A bunny hop, or “bronco,” is the first trick everyone learns when starting to ride a BMX or mountain bike. It is the foundation for all other tricks in park, street, and freestyle BMX, and is vital for avoiding obstacles while trail riding.
And thankfully, doing a bunny hop is 4 steps simple:
- First, shift your weight from over the pedals to the back wheel, somewhere just above the back hub. Use the momentum of your weight shifting to start pulling your handlebars and the front wheel up. The combination of moving backward and pulling the handlebars up should be natural and fluid, and practice will help smooth out the motions.
- Next, push down on the pedals and stand up as straight as you can while simultaneously pulling the handlebars further against your chest. This motion will naturally start to spring you and the bike into the air. This is the most critical part of the bunny hop, and though there are several motions happening at once, it’s most crucial to consciously think about standing as high as possible and jumping into the air. Your hands will naturally pull the handlebars up further, and once you have a better handle on the motion, you can start to think more about how to pull the front of the bike higher. The general rule of thumb is the higher your front tire is, the higher your ending bunny hop will be.
- After you’ve launched the bike into the air by standing and pulling your handlebars as close to you as possible, you will need to level the bike out by scooping your feet toward your bottom. This motion forces you to “crouch” mid-air, and drags the back wheel of the back up to match the height of the front. This gives you the air you need to clear objects, and it also insures your tires land simultaneously once gravity takes hold. If your spring from step two is good, your feet will naturally want to continue to go up once you leave the ground, and the scooping motion will happen very organically. Once again, when you have a good handle on the basic motions of the bunny hop, you can work on exaggerating this scoop to get the maximum height from your effort.
- Once you’ve leveled out the bike mid-air, there’s nothing left to do but wait for gravity to bring you back down. If you’re attempting to land on a ledge or ramp, look where you want to land, and the bike will follow. Otherwise, this is the easiest part of the trick, and will happen whether you’ve been successful with the first three steps or not. Stay focused, and you’ll be just fine!
That’s all there is to it! To recap quickly, shift your weight to the back, lift the front wheel, spring up into the air by standing up, level out the bike by scooping your feet to match the front wheel, and then ride away after landing both wheels on the ground. Practise makes perfect, and don’t feel bad if you don’t get the trick right away. The motions should flow together in one fluid series, and once you have a handle on them, you’ll never forget them.
Good luck, and happy riding!
Jack Herrick, “How to Bunny Hop on a Bike.” WikiHow