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Hi so I started mountain biking recently and I’ve been heading to trails and want to be able to hit jumps. I’ve been told I need to know how to bunny hop to do them but I can only lift my front wheel up. I’ve watched many videos on it and have tried for hours but I do not know how to spring forward like the videos say. If any of you can give me advice it will be much appreciated.
 

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Shartacular Spectacular
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There are a surprising amount of little mechanical pieces that need to come together for solid technique. Sometimes it can be helpful to take video of yourself performing something you’re struggling with in order to identify which mechanics are off. Years ago, when I was learning to bunny hop on my bmx bike I didn’t have this luxury, but would have definitely used it had good video recording equipment been as accessible as it is today.

One thing I did find useful was having something I was trying to hop over that wouldn’t cause a disastrous crash if I came up a little short. I used a length of junk six inch diameter pvc piping about 5 feet long I found at a construction site. I started with it on the ground and gradually raised it up on either end as my bunnyhops got incrementally higher. The key is making sure the object can dislodge easily if you mess up and it doesn’t hurt if the object is round enough to roll. This allows it to fall and roll or be dragged with you if you come up short rather than stopping the bike and sending you flying.

Good luck and feel free to post up any video of your attempts and maybe we can help identify what your biggest issue(s) is/are. Don’t get frustrated, it just takes repetition and practice to get it down.
 

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One thing that can help is learning to lift just the back wheel on its own, doing a quick nose wheelie or rolling endo. You need to be able to do that first. Put a wood board (2x4 would do it) on the ground and practice slowly riding over it lifting one wheel at a time and see if you can do that without your tire touching the board. You'll hear the board move if you miss. Do it faster and faster until you can clear it.

Then combine the movements of lifting the front wheel and quickly lifting the rear to bunnyhop. Otherwise, it's just matter of time and practice. You'll get it eventually.

There is endless info on the internet. If you have watched all the hundreds of "how to bunnyhop" videos on YouTube and read the hundreds of " I can't bunnyhop" threads on forums (there's at least one a week for the past 10+ years of those forum), the lack of knowledge is not holding you back, but riding more would help.

Lastly, if your bike is way too big for you or you have suspension settings that are fare softer then they ought to be, that could make it more difficult.
 

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Like a lot of bike techniques people don't realize how much body movement is required. The rider watches a video or other riders then tries to emulate it by doing what they think that movement would feel like.

It's the same thing with cornering. Newer riders will learn they need to lean the bike not their body. When they first start trying to do it they often just lean into the corner but in their mind they're laying that bike over just like they're supposed to...

And that's the shortcoming of only teaching people the motions. To bunny hop, you have to realize you can't lift or yank yourself into the air. The initial manual is to orient the bike more vertically so you can spring upward via your legs. It's like a pogo stick. Imagine a pogo stick laying on the ground. Can you just stand on it, grab the handlebars then yank up? No you have to get it vertical. A bike is like a pogo stick that unfortunately has to be stood up vertical as part of the take off sequence and laid back flat upon landing. After you take off you'll have to push the bars forward and scoop up the rear to level off for the landing.

You'll eventually figure out bunny hopping is a rowing motion backwards then forwards with a hop in the middle. This is a fundamental motion used for pumping rollers, boosting jumps, climbing ledges, rowing through rock gardens and many other skills.
 

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Might sound weird but how is your track stand? I tried and tried the Bunny hop, watched videos and just wasn’t getting it. Things got busy and I just let it go for the time being. Then my track stand got really good and was just messing around waiting for someone and all of a sudden I could bunny hop. I still need work on timing to jump over something but I can get both wheels off the ground. Think there is a balance/ confidence aspect in it and once I had that it was so much easier.
 

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jcd's best friend
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I recommend taking courses through the Ryan Leech Connection. His courses made me so much better at track stands and everything else. He breaks down a skills such as a track stand or bunny hop into smaller lessons so you can progress step by step. His coaching team is great too!

Just some things I've learned about dirt jumping:
- Relax your body as you enter the jump
- Pump into the jump
- Don't nose down until you are about to clear the exit lip (I learned this from Harry Main's BMX videos)
- There's a slight difference in technique related to boost jumping vs flying out (another BMX thing I learned)

Blake Samson was in a GMBN video talking about pumping into a jump and relaxing your body. I didn't even realize I was too tense going into a jump. Once I started to relax, my jumps became much easier and more fluent in motion.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I recommend taking courses through the Ryan Leech Connection. His courses made me so much better at track stands and everything else. He breaks down a skills such as a track stand or bunny hop into smaller lessons so you can progress step by step. His coaching team is great too!
I am currently working through the manual and bunny hop lessons on there (they overlap, so working on them both makes sense). It honestly is a really well done program. little progressions give you the pieces to put together for more complex stuff. Gives you lots of good stuff to go out and practice and perfect. I am still early in the lessons, working to build the muscle memory to tap the rear brake to drop out of a manual (something you do before you even start working on getting your front wheel in the air).

I also am friends with or at least have met in person Ryan Leech himself, a couple of the coaches for his program, and one of his ambassadors. Ryan is very good at breaking this stuff down into attainable pieces and he brings in other coaches for specific lessons where their skillsets make good sense.
 

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jcd's best friend
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I am currently working through the manual and bunny hop lessons on there (they overlap, so working on them both makes sense). It honestly is a really well done program. little progressions give you the pieces to put together for more complex stuff. Gives you lots of good stuff to go out and practice and perfect. I am still early in the lessons, working to build the muscle memory to tap the rear brake to drop out of a manual (something you do before you even start working on getting your front wheel in the air).

I also am friends with or at least have met in person Ryan Leech himself, a couple of the coaches for his program, and one of his ambassadors. Ryan is very good at breaking this stuff down into attainable pieces and he brings in other coaches for specific lessons where their skillsets make good sense.
I’m taking his manual class too. I just started on the “ass to tire” lesson. I think I’m passed that stage because I’m starting to loop out. Im doing all of my lessons on my DJ because it’s so much easier for me.


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I’m taking his manual class too. I just started on the “ass to tire” lesson. I think I’m passed that stage because I’m starting to loop out. Im doing all of my lessons on my DJ because it’s so much easier for me.


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The important part of every step is consistent control, though. I started pulling the front end of my hardtail up significantly higher than I expected when just on the "accelerate" step, where you thrust the bike forward and then tap the rear brake afterwards, with no real attempt to loft the front at all. But it was happening. So I'm taking my time practicing just to ensure that I'm able to consistently control what IS happening.

I'm not surprised you're flirting with looping out a dirt jump bike sooner than I am on a hardtail 29er mtb.
 

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Hi so I started mountain biking recently and I’ve been heading to trails and want to be able to hit jumps. I’ve been told I need to know how to bunny hop to do them but I can only lift my front wheel up. I’ve watched many videos on it and have tried for hours but I do not know how to spring forward like the videos say. If any of you can give me advice it will be much appreciated.
Practice practice practice! I like to tell people to stand on side of bike holding handlebar, pull it up to get front off ground, then try and get the bike to rotate and the rear to lift off the ground by pushing on the bars. This is the main motion and takes a lot of upper body. The springing up and scooping with feet gets you more height, mainly your trying to get out of the way at that point.
Cardboard boxes i found were good to practice with, just make sure there isnt a homeless guy sleeping in it, true story!
BTW, knowing how to bunny hop doesn’t automatically make you able to dirt jump, i used to be able to clear 26+” flat bunny hop, but cant do tabletop jumps all that well.
 

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jcd's best friend
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The important part of every step is consistent control, though. I started pulling the front end of my hardtail up significantly higher than I expected when just on the "accelerate" step, where you thrust the bike forward and then tap the rear brake afterwards, with no real attempt to loft the front at all. But it was happening. So I'm taking my time practicing just to ensure that I'm able to consistently control what IS happening.

I'm not surprised you're flirting with looping out a dirt jump bike sooner than I am on a hardtail 29er mtb.
Yeah I expected easier loop outs on a DJ. It’s all in good fun! I just bought a BMX bike so I will be doing manuals on that too.


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