I have watched many video clips on YouTube on this topic. Also, seen couple of pros do it without clipped pedals. But I just cannot lift the back tire up.

How do you hook your feet on to the pedals and pull it up? The pedal slips and i always end up getting an seriously blow to the knee.

6 Answers 6


The trick is to remember how pedals are designed to grip. Decent pedals should grip your foot from going forwards or backwards, as well as obviously holding your weight. The only direction they don't grip is upwards away from the pedal. The trick is to rotate the pedal so that it's allows you to grip in the direction you want. You rotate your feet towards 45 degrees and you will be able to actually grip your pedals to pull up the back end of the bike.

Keep in mind how the pedals grip and you shouldn't go far wrong. Assuming you've dipped the front of your foot the action you need is effectively pushing backwards and upwards at the same time to lift your rear wheel. Don't dip it so much that you end up going off the front of the pedal though. The backwards push should keep you gripped on the pedal while the upwards action lifts the wheel.

As you said, there are plenty of videos out there. This one explains it in a way that roughly matches how I figured out how to do it. The relevant part is about 2:10 in.


  • That video would have been a whole lot more useful if the cameraman could have kept the rider's lower half and the bike in frame during the "try it yourself" section :-) Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 16:34
  • Perhaps obvious, but choosing the right pedals also makes a difference. I would recommend Speedplay Drillium for max grip.
    – Jørgen R
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 12:00
  • Turning your feet to 45 deg is easy for back feet, not the front feet. How to do it properly?
    – Starx
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 12:59
  • You don't need to turn them to a specific angle, just tilt them a bit so that you can get the hooking motion that kicks back and helps pick up your back wheel. If you lean on your front end and try hooking the back so that you're lifting the back end you're well on the way. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 13:16
  • This is a 10-year-old answer, but you should be able to do a proper bunny hop to great heights without scooping your feet at all. What Danny is demonstrating by scooping is getting only the rear of the bike up from rest. But in a proper bunny hop, once you've gotten the front up, what's actually happening is the entire bike is effectively pivoting about the bottom bracket. Therefore by pushing the bars down in free fall, the rear end comes up. This can be seen at 2:59 in this video where his feet are basically flat. youtube.com/watch?v=nxF1Nsrc6S0
    – Andrew
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 18:07

If you are having problems lifting the back wheel then you can try practising it on it's own, without lifting the front wheel:

  • Start by riding at walking speed and getting into a low attack position (ie. standing on the pedals, knees bent, hips back, back flat, elbows out).
  • Smoothly shift your weight backwards.
  • Lunge forwards, pull with your arms and push your pedals back.
  • Hopefully your rear wheel will lift! Get your weight over the bars and let it rise.

Once your have it dialled you can combine it with lifting the front wheel to hop. Breaking the hop down into two separate components also helps when you aren't carrying enough speed to clear an obstacle in one go - first you can lift the front wheel over, then you can lift the rear.

I also recommend you check out LeeLikesBikes for some great information and videos about hopping.

Personally I'd always recommend a good pair of flat pedals for learning skills like this - they force you to use good technique instead of 'cheating' by pulling the pedals up. If you can't bunnyhop on flat pedals you can't bunnyhop.


I learnt on a BMX but I can bunny hop on 24/26 inch wheels to, the skill is transferable one you get the feel for the lean back.

A bunny hop is not a bouncing action... although you CAN get the bike off the floor in this method - I call that method hoppity hops, it's incorrect and will hurt your wrists. You can hop with suspension if your bike has it, not the same thing.

The bunny hop is several movements that blend into one.

  1. Throw your weight backwards
  2. Punch FORWARD on the bars. (Forward is an upward direction when you are leaning back)
  3. Jump hard, focusing on tucking your legs as close to your body as you can.

Now to explain why this works...

Throwing your weight backwards is more effective than using your muscles to lift the bike, you also have to have your weight behind the back wheel to pop up the front. So stick your bum out.

Pushing up gives you more height and pushing forward brings the back wheel up.

Tucking your legs brings the back wheel up even further, this is an explosive movement, you should bring them up as hard and fast as you can. You need peddles which actually have pins that aren't worn out or you can slip a foot. I find that you don't need to focus on pushing back with you feet to keep grip, you naturally wind up doing it when you push forward on the bars and crunch legs.


It took me a while to get the technique correct, I started jumping over a single flat 2x4. Then after I got comfortable doing that I put the 2x4 on it's side, to double height... then just progressed like that.

Practise required! It's not very fun at first but once you get down the technique and start making some progress it's very satisfying!

(Also, clip on peddles are for racing. You'll just injure yourself and learn bad technique using them for tricks)

  • Could you explain the "push up and forward on the bars" to a novice? It seems one could pull up on the bars or push down (doing a pushup on the bars). Any pictures or video you could link about the "push up on the bars" part would help. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 0:18
  • 1
    @SanderHeinsalu I drew a little picture for you, hope this helps.
    – Amicable
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 13:30
  • thank you, the direction of force is helpful! Different definitions of what push and pull mean... Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 22:21

Well, I do it with clip-in pedals like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimano_Pedaling_Dynamics There is a part on your shoe that clips into the pedal and thus sticks.


I think of a bunny hop of more of a bouncing action - the upwards lift comes from bouncing the bike hard downwards first and the lift comes as a "reaction" to the downwards bounce. The skateboard trick called an ollie uses the same concept. So don't try to lift the back of the bike with the pedals, it doesn't help IMHO. Concentrating on the pedals is a mistake - you do most of the "work" with your legs and arms.

Its all about timing and practice (just like an ollie). Look at some more video tutorials and keep practicing. It might also help to lower the seat so you can bend your legs more - to get more thrust. Remember to use exaggerated movements when trying - the number one mistake people make when trying a new technique is not moving/articulating their bodies "enough".

Edit: Wikipedia agrees with me:


I used to do this in my younger days on a decidedly not mountain bike without pedal clips of any kind. It took a lot of practice, and I don't remember being able to do it from a standstill, but with momentum, it was pretty easy to get both tires off the ground in a hop.

I recommend practicing in the winter so when you fall, it's just snow and not pavement. ;)

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