Video: How To Wheelie Like A Pro | How To Bike Season 2 Episode 6

Dec 14, 2022 at 15:19
by Pinkbike Originals  


HOW TO BIKE
SEASON 2 EPISODE 6


The key to learning how to wheelie is practice and commitment. There are, however, a few tips and tricks that can help make your practice more effective. In this episode of How to Bike, Ben Cathro walks us through learning how to wheelie a bicycle.





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Member since Feb 15, 2012
1,077 articles

91 Comments
  • 123 0
 What I’ve found to be really helpful, especially as an adult, is focusing more on giving up.
  • 51 0
 Lowering one's expectations is the key to happiness.
  • 44 0
 I keep thinking if I just watch one more wheelie video without practicing I will get it.
  • 12 0
 If it first you don't succeed, lower your expectations until you're a success.
  • 12 0
 I can get it up but I can't keep it up.
  • 4 0
 And this valuable skill applies to all kinds of things in life, not just wheelies
  • 6 0
 I manual for miles whilst dreaming.
  • 2 2
 @bocomtb: thats what she said
  • 1 2
 @bocomtb: that’s what your mum said
  • 3 0
 @EricHarger: Me too and oh boy the steezy jumps I can do as well!
  • 1 2
 @bocomtb: that´s what she said!
  • 4 0
 Trying is the first step to failure. (Homer Simpson)
  • 39 1
 Tried, reached balance point, grabbed left brake lever like he did in the video, front brake applied, looped out, head injury, died.
  • 14 1
 Keep trying. You'll get there!
  • 26 0
 This video wheelie isn’t enough for me to learn from. I’m going to need to buy more things to help.
  • 12 0
 If over 40, (from experience) you will need at least:
- A carbon front wheel.
- An Ultimate/Factory fork so you can adjust the rebound correctly.
- a Vorsprung Smashpot when the Ultimate/Factory fork doesn't solve it.
- Carbon bars.
- Probably a lighter frame.

You can tell this is true, because every little 8 year old to$$er who can wheelie indefinitely has all that stuff.
  • 10 0
 @Woody25: if your cables aren't routed through the headset, don't even bother starting...
  • 2 0
 Joking aside, I picked up a used fat bike this year for cheap and its actually super easy to learn how to wheelie.
  • 18 0
 There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who can wheelie, and those who can’t. I’m the latter, but I do sometimes wish I could ride like guys like Jeff Kendall-Weed. The tread on his front tire must pretty much stay like new the whole season.
  • 20 1
 Just practice it all the time on every climb and you'll figure it out over time. It's not hard, it just takes time
  • 42 1
 Wow, thanks for the mention Law! There are so many different strategies to think of when learning to wheelie, there's not just one "secret," other than consistent and measured daily practice. Cheers!
  • 5 0
 I did the multi-part Ryan Leech tutorial. I wasn't disciplined doing it and failed miserably. Still can't ride one without pedaling like a crack addict on a fresh fix.
  • 2 0
 @JeffWeed: Hey man I love your channel!
  • 4 1
 I cannot wheelie. I have tried. Then, I realized, it would not really improve my riding much, if any at all. Then I moved on. Knowing which gear I am in and then applying pedal pressure to lift the front wheel over things is as close as I seem to need to get to a wheelie.
  • 4 0
 My front tire stays fresh all season anyway because of my poor cornering technique.
  • 5 0
 Haven't watched the video yet, but JKW is a manual machine. Not that he can't wheelie as well, but the difference in those skills is pretty big. I can ride a wheelie for days, but can't manual yet Frown
  • 2 0
 @jmhills: I agree that you don’t need to wheelie on trails very often. But learning to wheelie has some useful transferable skills, like learning to feather the rear brake and learning your weight distribution forwards and back and side to side.
  • 3 0
 @Leviathandive: Thank you!
  • 6 0
 @Rigidjunkie: Thanks man, if you want something a little cringy, but kinda funny, from 5 years back, here's a mile long wheelie vid I did when I hit the 5k YewToob subscriber mark: youtu.be/T9DXRxg3IM8
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: same... paid for a year, watched all the vids, didn't practice at all and cancelled my subscription.. story of my life.. =)
  • 1 0
 @saladdodger: you make me feel a little less hapless. Beer
  • 14 1
 Wheelies are super easy to do once you know how to do them and have mastered them.
  • 8 0
 Thank you, that was exactly what I needed.
  • 2 0
 Super easy, barely an inconvenience
  • 1 0
 Flying roundhouse kicks are easy too,just watch Van Damme
  • 10 0
 "The key to learning how to wheelie is practice and commitment."

Im out, thanks!
  • 7 0
 Assuming you're out of your teens, commit to practicing minimum 3 times a week, 20 minutes a time for six months - that's about average I reckon from what I see on the Ryan Leech FB group. It might take more or less time, but it's important to recognise right from the top that this takes time.

Don't judge progress from session to session, but film yourself at least once a week and compare those and you'll see the (very gradual) progressions and that will keep you motivated.

All of these skills (wheelies, manuals, bunnies) are compound moves and they don't really work until your body internalises the timing and it becomes automatic. It's massively frustrating because your body will actively tell you it's doing one thing (e.g. leaning back) and then you watch the video and it's leaning forward just at the key moment to protect itself.

Repeated, regular practice is the only way to overcome that. Eventually your body will trust that it's OK and relax a bit, internalise the movement and then you'll progress a bit and be able to start learning the next part.

Don't try and learn the whole move at once (especially with bunnies), break it down and learn it a piece at a time.

Oh and one wheelie specific tip: Your power stroke should start after you have started leaning back as you arms hit full extension, NOT when you start to lean back. You need much less force to get the front wheel up if you do that and so there is less chance that a bit of an uneven pull will then cause you to topple to one side/
  • 5 0
 I couldn't wheelie for the first 11 years or so and then suddenly it just clicked and now I'm pretty good at it. To those that can't yet: keep on trying, you'll get it and it's ruddy good fun
  • 8 0
 I have a dream about suddenly getting it once a week.
  • 7 0
 Long wheelies are all about how well you can use your brake
  • 1 0
 Longer wheelies are about how well you cannot apply any brake
  • 7 0
 I know what to do, i just can't do it.
  • 7 0
 Tried to master wheelies for years. Guess I will give it another go!
  • 1 0
 My problem is I can never be bothered to swap to flat pedals, which means I never go beyond the balance point, which means I've probably only ever hit the balance point a few times.
  • 4 1
 Don’t wheelie with your seat up. It looks horrible which defeats the purpose of a wheelie and more importantly it puts your front wheel in the wrong place. The lower you can get your seat the higher your front wheel will be. With that spinning wheel high up the centrifugal force will make controlling your wheelie so much easier and you look like a 12 O’clock boy and get all the girls.
  • 2 0
 I don’t think the rear brake can be emphasized enough, check if it works and don’t forget that you can still jump off. I jumped on my buddies townie leaving a brewery messing around in the parking lot and ended up on my back with my feet still on the pedals due to stupid rim brakes having no power
  • 3 0
 Anytime I leave from a brewery biking gets a little harder.
  • 2 0
 Thanks Ben, I've been trying to do a proper wheelie for 50 years. Once and a while ill get a good one but i still panic-grabbing the brake. Here's one tip that has helped me big time. Buy a cheap unicycle and learn to ride it a bit. Get 2 big poles and use like crutches to get started. Easier than a wheelie and you will learn a few necessary skills. Looking ahead to maintain balance Transferring your weight from the pedals to the seat smoothly as you enter the balance zone. Steering with your hips
  • 2 0
 I can ride a Unicycle, but I can't wheelie. I don't really get it. If I can balance on one wheel you think I would be able to figure it out on a bike.
  • 3 0
 So @Woody25 says I need:
- A carbon front wheel.
- An Ultimate/Factory fork so you can adjust the rebound correctly.
- a Vorsprung Smashpot when the Ultimate/Factory fork doesn't solve it.
- Carbon bars.
- Probably a lighter frame.

You say I need:
- unicycle and two festivus trees.

Alright, off to the internet!
  • 1 0
 I made and rode unicycles in my teens. 57 now and still shite at wheelies. Sigh.
  • 2 0
 For sure practice makes perfect. One spring I spent 30 days practicing in our cul de sac and could finally produce something resembling a wheelie, on my fatbike. It's def more stable side to side (my biggest problem) with that big lumbering tire to perch on. I also learned how to whip on the fat bike. It took some language to overcome that big gyro on the back, but that translated to me learning the motion. It also doesn't snap out so far as to throw you off balance. It was kinda counter-intuitive.
  • 1 0
 I think this video is about how to manual rather than just doing wheelies. Cathro's got the highest seat height when he's doing that manual! Wished I had long legs like that to get my center of gravity behind the rear pivot that easily.
  • 1 0
 With respect to identifying your "preferred power leg", I'm thinking there's a probably correlation to whether you snowboard regular or goofy foot. Is your power leg more likely to be the leg that you remove from your binding to 'skate' (ie for regular footed snowboarders your wheeling power leg would be your right leg)?
  • 4 1
 Has anyone ever tried to count the number of wheelie videos on the internet?
  • 1 0
 Lol a giant tryin to demonstrate how to do a wheelie. So tall just walks off the back of the bike when it flips backwards. So much leverage barely has to lean back and gets lift.
  • 1 0
 Started learning to wheelie at age 10. Mastered wheelies around age 12. Been doing ‘em ever since and that’s about 35 years now….
Best way imho is to learn ‘em when you’re young….
  • 2 0
 Thanks that really helps.
  • 1 0
 7b is missing and this is huge I think - side to side balance is the hardest bit for most I think and it really helps to look, where you are heading. Cuz at least I tend to look on the front wheel, which does not help.
  • 7 5
 Wheelies are easy once you get the hang of it, just remember, the brake is your best friend
  • 30 2
 Lol, this is the most reductive statement ever. The same could be said of anything:

"Nuclear fission is easy once you get the hang of it."
  • 27 4
 @fullendurbro: "your mom is easy once you get the hang of it"
  • 3 1
 So what you're saying is that I can quit learning to do a wheelie once I know how to do it?
  • 1 0
 Here's how to wheelie: get on your bike, go into an easy gear (truly any cog works) hover the back brake, and wheelie away. more time the better
  • 1 1
 I was good at weelies. Then I started to ride clipless and the fear of not being able to bail made me bad over time. Increasing bike lenghts also made me worst at it since it makes it harder to lift the front wheel.
  • 2 0
 Best way to learn how to wheelie as an adult is to learn how when you were a kid. Then its as natural as riding a bike.
  • 3 0
 Tried it then too - fail! But still not giving up at 64 years old!
  • 2 0
 Instead of making manual practice stands, someone needs to make a manual loop out learning diaper for my ass.
  • 1 0
 Wheelies are not a useless trick; you can apply the balance to technical climbing, for pedaling up over steps and whatnot. A good tool to learn IMO.
  • 2 4
 Several years ago I went brakeless on my dj/street bike for a year or so. Manuals were easier (tho a bit scarier without the rear brake safety blanket). The reason was that my rotor was a tiny bit bent and rubbed a minuscule amount. Brakeless made me realize even tho minuscule and not noticeable while riding the rubbing made manuals slightly more challenging. So make sure you're not rubbing even a tiny amount to make it easier on yourself. Same goes for crunch hub bearings. But yeah, I'm still a pretty poor manualer.
  • 1 2
 So your solution to not wanting/being able to true or replace a rotor/adjust your caliper was to remove the only safety system(s) on your bike so things sounded better?

Either your "tiny bit bent" rotor wouldn't have affected the stronger forces involved in the manual or the rotor was a lot more bent than you're letting on. Either way, Jackassing your way to a quieter manual probably isn't the right call. I say quieter, because you say you're still a pretty poor manualer.
  • 2 0
 Why did I watch this video? I already know how to wheelie.
  • 2 1
 I just want to wheelie like the SE bike kids on my block
  • 1 0
 Basically forever up the middle of the high street dodging busses
  • 1 0
 Step 4 is most important.
  • 1 2
 I can pull the front wheel up no problem, but maintaining the balancing point for extended periods will never happen this lifetime.
  • 2 0
 Keep at it, it'll click one day and then they'll be yours!
  • 1 1
 Practice? Commitment? No thanks. I'll just stick to trying for a top 100 strava segment, over, and over, and over...
  • 1 0
 And steep STAs make the balance point (feel) smaller.
  • 1 0
 Me simple man, me have simple advice, get off computer and on bike.
  • 1 0
 Glad I learned certain skills as a kid lol
  • 1 0
 I could do it all day as a kid. My mistake was taking a 35 year break from riding.
  • 2 0
 @highland-hippie: this is me..! could wheelie for what seemed like miles when I was a kid. It was more like city blocks really, but we'd ride to and from gradeschool on the back tire. Then I took a 30+ year hiatus from riding. Today it's a nightmare trying to get that skill back. Frustrating...but it's on me as I don't have the time (make the time) to practice it like I need to to get that balance-point feeling back. Goals for spring ...LOL
  • 1 0
 After reading all comments under this video I am no better at wheelies
  • 1 0
 What happened to ther intro music?
  • 7 8
 Pinkbike has descended into how to do a wheelie videos. Maybe next we'll get a plan for how to build a wheelie jig?
  • 4 1
 And if you ran the zoo? What then?
  • 1 0
 @TwoNGlenn: I'd probably sell to some conglomerate and cash out.
  • 1 0
 1:52
Crazy and funny
  • 1 0
 No dreams , no goals







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