By: Vineet Sharma and Jeewan Jeet Singh Dhillon
Also featured in Issue #5 | Sept 2011
Wheelie on a Mountain Bike can be most time-consuming and difficult moves out there. Many riders including experienced bikers can’t wheelie after practicing for years because of less time devoted to perfect them. If you lack the passion to learn and you become discouraged easily, then you may not get hang of it too!
Learning how to do a wheelie is all about balance, focus and concentration. With the right skill and technique, you can learn how to do a wheelie on your mountain bike.
ADJUST YOUR BIKE: You might have to play around with the height of the seat till you feel more comfortable on your seat. Some people prefer low seat height, while others like the seat higher because they find it easier to ride. Just make sure it’s helping you with your balance and to maintain your center of gravity. Start practicing with platform pedals.
Some dirt jumper mountain bikes have single speed. If you have a multi speed mountain bike, then shift into a medium or low gear and begin at rolling speed and crouch your upper body so your weight is over the handlebars. You pedal position should be horizontal or at 11 O’ clock position.
This is the time when you have to pedal real hard and pull up on the handlebars simultaneously. Lean back at the same time and continue pedaling as long as you can.
You can also practice to slowly lift up the wheel while standing up to get a feel for a wheelie.
Keep one finger on the rear brake at all times while holding the other fingers tightly on the grip. This helps to control speed and can prevent you from falling.
You will notice that your bike goes sideways most of the time. You can control the sideways balance by sticking out a knee or foot, or by turning the handlebars in the opposite direction.
Make sure the handlebars are straight before you come down. Remember: The more you practice the wheelie, the more comfortable you will be and the easier the trick will become.
Once you have mastered wheelie, you can practice “manuals”. A manual is a stand up coaster wheelie and are much harder to perform. When first attempting a manual you should start of on a gentle slope, it helps when you are learning to manual to start of on a wheelie and then stop pedaling, stay seated, and when you feel the front wheel starting to come down start standing up and lean over the back of the bike more so that the front wheel comes up, remember to keep a firm grip on your rear brake lever in case you are about to fall on your butt.
When you are confident to lift up the front wheel you should try just pulling up and not starting on a wheelie when pulling up you should always be in a standing position, make sure to neutralize both the force from side to side and the force from back to front.