What is a bunny hop?

Bunny hop is the act of getting both wheels off the ground at the same time without using an incline. Using a ramp to get your bike off the ground is jumping. Simply put, a bunny hop is jumping of flat gound.

Types of bunny hop

The English bunny hop: when both wheels leave the ground at the same time. Easier to do, but less useful.
The American bunny hop: when the front wheel leaves the ground before the rear wheel. Also known as a J-Hop, and Pro-Hop. Harder to learn, but much more practical.

How to English Bunny Hop

  1. Preload by bringing down your chest down to your bars and bending your knees
  2. Explode upwards
  3. Once your arm and legs are straight, bring the bike up with you
  4. Keep your toes pointed to bring the back wheel up.

Common mistakes:

Pulling the bike into your chest
Relying too much on clipless pedals

How to American Bunny Hop

There are 3 motions that get you into the air which I'm calling phases. The pop, the scoop and the shove. Each of these has a role, and while it's possible to do a bunny hop only using two of these movements. If you want to jump high, you will need to use all three. T

Phase #1 the Pop 

The pop gets your front wheel off the ground, and will determine how high you jump. This is the most important phase.

  1. Preload, by dropping your chest down to your bars and bending your knees.
  2. Push off your bars and rock your weight backward, getting your butt behind your rear axle.
  3. As your arms straighten, stand up explosively 
  4. Bring the handlebars into your lap and pulling* the bike up with you. 
  5. The taller you stand up the higher you'll go

*IMPORTANT: you're not pulling the bike with your arms muscles. You pull the bike up with your body by keeping your arms straight and standing up tall (similar to a deadlift). You may want to refer to the how to manual video because the two movements are very similar.

Phase #2 The Scoop 

Once the front wheel is off the ground we need to get the back wheel up.

  1. Point your back foot down
  2. Absorb your legs upwards. (Your butt should be behind your seat and It should almost feel like you're trying to get your back wheel to touch your butt.)

Phase #3 shove

The shove is a complimentary movement that assists the scoop in getting your back wheel off the ground, but also prepares you to land. The forward pressure on your bars, and pointing your toes “wedges” the bike upwards.

  1. While scooping
  2. Push the bike out in front of you

How to practice

Draw a line in the ground or use a stick, to give yourself something to aim for.

  1. Practice getting your front wheel over the line by preloading and rocking your weight backward. This step resembles a manual.
  2. Practice scooping up your back wheel over the line by rocking your weight forwards, scooping your legs up, ensuring your back foot is pointed
  3. Practice both of the movements together getting your front wheel, and then your back wheel over the line
  4. Practice getting your front over the line, but before you allow that wheel touch the ground, try to get your back wheel over the line. 
    If you’re having difficulty with this step practice, stand next to your bike and practice the wrist motion pull back up and over.
  5. Practice jumping onto a small ledge, which will get you used to shoving the bike forward.
  6. Practice jumping over objects and focus landing gently with both wheels at the same time. Start off with small soft objects and work your way up.

Common mistakes

Being scared to get your butt behind the seat.
The tendency to land with your front wheel first, which happens when you don’t shove.
Yanking the bike upward. All the movements in a bunny hop should feel fluid.

Final Thoughts

 If you don’t get this trick right away don’t get discouraged. Really focus on learning one step at a time and take things slowly. The hardest part about learning how to bunny hop is getting the timing and muscle memory. 

Learn more mountain bike skills!!