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
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.