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The BMX barspin is a great trick to learn when you’re starting to get serious with riding. It takes quite a bit of confidence and commitment but it’s a fabulous skill to unlock if you want to take your riding to the next level.
The problem with the barspin is the amount of commitment it takes to attempt the trick for the first few times. Every rider knows that you aren’t going to succeed on the first attempt. The looping thought of how you’re going to survive falling off will never leave you.
It sounds hard but if you can try to rationalize the thought of falling off you'll succeed much faster. If you can find a way of getting over these thoughts you'll be able to learn other tricks much faster.
How to Bunny Hop Barspin
Step 1. A barspin is a simple BMX trick, learnt pretty early on in most biking careers. You can perform a barspin in a multitude of different locations and styles. The best way to begin learning is on flat ground. You can then progress onto bigger and more complicated variations of the barspin, explained below. After learning the barspin flat you can change your location and be able to learn the new variation very easily.
To begin, ride at a steady speed on a smooth flat surface. e.g. a skatepark or a carpark.
Step 2. Set your feet and pedals flat in your regular riding style. The front foot should always be your most dominant foot. Try to perform a clean bunny hop, pulling your front wheel up first, setting you at a slight angle when in the air.
Higher bunnyhops will result in easier bar spins but don't force a higher hop as this will unsettle your balance.
Step 3. Now you're in the air you need to level your bike out and ready yourself for the barspin. The perfect bike and riding position at this point is to have your bike at a slight angle. Your legs pretty straight with your body centred over your seat and seat post.
To get into this position you should push your bars forward and allow your rear wheel to rise. At this point, you want to be nearing the top of your bunny hop.
Step 4. This is mentally the hardest part of the trick. Letting go and spinning your bars while only a couple of feet from the ground doesn't seem rational at all. To get over this fear there are a couple of different techniques to help. Try progressing from manual bar spins to bunny hop bar spins. The spin direction of your bars should be the same as your dominant foot.
Lean back on your bike and grip your seat with your knees, then spin your bars as fast as you've practiced.
Step 5. Try to catch your bars with the opposite hand to the one you threw the bars with. Hold your hand over the bikes top tube, open palmed and facing the direction the bars will be coming from. Having your hand centred over your bike will give you a little extra time to slow the rotation. Once you catch the bars you can release your knees from your seat and concentrate on landing. You should be landing with your back wheel first like a regular bunny hop.
Variations of the Barspin
he way we have suggested you learn the BMX barspin in this article is to try learning on flat ground first. Some people may not have learnt this way, thinking that other methods are easier. We believe thatto progress to other barspin variants and other tricks this is the method you should learn first.
One of the most common easy ways of learning the BMX barspin other than on flat ground is to do it while exiting a quarter or half pipe. Many riders who spend most of their time at skateparks with bowls and quarter pipes get very comfortable with exiting them. It just so happens that the speed and body position you use to exit a quarter pipe is very similar to the one used for a barspin.
All you need to do is use the same method of exiting a park bowl as normal but slightly pinch your seat with your knees and throw your bars when you just start to get some air. You may need a little more speed than normal as you aren’t just rolling away but it should feel very similar to normal.
Once you have the flat barspin and the barspin out the bowl down you can then start progressing onto the tricks of the pro’s.
The best barspin variations, to begin with, are ones that include another basic trick.
The bar tap and bar foot jams are two good ones, to begin with. You can do these on a quarter or half pipe where you do the barspin on the exit of the ramp and then either land balanced on your back wheel or front with your toe jammed in the wheel.
If you don’t have brilliant access to a skatepark, progressing onto things like barspin 180s will convert brilliantly over to tricks like barspin disasters and truckdrivers. A truckdriver is effectively just a barspin 360.
Ways to Improve Your BMX Tricks
As I mentioned above, if you can find a way to think through your daunting tricks with the falls and everything you can progress your way through tricks much faster.
The barspin is one of the first tricks you get to where many riders really find it difficult to commit. The trick involves you taking both hands off the bars, usually very low to the ground. This is very worrying in itself, not to mention how close your thighs are to the bars and how easy it is for them to come into excruciating contact.
If you’re struggling to overcome the fear of going for a barspin then there are a few techniques you can try. Firstly, you need to feel comfortable with the body position of the trick and how fast you need to spin the bars. The best initial step is to find some railings or a wall where you can kind of jam your rear wheel to enable you to stand up straight on the bike without having to support yourself.
Once in this position start by pulling back as you would do a manual but at the same time pinching your seat with your knees. Try and keep more central over the seat than a normal manual but further back than normal riding. Once you can do this, you can throw your bars while pulling back without having to worry about falling off if you don’t catch them on their way back round. Spin the bars in the exact way we described above in the section about how to perform the trick. Lead with the same hand as your dominant foot; so if you ride right foot forward, try spinning the bars clockwise. This isn’t a rule of doing the bunny hop barspin but more often than not people will find this method easiest.
Once you feel comfortable doing small bar spins with your wheel jammed into a fence try doing while rolling. Use the same manual method as before but while riding slowly. This takes out the requirement to bunny hop and get into the right position in the air but lets you practice the feeling of being in the right position and letting go of the bars while rolling on the flat ground. Doing this is slightly more daunting than the first step but it’s much less scary than actually having to hop.
The progression from step one to step two is relatively small, but the next step requires near total commitment to the trick. In my opinion, the best thing to do is start trying the trick on a slight incline while taking one of your feet off the pedals. I suggest the incline because it will ensure you don’t have too much speed and will help you out with the bunny hop. I have seen the one-foot technique work brilliantly many times but I have also seen people get this method down and then not be able to progress further. Taking one foot off your pedal will give you more space to throw the bars. It will also give you that safe fallback in case you miss your bars when you need to catch them. In such a case you can simply let your free foot to hit the ground and let your bike fall without a worry.
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