport, but before you get there, you need to make a bunny hop bar and make a daily effort of going over it with your bike. There are DIY ways of building a bar.  The project requires everyday materials that you can find in your home.

Plastics, wood, poles, screws, nails, pipes, or long sticks can be used to build a bunny hop bar. It’s all a matter of using what you have available.

Here are the steps to create a bunny hop bar by:

  • Measure and cut two poles and install their stands. The poles should be as higher as you think you can jump.
  • Measure and mark different points on the poles, according to heights that you will love to hop.
  • Hammer a nail in each height increment or you can use screws instead. That’s where your long bar will be resting.
  • Erect the poles about a yard apart, depending on the length of your bar.
  • Place the bar on the level of your choice, from one pole to another.

I can’t lift my rear wheel. Any tips?

Once your front wheel is up, use your feet to push the bike up and move your body weight.

What should I wear for a Bunny Hop?

Of course, you should wear a helmet and some knee and ankle pads if necessary. Things can go south, and you end up with a bruise or broken tooth.

Is Bunny hopping on a jump safe?

Bunny hopping on a jump is safe as long as you have total control of your MTB. The front wheel will go high or off to the side but ensure that it’s positioned ahead by the time it touches the ground.

It’s more like a squish, where you pump your weight down, and a jump or ramp gives you the boost you need to bunny hop higher.

Summary On How To Bunny Hop Like A Pro!

Learning how to bunny hop on a mountain bike can be one of the greatest ways to improve your riding experience, especially as a beginner.

Please make use of this technique and include it in your next mountain bike adventure. With the skill up your sleeve, you will be able to avoid obstacles, which will help maintain and improve your speed.

Suppose you have other tricks that you would like us to write about, please let us know. 

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From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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