Mountain Bike Bunny Hops and Wheelies

So, you are feeling confident on your mountain bike and want to work on some advanced skills, bunny hopping your bike and popping wheelies looks cool and is fun but these are actually skills you can use when riding the trails. Mastering the bunny hop can help you get over obstacles like rocks and branches and even small creeks, plus it looks cool. The same goes for popping wheelies, and while cool while goofing around this is a great skill to have when you need to clear an obstacle while on a technical or steep climb.  For both of these moves a dropper seat is going to make it easier as it gives you a greater range of motion with your bike seat out of the way. All our mountain bike rentals do come with a dropper seat so you can tackle the toughest terrain in the Vail area!

Let’s start with the front wheel lift or “wheelie”, this basic skill is all about creating pressure in the bike and using that to lift the wheel up in the air allowing you to pop over roots and rocks and even build into a roller.

  • You will want to be moving at what feels like an intermediate fast speed to you, about a jogging speed.
  • Stomp your feed down to lower your center of gravity, this lading of the bike builds pressure on both the rear and front wheels.
  • Now explode up and a little back while at the same time extending your arms and legs pulling the front wheel off the ground with the arms and driving the bike up with the legs as well. You will want to keep your chest up and slightly back to get the weight off the front wheel.
  • Once you hit the apex bend your arms and legs slightly to bring the bike back to neutral and to absorb the impact of the bike returning to the ground.

The Bunny Hop is the next progression of your mountain bike skills from the front wheel lift.

  • Start by following all the steps from the wheelie, then as you bring the front wheel up spring up from your neutral position lifting your chest to the sky.
  • At the peak of the lift of the front wheel do what is called a claw and scoop with your feet to bring the back wheel up as well. See video for the nuances of this.
  • As you are doing this scoop push the handle bars of your mountain bike forward to level the bike.
  • You are trying to land with both wheels at the same time.
  • Keep in mind that there is a two part motion to the hop, first the front then the back, not all at the same time. When done properly it will look like you are drawing a rainbow with the bike.

Practice this on easy terrain then bust it out on your next ride to make easy work of logs and rocks. Getting the bunny hop dialed allows you to take the sting out of absorbing obstacles by simply clearing them, thus causing less wear on you and your mountain bike.