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The bunny hop: raw street style


If you can bunny hop properly on your bike, then jumping up a few steps is straight forward. A pure street trials technique, flat and square.


trials riding tutorials Benito Ros pulls a massive bunny hop during a warm up session.

To be used as a climbing technique, the bunny hop requires more run up distance than the pedal up because all the momentum of the move is built prior to the vertical action of your jump impulse.
The pedal up (also known as "pedalled bunny hop") on the other hand, lets you control your speed of approach through the pedalling action until the very last second.

What makes the bunny hop tricky is that you must evaluate well your take-off point based on your speed of approach, and this will define the distance between where the bunny hop action takes place and your landing target.


The whole move

trials riding tutorials Janos Boudet lands sharp over the rear wheel.

Find a comfortable cruising speed, building up enough momentum to reach the obstacle after performing what will only be a vertical extension at a distance of the obstacle. Then stop pedalling and lean forward.

As you approach the obstacle, crouch on the bike to compress both tyres, then lean back to transfer all the compression onto the rear tyre. At full compression, spring up with both your arms and legs, with your full weight over the rear hub, and lift the front wheel.

Keep pushing on the ground during this extension phase. Finish up your jump impulse, keeping your arms straight to maintain pressure on the ground while moving up on your front pedal.

When ready to take-off, fold back from your extension, pull up on the bars and lift the bike in front of you while tucking your knees up. As you lift the bike, maintain the tucked position until the rear wheel hits the obstacle, block the rear brake to a solid stop.

The bike tilts forward upon impact with the obstacle, try to stay supple and absorb as much of the impact as possible. Find the right balance in a progressive deceleration, leaning closer to the frame if need be. Hop on site to position the rear tyre correctly for your next move or simply lean further forward if there is room for the full bike to rest.


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

Pull on those arms...Not so smooth...

trials riding tutorials
1° At moderate speed, stop pedalling and lean forward as you approach the obstacle, crouch on the bike and compress both tyres.

trials riding tutorials
2° At full compression, spring up with both your arms and legs, with your full weight over the rear hub to lift the front wheel.

trials riding tutorials
3° Finish up your jump impulse, with your arms straight to maintain pressure on the ground, move up on your front pedal.

trials riding tutorials
4° When ready to take-off, fold back from your extension, pull up on the bars and lift the bike in front of you while tucking your knees up.

trials riding tutorials
5° As you lift the bike, maintain the tucked position until the rear wheel hits the obstacle, block the rear brake to a solid stop.

trials riding tutorials
6° The bike tilts forward upon impact with the obstacle, try to stay supple and absorb as much of the impact as possible.


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


Risky Business?

trials riding tutorials Benito Ros launches a bunny hop on top of a dirt bump.

The bunny hop is best performed on a smooth predictable surface, with no terrain irregularities or bumpy surprises. If the rear wheel doesn't roll as smoothly as expected because of a recess or a softer patch in the ground, you could find yourself with a "last second problem" not lifting the front wheel as high as expected.

In that case, the front wheel can accidentally bang on the upper edge of the wall, stopping you straight, or sending you over the bars for a nasty crash if you go too fast. What's more, the high bottom bracket of most modern competition bikes makes it more difficult to bunny hop than to rely on pedalling techniques.

Comparatively, bunny hops are not very energy efficient, as you literally jump on top of a very short manual and then try to pull the bike up with you. For all these reasons, the plain bunny hop is not favoured in natural terrains or at competitions in general.

Street credibility
Despite all its drawbacks, the bunny hop is a very classy move in urban settings if you can land sharp and clean. Start on a small kerb before you consider breaking your bones on higher obstacles.

One trick that will boost your impulse is to bounce-up the front wheel, by firmly pushing down on the bars before crouching back for your jump impulse. The bounce effect makes it easier to lift the front wheel in synchronization with your full extension.


The bunny hop is not a very safe approach in natural terrain and for higher obstacles, as the front wheel can accidentally bang on the upper edge of the wall, stopping you straight, or sending you over the bars if you go fast enough.


Bump boost and jump kickers

trials riding tutorials Hannes Herrmann uses a kicker to boost his bunny hop into a full jump.

trials riding tutorials Jack Carthy tucks his knees and pull the bike up to jump further.

If there is a small bump on your path right before the obstacle, or if the obstacle starts with a small step (like the first step of a stairway), then you can use a double tyre compression effect which will really boost your jump up.

Find your marks so as to bump your front tyre first while crouching, then pull the front wheel up (it bounces up so it's easy) and finish up your extension with the rear wheel bumping into that small step.

The extra compression from the bump and the rear tyre rebound will send the bike flying up as you tuck. This works very well even on small rocks, roots, small wood logs and obviously on stairways where the first step can be used as a bump (beware of snake bites).


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

Bump boost for big jumps

trials riding tutorials
1° Once at moderate speed, stop pedalling and lean forward as you approach the obstacle, crouch on the bike and compress both tyres.

trials riding tutorials
2° Find your marks so as to bump your front tyre first while crouching, then pull the front wheel up (it bounces up so it's easy).

trials riding tutorials
3° Finish up your extension with your arms straight to push on the ground until the rear wheel bumps into that small step.

trials riding tutorials
4° The extra compression from the bump and the rear tyre rebound will send the bike flying up as you tuck your knees up and pull on the bike.


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


At a pro level, you can bunny hop with minimal run-up distance, stretching synchronised body movement to the limits. The next technique would be to roll over the obstacle. Quite safe, this is a true biketrials technique and it requires very little run-up space (one pedal stroke). And it is a much smoother move, as you don't need to pull like mad on the handlebars. You don't land on the rear wheel but it's more like rolling up and stopping once on the obstacle.


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