It’s not just for tricks and looking cool, a bunny hop will help you clear logs and trail obstacles, and it can save your bacon when you’re out on the road. Think about it—curbs, potholes, railroad tracks—the bunny hop is a veritable parachute out of danger. And did we mention it looks cool? It’s time to channel your inner Thumper and up your hop game.


Hopping Mad for Bunny Hops

There are two types of bunny hops in the world today—the English and the American. The English version is pretty straightforward, with both wheels lifted off the ground at the same time. Straight up, straight down. The American bunny hop (also called the J-Hop) involves the front wheel launching first with the rear wheel following, up and over an obstacle. What follows is a breakdown of how to do an American Bunny hop, which should get you hopping, regardless of if you’re learning on a mountain bike or a road bike.
Ready? Let’s get hopping.

Pre-Hop Checklist

  1. Pick Your Rabbit'in Patch
    Find somewhere safe to practice hopping over something. Mountain bikers might choose a section of flat grass, or a wide and clear section of trail, and lay a thin stick down. Road riders can also start on grass for a soft landing, or find a parking lot and practice hopping the painted lines, or something else, like a glove.
  2. Start with Flat Pedals
    Learning to bunny hop when you’re clipped in isn't just intimidating when you’re learning, it won’t teach you the foundation and technique of the bunny hop. When you’re clipped in, there’s a tendency to rely on your attachment to pull the rear of the bike up. So, get some flat pedals and some grippy shoes and let’s get cracking!
  3. Don’t Give Up
    Practice makes perfect, and this skill is a great one to have, regardless of the kind of bike you ride.


Practice the Front Wheel "Pop"

PRO TIP: If you’re learning on an MTB, lower your seat when you’re starting out and try not to “jerk” the front wheel up.


Practice the Rear Wheel “Scoop”

PRO TIP: If you’re having some issues getting the back wheel off the ground, make sure your shoes have a good grip and that the pedals are grippy.


Tie the Two Moves Together

PRO TIP: Pushing the bars as you lift off, in a sort of "arcing" motion, will help get that tricky rear wheel off the ground. Push with your arms, roll your wrists, and pull with your legs. Easy.

Now that you’ve learned the American Bunny hop, take your new skill to the trails or streets (or maybe even a cyclocross race where you can jump a barrier). Both bunny hops—the English and American—have their uses, so practice both and nothing will ever stand in your way.
Happy hopping.