Ninja stuff

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Ninja stuff

Postby Bnej » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:06 pm

So I spent a couple of hours Sunday tooling around on my MTB trying to improve my technical skill a bit. I am getting better at bunny hopping it, and can at least get the rear wheel off the ground now.

I'm finding a lot of the tricks I would have been better off learning at a younger age, because now I'm always thinking about how badly I could hurt myself.

I've found myself unclipping unintentionally a few times during bunny hops, so I'm going to change my cleats to single release and increase the tension on the pedals a couple of turns.

I want to learn:

- Front and rear wheel pivots.
- Lifting the wheel at low speed.
- Better drop-off technique. I'm worried about going A over T at the moment.
- Better technique for clearing large rocks. I seem to be either running out of traction or striking my pedal on the rock - I think I might need to approach with more speed but that scares me.

So... how ninja are you and what ninja advice can you give me?
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by BNA » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:15 pm

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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:15 pm

Most people advise that you learn to bunny-hop in flats, rather than rely on the pedals to lift the rear of the bike. Personally, I can't do that - I need the clipless pedals to bunny-hop.

Mostly, doing the bunny-hops and front wheel lifts successfully involves getting your weight as far back as you can before lifting the front wheel.

The best book I've seen is by Brian Lopes (can't remember the name right now) - has good photos of all the things you need to get better. Not sure when you'll need to do front wheel manuals though .....

Cheers,
Graeme

(BTW - I'm not very ninja myself. I love single track but not keen on huge drops, gaps, etc.)
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Postby Bnej » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:21 pm

I can get the front wheel up without being clipped in, it just seems that when I try to hoist the whole bike my foot seems to leave the pedal.

I have an old MTB book that explains pivots and things, just can't seem to get it to work so far.
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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:55 pm

It feels a little strange the first time you get it right. You need to lift the front then thrust the whole bike forward while pulling backwards with your feet. Perhaps try imagining you've got a small lump and you're trying to push the front wheel down on the other side of the lump. (You probably know you bring the front wheel up first then the rear one - ideally you land the front one first by a little time too.)
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Postby europa » Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:04 pm

My trouble with bunny hops is, apart from being a large economy sized bunny on a heavy bike, is that I can't even visualise the instructions on how to do them :?

Anyone got a clear description for an old phart like me?

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Postby Bnej » Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:56 pm

The thing that has improved for me recently is realising that 99% of it is from your legs. You press down with your legs, then unweight the bike (like your jumping off the pedals, but they come with you). Before that I was trying to yank the bike up by the bars and that just doesn't work well at all.

I've been trying to improve by "hopping" things that it doesn't matter too much if I stuff it up - smaller rocks, ledges etc.
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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:08 pm

There's a sticky thread on MTBR where a guy has posted instructions - including a video of the action - here. Most people responding in the thread say they were helped by the instructions.

"Mastering Mountain Bike Skills" by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack was the book I was referring to earlier. In it, the instructions for getting a bunny hop are:

1/ crouch down and forward
2/ Lift the front wheel by pushing your torso away from the bars and pulling with straight arms
3/ Lift the rear wheel by pushing down explosively on the rear as soon as the weight goes onto the rear wheel. Then pull up and back with the legs.
4/ let the bike arc through the air
5/ for small to medium obsticles, let the front wheel come down first. For park benches and the like, let the rear wheel come down first. (Yeah, like I'm bunny hopping park benches every second day .... :roll: )

Bnej, it sounds like you're not quite doing it right still. Sorry .....

Cheers,
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Postby Bnej » Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:24 pm

Ah well, I'm doing something or other that's working, I'll have a look at the video.

I don't like pushing too much on my hands & wrists due to previous problems in my wrists, though they're much better these days than they were.
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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:40 pm

Bnej wrote:Ah well, I'm doing something or other that's working, I'll have a look at the video.

I don't like pushing too much on my hands & wrists due to previous problems in my wrists, though they're much better these days than they were.

That's not so good then. When I was learning bunny hops, my lower arms took some punishment. I ended up putting a "tennis elbow" brace on my right forearm for a few weeks while I was riding, since the pain was stopping me enjoying the rides. That pain has gone now, but throwing the bike around like that was a real problem. I hope you don't get the problems I encountered.

Cheers,
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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:55 pm

I want to learn:
{snip}
- Better technique for clearing large rocks. I seem to be either running out of traction or striking my pedal on the rock - I think I might need to approach with more speed but that scares me.

Onto these other things .....

Once again, these instructions come from Brian Lopes:

1/ Neutral position, weight centred as you approach the rock/obstacle
2/ Crouch forward
3/ Give a sharp power stroke and pull back on the bars to lift the front wheel.
4/ Place the front wheel on the top of the rock and move your weight forward.
5/ As your rear wheel touches the rock, lift the bike and push it forward underneath you, absorbing the rise of the bike with your legs. You'll be behind the seat by the time the wheel is over the rock
6/ Move back to a neutral riding position and power away.

Of course, for all this you'll need to carry some momentum up to the rock in the first place, but it's not a break-neck pace that you'll need.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:04 pm

I want to learn:
{snip}
- Lifting the wheel at low speed.
{snip}

AKA a "Manual"

1/ Start with a neutral position
2/ Crouch forward
3/ Thrust your torso backwards and pull on the bars with straight arms. Also push the pedals forward by straightening both legs.
4/ Keep your weight back by pushing your hips further back

You need to imagine your body rotating back over the rear contact patch.

Notice how steps 1 - 3 are the same for all these "tricks"? Get the manual right and the others will follow as a natural progression. MTB riding is all about weight distribution over the contact patches. You must throw your weight around to maintain control of the bike in all sorts of situations.

Cheers,
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Postby Mr888 » Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:15 pm

I've been bunny hopping since I was 6 years old on my BMX. 25 so odd years later I can still do it with ease believe it or not. :shock: You're right Bnej, it's easier when you've learnt these trick when you were younger, but try to get on a BMX bike, it's a great way to learn. And practice in the driveway first. You don't need a lot of speed for Bunny Hops...not to start off anyway.

You do not need clipless pedals to bunny hop. :wink:

The best way to explain my technique is:
1. Stand on Pedals
2. Lean forward, nearly over handle bars
3. Yank bars towards chest as if you were about to do a wheelie, but without the thrust and at the same time lean backwards
4. now heres the trick, Grip the handle bars with all your might and lean forwards again (whilst wheel is still air born) as if you wanted to rotate the bike through the handle bars (imagine that the handle bar is the axis of a circle and by twisting the handles forward the rear should lift off the ground).

Give this a go.

In my younger days I was clearing 0.5-1.0 meter high jumps :shock: Geez I was crazy back then

BTW: Can someone explain to me what a front and rear pivot are. I think I'm falling behind the times but they sound like stuff I use to do in the old days. We just called them by different names back then
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Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:09 pm

Thanks Mr888, I'll have a go with flats...

Nose Pivots, OK then...

(disclaimer... I can't pivot more than 90 odd degrees and rarely do that well :oops: )

Can you Endo/stoppie? Get that and you're mostway there.

1 Roll in centred, strong foot forward, not very fast.
2 Grab a handful of brake, as the rear starts to rise, push the bars away and your weight back, the straighter your arms, the higher you'll get.
3 Apply the rear brake for a footrest.
4 Hang there until fear overrides luck.
5 Shift weight back slightly and feather front brake to come back down.

1 Decide which way you want to pivot, usually to your strong side
1a Roll in as for endo.
2 As the rear lifts, turn the bars and throw the hips in the direction of swing, keep the bars moving and the bike should follow.
3 Land as before but beware the highside if you're still pivoting :o

(further disclaimer, it hurts if you get it wrong.)

Can't rear pivot, but AFAIK, it's the BMX moonwalk on bigger wheels :?

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Postby thm » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:13 pm

I think understanding how to load and unload the bike is vital to do hops of any sort. I'm still working on this. However its really hard when your as light as I am.

I don't know if I'm right in this, but I think its easier to load with a full suspension bike as well. To load the back of the bike and bring it up is hard when its a hardtail. But I remember watchin a video a long time ago which recommended you to practise thrusting your weight forward over your handlebars to practise getting your rear wheel up and doing nose manuals. Personally I haven't tried this yet, as I'm scared of going A over T.
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Postby Bnej » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:31 pm

Thanks for the advice so far, I think I understand where my hop technique is still wrong. I'm crouching down and bouncing it up, but I'm not pulling the bike with the bars or doing much once it's up. I'll have to get some more practice.

"Pivots" is the term used in the book I have, it's bringing up the front or rear wheel and pivoting the bike on the other wheel.

I don't need to go totally ninja, I just want to improve my technical skill a bit beyond keeping both wheels down and slogging it out, and as such improve my confidence and bike handling a bit.

Cheers, any more advice is welcome too. :)
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Postby Mr888 » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:41 pm

thm wrote: But I remember watchin a video a long time ago which recommended you to practise thrusting your weight forward over your handlebars to practise getting your rear wheel up and doing nose manuals. Personally I haven't tried this yet, as I'm scared of going A over T.


"Nose Manuals" follow the same movements as the bunny hop, but with your front wheel still planted. This is a good way to practice. You shouldn't go A over T unless you apply the front brakes. Back when I was younger we'd call "nose manuals" rear wheelies...old school :oops: ...and we didn't have front brakes :twisted:

Does anyone have a link to all the new ninja trick/moves....or should I say renamed old tricks? I'm getting confused with the lingo/terminology
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Postby Mr888 » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:04 pm

Bnej wrote: "Pivots" is the term used in the book I have, it's bringing up the front or rear wheel and pivoting the bike on the other wheel.
:)


OK from what I understand it now, "Pivoting" is like doing either a "Nose Manual" or Wheelie whilst turning. For example if I turned left and did a "nose manual" whilst turning, my rear wheel should "pivot" right.

We use to call these wheel kicks. (generic term cause it's the same even when you do these during a bunny hop). I don't think there were any actual names given to tricks back then. Freestyling was in its infancy, then the helmet laws came in and it sort of died from there. It's a good thing it's back...although slightly rehashed. I wonder what the kiddies will say when they see Old Fart displaying better ninjs skills then them? :twisted:
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Postby Bnej » Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:55 am

I wonder what the kiddies will say when they see Old Fart displaying better ninjs skills then them?


I know I was impressed seeing the 40 something guy from the LBS bounce up a 1.5m rock on his Trek Fuel like it's a walk in the park, then smoothly handle the drop off in the other direction.

Most of my riding so far has been limited to two wheels on the ground and ride as hard as I can, and I've never previously been able to grasp that doing technical stuff is something I actually can and maybe should try to do, so it should be good.
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Postby Bnej » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:23 pm

Starting to get some better handling on short steep climbs (sit back power over), rocks, and steep descents/drops.

Most of my problems are still stemming from looking at something and panicking, because I don't have the confidence to know I can handle the bike through it, so I let off the power and don't have enough to clear the obstacle.

Still can't get the described bunny-hop working for me, but I can get front, rear, or both wheels off the ground by about 20cm so that's good enough for me for now! Still annoying watching other people make the tricker hops/jumps like it's nothing. :oops:
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Postby Mr888 » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:31 am

Well Done Bnej :wink:

Keep at it! We'll be seeing you on youtube soon enough doing those wicked tricks we've all dreamed about :D
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