Here we explain step by step how to make a simple wheelie on your mountain bike, BMX or any other type of bicycle where you can activate the rear brakes from the handlebars.
Step 1. Choose the correct gear ratio
When most people start wheeling, they put the gears in "easy to pedal" mode, which means the chain is in the smallest gear on the front sprockets and the largest gear on the rear sprockets. This is fine when you are starting out, but once you are at a more advanced level, we advise you to put the chain in the gears in the middle of the front sprockets and near the gears in the middle of the rear sprockets. The required speed for the wheelie is approximately 8 to 16 km / h (5 to 10 mph). Having a fixed gear ratio in “easy mode” will make you unable to keep the wheelie due to excessive pedaling.
Step 2. Check the rear brakes
The rear brake is the integral part of making the wheelie last longer, so make sure you have brakes powerful enough to make a sliding stop when using them at high speeds. Going too slow or brakes not strong enough will cause you to loop, which means you will fall backwards and your back will hit the pavement. While doing the wheelie, you should have 1 or 2 fingers on the brake lever.
Step 3. Lower your seat as far as you can
You want to have a good center of balance, so the lower your seat is (without interfering with your comfort), the better.
Step 4. Lock the rear shocks
Wheelies with a hardened rear end is easier than doing it with full suspension, but if your case is the latter, check if you can lock the rear shocks. If the rear end bounces, it will seriously affect your balance.
Step 5. Find an appropriate training area
Try to find a flat, straight path that has a slight incline. Wheelie uphill is easier than downhill. Also, in the beginning, you want all the factors to give you the greatest possible benefit. Also, try to find a place with little wind. Even the softest breeze can knock you down.
Step 6. Make the front tire rise
Get your bike lined up as straight as possible while riding slowly. While pedaling down hard, lift the front wheel up as hard as you can.
Step 7. Keep pedaling
Once you're up in the wheelie position, pedal steadily and hard.
Step 8. Press the rear brake
When you feel like you are about to fall backwards (make a “loop”), press the rear brake so that the front end comes down again. Then counteract the front wheel drop with the force of your pedaling. It's a delicate balance, but the truth is that you should always be about to loop. When you get better, you will notice that you really WANT to be on the edge of that breakeven point. As long as you stay there, you will use the brakes more and the speed will remain slow and constant. Pedaling hard to keep up with the wheelie is the most common way to lose posture, so don't be afraid to lean back and stay right on the edge. With a little practice, you'll find the exact (and sweet) spot to keep it and make the wheelie last longer and longer. Very soon you will be doing the wheelie all over the city like a champion.
Step 9. Increase the sleep time
Once you have more experience with this, you can do wheelies with one hand, jumping sidewalks, while doing a turn or even in circles. Nothing feels better than wheelie, so even though it's frustrating at first, don't give up!
- Practice looping a few times to see if you can land on your feet. This practice will significantly prepare you for when it happens in real life.
- Use your legs as counterweights. Point your knees out (to the sides) when you feel yourself falling.
- Keep your shoes from snagging while you do the wheelie. Sometimes you will have to adjust the position of your foot in the middle of the wheelie.
- Keep your head straight and center it straight forward.
- If you loop, you may hit the back of your head, so wear a helmet.
- If you land on your back and the wind is pushing you, it is best to lie flat on your back until you can breathe again. Do not sit or stand, as doing will only make your condition worse.