The aim of this blog post is to improve and guide you on your trick goals and progress whilst learning to ride a BMX. By nailing a few basic tricks, this will improve your riding experience massively as you can expand your skill set and be able to perform and practise these tricks at cool local spots or the skate park.
By mastering the basic tricks, it will help and guide you to perform more technical and impressive ones, all in all improving your riding style and experience on a whole. It can be safe to say that initially you may struggle, although with a bit of patience and hard work it’ll pay off!
It is also heavily advisable that you ensure that before you attempt any tricks you purchase a BMX helmet to ensure your safety, to prevent or cause any injurer to yourself!
The ‘Bunny Hop’
The ‘Bunny Hop’ is everyone’s first trick as it’s a foundation that’ll lead you onto many other tricks such as ‘180◦/360◦ bunny hops’, ‘bar spins’ or ‘tail whips’. It is important that the basic BMX ‘bunny hop’ should be the first trick you learn as the others will stem off it and you’ll utilize it most even for simple tasks such as jumping up onto a curb.
The whole premise of a ‘bunny hop ‘is jumping in an upwards/vertical motion by first lifting the front wheel of the BMX, then the back wheel, whilst the end results should be you landing the BMX with both wheels on the ground simultaneously. As mentioned, this basic BMX trick can be very beneficial as you can jump over obstacles whilst riding, which makes street riding such a more enjoyable experience.
A small tip that we recommend among other riders as well is too ensure you have a decent set of tires, that will also allow you to pump up 45 psi as it makes the ‘bunny hop’ an easier and smoother task to pull off with more pumped up tires(Check out our guide to browse great tires).
Here is a quick ‘How-to’ on preforming a ‘bunny hop’:
- Firstly, you’ll want to begin by riding whilst standing up on the BMX and prepare yourself by bending your elbows and tucking yourself in.
- Then you begin pulling your handlebars towards yourself, whilst leaning backwards.
- At that point, you lift the front wheel to its highest point whilst not turning the pedals and keeping them flat.
- After that, you extend your arms forwards, at the same time upwards as well consequently pulling the handle bars under you (tucking them in).
- Then you jump a tad up and bring your legs up to the frame of your bike tucking your thighs in.
- The end result should be the BMX levelling out in the mid-air and then you landing simultaneously on both wheels.
- Don’t be deterred if you don’t make it the first time, it takes some people months and the more you practice the higher you’ll be able to ‘bunny hop’
- Other tips on practicing could be that you should start with a stick and see if you can hop over that, by doing this reducing the chance of injury as the object isn’t a tough one to land on. However the more you progress, up the size of the object as you’ll only improve.
Next on the list of basic tricks is the ‘Fakie’ or better simplified is the art of riding backwards whilst balancing and constantly moving, this basic trick is vital when you begin to do various types of spins on your BMX.
Some BMX’s may have a free-coaster hub which may mean that you do not need to pedal whilst riding backwards(which makes it a lot easier), whilst most BMXs you’ll have to pedal at the same time which can be challenging at the beginning, however after some practice should be a walk in the park!
This trick is especially important as you’ll need to make a habit out of it before going onto an 180◦ ‘Bunny Hop’.
Here is a quick ‘How-to’ on preforming a ‘Fakie’:
- Firstly you’ll need to find somewhere like a flat surface with a wall or a slightly sloped surface where there are not a lot of obstacles or people that could obstruct you.
- You then want to slowly ride up to the wall or whatever obstacle you have to plant against and prop yourself against it whilst maintaining control/balance of your BMX.
- Then you push against you chosen obstacle, such as the wall and build up pressure/inertia to force your BMX to have a backwards motion/movement.
- Make sure you’re pushing off, whilst keeping your arms straight and tensed onto your handle bars.
- At this point simultaneously keeping your body low with your knees bent and your back-half of you over the rear wheel (the further you are the greater balance you’ll have).
- Go with your BMX’s motion of riding backwards whilst reverse pedalling and ensure your body is still in a similar positon as mentioned in the previous step.
- You should then be pedalling slightly faster than the movement of your BMX’s hub, this should enable you control.
- If you feel at all unbalanced to one side, ensure that the opposite side’s knees are outwards for balance to stop you from falling.
The turn phase:
- To then turn out, you have to push down on the pedal and pull on the handle bars to lift the front wheel.
- It can then be helpful to look the way you’re trying to direct the BMX.
- Pull the handle bars of your BMX and carry them across whilst still simultaneously pushing down on your pedal.
- Here you should perform a 90 degrees lock where the BMX should following you around, which will then enable you to ride out in the right direction.
- This ‘Fakie’ trick is a great foundation trick which enables to you have a great basis for exiting tricks such as spins and is a useful one to learn.
Some riders who struggle with fakies usually ride a freecoaster BMX hub which means that you don’t have to pedal backwards whist preforming a fakie making the trick easier.
The 180◦ ‘Bunny Hop’
The next logical suggestion for a trick after learning a ‘Fakie’ and a ‘Bunny Hop’ would then be a 180◦ ‘Bunny Hop’, which involves you spinning 180◦ in the air from a bunny hop, into a ‘fakie’ and then riding out on the BMX.
This is probably one of the simplistic, but at the same time technical trick a new rider can learn. The trick involves you, the rider jumping up and turning your head in the direction you wish to spin, whilst at the same time letting your body and bike follow 180 degrees towards your rear (back pedal).
Following this, you should be then riding backwards into a ‘Fakie’, then you should spin back out of the ‘Fakie’ (U-Turn)finishing the execution of the trick by riding outwards from it.
Here is a quick ‘How-to’ on preforming an ‘180◦ ‘Bunny Hop’:
- Firstly, you’ll want to start riding whilst taking a wide-radius turn with the front wheel in the direction you wish to spin in (take the turn towards your hind leg).
- Simultaneously, you should then start to begin a ‘bunny-hop’.
- Begin then to have your arms, body, legs and then bike to follow your head in the direction of the 180◦ spin that you are looking in the direction towards.
- Ensure that you follow through and keep doing this until you land with both wheels on the ground!
- Once you land you will land into a ‘Fakie’ as previously mentioned before and you’ll begin pedalling backwards.
- Ensure that to complete the execution of the trick you turn the front wheel towards your hind(back) leg again, whilst simultaneously raising the handle bars and pushing down on your BMX pedals allowing you to re-exit the ‘Fakie’ which should mean you’re now riding in the correct direction!
- Find a slightly sloped/tilted ground to learn this trick of as it’ll give you a safer clearance for landing without hurting yourself.
- If your forward riding foot is your left leg, then it would be advised that you should be turning 180◦ towards your right, vice-versa for your right foot if it’s your forward pedal.
The final trick in this basic tricks guide is the ‘manual’, which is when you’re riding on the back/rear wheels of your BMX whilst balancing the pedals; it is a great basic trick to learn as you can perform it on any level or flat surface.
Simply put, you lift your front wheel off the ground by shifting your body towards the back of the BMX, whilst simultaneously balancing with your legs to ensure your body weight is behind the seat.
If at any time you lose control and feel like you’re going to fall and hurt yourself, don’t hesitate to jump backwards to land on your feet (maybe give this a few practise goes).
Here is a quick ‘How-to’ on preforming a ‘Manual’:
- Firstly, you’ll need to be riding at a cruising speed, and then begin to lift your front wheel ever so slightly.
- Ensure to shift your entire body weight towards the back over your rear wheel area.
- Your arms at this time should remain tense and straight to aid with balance.
- Your abs and back should then simultaneously be tense as you’ll be using these muscles for controlling the ark of the manual.
- Ensure that your balance is held over the rear wheel by straightening or bending your knees (maybe have a few practice goes at this step from a stand still position).
- By this point you should be ever slowly be increasing your manual distances.
- To ensure you are then progressing, ensure that you mark your distance as you’ll be able to use this as a bench mark.
- The ore you practice, the more natural this will eventually feel so keep at it!
Hopefully if you have worked your way through this guide, you would’ve either learnt or picked up a few helpful hints and tips on preforming these basic few tricks! If not carry on trying!