The wheelie is a classic bike skill, and it's not just cool - it's great for handling all sorts of technical terrain.


The wheelie is one of the most iconic bike tricks, and while it’s obviously a lot of fun and always impressive, it’s also useful for helping you tacking steep obstacles and rougher sections of climbs. Bonus!

There are a couple of tricks to the classic wheelie though, so let’s break it down and see what it’s all about.

How to wheelie

Learning how to do a wheelie on a mountain bike

Start of by coming in seated, and sitting low on the bike

  1. Come in seated and using a fairly low gear.

2. The slower you go here the easier it will be to get the front end up as it will be your acceleration that lifts the front wheel.

3. Keep your weight low and wait till your preferred lead foot gets to the top of the pedal stroke.

Learning how to do a wheelie on a mountain bike

4. As your preferred leading foot starts its full half turn from top to bottom, really give it some power and simultaneously throw your upper body back so that your arms are now straight. That powerful full extension of that pedal stroke should be enough to accelerate your front wheel up off the ground.

Learning how to do a wheelie on a mountain bike

5. Remain seated and use your rear brake to catch yourself from going too far back, or even if you’ve had enough and you want to bring the front end back down again.

6. Try to keep the pedal strokes going and get used to the feeling of the brake bringing your front wheel down, and your pedal strokes bringing it back up again.

7. Keep your upper body neutral, leant back, and use your knees to counter balance.

Learn with a pal

This is a real trust exercise and a great way of finding out who your real friends are.

Learning to wheelie on a mountain bike

See if you can find a friend that will be able to lift your front end while you stay seated in your wheelie position. Keep your rear brake on hard and get them to lift your front wheel.

The more you lean back with your arms straight, the easier it will be for them to lift you. It might even surprise you how high your front wheel has to go before you reach your balancing point.

Remember that you can always just step off the back if it all becomes too much.