In mountain biking, the act of hopping one’s bike is called a bunnyhop. The particular technique shown here is known is an American bunnyhop, but to me hopping is hopping.
Learning to hop or learning to hop higher may be one of your priorities. It allows you to more easily get over obstacles, change the orientation of your bike, go higher on jumps, and most importantly have more fun.
So today we’ll revisit the bunnyhop with a fresh explanation.
First of all, your bike doesn’t matter much. Full suspension, full rigid, hardtail, flat pedals, clipless pedals, they’re all fine. I’ve done my highest hops on on hardtails with flat pedals, but as you can see Brian is doing it clipped in on a full squish. This is me last summer, bunnyhopping a 60 pound Walmart bike with water in the tires. So as far as learning goes, any mountain bike is just fine.
No matter what bike you have, go ahead and drop your seat as low as it can go. This will give you more room to maneuver your bike while learning.
To bunnyhop, you need to jump yourself into the air and take your bike with you. You weigh a lot more than your bike, so think of it as a passenger. So if you can’t do this, then it’s going to be even harder while holding your bike. Make sense?
Now on to the technique.
The first step is to practice getting into the meerkat position. That is, standing straight up with your bars at your waist. For starters you can just try getting your front wheel off the ground.
A lot of people have trouble with this part in particular, and it usually comes down to the preload. By this, I mean forcing your weight downwards before you pop up. If your bike has suspension it’ll compress, and you should pop back up in sync with it. And remember, it’s you that’s popping up and your bike that’s coming along with you. Don’t do this. Do this.
Once you get the hang of that, you can go full meerkat by snapping your bars to your waist.
Okay so preload, meerkat position, what now? Well, now all you have to do is lunge forwards. It’s really that simple. Of course this will only get you so high, but you now have the tools to go higher.
While going meerkat you should be jumping straight upwards. See? Jump up, snap your bars to your waist, and continue to jump upwards. If you do it with enough force, your bike can come along for the ride. Don’t worry about your pedals, don’t worry about what kind of bike you have, just meerkat.
Learning to bunny hop takes practice, and then you need to learn to time it. As you approach an obstacle you need to know when to start pulling up so you won’t case it. I recommend practicing with some sticks or branches to keep the stakes low. After a while, you’ll get it.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful, or at least entertaining. If you still have questions, check the playlist below for different approaches and explanations I’ve done. If you have any bunny hop tips, share them below so we can all learn. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll see you next time.