Being able to do a wheelie on a mountain bike is a great skill to have. Not only does it look cool and is a lot of fun to do, you will need it to get over obstacles that are in your path.
If you have never done a wheelie before here is a quick tutorial on how to do it for the first time.
Begin with a low seat position, and low to medium gear selection. Start pedaling forward, when your power pedal reaches a 2 o’clock position crouch forward ,push the pedal down hard and pull up on the handlebars at the same time.Lean back, stay seated and keep pedaling in order to maintain a consistent speed and to keep the front wheel up for a long time. When you want to finish your wheelie tap the rear break while shifting your weight forward until the front wheel returns to the ground.
This type of wheelie is the easiest for beginners because you are pedaling when you have mastered this you can try a manual wheelie. The main difference is you are not pedaling which requires more balance.
Below is a tutorial and tips so you can learn and master wheelies to improve your skills, look cool, and be safe.
Be sure to wear your helmet, gloves, and pads. This will help you to be safe and prevent injuries. Plus you will feel safe which will give you more confidence to pop a wheelie.
Put your saddle in the lowest position. A low seat will lower your center of gravity and improve your balance. Your upper body will be able to move forward and back more smoothly giving you better control.
Use flat pedals or clipless pedals. You want to make sure you are not pulling on the pedals. Doing a wheelie is about pushing on the pedals smoothly.
Move your handlebars higher and closer to you by shortening the stem. This will help to improve stability and handling of your bike.
Get in the right gear. Choose a low to medium gear depending on your leg strength. Find the right medium so you can keep pedaling comfortably after doing a wheelie. If the gear is too low you will pedal from 2 o’clock to 5 o’clock too quickly and you won’t get the power you need.
Just the opposite is true if the gear is too high, your pedaling will be too slow and difficult from two to five o’clock. As you lift up the front wheel you won’t be able to pedal through as easily in order to maintain the wheelie.
Be sure you have a mountain bike that helps you to do wheelies. The best kind of mtb for wheelies is one that is a hardtail and has 26 inch wheels. The tires should be wide and the brakes should be hydraulic. The chainstay and the stem should be short. Finally the head tube should be slack at 68 degrees or less. To find the best mountain bikes for wheelies go here.
1. Begin in a natural mtb position. You are seated, with elbows bent slightly.
2. Lower your shoulders and lean your upper body forward. Your upper arm and lower arm will be at a 90 degree angle at the elbow. Your weight will shift over the handlebars.
Pop A Wheelie
1. When your power pedal gets to around 2 o’clock, that is when you want to push down really forcefully down to 5 o’clock.
2. Also simultaneously you want to explode your upper body upward and backward, at the same time pull up on the handlebars.
3. Keep your weight back while remaining seated, and keep your arms straight. By keeping your arms straight and weight back this will help to stabilize the wheelie. If you bend your arms you will begin to use your arm muscles too much to keep the front wheel up. Let your weight hold up the front wheel.
4. Keep lifting up the front wheel until you find the best balancing point. This is when the least effort is needed. Continue pedaling smoothly and consistently so you can maintain the wheelie for a long time.
5. Pedal harder if you start to fall forward. If you start to fall backward break a little and then wait until you fall forward and then start pedaling again.
6. When you want to end the wheelie stop pedaling and you will fall forward. You can also tap on the brake lightly and let the front wheel fall forward until it hits the ground.
Tips For Not Crashing and Getting Hurt While Doing a Wheelie
1. Do your wheelie on a flat surface. If there are any bumps on your path you may go over them with your back wheel and flop backwards onto your back. At this point your main focus is keeping the front tire up. You are not ready to go over bumps.
2. In the beginning tap the rear break consistently. This will help to control your speed and keep your balance better so you don’t fall backward or fall over to the left or right side.
3. If you start to fall to the right, lean left and turn the handlebars to the left. You can also stick out your left knee to bring back the balance to the center.
4. It is safer and easier to learn to wheelie while on a slight incline on dirt or grass. The slight incline will help to lift up the front tire. Dirt or grass is less dangerous to land on than a paved road or gravel.
5. Do not sit too far back on your bike seat or you may end up on your back.
6. Make sure your handlebars are straight when you lower the front wheel to the ground. If it is turned to the left or right you may fly forward over or on to the handlebars.
How To Get Better At Doing Wheelies
1. Get stronger. Even though wheelies are about shifting your weight back and finding your balance you need some strength. If you find you are having some trouble getting the front tire up and maintaining your balance try lifting some weights.
Strengthen your thighs, back, front shoulders, biceps, forearms, and even your hand grip. They all work together so you can do an awesome wheelie.
2. After you are in a wheelie and pedaling forward turn your handlebars to the left and then to the right 5 times. Do this while you maintain a wheelie and pedal forward. This looks cool, but it will help to improve your balance and bike handling ability. Your awareness will get better because you are pedaling, turning the handlebars, and balancing all at the same time.
3. Begin the approach to doing a wheelie in a higher gear and pedal faster. Once you get this you will be able to maintain a wheelie for a longer time because of the increased speed.
4. Try doing a wheelie but when the front tire goes up too high instead of using the brake, grip the handlebars tightly, slide off the back of your seat and stand with your bike upright in front of you.
This is a safety skill which will prevent you from landing on your back.
5. The best mtb bike to do a wheelie on is a hardtail because there is no suspension. You won’t bounce as much as you might with a suspension bike. This is great for beginners who are just learning. Also a bike with a light front end will help you get better faster.
Is Doing a Lot of Wheelies Going To Damage Your Mountain Bike
It takes time to get good at wheelies, so you will have to do many of them. Fortunately these bikes are made tough obviously because they are meant for off-road riding.
If you buy a cheap bike that is not made so well you may bend the front wheel from coming down on it so hard and often. You might break a spoke. But not much else will happen other than scratches if it falls to the side.
If your bike is well made, then no, there should be no damage.
Have Fun and Be Safe
Doing wheelies is cool to show your friends but remember it is an advanced mountain bike trick so stay safe. The main purpose of having this skill is so you can easily go over small obstacles like roots, rocks, logs, and curbs. Be sure to have all your protective gear on, and have fun.