Vittoria How-To Series: How to do a wheelie

Lindsey Voreis and the LIV Ladies AllRide coaches break it down

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Feather your brakes, which helps control speed and will stop you from falling backwards.

Feather your brakes, which helps control speed and will stop you from falling backwards (click to enlarge).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Vittoria How-To Series and is courtesy Vittoria.

Whether it’s showing off in the neighborhood or popping your front wheel off the ground to negotiate a big drop, the art of the wheelie is a great skill to add to your mountain biking arsenal. It’s also one of the toughest, most time-consuming skills to master. Even some top pro racers can’t ride a proper wheelie.

In this episode of the Vittoria How-To Series, we turn to Lindsey Voreis of the LIV Ladies AllRide Mountain Bike Skills Clinics. Along with co-instructors Meredith and Summer, she will help get you started on the way to the perfect wheelie.

Here’s a recap of what you just saw, plus a few more pointers.

  • Get in a climbing position with saddle up. Shift your chain to an easy gear
  • Sit on your saddle with arms extended straight
  • Lower your upper body, positioning your weight over your handlebar
  • Rotate your cranks so your pedals are in the 12 and 6 position
  • In one fluid motion push forward on your pedal and pull up on your front wheel
  • Lean back while continuing to pedal
  • Feather your brakes, which helps control speed and will stop you from falling backwards
  • Engage the rear brake if leaning too far back. Pedal if the front wheel starts to fall
  • If you do rotate too far back, grab your rear brake and you will drop forward
  • If it’s too late to grab the rear brake jump off the back of the bike, trying to land on both feet
  • Let the front wheel drop to come out of your wheelie
If it’s too late to grab the rear brake jump off the back of the bike, trying to land on both feet.

If it’s too late to grab the rear brake jump off the back of the bike, trying to land on both feet (click to enlarge).

When starting out, it’s best to use flat pedals so you can get off the bike more quickly. It also helps to practice on a slight uphill, and to master the art of the dismount by practicing jumping off the back a few times. Finally, remember that all these subtle movements happen in unison, which is why this can be such a difficult skill to master. Be patient and practice, practice, practice.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Mtbr

Mtbr.com is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.


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  • GuyOnMTB says:

    Much respect to Lindsey and Kirt. Hope to see you guys at the OES this summer…

    I would like to address the dismount…

    Try to put your lead foot in to the dismount. The momentum your body carries as you leave the saddle will still have you moving forward. If you don’t catch balance in time, you WILL plant face. This is why when you have to eject, you want to have your body positioned to surf the trail over loose rock and dirt. This way if you start to fall you can shift you weight front or back to fall, decreasing momentum significantly. The significant decrease in momentum will decrease falling speeds that will allow the mind time to quickly re-establishing balance, or allow the body to slow enough that when it hits the ground, momentum will not work against you pushing/pulling you down the trail over things that may mess you up. And in my experience, I can heal leg berries quicker than I can heal face berries.

    …And my boss is not all over me for looking broken.

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