June
18

How to use your wrists to Bunny Hop with flat pedals

While most riders can start to get down the basics of body position, cornering and even manualing, one skill still seems to elude a lot of riders. That is the skill of Bunny Hopping your bike.

What makes the Bunny Hop so tricky is that it requires you to know how to lift the rear end of your bike up without pulling up with you feet. For riders who have never learned how to do this before switching to clipless pedals it can seem down right impossible.

The problem stems from the fact that most riders who switch to clipless pedals too early become too reliant on using that attachment point to pull up the rear end of the bike. Instead of doing a real Bunny Hop, they instead start to pull up with their hands and feet and lift both ends of the bike up at once.

While this technique can work (and is still possible without being attached to the pedals once you know how) it isn’t the optimal way to lift your bike into the air. The reason is that it results in less distance and balance than leaning back into a manual and then lifting the rear end up to follow.

When you Bunny Hop properly you improve the distance you can cover since you push the rear wheel forward some before it leaves the ground. You are also more balanced and able to recover from miscalculations, especially when using a Bunny Hop to jump up a ledge.

But to do this you need to know how to Bunny Hop on flat pedals, which forces you to learn how to not rely on the attachment point provided by clipless pedals. And the secret to that is all in the wrists.

By using your wrists to “twist” the handlebars forward as you throw your weight forward you can easily lift the rear end of the bike. Check out this video to see me demonstrate how this looks on the bike and explain a bit more about how to make it work.

As you can see, it requires a good set up with proper body position and a good manual but once you have those two things down you can quickly turn that into a Bunny Hop with this advice. Here is a link to the manualing video I mentioned in the video to help you with that. Once you can Bunny Hop the whole trail starts to open up as you see lines you can Bunny Hop that you never knew where there before.

And that all adds up to more speed and fun.

Hope you’ve found this tip helpful no matter what pedals you use. If you’re using flats and struggle with lifting the rear end of the bike then here is your answer. And if you wear clipless pedals you should still practice this advice to improve your Bunny Hop and make it even more valuable.

If you have any question or comments about this technique just post a comment below, I’m always glad to help if I can. Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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James Wilson
Author and Professional
Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson