Do you like to get down and dirty on the trail? Take your mountain bike for a rip through some gnarly single track? If so, you may be wondering if there is any way to make your ride even more badass.
I’m sure you’ve seen them: the mountain bikers hopping and skipping their way around trails with what looks like ease. But can you really do it? Can you bunny hop a 29er mountain bike? Most people think that it’s impossible, but I’m here to tell you that it is not. With a little bit of practice, anyone can learn how to bunny hop their mountain bike. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s take a look at how to do it!
While bigger wheels may seem heavier and harder to get into the air. The motion and techniques are the same for any wheel-size mountain bike. Just takes practice and hard work to get the feel of how to bunny hop and then repeat over and over till you get better and better.
What Is A Bunny Hop?
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of riding a bike off-road. The fresh air, the natural scenery, and the sense of adventure are all part of the appeal. And for those who really enjoy a challenge, there’s nothing quite like bunny hopping on a mountain bike.
Bunny hopping is a technique that allows riders to clear obstacles while maintaining a decent speed. It’s a skill that takes some practice to master, but it’s well worth the effort. Not only does it make riding more fun, but it also allows riders to cover more ground and explore more trails. While it’s not a must-have skill, it certainly makes the riding experience more fun and shows some impressive skill with friends and fellow riders on the trails.
Most Common Types Of Bunny Hops
The bunny hop is a fundamental bike trick that every good rider should know. Not only does it look impressive, but it’s also surprisingly practical, allowing you to get over obstacles quickly and smoothly.
There are two main types of bunny hops: the English Bunny Hop and the American Bunny Hop (J-Hop). The English Bunny Hop is the old school type where you lift the entire bike up both wheels at the same time straight up.
To perform an English Bunny Hop, with both feet parallel to the ground simply push down with your feet and lift both tires up off the ground and then use your legs to drive the bike forward, helping the rear wheel to clear the obstacle. This has its purpose occasionally but is not very effective in clearing obstacles.
The American Bunny Hop (J Hop) is a more common form and is very effective in hopping over obstacles. It involves lifting the front tire first, then getting the back end to follow in more of an arc-style move.
While it takes some practice to master, the Wheelie Bunny Hop is a great way to get over larger obstacles quickly.
Techniques to bunny hop on a mountain bike
To bunny hop on a mountain bike, there are basically 3 key steps, which are load, pull, and push.
Start by pedaling hard to gain speed. As you approach the obstacle, stand up on the pedals and push down hard with your feet, this is ‘loading’ to create compression. Start with hips fairly high, tall legs so you’re not too crouched down. This allows you to compress down. That compression will help to bring the front end up.
Next, you’ll pull back on the handlebars, try not to pull up on the bars. This step pulls the bars up towards your body (pressure should be on the underside of the grips).
As you reach the peak of the hop and the front end is up off the ground, simply push forward on the bars and the back wheel will meet or exceed the height of the front wheel.
With a little practice, you’ll be bunny hopping like a pro in no time!
Tips For Becoming A Better Bunny Hopper
Becoming a better bunny hopper is all about practice and mastering the technique. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Break the bunny hop into smaller steps, and practice by lifting the front end just enough to get the wheel off the ground. For a visual place a stick on the ground and lift the front end over the stick a few times till you are comfortable.
- Work on lifting just the back wheel, continue till you’ve mastered the back wheel lift. This is done by riding with feet and cranks level, compressing your legs, shifting your weight forward, extending your legs, and pointing your toes downward all at once. Compress, point toes down, and lift are the steps to get your back end up in the air.
- Next, try to combine both steps consecutively with no obstacles, in a parking lot or open flat space. Don’t try to clear a huge log on your first attempt. Start with something small, like a rock or a root.
Helpful Advice For Practicing The Motion Off The Bike
A helpful way to practice the steps is to stand next to the bike, and lift the front of the bike. Once the front end is up, push the front end forward to get the feel of how the bike creates the arc by pushing forward and noticing the back end following the arc of the hop.
Keep doing this motion several times till you feel comfortable. This motion off the bike often helps to understand the steps while taking some of the fear or nervousness you might experience while on the bike.
So, is it possible to bunny hop a 29er mountain bike? The answer is yes. While it may take some practice and tweaking of your technique, with enough effort you can definitely get your big-wheeled bike into the air. Just be sure to use the correct approach and stay safe while you’re hopping around. Now that you know how to bunny hop a 29er mountain bike, go out and give it a try!