Get over it! Mountain Bike Tricks to Take your Riding to the Next Level


After mastering some basic mountain biking techniques, I learned some of these cool mountain bike tricks:

Pop Wheelie
Nose Wheelie
Bunny Hop
Going over Drop Offs
The Lunge


Pop Wheelie

mountain-bike-wheelie

Popping a wheelie is one of the coolest mountain bike tricks and is also very useful for getting over large rocks, logs, and other trail obstacles. One way I pop a wheelie is to push down on my front fork so that my shocks and front tire compress. I then pull the handlebars up and back towards my chest. At the same time I shift my weight back to unweight the front wheel. The key is to keep pedaling once you get the wheel up.

Another way I pop wheelies is by shifting down into a low gear and doing a quick, powerful pedal stroke. I start with my strongest foot at the one-o'clock position and then thrust the pedal down quickly while pulling the handlebars towards my chest. I need to be going slow to do a wheelie this way because I have to be in a very low gear.

Mastering how to pop a wheelie is important for more advanced mountain biking and for performing many other mountain bike tricks.

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Nose Wheelie

Lifting the rear wheel off the ground on purpose is called a nose wheelie. Once mastered, this mountain bike trick is useful for maneuvering around tight switchbacks. It is also good to have a handle on lifting the rear wheel up in order to do the bunny hop.

After I became confident using the front brake I was ready to try the nose wheelie. I practiced on level ground before I tried it on the trail.

While moving at a slow speed, I squeeze the front brake hard. At the same time, I pull up on the pedals with my feet and twist the handlebar forward. When I first tried this technique, I wasn't twisting the handlebar and I wasn't able to lift the wheel very much, so this step is very important. It also helps to move my torso forward.

Play around with this mountain bike trick, but be careful that you don't go over the handlebars. Sometimes if I get my rear wheel up too high, just releasing the front brake helps me gain control.

Once I became comfortable with the nose wheelie, I learned that I could move my rear wheel a few inches to one side or the other by twisting my torso and pushing sideways with my feet. This is an awesome technique to use for getting around tight switchbacks!

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Bunny Hop

Bunny hopping is difficult to master but is one of the coolest mountain bike tricks. I am still working on improving my skills in this area. I can do a small bunny hop, but my goal is to be able to catch some serious air. Imagine how cool it would be to literally fly over obstacles!

The first step is to master popping a wheelie so that part comes almost automatic. The next step is to master hopping the rear wheel. Play around with both of these techniques until you can do them on demand.

After mastering a front and rear wheelie, it is time to combine the two moves into the bunny hop.

Ride towards a small obstacle at a comfortable speed. Stand up, stop pedaling, compress the front tire hard and jump your weight into the pedals. Use the momentum of your shocks and tires like a springboard. Lift the front wheel, then pull up with your feet and twist the handlebar forward as if you are trying to pivot the bike around the handlebar.

It helps me to rotate my hands back right before jumping so I can get a good strong twist on the handlebars to get the rear wheel up. Imagine your bike arcing upward and forward. Absorb your landing in your arms and legs.

The more I practice this mountain bike trick, the more fluid the whole motion becomes and I don't have to think about each individual step. Soon I will be flying over boulders!

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Going over Drop Offs

mountain-bike-drop-off


Riding over drop offs can be very intimidating, but with the right techniques and practice, it becomes much easier. When I come to a drop off on a trail, I slow down to check out what is ahead and visualize a good line.

I approach the drop-off slowly, get back behind my seat, and level my pedals. I let the bike go first and then follow it, letting my arms extend. As the front wheel drops, I let my butt go back further if necessary to keep my front-to-rear balance.

When going over drop offs, I mostly use my front brake, which has to be used very carefully to avoid going over the handlebars. Using the rear brake can cause the rear wheel to skid, which can throw off my line.

As I transition back to flatter ground, I bring my butt back up. If it is a really sharp transition back to flat ground, I sometimes have to let go of the front brake and pull up hard on the handlebar so I don't flip.

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The Lunge

mountain-bike-lunge


The lunge is an easy and very useful mountain bike trick for getting over obstacles. It helps get the back wheel over large rocks or logs. After getting my front wheel over the obstacle, I pull my body forward until I am over the front end and off the saddle with my elbows bent. Then I shove my bike forward, keeping my pedals level, and pedal a hard stroke to get going again.

It seems weird that this actually works... that you can push your bike when it is underneath you, but it does. Pretty cool.

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