How to hop a log or rock on your mountain bike

We started a wiki a while back to share mountain biking “how-to’s” on everything from mountain bike handling to maintenance and repair but since then we’ve realized the wiki format isn’t really doin’ it for us. Instead, we’ll use the blog to share these articles and ask that our readers add to the articles via the comment feature at the bottom of the page.

There are a number of methods mountain bikers use to get over logs and rocks on the trail. Depending on the size of the obstacle, here are some approaches to consider:

1. Pop a wheelie: This is the easiest way to get started and it works best for small logs or rocks. As you approach the obstacle, lift up your front wheel just before you get to it. It may take some practice to get your timing right but practice makes perfect! While this method gets your front tire over the log smoothly, it does nothing to lessen the impact on your rear wheel. Watch your chain ring as well, larger logs and rocks tend to get caught here and can send you into an endo if you’re not careful.

2. The bunny hop: Clipping in to your pedals (with either toe clips or clipless pedals) make this a whole lot easier. Make sure you have lots of speed as you approach the obstacle. Just before impact, jump up, carrying your entire bike with you (front and rear wheels) to clear the obstacle. This is risky since if you jump too soon or if you don’t have enough speed you may come down on the log or rock with your rear wheel creating a nasty “taco” out of your rim.

3. The speed hop: This takes the most skill by far but it’s far more versatile than the other methods and can get you over much larger obstacles. (See video below).