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I've been riding pretty seriously the past 5 years, and I've even had a few podiums in XC races, but I've never learned to bunny hop with confidence over real obstacles.

I've watched dozens of videos, bought and read Lee McCormack's bike skills book, and have spent about 4 hours over the past two weeks in my culdesack trying to jump over progressively higher stacks of wood. Sometimes I clear it and sometimes I almost land on my face.:madman:

I think my problem is that I may not have some other fundamental skill required to hop appropriately. I can wheelie for about 10 feet consistently. I can manual almost the same distance. I can track stand. I can also loft my front wheel up high enough to set it on the seat of a folding chair. However, I can't seem to time it when I should pull my rear wheel up and either end up pitching forward violently or barely get it off the ground at all.

For those of you who can consistently clear tall trail obstacles without slowing down, what skills do you think I'm missing? What skills do you have?
 

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CoolArrow
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Sounds like you have all the skills you need - its just coordinating them into a fluid motion, and timing it correctly.

When I first learned way back in the bmx days, instead of practicing hopping OVER an obstacle, I practiced hopping ON TO an obstacle. A curb is probably the best one to start with. Start sort of slow, then as you get comfortable, increase your speed.

When you have the curb thing down, go find a ledge in the urban landscape somewhere, and move up to that. Repeat and go bigger. Worked for me anyhow. Used to be able to hop up picnic tables, but now about 18-24 inches (if that ;)) is my max, depending on the obstacle/situation.
 

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sounds like you need to work on your bunny hopping. I would pratice just bouncing up and down with out moving. You are need to be able to hop atleast 12" probably alot more to get over a 12" log. The only difference between bunny hopping in place and over a 12" log is speed. But in both instances you will need to bunny hop that 12" so might as well take the speed out of it until you can. It will keep you from falling on your face in the mean time. I don't think my static bunny hop is any different than one at speed for me.

As far as skills you are missing, not sure you are missing anything but pratice. Another thing you might want to pratice is when bunny hopping I usually have my back tire higher than my front. Espically when trying to jump over something. Could be just me but I never worry about my front wheel clearing but I always make sure my backwheel is high enough. Hope this helps.
 

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What I do if I'm not sure I can totally clear the obstacle, which is pretty close to as fast as a full hop, is as I approach the log, or what ever it is, I pull my front wheel up and set it on the log without slowing down and as soon as the tire hits the log I pull the rear wheel up and over. Sometimes I hit the front of the log slightly with my front tire which just helps with lofting the rear and sometimes the rear hits on the way over but as long as your weight is back you will keep going. It's been a while since it happened but if your weight is too far forward and your back tire hits the log it can launch you over the bars so watch it. Basically as your front tire hits you launch the whole bike up so if you could see from the side the front would be higher than the rear as the rear clears the log.
 

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I practice hopping over cardboard boxes so if I don't clear I don't eat it. After I can clear the box I move on to local obstacles to build confidence before hitting the trail.
 

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Let the bikes in!
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^^^ what he said. Practice on speedbumps or small curbs and eventually you'll look like some street savvy bmxer. Key is to practice!!
 

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namagomi
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You can't launch from a chill manual or wheelie into a bunny hop, you need the momentum from popping the front and to be standing up.

Timing is everything with the bunny hop. Focus on a fluid strong motion, remember where your centre of mass is being thrown... IMO a lot of books describe it incorrectly. At least not the way I would. Not only do you need to time how you jump but time it so you're flying over the obstacle, not tagging a wheel and eating ****.

If you can manual comfortably, you're well on your way... just work on that timing. Amplitude can come later.

timing timing timing! Just mess around with the timing! Get a buddy who can hop well to help you and remember it comes from the hips.
 

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jhazard said:
Sounds like you have all the skills you need - its just coordinating them into a fluid motion, and timing it correctly.

When I first learned way back in the bmx days, instead of practicing hopping OVER an obstacle, I practiced hopping ON TO an obstacle. A curb is probably the best one to start with. Start sort of slow, then as you get comfortable, increase your speed.

When you have the curb thing down, go find a ledge in the urban landscape somewhere, and move up to that. Repeat and go bigger. Worked for me anyhow. Used to be able to hop up picnic tables, but now about 18-24 inches (if that ;)) is my max, depending on the obstacle/situation.
+1. This is how I learned it. It's actually a pretty natural and easy progression when you do it this way.
 

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Tool
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One thing that has helped me improve, although I'm a long way from being a master, is to focus on pushing my bars down as soon as the front wheel hits maximum height. If your center of mass is in the right place when you do this, it will bring your rear wheel up without losing much front wheel height.

Prior to using this technique, I was pulling up on the pedals with my feet far too much, and often yanking my feet out of the pedals when trying to maximize height. If I wanted to take this to the next level quickly, I'd put a pair of flats on my bike (something I'm sure would improve a lot of my skills since I've been exclusively on clipless for nearly 20 years).

-Pete
 

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This is something I've been working on as well. I'm far better at hopping over a set distance than getting a lot of height. I sometimes don't bend my knees enough to allow the back to come up. I think most of my problem is mental.
 

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I struggled with getting over anything taller than 4" until I learned to PUSH THE BARS DOWN once the front wheel clears. That, along with simultaneously pulling up on the pedals, gets the rear wheel much higher than pulling up on the pedals only.

Also, you need enough speed so that the rear isn't coming down before you clear the obstacle so, you need to gain confidence on smaller obstacles so when you get to a taller one you give it 100% and not 50% which will cause you to endo.
 

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willevans said:
I've been riding pretty seriously the past 5 years, and I've even had a few podiums in XC races, but I've never learned to bunny hop with confidence over real obstacles.

I've watched dozens of videos, bought and read Lee McCormack's bike skills book, and have spent about 4 hours over the past two weeks in my culdesack trying to jump over progressively higher stacks of wood. Sometimes I clear it and sometimes I almost land on my face.:madman:

I think my problem is that I may not have some other fundamental skill required to hop appropriately. I can wheelie for about 10 feet consistently. I can manual almost the same distance. I can track stand. I can also loft my front wheel up high enough to set it on the seat of a folding chair. However, I can't seem to time it when I should pull my rear wheel up and either end up pitching forward violently or barely get it off the ground at all.

For those of you who can consistently clear tall trail obstacles without slowing down, what skills do you think I'm missing? What skills do you have?
When you have the wheel up and over the object.....with your momentum push the bars down and the rear wheel will come up....if you need more height as you push the bars down jump up off the rear wheel.
 

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It can be very helpful to practice using platform pedals. Pulling up with your feet will get you a little ways up, but it's the wrong motion for anything over a few inches. Get some platforms for practicing and lower your seat to give you some room to work with, it will help you to dial in the motion before going back to your XC setup.
 

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brassnipples said:
It can be very helpful to practice using platform pedals. Pulling up with your feet will get you a little ways up, but it's the wrong motion for anything over a few inches. Get some platforms for practicing and lower your seat to give you some room to work with, it will help you to dial in the motion before going back to your XC setup.
+1
Hopping with clips is a completely different motion than with flats
 
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