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Bunnyhops... Getting More Height


Sabiot
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I've been practicing (pretty much exclusively) for about two weeks now. I know its still really early and as my technique improves so will my height. I guess this is a theoretical question more than anything.

When doing a bunnyhop (I'm assuming) that the height of the front wheel dictates the possible height of the back wheel and thus your "clearance height." Through bringin your weight backwards and literally jumping you raise the front wheel and try to level off. Again, I'm assuming as I have no one around to reference with face to face. I can only make these assumptions based on basic physics and from what I've seen in videos and such.

Now to get that max height, you need a good strong pull and a nice jump to get the initial height. Right now when I jump I'm only getting maybe 2" of height before I have to try to level out. I'm finding that I feel a little rushed in my movements and because of this I'm only able to perform a decent hope about 25-30% of the time. What can I do to get the initial hop heigher? I mean I would guess "jumper harder!" but are there any other tid bits of information that help? Maybe something on timing? Something to do with slight hand or foot movements?

This weekend I'm going to try to get a video of me doing a couple things so I'd expect another thread from me pretty soon. I hope that a video will help you guys shed some light on these somewhat gloomy days of biking progress.

For those who are lazy or simple forgot what I asked in all of that...

1) Theoretically speaking... Front Wheel Height = Potential Bunny Hop "Clearance" Height

True or False?

2) How can a new guy get his back wheel off the ground a little higher on the initial jump before trying to level out? Are there any small motions to keep in mind?

3) How important is the pushing forward of the arms when trying to level out? I sometimes forget to do it...

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1) Theoretically speaking... Front Wheel Height = Potential Bunny Hop "Clearance" Height

True or False?

True, the higher the front wheel the more you can clear :)

2) How can a new guy get his back wheel off the ground a little higher on the initial jump before trying to level out? Are there any small motions to keep in mind?

Its not so much a jump as a quick, extended manual (a rolling wheelie without pedalling) - keeping your arms straight, quickly and smoothly move your weight backwards and down over the back axle; the front wheel should start to lift into the manualling position (cover the back brake just incase you start to loop it ;) ). As you have more of a jump bike than a pure trials bike this should be easier, a shorter frame and higher bars makes it easier to get into a manual.

Once you get the hang of gaining and holding the balance point over the rear wheel you should be able to manual, it will take a lot of practise though but persevere with it :)

Ideally you need to be able to just loft a manual at will without thinking about it, once you can do that you will start getting much bigger bunnyhops. If you can loft the front wheel up to a 2 foot height then you should be able to bunnyhop 2 foot without a problem :)

3) How important is the pushing forward of the arms when trying to level out? I sometimes forget to do it...

It will eventually become natural to level the bike, if you land on the rear wheel without levelling youre usually not in control and at risk of looping out, whether you land front wheel or back wheel first depends on the situation really.

Edited by forteh
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Just swing the bike forwards from underneath you, pull on the bars then fire yourself upwards with both your arms and your legs. Try bunnyhopping to back wheel on things and once you get the hang of that you'll be fine. Alternatively i know someone who said it was easier for them to learn to sidehop from two wheels higher first, then just sidehop whilst rolling along.

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I've always loved big bunnyhops, when i switched to a Koxx a few years back after some time off trials i found i coudln't really do them, so i used my other bike (which had been neglected) which is a general street bike and in no time they were oming back with some good height....so i knew i hadn't lost it, it was the bike resticting me.

One day i was riding with a guy who was getting in to biking in a very similar position to you - starting off, not getting much height....he had seen me riding my street bike and was aksing how i got so high...i said 'i dunno' - you kind o fget used to it, but i can tell you what he saw when watching me...

He said he couldn't believe how relaxed it looked from lifting the front wheel before the back came up ,he felt like as soon as the front was up he had to get the back up...which inevitablly ended in nose dives bascially, with both wheels barely coming off together. HE said that it looks like i wait until the very last minute to take the back up so i've got maximum extension from the front....like i lift the back just before it looks like i might loop out.

Another time i rode with him and i was abck on the Koxx so i wasn't bunnyhopping well so found it hard to demonstrate...but due to the restrictions of the bike it helped me analyse what i was doing, as i had to excentuate every move for the silver barge.

Really lift the front ,the thing that always stays in my head was once i heard a rider say ''aim to throw your bars in to the clouds'' just pull like crazy and once you are fully extended the back will come up a lot easier ,its not such an effort to get it off, but rather than a big jump, let the bike come in to you and tuck it under.

When practicing on the Koxx i begsn to geel how i actually did bunnyhop, just letting the bike rise under you and in to your body whilst levelling out in the air.

The only other thing i can say is that you've got longer than you think, take your time ,slow, smooth motions and get the front nice and high...the guy i was showing was alwys afriad he was going to loop out so he bottled...therefore he was never going to get anywhere as he was wanting to lift the back with the front wheel barely a foot of the ground.

So smooth, and slow and just put in more effort then you think you need, try and be explosive.

Saying all that sometimes a certain bike can just hold you back, hence why i now ride an Inspired.

One more important thing i forgot to say is that as stupid as this sounds but....don't think about what your doing too much. I know your new to the move and you need to be able to understand it before you attempt it, but i can actually remember when learning bunnyhops that i over analysed it all. because if you think about it, think of what actually happens during a bunnyhop.....quite a lot, but to actually process that as you're doing it is crazy. Its like driving you just have to feel it not overly study it. That guy i mentioned, watching him reminded me of when i was learning and just thinking right i do this ,then i gotta do this, then i gotta lift the back....etc. Its all to much. Let it flow come in to the move and think one thing....'i'm going to fly'

Edited by Matthew62
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The only thing i'd say is about the 'manual' bit. Pulling the front up for a bunny hop is not really THAT much like doing a manual. When I (try to) manual, I shift my weight back and down, sticking my arse just over the rear tyre and my front wheel will be pretty low - around 12" from the floor. Whereas when you're trying to bunny hop, you move your weight pretty much directly upwards until your legs are straight, at which point you start levelling out.

Have a look here: http://www.trashzen.com/bunny-hop-with-mtb.php

In picture 4, his back wheel is still on the ground but it's clear that he's not just doing a manual - he's too upright. I find that actually making myself jump up is very useful for bigger bunny hops. Once you have the technique and timing down OK, try and make a conscious effort to accelerate your body upwards.

As for the front wheel height = clearance height thing, that's true to some extent. But you will never get your front wheel more than 26" from the ground when the back wheel is on the ground (again, see that 4th picture). But people can clearly bunny hop a lot higher than that. It's all about sending your weight upwards - I.e. jumping.

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The key to more height is more weight transfer. The first movement should be forwards and downwards, like you're trying to stalk the obstacle and/or kiss your front tyre. Watch a Benito Ros video and you'll see what I mean!

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The key to more height is more weight transfer. The first movement should be forwards and downwards, like you're trying to stalk the obstacle and/or kiss your front tyre. Watch a Benito Ros video and you'll see what I mean!

totally agree. What i ust to do was pretend i was trying to rim out my front wheel by compressing the front down and then throwing your weight backwards and pulling up.

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Well, Martyn Ashton mentioned in MBUK that bunnyhop is pure arm power. Your legs/feet are just to lift up and level the rear wheel.

About pushing your arms to level out, I push and extend my arms not only to level out, but also bring my knees towards my chest. This "sucking" motion is what people call a "tuck", helps you to bring the bike up, which means more height.

Edited by spaceman
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Thanks for the help guys. Much appreciated. I have tomorrow off work and so does my girl so I'll get her to video me a little doin some bunnyhops, endos and shit. I think you'll be able to pin point my problems then!

What I've been doing to lift the front is, I roll along with all my weight on the handlebars, then I lean back, jump and pull the handle bars to my chest. I suppose I should be leaning farther back as that will give me more space to raise the front. I totally get what you mean about not over analyzing it. When I think too much I basicly nose dive... get the front a few inches off and then the back sky rockets waaaay higher. When I do it "correct" it really does feel effortless to get the bike up there. I'll hop on my bike as soon as I finish my shift today. Thanks again guys!

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This one is by Erenes, one of my favourite street riders.

Nice vids. I like the second one because its just the same hop over and over and over again. Its nice to see it and be able to go okay, he's doing this with his arms, this with his weight, this with his legs. Very nice vid, thanks.

I went out and played around for a while, I definately found certain pieces helpful. I first tried to "throw the bars to the stars" and that didnt work for me at all. I then focused on getting the front wheel up. All effort on throwing weight back, pulling on the bars and jumping. That worked really well. Really really well. Sometimes I almost forgot to try to tuck, but the rest of the technique felt good! I think I had some of my best ones today when I just say "f*ck it, lets go" and just tried it. Heh, I was actually doing one and someone said "wow... that was good. Real good" I mean the kid was like 10 or 12 but I'll take what I can get!!

PS: Manuals... FUN AS HELL. I flat out stink at them but a couple times when I threw my weight back and almost tried to sit on my rear wheel I could get the front to hover off the ground for a couple of seconds. I almost felt a balance point. Man it was cool. I felt like I should be sitting on the cement with a bike on top of me but for some ridiculous reason you dont fall! Man, physics is cool. How come they dont teach you this kinda stuff in college?! I definately think I'm starting to feel my balance point on the back tire. I was able to catwalk (I dunno if thats what you guys call it, but out here its a wheelie you do while you're standing) for a solid 6 or 7 pedals. Easily 4 more than I was doing just the night before.

I was thinking to myself about something one of the members said here when I was messing around today. Something along the lines of "I'm glad I fall off my pedals from time to time, it means I'm pushing myself... if I didn't fall off my pedals I wouldn't be trying to do harder lines" I totally get that now. I fell off my pedals and nearly bailed more than most of the other days. But I feel I've made large leaps in both confidence and technique today. Even though I'm dead tired now, I wish my woman didn't work tonight because I'd make her tape me now. Damn our conflicting schedules!

Actually lookin forward to the help I'm gunna get from you guys tomorrow. Maybe I'll get the confidence to go ride with some guys from around town here

Edited by Sabiot
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Well, Martyn Ashton mentioned in MBUK that bunnyhop is pure arm power. Your legs/feet are just to lift up and level the rear wheel.

About pushing your arms to level out, I push and extend my arms not only to level out, but also bring my knees towards my chest. This "sucking" motion is what people call a "tuck", helps you to bring the bike up, which means more height.

That what Jeff Lenosky says about the bunnyhop technique. also the faster you pull on the bars, the more air time you get to tuck the body. More height and power comes with time, you just can't force it to happen.

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