This paper explores a design strategy of hopping robots, which makes use of free vibration of an elastic curved beam. In this strategy, the leg structure consists of a specifically shaped elastic curved beam and a small rotating mass that induces free vibration of the entire robot body. Although we expect to improve energy efficiency of locomotion by exploiting the mechanical dynamics, it is not trivial to take advantage of the coupled dynamics between actuation and mechanical structures for the purpose of locomotion. From this perspective, this paper explains the basic design principles through modeling, simulation, and experiments of a minimalistic hopping robot platform. More specifically, we show how to design elastic curved beams for stable hopping locomotion and the control method by using unconventional actuation. In addition, we also analyze the proposed design strategy in terms of energy efficiency and discuss how it can be applied to the other forms of legged robot locomotion.