God gave us BMX for wheelies and bike play. But we’re lacking.
We’ve all attempted a few half-hearted wheelies? We’re cruising with buddies, cracking jokes—life is grand. Then we make the attempt. We pull on the bars, lean back for a wheelie, and our tire barely gets off the ground. Reality sucks. So let’s change that. The BMX bike you ride was made for greatness. It’s time to up your game and learn the BMX wheelie. All you need to dominate this basic BMX trick is a few good pointers, confidence in your method, and quality alone time with your BFF BMX.
What you need for a Wheelie
Bike: If you’re reading this article, you probably already have a BMX bike. Unlike regular bikes, BMX bikes offer a tremendous amount of customization and personality. It helps to keep this in mind as you practice the wheelie. It’s in their nature, and your given right to learn the wheelie. Freestyling on a BMX bike is an amazing feeling that rewards hard work and persistence with style, finesse, and steez. If you do not own a BMX, no fear, these directions apply towards a regular bike as well. While it may not be as easy or styling, any bike with two wheels can pop wheelies. But you might need to adjust your seat a little lower – the higher the seat the more difficult the trick.
Helmet: Protect the melon, especially if you are just starting to learn wheelies. You can never be too safe. You’re probably going to fall once or twice (part of the sport), and if you want to be able to get back up and try again, you might as well buckle that strap.
Gloves: Gloves are optional when riding BMX. I personally wear them because scratching my palms is quite annoying. Any pair that protects your palms and easily lets you grip the handlebars will do.
Luckily, there isn’t much else you need. It may not come easily at first, but if you practice with persistence and determination, you will be doing wheelies in no time. Oh, and give yourself time. Remember, you are here to master the wheelie.
Steps to Learning a BMX Wheelie
1. Start biking at a comfortable speed while sitting and standing. Do not go too slow because controlling the bike will become too difficult. You want to be able to roll at least 40-60 feet without pedaling.
2. Pop the wheel off the ground a few inches while you move around. Do this a few times to get a sense of the weight of the bike and learn some basic bike handling skills.
3. Keep your knees level over the pedals. If you turn your legs out too much you can develop bad balance habits.
4. Shift all of your bodyweight as far backward as you can. Try to get your rear end past the seat towards the back wheel. Practice riding like this. This will seem uncomfortable, but this is the weight distribution method necessary to pop a wheelie.
5. After you feel like you have the weight of the bike dialed in, it’s time to give it a try. Pull with your arms on the handlebar. Stand up a bit more on your pedals and keep your weight back. As you pull your weight back push a bit with your feet to compensate for the backward momentum of pulling.
6. Practice doing this until you reach a point where you can ride 5-10 feet without the front wheel touching down. This is called a BMX manual. Congratulations! You’ve just pulled off your first BMX bike trick.
7. If you successfully found your sweet spot, your bike should be at a 40-45 degree angle off of the ground. Keep practicing manuals while your butt is off of the bike.
8. To pop a wheelie on a BMX (compared to a manual), you will be sitting on the bike. The motions are essentially the same as for a manual, except sitting down. Practice finding your sweet spot while sitting on the bike. If you are afraid you will fall, simply push the bike away and stand up on your feet. This is called a successful bail.
9. To actually perform wheelies, the next time you pull up to do a manual, pedal down and do not stop peddling. Find your sweet spot while peddling.
10. Eventually, you will be able to pedal, sit down, and keep your front wheel in the air all at the same time. This is a wheelie on BMX. Tip: Once you’ve mastered the wheelie, practice fluttering your back break a little bit for more control and styling.
Lean back, place your body weight behind your seat. Remember, this part is uncomfortable but necessary. Pull up on the handlebars while pedaling with your feet. As you lean back you should be actively finding your sweet spot. Once you’re in the sweet spot, pedal away while pumping your legs to maintain balance.
BMX biking is incredibly fun once you have an arsenal of tricks at your disposal. Many tricks on BMX bikes require knowledge of manuals and wheelies. After practicing what you learned, you’re going to have a great starting spot for many other BMX tricks.
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