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Trials Riding Backhopan absolute basic move
The backhop is the most basic move to start understanding most techniques in trials riding. Once you have that, it is quite easy to extend your skills to a few hops on the back wheel, before you can hop your way on the back wheel in any direction... It is also a similar move that you'll need when launching a bunny hop or to climb sideways...So it's really hardcore basics. The back hop is really useful to actually back-off from an obstacle, after a failed attempt at it.

Three phases smoothed in one move

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1° Start from a stand still, brakes full-on, shift your weight on the back wheel.

trials riding tutorials
2° Lift the front wheel and push on the legs to jump, extending the arms before lifting.

trials riding tutorials
3° When the back wheel takes off, pull your knees upwards and carry on lifting the bars.


After that, gravity pulls you back to earth, nothing special. Try to land on the back wheel first, it's smoother. See this move in a video

biketrials video
Another blurred video.

Lifting the bike in a bunny hop or back hop?
Lifting the handlebars is the only trick, because your feet can't lift the bike. It looks like the feet are stuck to the pedals, but in fact they are just limiting the ascension of the bike. During the extension, the arms are kept low to keep the rear wheel pushing on the ground, but as soon as the extension is over, its time to fold back the knees with a synchronised pull on the arms upwards to lift the whole bike. All the move takes less than a second.

biketrials video
A pedal kick to boost things up

If you can't take off
There is a mix of reasons...Sometime, the problem may be that your effort to jump is in conflict with your effort to pull on the bike (like trying to lift a stone while standing on it). It's a synchro problem. The backhop in itself is not so useful (it drags you backwards). So to make the most of it, try to add a pedal kick to it. To do so, release the rear brake during the extension phase, while pulling on the bars. The pedal kick will also prevent you from moving backwards. If you are in good shape, and pull all your strength doing the right move, it's like doing gymnastic, you can jump high.

Then with the right move alone, and vague effort, you can still do a back hop a foot high, which you could manage with plenty of muscle and very bad technique too... Basically the better the technique, the less effort...It is really true, especially when bouncing on the back wheel. The next step is to Bunny Hop over something. The bunny hop is exactly the same move but without using the brakes, and while riding at some good pace. Do it at any speed you like. Or try out some pedal kicks to move forward.
Biketrial video  All the clips in one video.  VTT trial
(or right-click to download the .wmv file)

biketrials video
A vertical extension

biketrials video
Dropping off backwards

Going backwards for fun
That's a cool trick, though in order to build up your impulse backwards (without the front wheel support), you'll need to lean a lot backwards, nearly to the vertical before your jump extension. Push back both on legs and arms and then pull back the bike with you. You can turn in the air and land forward by giving it a twist during the extension. Send your shoulders spiraling as if you wanted to look back.


biketrials video
Backhop with a turn

biketrials video
Backhop ejection

Useful after all
The backhop will eventually come up naturally as a safe way to bail off an obstacle when landing too short or loosing balance. In competition, failing to stay in balance on the obstacle you just climbed doesn't mean you dab a 5 (both feet on the ground). Instead, just hop back and land firmly on both wheels to stay on the bike for another attempt in the zone. That can also bring interesting combinations.

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