Let’s be honest: all of us cyclists want to be adventurous and reckless sometimes, but you can not compromise your safety to do tricks and stunts that you are not well-versed in. However, if it is just tipping off, your front wheels would hardly do any harm.
But for beginners and amateurs, you may be in question of “How to do a wheelie on a bike?” correctly. Even though this trick is simple, the wrong technique can lead to severe injuries on the rider and damage to the bike. Therefore, it’s better to learn the way of wheelies carefully.
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Why Do Many People Love Doing A Wheelie?
When you ask why so many people like to try out doing a wheelie, the answer is almost the same across the board: it’s easy to do, and it’s fun. If learned properly, everyone can get their bike’s wheel off the ground without any trouble.
You can do a wheelie at low speed and high speed; it’s entirely up to you, but each type has its own excitement. Low-speed wheelies are a bit more tricky, but the slow-motion feeling of being up in the air is superb. Meanwhile, a fast-paced wheelie requires a good sense of balance and control, but the thrill is on another level.
Items Needed To Do A Wheelie
To do a wheelie, you do not need to have any special gears or equipment, just you – the rider – and your bike is enough. However, to make sure that things go smoothly, you should prepare some of these items:
Your Trusty Bike
Of course, you can not do a wheelie without your bike. The majority of bike types can be used to do a wheelie, except for the balance bike (the ones without pedals), but there are more details for your bikes.
The saddle of your bike should be adjustable to do a wheelie. Since you will need to lower the seat to get the best posture to perform this stunt, so an adjustable saddle is a must. Brakes are also required because you need them to reach the balance point and control the bike after landing efficiently.
As said above, no special gears and equipment needed to do a wheelie, but it would be safer for you to invest in protective gears. Simple may it look, a wheelie is still a stunt, and there are chances that you may get caught up in accidents while performing it. So it is reasonable to purchase protective gear.
The helmet is a must; head injuries may be fatal even when the impact from the fall is tiny. You should check out the protective glass, too, since eyes are prone to severe damage too. Elbow pads are also recommended if you don’t want to get black and blue, which helps prevent bone fractures.
Doing A Wheelie On A Bicycle: 10 Critical Steps
Now you are ready to learn the way of doing a wheelie. Although this is a basic trick, you should not underestimate the power wheelie and skip the instructions. Be patient, and taking step by step is a wise choice.
Step 1: Adjust Your Saddle
For this trick, first, you need to prepare your bike. Many people just let their bikes in the same conditions when riding, which is wrong. When you do a wheelie, your saddle must be lower than when you ride your bike to get a good balance point.
So you should adjust your saddle, screw it down lower to help your body find balance. Since leverage from pedaling motions is still involved, the saddle adjustment should not be too low. The saddle post’s perfect length should be 2 to 3 inches shorter.
Step 2: Shift Your Gear
To get the best conditions for a wheelie, you should go in easy mode with your gear. Though don’t use the easiest because the excessive pedaling at that mode will make it harder to control and balance, which also affects the wheelie.
Ideally, choose the mode that is two or three modes aways from the easiest one or the one that you feel comfortable with the most. It would be best if you minded that this choice varies from bike to bike and from riders to riders. There is no need for you to follow others’ picks.
Step 3: Check Your Bike
Before getting to the trick, you must make sure that there is no problem whatsoever with your bike. A flat tire or a broken handlebar will be a disaster for any cyclists trying to do a wheelie. Make sure that everything on your bike is up and running correctly.
Step 4: Ready For The Stunt
After all that preparation, now you can actually start learning how to do a wheelie. Get on your bike and position yourself into the correct posture to be ready for the wheelie.
You will need to shift your weight accordingly to the balance point when your front bike wheel is up in the air. Try to keep your head straight and look forwards, while your body should be lower and even crouch down onto the handlebars. It’s better if you can get your torso a bit nearer to the ground.
Step 5: Start The Wheelie
Now it’s time for the pedal to do its job. You can power the wheelie by stepping and pushing the pedal hard to get the most force out of it. The more powerful the initiated stroke, the better, since it helps your bike to lift off the front wheel up on the air easier.
While pedaling, you should also try to manipulate the handlebars too. Pull it up gradually to help give leverage to the wheelie. Once your front wheel is up in the air, the pedaling and handlebar pulling can slow down.
Step 6: Shift Your Weight
Now you can notice that the balance is quite off since your posture is no longer on the point. You will need to push your weight onto the backside to balance on the one-wheeled bike. Leaning back as fast as you can, and let your arms stretch out into a comfortable straight line.
Step 7: Keep The Momentum
By this step, your front wheel is already in the air, and your back wheel is the only contact point with the ground. Don’t lose the momentum now; keeping pedaling to power the wheelie and make it as stable as possible.
In case you feel that the wheel is too high up in the air, using the rear brake to pull it down. Put your fingers on the lever and grab it to tighten the brake, thus slowing down the pedaling motion and, in turn, getting your wheelie down.
Step 8: Be In Control
The wheelie is in full force now; the problem is controlling it and not letting the wheels drop on the ground. While pumping power with pedaling, gently work with your rear brake to give a suspension. This will help to prevent your bike from getting flipped and staggering.
Step 9: Balance Is The Key
Apart from controlling the bike, you should pay attention to the balance point. The balance point will not be the same throughout the wheelie; it will change slightly depending on the pedaling power and your posture. Therefore, you should also shift your body to go along with these changes,
If your front wheel is bordering the ground, relax your muscle and lean back to get it in the air again. In case your bike leaps right or left, regains the balance by steering the handlebar in the opposite direction. The correction moves don’t need to be grand; just a tiny adjustment will do.
Step 10: Both Wheels On The Ground Again
As you reach the peak of the wheelie, now you need a closure to your trick. You can not abruptly drop your front wheel onto the ground from the peak height; it will cause shock and impact on the riders. When the shock is too much, your bike can even collapse into accidents.
Keeping your handlebars straight, and relaxing your muscles and your rear brake to let it fall onto the ground gradually. The landing should be comfortable and easy to control. You should also reposition yourself into a riding posture by straight up your back and lifting your torso.
To learn more about doing a wheelie, you can check out this video:
How To Do A Wheelie On A Mountain Bike
The ten steps above are the most versatile instruction to do a wheelie, and they can be applied on any type of bike. However, for mountain bikes, you should pay attention to these things.
For a mountain bike, wheelies are more accessible to perform on certain types of surfaces than others. So, the recommended grounds for doing a wheelie are gradual slopes on the hills and fire road. The ground should be flat and without rocks and small objects that can hamper the wheelie.
One thing about mountain bikes is that they tend to have rear suspension built in the bikes. Nevertheless, the bounce from the rear shock will make it super hard to control and balance when you do a wheelie. Therefore, before starting this trick, your rear suspension should be locked for better safety.
For more information on a wheelie on a mountain bike, let’s watch this:
Doing Wheelie On A Road Bike
Road bikes are quite good to do a wheelie with, and the ten-step instruction will be the foundation for you to learn with a road bike. But caution is never enough; these small reminders will help you get better at doing a wheelie on a road bike:
Where To Position Your Pedal
For a road bike, start the steps slowly and steadily to gain momentum and balance as most. To get both these elements, you should know the correct place to put your pedals and cranks on. The two-o’clock position is the best for pedals and cranks, and it allows the motions to be easier to maneuver.
The Brake Is Your Ally
Never let go of the brake; your fingers must be on it all the time. The brake will act as a hamper and balance-keeping force to help you keep your bike under control. As long as your brake is working properly, your wheelie will be as easy as a piece of cake.
Road bike wheelie is not hard, but you may need some more advice:
Wheelie is a simple stunt with a low rate of accidents and injuries, but it does not mean that it’s 100% safe for you. Therefore, it’s time for you to know about these safety tips to do a wheelie without any problem:
A flat pedal is ideal
There are several different types of pedals attached to the bikes, but the flat pedals are simple and easiest to deal with. Flat pedals allow you to get a quick dismount, so it’s better to power and balance the wheelie with flat pedals.
Correction Moves All The Time
The wheelie is a moving action, so the balance point of a wheelie will not stay still; it will tip off and change continuously. Therefore, you must always be in control and have correct moves to balance and keep the bike wheels from falling off.
The Ground Is Important
The advice is not to do a wheelie on a bumpy and rough surface, as the small bumps on the ground may trip you over in an instance. Choose a slight slope, the uphill surface, to start learning your wheelie. The surface should also be gentle and flat; a grass surface is preferable.
How long does it take to do a wheelie for beginners successfully?
Depending on your learning speed, it can take from a week to 6 months.
Can you do a wheelie on any bike?
The majority of bikes are good for doing a wheelie, except for special types like balance bikes for kids.
Is it legal to wheelie a bike?
Yes, it is legal to wheelie a bike.
Are doing wheelie damage to your bike?
The wrong wheelie method can damage your bike, but your bike will be intact if you follow the correct instruction.