How to Wheelie a Mountain Bike Like a Pro

How to Wheelie a Mountain Bike

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It takes a lot of practice to master how to do a wheelie on a mountain bike. Every cyclist who knows how to ride a wheelie on a mountain bike started learning some mountain bike wheelie tips. Learning to wheelie is more than just a cool trick.

It’s time-consuming and one of the most challenging moves you can ever try. Some World Cup racers cannot ride a good wheelie without kissing the earth.

But kids can do them because they put a lot of time into learning them. We will teach you not just how to do a wheelie but also how to do a long one on a mountain bike.

How to Wheelie a Mountain Bike

Step 1

Make sure your mountain bike is mechanically fit. It would be best if you practiced on the grass with an MTB rather than a road bike. Lower your saddle, shift to a lower gear, and always have your helmet on. Also, keep your finger over the back brake.

Step 2

Ride along slowly, straight, in a low gear. Lean forward slightly and be ready to throw all your weight behind.

Step 3

Throw your weight back, pull up on your MTB bars, and pedal hard, all done simultaneously. This will raise the front wheel of the ground.

Step 4

Continue pedaling hard until you feel some balance, and once you come to that balance point that you’ll feel, modulate the pressure on your pedals to maintain the position. Always have your finger on the back brake. In case the wheelie goes too high, you can always position it back by braking slightly.

Related: Drifting Your Bike Like a Pro

Tips to Help Perfect Your Wheelie Skills

The sideways balance issue should be solved early. If you wait too long, it may be impossible to recover. Control the sideways balance by sticking out your foot or knee. Turning the handlebar to the opposite side helps as well. Just ensure the front wheel is facing forward by the time you come down.

We recommend wheeling on flat pedals. Clipped-in pedals will make it harder to stick out your foot when you are off-balance. If you are a beginner, try wheelie on slightly inclined ground. Practice hopping off from the back to make the learning process easier.

There’s nothing like a perfect balance. Not even the inexperienced get it. You will always be hovering around your balance point, plus or minus. Slowly, you’ll learn how to current your balance.


  • Keep your weight off your handlebars once the front wheel lifts from the ground.
  • Don’t pedal too fast. The faster you move, the more uncontrollable the stunt becomes.

How Do You Wheelie a Pedal on a Bike?

Most kids who cycle are expert wheelies, and some adults feel a secret shame that they cannot pull such. People are not the same, and some will take less than 10 hours to master the skill. It might taker others days or even eternity to perform their first successful wheelie.

If you are trying to learn how to pop a wheelie on a mountain bike, you must dedicate yourself to it and be ready for some falls.

Your learning period also depends on how your balance. Above all, you need to take care of your inner fears. People crash and break bones while racing.

The worst a wheelie can do is leave you with a bruise or minor cut. remember to cover the rear brake. It will help you balance and return the front wheel to the ground when you come across obstacles.

Some professionals recommend learning how to ride a wheelie on a mountain bike for half an hour every day instead of taking longer sessions.

At first, you will feel like you are achieving nothing but with time, as you keep on trying, your success ratio will improve. Pedaling on low gears while your finger is hovering around your rear brake, and you’ll get a hack of it in due time.

How Do You Pop a Wheelie on a Mountain Bike?

Pop a wheelie is lifting the front wheel to perform a wheelie. It’s advisable to wear a helmet, gloves, and pads for your safety.

Moreover, you will feel more confident to pop a wheelie. Lowering your seat will lower your center of gravity and improve your balance. When the seat is in a lower position, the upper body will move back and forward at ease and offer you the flexibility you need.

Your power pedal should be at around 2 o’clock before your start, and you should force it to 5 o’clock with your upper body pulling backward and you pulling the handlebars up. Keep lifting the front until you find the perfect balancing point, and continue pedaling smoothly to maintain a wheelie longer.

Suppose you feel yourself falling forward, pedal harder. If you fall backward, brake slightly to bring yourself forward and start pedaling again. To end the wheelie, stop pedaling. You can also tap your rear brake slightly, and the front wheel will touch the ground.

Are Mountain Bikes Good for Wheelies?

Most of us learned how to ride a mountain bike for the first time when we were kids. Being able to ride a bike on your own without the safety wheels was such an achievement that deserved celebration. It was also the first step to many adventures with a bike.

Some kids wheelie with a BMX bike, and it seems more complex for an adult to master how to wheelie a mountain bike than a kid does with their BMX bike.

Mountain bikes are the most suitable bikes for wheelieing. Though you can also wheelie with a road or cyclocross bike, mountain bikes are more convenient.

They come with shock absorbers and also an excellent braking system. It gives you an advantage when performing various tricks effectively without throwing safety out of the window.

MTB can run on rough terrain, dirt, over roots, and rocks with close to no impact. This is the best bike to get if you are a beginner and want to learn how to wheelie on a mountain bike and other tricks to show off to your friends and family. What’s more, a mountain bike handles different weight classes and heights. It’s a lot of fun.

Is it Harder to Wheelie a 29er?

Popping a wheelie is easier when you are riding a 26er, but when you try doing it with a 29er, it may be more challenging than you thought.

It only makes sense that it would be different. You have to bring your body further back to get over the rear axle and find your balance. Most niner owners spend most of the time with the wheels on the ground. 26er is more preferred for bunny hopping and pulling wheelies.

That said, it doesn’t mean that you can’t wheelie a niner. Remember there was a time you didn’t even know how to balance on a bike, let alone to ride one, and you’re probably riding every bike you getting your hands on.

If you can wheelie any bike, then you can also do the same with a 29er, after some little practice.

While climbing a steep hill, you try very hard to keep the front wheel down. So, with a 29er, you can practice wheelies on a slight incline. That incline makes it easier to pop a wheelie. The rules are all the same. It’s all about shifting their weight back.

How Do I Make my Wheelie Longer?

If you are learning how to do wheelies, your rear brake might come in handy. You’ll have to get over the balance point, and when you move slightly behind it, pull your break and gain control before pedaling again.

The more you master the skill, the lesser you’ll be pressing that brake lever.  In due time, you’ll no longer need to use your brakes. Professional wheelies don’t use theirs.

They simply slow down on the pedal to regain balance and continue pedaling. Brakes are for reducing your bike’s speed, and that’s what they basically do when you are wheeling, in case you pull them.

To wheelie longer, you’ll have to wheelie faster and like a pro. Then you can start using a harder gear to wheely. The higher the front wheel, the longer your wheelie will last. It takes practice, a lot of practice!

What Gear Should I be into While on a Wheelie?

To pop a wheelie, you need to pedal as smoothly as possible. You’re also required to use the appropriate gear. If you use a very hard one, you won’t be able to pop the front wheel.

If you go with the easy one, you’ll not be able to pedal first enough, and the front wheel will touch the ground. Aim for the 1:1 ratio, which you can try several times.

Try to lower the gears to the most comfortable ones. You don’t have to go first when doing your first wheelie. In fact, you should do it slower.

Set your gears to 1-1 and 1-3 to practice. You can then adjust the gears as you perfect the skill. You should be able to wheelie regardless of the gear you are on. However, a lower gear will help you learn more efficiently.

Avoid standing up on your pedals or taking your weight off the saddle. Your saddle is your balance point. Avoid trying to wheelie for longer on every attempt. It never happens by accident. It takes tens to hundreds of attempts to finally perform a good wheelie.


Are wheelies dangerous?

Yes. A wheelie is dangerous. Just like every other stunt, there’s some danger attached to it. To avoid severe injuries resulting from wheelie gone wrong, wear a helmet and knee and elbow pads. The only threat involved, however, is tipping over and falling, and it’s not severe.

Do wheelies damage your bike?

When done right, a wheelie will not damage your bike, but something terrible will happen to your bike if you do them wrongly. That’s why it’s vital to practice to avoid damaging your bike. Otherwise, you might damage your chain or rear mech when your bike topples over in a wheelie gone wrong.

Are there special bikes for wheelies?

You can do wheelies with any bike immediately to get the trick down. However, some bikes do wheelies better than others. Heavier bikes can be a problem for some people. There are no special bikes for wheelies only. However, a mountain bike is a perfect choice for a wheelie.

How can I perfect my wheelie skill?

Firstly, buy a bike if you don’t have it yet. Connect with friends who love cycling and practicing stunts like wheelies. Always train off-road. Refer to the steps above to help you perfect your skills.

Are wheelies easy?

This is a difficult question, but most stunts are not easy either. Wheelies are easy to practice, but it takes time to perfect them. Some people may have a problem learning it because of their body type or their athletic ability. These and other factors might make it easy or difficult. It depends.

Can you wheelie without gears?

It’s possible but very risky to wheelie on a gearless bike. Gears are essential in helping you control your speed when necessary. Shifting gears makes your wheelie experience incredible.

Can I wheelie on a heavy bike?

Yes, you can wheelie on any mountain bike, regardless of its weight.  The procedure is much the same. You first adjust the seat to a low setting, sit on your bike, and begin with a low or medium gear before bringing your body backward and shifting the cranks to achieve the correct position.

Final Words

Riding a mountain bike is fun, and you can take it a step further by learning some tricks and stunts. The first one you can master quickly is a wheelie.

A mountain bike is suitable for all-terrain and also when riding uphill. So, if you were wondering how to pop a wheelie on a mountain bike, there you have it. Don’t forget about safety.

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Written By

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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