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WORK ON YOUR TIMING
This is a great tip to transition
your bunny hopping to jumping
and pre-jumping. Find a small
ledge, rock or similar about 20-
50mm in size on the ground.
Once you can bunny hop, work
on using the obstacle to give
you a little extra boost. Your
front wheel should hit the
object and come up, followed
by your rear wheel hitting the
object and coming up as well.
Try it at various speeds and
with different landing styles.
The timing is really useful
when you are translating the
bunny hop to a jump or pre-
jump movement so you can get
it perfect every time.
LEAD WITH YOUR FRONT WHEEL
Leading with your front wheel gives you a whole lot more control and
will also help with jumping and pre-jumping. As your suspension
rebounds, begin to rise and pull up with your arms on your bars to
bring the front wheel of the ground. You can repeat this step in order
to get the timing right before you try to get your back wheel of the
ground - which is much harder than the front.
FOLLOW WITH THE REAR WHEEL
How do you get your rear wheel of the ground? Well, there are a
couple of steps involved. The first is to lock your wrists and rotate the
entire bike forward. If you can imagine rocking the bike forward using
just your arms gripping the bars, this is what you are trying to achieve.
At the same time, use your legs to lift the rear wheel. On flat pedals
it means tilting your feet forward slightly which will give you some
traction on your pedals to bring the rear wheel up. Do these both
together and hopefully, you’ll get some air time.
CONTROL YOUR LANDING
It’s actually quite easy to crash on your way down if you get off
balance. For the most part, when beginning aim to land as softly as
possible on two wheels and once you gain some confidence, try to
land on your rear wheel first and then bring your front wheel down
after in order to develop control of your bike in the air.
EXAGGERATE YOUR LANDING
It’s important to over-exaggerate your landing as you come down.
You want to land centred on your bike and soak up the impact
predominantly with your legs. If there’s one tip I can’t stress
enough for riding in general it’s to ride with your legs – and bunny
hopping is no exception. Landing on your front wheel will change
the bias significantly compared to landing rear wheel first, but play
around with it until you get the feel. That way, when you are out on
the trail and don’t get it quite right you’ll be able to pull it off, no
matter how you land.
WORK ON GETTING THE REAR
WHEEL OFF THE GROUND ONLY
If you are having trouble getting
your rear wheel off the ground, a
really useful exercise is to work
on riding along and lifting the
rear wheel only. When I teach
people to bunny hop, this is the
first thing I’ll have someone do
as it makes the transition in
Step 3 much easier. The higher
you can get your rear wheel off
the ground the better and if you
can do it with flat pedals you are
a step ahead.