Jumping Mountain Bike

QUICK GUIDE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE WHEEL LIFTS

Practicing the skill of getting your wheels off the ground will come in very handy in a variety of situations when you are riding your mountain bike. We are not talking about huge jumps here. We are talking about getting the front and rear wheel slightly off the ground. We used to call this bunny hopping. Bunny hopping will come in very handy when you are out on the tracks and want to avoid a small obstacle. I found I picked up this skill very early on when riding on the streets because of the need to get up gutters and the like. The street could be a great place for you to practice this skill and then apply it to your terrain riding.

USING YOUR BODYWEIGHT

I often see riders putting pressure down on the forks for some force to help lift the front wheel off the ground. This works but doesn’t do so effectively. If you can get your bodyweight moving in the right direction, your bike will do the right thing and follow you. The key to small wheel lifts is using your bodyweight. Sure, there are a number of ways to go about it but here are my recommendations…

FRONT WHEEL OFF THE GROUND FIRST

Instead of trying to pull the front wheel up with the handlebars, the trick is to get down low and launch your whole body upwards. If you are heavier than your bike, this method is very effective. You will find the bike will follow you, with the front wheel rising from the ground. As you gain skill with this method, you will find the higher you jump will result in you getting more clearance from the ground.

With even more practice, you will find that both wheels will lift from the ground. You can use your bodyweight to control the shift from front to rear – the classic bunny hop. The best way to practice bunny hopping is on flat ground with a small obstacle. You should be able to bunny hop over a shoe with ease before too long, for example.

RAISING THE REAR WHEEL

The same principles apply. You still want to use your bodyweight and jumping up with the bike but this time the goal is to have your body weight forward. This way as you explode up from the crouched position with your weight forward, your rear wheel will rise.

By combining the front wheel lift and rear wheel lift you will find that you can add an incredible amount of agility to the way you are able to manoeuvre small objects – and this can come in very handy whether you are heading uphill or downhill.

 


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Peter Williams
peterwilliams@dinga.com.au

Peter loves bikes of all kinds. He has a passion for mountain biking right through to cycling long distance. He is sharing his experience here OnDECK.