Manuals: Get it up

Hello Lee. my son is 9 and at the stage where he needs to learn how to manual so he can hit the rythym sections on the bmx track/mountain trails. Do you have any tips to begin developing the skill of manualling? If my memory serves me you had an article on this in the past?

ps – great site.

– Ricci, New Zealand

Hey Ricci,

Thanks for the note. I posted a graphic in December 2004. Here it is:

Manualing between rollers is easier. Let the first one lift your front wheel, then push the rear wheel down the back. It’s the same basic move, only the back of the roller helps you push the bike in front of you.

The book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills has more explanation and photos.

I hope that helps. Tell me how it goes!

— Lee

5 replies
  1. Rodney says:

    Mmm Ricci, aren’t you pushing your little one just a tad too much? Just show him how you’d do it and then let him figure it out for himself (if he wants to do it like that in the first place!). Also on the BMX-track you don’t really need to manual, to keep your speed up you need to pedal constantly so I would consider working on wheelie-skills more appropriate. Since your pedalling anyway you can power-pedal the front up high. Also isn’t a manual considered a lot more difficult than a wheelie in the first place?

  2. jonas says:

    I think there are many little BMX riders doing manuals and it is for sure a technique you need on nearly every bmx track. Power-wheelies over whoops need much more skills than manuals. On flat ground wheelies are easier and I think a good preparation for manuals, but over obstacles wheelies are very difficult.
    @Lee: One aspect often not mentioned is that the main point in manualling over doubles is to push down with hip and legs and not just to pull with your arms. With that technique you get much more pump and control. Chris Powell describes this very good in “Fundamentals”.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Powell had the most useful section in that video. He’s a sharp cat, and very articulate.

    YES on pushing with your legs and hips. FACT: You cannot manual by pulling with your arms. On flat ground it comes from shifting your mass back; in rollers it comes from pushing your bike forward.

    Sweet style. Is anyone else obsessing about Sea Otter?

  4. Chris Powell says:

    Thanks Jonas and Lee, don’t forget to have a finger on the rear brake. This will save you from looping out.

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