Learn how to ride trials and street trials with TrashZen: this will also improve your general MTB riding skills.
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Bunny hop like the animal

The bunny hop is essential for clearing obstacles on a fast track or as a raw climbing technique. It is similar to the back hop, only performed while cruising at any speed.

The bunny hop is quite efficient in urban settings where most obstacles are flat and square with good run up distances to control the pace of things. Modern trials geometries with a high bottom bracket and a low steering setup make this move a bit more difficult to perform than on old school bikes or BMXs from where this technique is derived, but 24-inch bikes have better adapted geometries for this streety move.

Understanding the move

trials riding tutorials The plain bunny hop, to clear up small obstacles.

Find a comfortable cruising speed, fast enough to clear the obstacle's length during your bunny hop, then stop pedalling and lean forward. As you approach the obstacle, crouch on the bike to compress up both tyres and lean back again to transfer progressively all the compression to the rear tyre. At full compression, straighten both your arms and legs. This shifts your full weight over the rear tyre and lifts the front wheel. Keep pushing on the ground.

Follow up with a full jump extension, keeping your arms straight to maintain pressure on the ground through the rear tyre while moving up on your pedals. At this stage, you are ready to take-off. Fold back from your extension, pull up on the bars and lift the bike in front of you while tucking your knees up to clear the way for the bike.

Apply back-force on the pedals and level up the bike horizontal, lifting the rear wheel further up. Maintain the tucked position until you have cleared the obstacle. Once the obstacle has been cleared, let the rear wheel drop first for a smooth and progressive landing.

Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

A flowing jump

trials riding tutorials
1° Build up enough momentum to clear the obstacle length during the duration of your bunny hop, then stop pedaling and lean forward.

trials riding tutorials
2° As you approach, in one fluid motion, crouch on the bike to compress up both tyres, then lean back to push on the rear tyre.

trials riding tutorials
3° At this stage, straighten both your arms and legs to shift your full weight over the rear tyre and lift the front wheel, keep pushing on the ground.

trials riding tutorials
4° Carry on with a full jump impulse, keeping your arms straight to maintain pressure on the ground while moving up on the high pedal position.

trials riding tutorials
5° You are ready to take off, fold back from your extension, upwards and pull up the bars while lifting up the knees to clear the way for the bike.

trials riding tutorials
6° Lift the rear wheel further to level up the bike by gripping up the pedals with your soles (applying back-force), and tuck until you have cleared the obstacle.

Biketrial video Watch all the slow-motion video clips for this move Biketrial video

Optimizing height and bike lift

trials riding tutorials Push on the ground before take-off.

trials riding tutorials Tuck your knees and pull on the handlebars to lift the bike up.

The whole bunny hop move takes less than one second. The higher you lift the handlebars, and then the faster you push them forward in a wave motion, the higher you will take the rear wheel off the ground. Of course this requires a perfect synchronization with your jump impulse, and only practice makes perfect.

To maximize your impulse, think of it as if you were jumping on your feet without a bike. You must flex the knees, chain up with a full extension, and tuck in mid-air to get over the obstacle.

On the bike, just do the same, flexing before a full extension from the highest position on the pedals when the bike is standing on its rear wheel. During your extension, keep your arms fairly low to maintain the rear wheel pushing on the ground for as long as possible.

When you have reached the full extension, tuck your knees while pulling on the handlebars to lift the whole bike up in front of you. Although it looks like the feet are stuck to the pedals, in fact they are merely limiting the ascension of the bike.

You can increase the rear wheel lift by applying back-force on the pedals, that is pointing your feet down and pushing back up on the platform to maximise your grip and level up the bike. You can practice with full brakes on (the safest way to understand the move), doing back hops.


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