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Precision hops on the rear wheel


Maybe one of the most useful and primary skills to get in biketrials, is to be able hop on the rear wheel. Precision and correction hops are much needed if you want to place your rear tyre on the best grippy bit of rock or wall before you move-on with a pedal kick or any other transition.

Rocking back and forth
Rock the bike with both brakes locked. Do this by moving your hips back and forth over the bike, pushing on the bars when you are leaning over the stem and pulling on the bars when you are crouching back (bum over the rear hub with your arms stretched). After some practise, you'll be able to rock the bike back and forth with more and more amplitude.

Eventually you should reach a point on the rear wheel where you will fall backwards instead of rocking again onto the front wheel. This is the point of balance where you should try to stay by adjusting the position of your knees, tucking them in as you reach that point. This will give you a feel for proper balance over the rear wheel.


Bouncing back

trials riding tutorials Nico hops on the spot.

From there, try to bounce back instead of falling backwards. When rocking back, do not jump off the bike as you reach the point of no-return. Instead, from a crouched position move up with an impulse from your ankles and finish off by firming up your arms once you have reached the end of your extension. Initially, you'll be bouncing backwards, but that's a good start.

Move your hips up and down, crouching on the way down to compress the rear tyre before the next hop. To perform small hops on the rear, use the spring of your calves and ankles to bounce back, keep your arms firm on the way up.

Tuck your knees to let the tyre bounce the bike up as you pull further up on the bars, the bike will follow. Keep your brakes locked at all times! You've made your first hop! As gravity pulls you back to earth, just crouch down and repeat steps 4 to 6 as many times as you want to hop. Just practise, practise, practise... and practise again...


Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

Use your hips and legs to bounce back

trials riding tutorials
1° Rock the bike forward with both brakes locked, pushing on the bars when you are leaning over the stem.

trials riding tutorials
2° Then thrust your hips back and bring the rear wheel down with your hips over the rear hub to compress the rear tyre.

trials riding tutorials
3° From that crouched position (arms stretched) move up with an impulse from your ankles while pulling on the bars.

trials riding tutorials
4° This naturally lifts the front wheel up, keep pushing on your legs to thrust your hips up until the bike is nearly vertical.

trials riding tutorials
5° Moving up on your momentum, firm up your arms and tuck your knees to lift the entire bike with you.

trials riding tutorials
6° Crouch on the way down and flex your ankles to compress the rear tyre, ready for your next hop.



Biketrial video Watch all the slow-motion video clips for this move Biketrial video


Let your calves do the work
You don't have to pull up hard on the bars, so relax! It is best to let your legs do the work. In some sections, you may want to pull up more with your arms, but then, make sure you tuck your knees up by the same amount or your feet will stop the bike (you won't win pulling against yourself).

As you gain more experience, you'll realise that it is more efficient to do small hops without pulling too much with your arms. All the bouncing part will be easier with low pressure in your rear tyre, so take out some air if need be, until you get that bouncy feel...


Keep your pedals level

trials riding tutorials Level your pedals to a comfortable position.

Once you can bounce back a few hops, try to limit your momentum backwards by staying well balanced over the rear hub instead of always leaning too much behind that axis. Initially when you rock from the horizontal to the vertical position, your pedals follow the wheel-base alignment, and you may not feel very comfortable.

Also when you bounce back, your pedals don't stay level because you may accidentally ratchet up the freewheel backwards. You must compensate for these combined effects by re-adjusting the position of your pedals. To do so, release the rear brake briefly during a hop and push on your front foot. This re-adjusts the pedals in mid-air to a more comfortable level-position. Lock the brakes before you touch ground again to secure the bike and get ready for the next hop. This is tricky at first, but it will help you tune your brake control too.



Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

Keeping your pedals level

trials riding tutorials
1° Release the rear brake briefly during a hop and push softly on your front foot.

trials riding tutorials
2° In mid-air, re-adjust the pedals to a comfortable level-position.

trials riding tutorials
3° Lock the rear brake before touching ground again to secure the bike upon landing.

trials riding tutorials
4° Flex your ankles for a supple reception, ready for your next hop from a more comfortable position.


Moving forward

biketrials video Soft controlled hops.

Now that you can bounce back, or nearly on the spot, try to hop forward. With each hop, tuck your knees in front of you instead of just underneath you, while straightening your arms. Each hop will bring the bike one step in front of you.

Flex your calves and use them to control the bouncing effect, both in compression and amplitude. This is what will move your body up and down (not the action of pulling on your arms). These hops allow you to control the rear tyre position softly and with a lot of precision even if the ground is slippery or unreliable.


Pedal kick assistance
Another way to move forward more efficiently with each hop is to slightly kick in your driving pedal, towards the end of your impulse upwards. Release the brakes as you push with your front foot and lock them right after the kick. This will add a rolling effect to the bounce, effectively bringing you one step forward or maybe just compensating for your backward momentum.

The more you kick while still on the ground, the more you will go forward, that leads you to the Pedal kick. This works well if the ground offers a good grip. On a slippery or uneven surface, it is best to use this softer approach because if you kick too hard, then you could lose grip. Each tiny kick or soft pedal pressure will allow you to re-adjust your feet position while moving a small step forward. From there you can really improve the precision of your hops.


Turning around

biketrials video Turning around.

By combining bar turns, twisting your shoulder and swinging your hips to some degree, you'll be able to turn with each hop, even as you bounce on the same spot. As you spring up into extension, swing the bars to the side you want to turn and shift your hips to the opposite side.

Build inertia with your shoulders. In mid-air, firm up your arms to bring the bike in front of you, following the rotation of your shoulders to land it in the new direction. Follow up with another swing of the handlebars and hips, assisted by the rotation of your torso just before the next hop.


Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

Turning around with hops

trials riding tutorials
1° Start bouncing on site, then look into the direction you wish to turn.

trials riding tutorials
1° As you hop up, swing the bars and shift your hips to the opposite side.

trials riding tutorials
2° In mid-air, re-align the bike in front of you to land it in the new direction.

trials riding tutorials
3° As you land, re-align your hips behind the bike before the next hop.

trials riding tutorials
4° Give another swing of the handlebars with the rotation of your torso to perform the next hop.

trials riding tutorials
4° In mid-air, firm up your arms to bring the bike in front of you, following the rotation of your shoulders.



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