hopping damage

I remember a thread from some time ago where there was a little debate on hopping vs. rolling, which ended with someone suggesting that the dedicated hopper should maybe take up ‘all terrain pogo sticking!’

I guess I’m a roller cos’ I use my muni for general transport and trails and have never learned to hop.

One of the things that puts me off learning is that I have heard that hopping is damaging to your axle, I also saw a 20" wheel destroyed whilst someone was doing fairly small hops over a skipping rope at our juggling societies christmas cabaret.

I love my nimbus 28" frame 24" rim 3" tyre muni more than most things in this world, and, being of limited financial means, don’t want to do anything to shorten it’s life.

Just how damaging is hopping? Also, I’ve been advised that learning to hop with your feet on the axle rather than the pedals is much less destructive, yet in most of the vid clips I’ve seen, everyone seems to favor feet on the pedals, why is this?

Don’t worry about it. I’m assuming that you have a Suzue hub. The Suzue is a good hub. You can hop up curbs, side hop your way up a hill (a.k.a. Pecking), and hop up flights of stair without worrying about breaking the hub.

The hub that you saw break while someone was jumping rope was most likely not a Suzue hub. If it was a Suzue hub it was previously damaged by doing big drops (like off a stage) before it ultimately failed while jumping rope.

The 3" tire will absorb a lot of the shock from hopping. Hopping with a high pressure freestyle tire will put more stress on the hub than hopping with a nice bouncy 3" tire. So you have the fat tire working in your favor.

What can damage your hub is doing big drops (like 3’ and higher). Big drops with poor technique will put a lot of stress on the hub. However, with good technique the Suzue hub can handle drops. Good technique involves rolling out the drop and absorbing the force of the drop with your legs and upper body. Poor technique involves landing the drop like a lawn dart (just going thunk and sticking right where you land and not absorbing the drop with your legs and upper body).

So hop away. Have fun.

If you’re worried about the hub then just avoid drops over 1’ and you’ll be fine. You can land 1’ drops poorly without putting too much stress on the hub.

Before the splined hubs were available the Suzue was considered to be the best standard hub for muni. Muni wasn’t as aggressive then as it is now, but people were still hopping and jumping and riding off drops. Hubs did break, but it was the real aggressive riders who were breaking the hubs. They were doing drops off picnic tables, jumping for height, and other rough treatment. The people who kept their hopping and jumping and drops to more reasonable levels weren’t breaking their hubs.

I should preface this by adding that I’m also assuming that you’re not a large and heavy person. If you’re big enough to be able to play linebacker for a professional football team (American style football) then even just a little bit of hopping could break the hub.

I think I’m talking about a different kind of damage- the wheel I saw break wasn’t a hub thing, it was the actual rim that bent; I think it was a cumulative thing i.e. several years stress.

My hub isn’t suzue, it’s a standard nimbus 24" wheel, but I’ve had it a year and it’s been fine with the kind of riding I do.

The hopping damage I’m concerned about isn’t the hub breaking as I don’t do big drops, but I’ve a couple of friends with 20" whose cranks are not at 180 degrees anymore and they atribute this to hopping.

In that case you just need to make sure the spokes all stay tight. Spokes get loose over time. A wheel with loose spokes is not very strong and can collapse or bend (also known as a taco).

All wheels need to have their spokes checked regularly. Spokes get loose, wheels get out of true. Check the spokes by plucking them or wiggling them. If you find loose spokes or if you notice that the wheel is out of true then take the wheel to a bike shop and ask them to make sure all of the spokes are nice and tight.

Stock machine built wheels will not have the spokes properly tenstioned. If you have a stock wheel that wasn’t hand built then it’s a good idea to take it to a bike shop and ask them to tension all of the spokes.

You can also learn to do basic wheel maintenance yourself. Fiddling with spokes is a bit of an art and requires knowledge of basic wheel building skills. But if you have to maintain your wheel (or wheels) a lot, learning to do it yourself can save you some money. I’ve been too lazy to learn how to mess with spokes so I just take my wheels to a bike shop that I trust.

A collapsed wheel due to loose spokes is an easy problem to avoid. Keep the spokes tight and the wheel true and the wheel will stay round.

Cranks can also bend. Some brands of cranks are stronger than others. I don’t know what you’ve got on your Nimbus. But in any event, replacing cranks is a lot cheaper than replacing a broken hub. And again, you usually have to do more than just basic hopping to bend a crank (unless you are a “big” guy).

My standard Nimbus hub snapped after 6 months. During this time I didn’t subject it to drops of more than one foot. But I did do a lot of hopping. Oh well.