How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike | MTB Skills Guide

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Learning to wheelie on a mountain bike is a useful fundamental skill, and it’s also great for impressing your friends. The wheelie is a useful skill while out on the trails, great for lifting the front wheel over obstacles, and perfect for technical climbs.

How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike

When you break down the wheelie into its pure fundamentals, it’s simply learning to keep the front wheel up at the balance point while pedaling and using the back brake to ensure you don’t go flying off the back of the bike.

Bearing this in mind, we have divided this tutorial into 3 simple parts:

1. Safe Dismount & Back Brake Control

2. Getting The Wheel Up And Finding The Balance Point

3. Combine And Practice

Before you start, make sure the saddle on your bike is set low (not fully dropped), and not fully extended. Also, select a mid-range gear that is not too hard to pedal, but you don’t want to be spinning out. Remember, always wear a helmet


How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike - safe dismount
How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike – safe dismount

1. Safe Dismount & Back Brake Control

– Learn to dismount off the back of the bike

Learning a safe rear dismount is probably one of the most important things when learning a wheelie, otherwise, you’re likely to go flying off the back of the bike and hurt yourself. So learning a safe dismount will help you not to feel scared of falling off, and will help you find the balance point.

  • Find some soft grass, this will help cushion your landing if you fall.
  • Put the saddle right down, out if the way.
  • Stand on the pedals, and lean backwards pulling up the front wheel off the ground
  • Prepare youself to jump your feet off the peals, and land on the ground
  • Keep on leaning backwards and pulling up, untill you go past the balance point.
  • Now land with your feet on the ground, while catching the bike.
  • practice this untill you feel comfortable stepping off the back of the bike.

– Learn back brake control

Learning back control will help prevent you from going flying off the back of the bike. Doing a long-controlled wheelie is all about getting the balance between pedaling and back brake control.

  • First stand with your feet on the ground while holding the handle bars.
  • Now pull the front wheel up off the ground, while holding a finger over the back brake.
  • Once the bike is 2-3 feet off the ground, pull the back brake. Feel how it controls the bike, and sends the front wheel down.
  • Now stand on the pedals, lean backwards and pull up, bring the font wheel off the ground. once the wheel is 2-3 feet off the ground pull the brake. You will notice how it sends the wheel quickly back down. keep on practicing this untill you feel comforable.


2. Getting The Wheel Up And Finding The Balance Point

How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike - getting the front weel up
How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike – getting the front weel up

– Getting The Wheel Up

  • Start on a slight uphill. Starting on an uphill will help you control the bike’s speed, otherwise, the bike will try and run away without you!
  • Select a low gear. Select a gear that is easy to pedal in, not quite the lowest gear (you don’t want to spin out).
  • Stay seated. It’s importnat to stay seated when doing a wheelie. put the saddle so it’s not full down, but low enough so you can easiy get off the bike if you need.
  • Keep looking forward. Remember when doing a wheelie it importnat to keep looking forward, this will help keep the bike straight and stable.
  • Lean back and pedal. Now try to lean back while slowly pedalling, you should see the front wheel start to lift. Practise getting the front wheel a small amount off the ground. Just getting the front wheel off the ground can be a useful skill while riding.

– Find The Balance Point

  • Now pedal and lean back untill you have to jump off the back of the bike. Practice this a few times. it’s importnat you comfortable with stepping off the back of the bike.
  • Now do a wheelie untill you are almost about to go off the back of the bike and now pull the back brake, sending the front wheel to the ground.
  • The balance point is just before you are about to go off the bike. so aim to do a wheelie at this point, slowly pedaling and pulling the back brake if the front wheel goes too high.

3. Combine And Practice

How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike - combine and practice
How To Wheelie A Mountain Bike – combine and practice

Lastly, it’s about practicing to pedal enough to keep the front wheel up at the balance point, and dabbing the back brake softly enough so the front wheel does not go straight back to the ground. So you are using your pedaling to hold at the balance point and the brake to stop you from going off the back. If you practice this enough, you should be able to wheelie for as long as you want.

Now you have learned to wheelie, you might want to learn to manual. check out our tutorial here:

How to wheelie a mountain bike questions and answers

How do you do a wheelie on a mountain bike for beginners?

How hard is it to wheelie on a mountain bike?

Doing a wheelie on a mountain bike is probably one of the easiest bikes to wheelie because they have a good selection of gears, and you can normally select a good saddle height. BMX’s are very small and cramped to wheelie, and road bikes have skinny tires making wheelies unstable.

What gear is best for wheelies?

Select a good mid-range gear. You don’t want to be spinning out in a super easy gear, and you also don’t want to be struggling to pedal.

How do I make my wheelie longer?

Learning to wheelie longer is all about finding the balance between pedaling to keep the front wheel up and dabbing the back brake to stop yourself from falling off the back of the bike. Once you have got the confidence between these two elements you should be able to keep on wheeling for as long as you want.

Once you have learned how to wheelie a mountain bike, you can progress onto a manual, which is really useful on the trail and looks super cool, check out our tutorial here: How To Manual A Mountain Bike | MTB Skills