“Generally speaking, this is one of the most time-consuming and difficult moves out there,” says Hans. “Some guys, even in the World Cup race, cannot ride a good wheelie. But you’ll see kids riding them because they put the time into it.”
1. Adjust your seat to a low position. You’ll ride the wheelie sitting down, and seat position will help keep your center of gravity and balance.
2. Put the bike into a medium or low gear and begin at rolling speed.
3. Crouch your upper body so your weight is over the handlebars.
4. Turn the cranks to the 11:00 position.
5. Pedal down and pull up on the handlebars simultaneously.
6. Immediately lean back – as if you were in a rocking chair – and continue pedaling. You need to trust your rear brake, otherwise you’ll flip over backward.
7. Outstretch your arms and sit on the tip of the seat.
8. Keep one finger on the rear brake while the others firmly hold the grip.
9. Feather the brake continually – this helps to control speed and can prevent you from falling on your butt.
10. Relax. The front tire should be pretty high in the air.
11. Begin controlling the two balances: vertical and sideways.
12. Adjust the vertical balance with the rear brake (if leaning too far back) or by pedaling (if your front wheel begins to drop).
13. Fight the sideways balance early; it’s impossible to recover if you wait too long.
14. Control the sideways balance by sticking out a knee or foot, or by turning the handlebars in the opposite direction. (Just make sure the handlebars are straight before you come down.)
15. Let the front wheel drop to come out of the move.
All these intricate and slight movements happen at once, which is why this is a difficult trick.
“I hate riding wheelies clipped into the pedals,” notes Hans. Ride it flat.
For beginners, try riding slightly uphill. Also, practice hopping off the back for practice – so you’ll be able to in a pinch.
There’s no such thing as perfect balance – you will always be plus or minus your balance point. It will slowly become easier to correct.
Don’t keep your weight over the handlebars once the front tire is in the air.
Don’t try to pedal too fast or your speed will become uncontrollable.