Hopping the dreaded bucking log

Hey Lee,

First of all, congratulations on the twins, man!

I found your site and got your book near the beginning of summer. I’ve only been mountain biking for about 4 years, but I have improved tremendously this summer with your help! I’m no where near an expert, but I’m really enjoying the new found flow.

Anyways, this is probably a MTB 101 question. There are plenty of “large” logs on the trail. I haven’t dialed in a good bunny hop, so “large” is any log I can’t hop. At first I walked these. Later, I bashed the chain ring over them. Now, I can pull a quick manual, compress down when the front wheel is on the log, and hop enough to get the back wheel on the log (without bashing the chain ring – woo-hoo!).

To do that, I have to slow down and I decided that was ruining my flow. So, I decided to attempt it a bit faster. I kept getting bucked until one flipped me over the bars…

What is the technique for these “big” logs? How can I hit them faster without cramping my flow?

If you ever need advice on changing dirty diapers, please feel free to ask 😉 Braaaap!

Thank you sincerely,

– Eric

Hey Eric, or should I call you Grasshopper?

It sounds like you are progressing nicely through the getting-over-stuff sequence, which goes something like this:

1. Learn to lift the front end.

2. Learn to lift the back end.

3. Lift the front end then the back end. This gets you over little stuff.

4. Lift the front end onto the top of the thing, then lift your back end over. That’s where you are.

5. Rock a real, live bunny hop. That’s next.

Stepping up to the hop

To evolve from Step 4 to 5, practice rocking back into a lazy manual then, when the rear wheel is extra-heavy, popping upward off the rear wheel. This kung fu requires a few elements:

1. Dialed timing. Take it slower than you think. Start your movements sooner than you think.

2. Broad range of motion. You need to move on that bike.

3. Power. When it’s time to compress your rear end, do it like you mean it! ***If you can’t leap two feet upward without your bike, you will never make it with your bike!***

If you have MMBS, study the sequence of Curtis Keene hopping a log on page 83. That guy is pretty good. Watch how early his movements begin and how long it takes to generate the hop fu. Here:

From Mastering Mountain Bike Skills. Click for big.

Hopping the dreaded bucking log

Before you leap over the dreaded bucking log, you MUST dial smaller logs at slower speeds. Gradually step up the size and the speed — independently. You can (and should) practice this in your neighborhood.


1: You need adequate height and

2. You need the right timing. If you’re going fast, that hop has to start sooner than you think — say 20+ feet before the log. If you hop too late, you will clip your rear wheel and get bucked. But you already know that.

Here’s an awesome hop

Check out this 2.6MB video of Zach Lewis. His timing and form are basically perfect. And his pink wrist band … just precious.

Click the image for hot video action. Go frame by frame and watch Zach’s range of motion and timing.

Also read: Turn my bunny hops into rabbit hops

Dirty diapers!!!

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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