Manuals: Help, I’m tipping over!

Hey Lee,

Love your site and the book, great work on both mate.

I guess this has probably been done to death but im having alot of trouble with manuals and wheelies. Getting the front up and balancing front to back is easy, my problem is I always tip over sideways! People say move your hips and stuff, which ive tried…but once I start to go I just cant correct it.

Any ideas?

Cheers, Ash

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!

Hey Ash,

Sounds like you’re tense. If you can ride a bike, you have a fine sense of balance. Tension prevents your body from doing its thing.

– Make sure both arms are completely straight. This is key — pay attention.

– Relax and hang backward off the bars.

– If your bike leans to one side, try turning your bars that way. The gyroscopic effect might help straighten you up.


— Lee

6 replies
  1. Keith says:

    I have just put on my flat pedals as I am going to master the amnual or my name isn’t Nathan Arizona. I am hving troubles with getting into the sweet spot, you know the balance point wher it feels like your back in the womb!

  2. cmc says:

    manuals use your feet too. it’s not just an arm thing.

    if you really want to lock into a manual, the kind you can do for a whole city block, you have to visualize your front wheel only being maybe 4 inches off the ground. you definitely don’t want a high front end like an old school sit-down wheelie.

    then you shift your weight way back. keep one finger on your brake lever just in case–but if you find yourself feathering it a lot, that’s bad b/c you’re not really locking into the balance point, keep your front end lower and you won’t need the brake. you’re not yanking back with your arms, you’re giving them a steady pull. BUT, more important, you’re pushing your feet/cranks/bottom bracket out forward at the same time.

    if you’re a geek, check this out:
    your ass is the large box on the left F1. the fulcrum is where your rear wheel touches the road. the box on the right is the front of your bike (your hands). you have to shift your weight back behind the rear wheel at a point that will bring the front end of the bike off the ground. your feet help you push/adjust where the fulcrum is.

  3. Chay says:

    I am also trying to learn the manual……it must be one of the hardest skill to learn in MTB, it seems like I will never get it!
    Felt on my butt numerous time. Lee would you say it is easier to practice on a slope (sloping down that is)? which helps to keep the momentum?
    But with wheelies, I found it a lot easier going up a gentle slope, slow the bike down a bit and you can pedal it a bit harder to keep the front up!

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