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At first glance, the wheelie seems nothing more than the most rudimentary of adolescent cycling skills. Looking a little deeper, however, one discovers that being able to consistently hoist the front wheel is one of the most useful mountain bike tricks in the book.


Don’t know how to do a MTB wheelie yet? Then let Red Bull’s professional mountain bike riders Rob Warner and Tom Öhler break it down for you step by step.

''Persevere with it, because no other technique will give you such a broad base of skills. And let's be honest; who doesn't love to pop a wheelie.''

— Rob Warner, on learning the wheelie

How to pop a wheelie

  • Find a gently sloped stretch of road on which to practice.
  • Adjust your seat to about half the height you normally have it set.
  • Choose a gear slightly lower than what you would usually use.
  • The two main components to getting the front wheel in the air are the pull on the handlebars and the push on the pedals.
  • Bend your arms and chest toward the handlebar, then pull up in one smooth motion.
  • Shift your upper body weight behind the rear axle.
  • Straighten your arms and keep your weight over the back wheel.
  • Cover your rear brake grip, just in case you find yourself looping out.

To ride a bicycle any distance on its back wheel requires a smooth pedaling cadence, good power from your legs, a really sensitive touch on the brake, and, of course, good balance.


So what happens when you keep practicing the wheelie?. Mountain biker Phil Kmetz of Skills with Phil YouTube fame discovered, unsurprisingly, that they continue to get easier and easier.

A post shared by Wyn Masters (@wynmasters) on

When all the factors finally come together, a perfectly-executed wheelie is a sight to behold.