Soon after you start riding a mountain bicycle, you might be able to know why most riders cannot confine themselves in taking on rough terrains and smooth trails only. Doing wheelies with MTBs is one of the most familiar and pursued stunts bikers often tend to. If you are already a fan of this activity or still unaware of it, you will find it interesting to perform a wheelie in front of your friends, many of who might already know how to do one.
What is a wheelie?
It is one of the highly adopted vehicle acrobatics. A special type of vehicle maneuver, this stunt involves that your bike’s front wheel come off the surface/ ground owing to sufficient torque being enforced to your bike’s rear wheel, or your motion relative to your bike.
Is it only a stunt, just to entertain people?
Well, you might consider this action as one of your entertaining activities, but it is practically more than that.
Some mountain bikers seem to believe they cannot just carry on their rides without actually learning wheelies. Many riders seem more serious about wheelies with a belief that mountain biking becomes monotonous and somewhat next to impossible without wheelies.
If you demonstrate your capability of doing awesome wheelies, no doubt, your friends or viewers would applaud your skills. However, the skill becomes genuinely useful when you cruise through terrains full of obstacles and rough hindrances.
With controlled and precisely performed wheelies, you can enjoy your mountain biking moments with more grace and comfort.
This skill becomes critical to your riding experiences when you have a mountain bike that comes with average braking system with not so many bells and whistles.
However, a wheelie cannot be directly associated with any of your serious physical improvements.
Already learnt enough about the importance? Feeling like you need to learn the trick real quick? Keep reading……
Which bikes are suitable?
Nowadays, there are lots of bicycles designed for allowing bikers to ride on a wide variety of surfaces and perform some delicate and common stunts. For a wheelie, you will find numerous bikes. However, a mountain bike with lightweight alloy frame, good front-suspension system and well-designed crankset can easily increase your chances with perfect and comfortable wheelies.
Once you have got enthusiastic about doing a wheelie, you have two ways to follow. You can perform either a wheelie or a manual or both.
Difference between a manual and a wheelie
Using the pedals is the only differential activity between the two. If you perform the stunt while remaining seated and keeping pedaling, it will be a wheelie. On the contrary, if you avoid pedaling, it will be a manual.
Follow these two steps before you call yourself ready to start
- Your bike needs to be in shipshape; especially the brakes need to be fully functional and responsive.
- As you will need to stay seated, the seat should be kept as low as possible so that the center of gravity can be lowered and the stability of your bike can be maintained.
Now, take a deep breath and get started.
- Adjust your bike’s gearshift to either low or medium level.
- You need to bend forward a little so that your upper torso stays just beyond the bike’s handle bar. For a proper balance of the body, you will find this position critical.
- Start pedaling as fast as possible and yanking on your handlebar simultaneously. This action will help you get the front wheel off the ground having not to face any difficulty.
- Now, you must lean back in your seat and keep peddling so that the lifted front wheel can pop up into the air.
- Having gripped the handlebar firmly, you need to move back towards the seat’s edge. Don’t forget to put your finger on the bike’s rear break lever in the meantime.
- You can just chill out now while yanking the bike’s break lever very slightly. This action will help you have the bike stabilized and save yourself from smacking the back of your head against the ground.
- Fiddle with the pedals and brakes so that you can keep your bike in perfect balance. Pedaling will keep your bike’s wheel up, and at the same time, your touch to the rear brake will prevent your bike from flipping over.
- By now, if you have the feeling that your bike is somehow going sideways, you must adjust your sideways movement beforehand. If you are too late to adjust, chances are that you will have an accident.
- In order to achieve sideways balance, you can use the handlebars or feet. You need to tilt the handlebar in the opposite direction. Also, stick our one of your feet to counter imbalances if you have any.
- If you feel you have done a good wheelie, you can now end it by dropping your bike’s front wheel gradually to the ground. Make sure you keep the wheel straight while dropping it.
Wishing to perform a manual? Keep reading once again
Make sure you are already good at doing wheelies because a manual will require you to have proper control over each of your actions.
- First thing first……Wear your helmet.
- Start riding on a slight downhill slope while keeping the speed at a medium level.
- Position both of your feet and take a hold of the pedals in place. Maintain 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions for the cranks and stand up on your bike’s pedals having the knees bent slightly.
- Now, you must lean forward over your handlebars, and lean back as swiftly as you can.
- You need to center your body weight over the bike’s rear wheel.
- Try to keep the wheel at least 1 to 1.5 feet off the ground.
- If you feel you have enough of a wheelie, you can now bring the wheel down with steady movements.
Dos and don’ts of a wheelie
- Speed is essential, but you must avoid overdoing it because such action will only increase the likelihood of the bike to spiral out of your control while popping the wheelie.
- Avoid putting your weight over the bike’s handlebars once your bike’s front wheel is in the air.
- Try a wheelie on neither a rainy day nor a stormy or windy day and pick a day with normal atmospheric features.
- Try to avoid performing wheelies on dirt surfaces and pick bitumen surfaces instead.
- Pick a gradual hill for practices. Avoid streets if you are not confident enough. An empty park is always a good place to unleash your wheelie skills.
- If your bike features shock suspensions, you should lock out the system because it will increase your difficulty maintaining balance during a wheelie creating a wobbling effect.
- Do not avoid safety equipment like a helmet.
You can do a wheelie quite comfortably. Now what?
While a wheelie offers you immense pleasure if you can perform one quite smoothly and comfortably, you cannot expect to utilize the actual physics for your advantage in a day or two. After learning the basics, you can easily perform one or two or even more almost properly, but you must keep practicing for perfection which really takes time and patience. In addition, you must not leave your safety concerns because a wheelie is never more valuable than your physical safety.