Manualing for small riders?

Hey Lee,
I read your book, awesome and so is your webpage. I have a problem I have been riding for a long time but just 4 years ago started getting into more aggressive stuff. I have a really hard time with the manual. I am 5’6″ rather short torso do you think this is a disadvantage?

I feel I can’t balance good since I cant get back far enough. I practise on a Short Santa Cruz Jackal with a 50mm stem. I feel the bike is great but the guy hmmm. Any good tips? Hey I supply the beer and BBQ wanna come over and build a pump track? keep up the good work.

Hey Robert.

Taller riders do have an easier time with manuals. They have more room to work, and balance is easier. It’s like balancing an upright broomstick vs. a drinking straw on your finger. (Our friend Van is 6’8″ — he manuals, long, low and lazy; it’s such an event it’s called a Vanual.)

But you can do it.

– Your bike sounds right. A short rider needs a short bike.

– You have to get WAY back there.

– Arms straight.

– Try to rub your butt on the tire. “Engage the third brake.”

Look at this:

Jon Watt is about 6’2″, but he rides a long bike. See his straight arms? Your butt should be down by your tire.

— Lee

4 replies
  1. Josh130 says:

    I’m 5’9″ but I learned to manual on a BMX and to get it to work on a DH bike literally took Joe Lawwill making me “engage the third brake” a few times. Once you can throw yourself off the back its just time to start learning brake control… which may take me the rest of my days…


  2. Josh130 says:

    Oh and focus on just pushing the handle bars and pedals as far away from you as you can. The front will lift on its own if your behind the tire.


  3. theff says:

    i have a problem with manualing, it seams no mater how far i lean back it wont get up, like i have to pull up hard with my arms and throw my self back if i want to manual, and even then it goes up…down. i am 5’7″ i ride a 17″ warrior 4.0 by iron horse, and i ride with a 50mm stem

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