Can I manual with a high seat?

Hey Lee,

Love the site and the book. I ride an Epic and run a high seat. I live in a flat part of the world (Lubbock, Texas) so its all pretty much XC. Question: Can I do the manuals with the seat as high as it is (an inch or so above the bars)? Haven’t had much luck with it so far. Thanks for any tips you might have…


Hey Barron,

You know I want to rock some photos and diagrams, but I’m on the road with my crappy old laptop, so words will have to suffice for now.

Yes, you can manual with a high seat. It’s hard to get waaaaaaay back there and manual all over town, but you can definitely loft your front wheel over water bars, logs and such.

– The end position (all the way back) is basically the same as with a low seat, just higher because your seat is hitting your sternum.

– You have to rotate above, over and behind the seat. To do this you gotta be very comfortable everywhere in your cockpit.

– Make sure the seat ends up in front of your crotch. You should be able to see your saddle in front of your business. As a matter of fact, I sometimes manual easier with a high seat, because the seat forces me to get back there.

– Yesterday I spend a few hours interviewing Toby Henderson. Remember him? Back in the day he was a top pro BMXer and MTBer, as well as a frequent Mountain Bike Action test rider. Back then they didn’t use seatpost QRs, and they rode up hills for the photo shoots. Rather than fiddle with the bikes, Toby learned to do all his BMX tricks on an MTB with a high seat. I remember those shots from the ’90s — very cool!

It can be done. Expand your cockpit and learn to move around your seat.


— Lee

3 replies
  1. Alex says:

    My xc bike has a high seat and I can get the front wheel up fine. My only problem is that I loop out all the time. Anyone have any advice?

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    That’s a good problem to have. Ways to arrest that fall:

    – A little rear brake.

    – Pull the bike closer to you with your legs.

    The seat definitely gets in the way of fine tuning.

  3. Tjaard says:

    Also, get a adjustable seatpost. I love my gravity dropper because it let’s me drop my seat down an inch to roll over logs, bunny hop and manual or drop it way down for steep downhills. Sometimes people say they are best for all-mountain bikes and steep downhill trails, but actually they are more of an asset (pun intended) on rolling terrain and on any bike.

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