1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Am I too old to wheelie?

    I'm turning 33 and trying to learn to wheelie but can't seem to do it. I've watched a ton of videos online but can barely lift my wheel up to climb a curb and even when I do I feel like I'm going to dislocate my elbow and shoulder. I'm sure I must be doing something wrong or maybe I'm just too old to learn how to wheelie. Whatever the reason it's frustrating..

  2. #2
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    Some people are just better at some things. IMO I'm a skilled rider. Can bunny hoop far and wide. But when it came to wheelies it just wasn't there. Last summer, I made it a point to go into a grass feild, every few days and practice. Now I'm pretty good at em. The grass field is because the first day I made up my mind to practice was on the road. Fell on my ass and started thinkin' hmmm, maybe I'm too old for this. I'm 44.
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  3. #3
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    33? Too old? Ha!

    Just compress your arms down and then pull up, lean back, and pedal hard, making sure your bike is in a low gear. It's also important to know your balance point. Try to flip the bike over backwards, but at the same time, try to catch it with your rear brake. This gives you confidence so that you're less likely to fall back while wheeling. Also, try to keep your wheelie at a constant speed. If you are not at your balance point and try to catch your wheelie by speeding up, you won't hold it for too long.

  4. #4
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    When I compress my arms down and pull back I do it hard and barely get my wheel up and also feel like my whole upper body is going to break. Plus my wheel goes up for just a fraction of a second, 2 weeks back I landed in front of the curb as i was hitting it and nearly flew over the handle bar lol

    I also tried to push the pedal down as I pull back but its hit and miss.

    Actually I think I might record my self trying to do a wheelie and post the video here. maybe you guys can see what I might be doing wrong.

  5. #5
    human dehumidifier
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    Surprising to me that you didn't learn to wheelie as a kid. Even more surprising is "feel like my whole upper body is going to break". It takes a little bit of coordination to do it (obviously because a little bit is all I have) and it sounds like you're not getting things in synch. Seems to me that you'd do better asking another rider to show you how to do it in person too.
    When you get older, much of your hate comes from knowledge and experience, which is why really old people hate everyone

  6. #6
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    Are you on a hardtail or full suspension? Full suspension is much different / harder.

  7. #7
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    Position:

    Shift your weight back just a hair, strong foot forward on the pedals, arms bent, chest towards bars. Have the bike in a relatively high gear.

    Technique:
    Use your strong foot to "power" the rear wheel, unweighting the front. Simultaneously "snap" back to your normal seated position while bringing the bars up with you.

    It seems it is easier to do a wheelie while focusing more on the pedal movement than the bars. For example, if in the correct gear, you should be able to lift your wheel off the ground without even pulling up on the bars.

  8. #8
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    When I was a kid I had this scooter with chunky wheels, kinda like the one below just more cooler looking. I attempted to wheelie it twice and both times I ended up falling off and fracturing my wrist (left hand first, right hand second time). So there probably is some kind of psychological reasoning behind my lack of wheelie skills right now lol



    I'm currently on hard tail waiting for my full suspension to arrive. i guess i need to get this working before i sell off my hard tail. does my height make things more difficult? I'm 6'1 and kinda clumsy so not sure if that makes a difference or not. i should pass by the skate park near my house and ask one of the kids there to show me how to wheelie. some of those kids can bunny hop so high they depress me..

  9. #9
    I4NI
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    Worried about going over? Practice going up hills. You'll reach your balance point earlier and your front wheel is closer to the ground.

    52 here!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssiegrist View Post
    Position:

    Shift your weight back just a hair, strong foot forward on the pedals, arms bent, chest towards bars. Have the bike in a relatively high gear.

    Technique:
    Use your strong foot to "power" the rear wheel, unweighting the front. Simultaneously "snap" back to your normal seated position while bringing the bars up with you.

    It seems it is easier to do a wheelie while focusing more on the pedal movement than the bars. For example, if in the correct gear, you should be able to lift your wheel off the ground without even pulling up on the bars.
    Interesting, maybe my gearing isn't low enough. right now since i ride on flat grounds (i'm in Kuwait it's all flat here) so I always leave the front gear on the biggest one, maybe i've got to shift it into even lower gear and try it that way.

  11. #11
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    I'm still learning as well but have been improving. The biggest thing for me was shifting my weight back more, a lot more. Now I can pull the wheel up easily. I just need to start learning to balance while pedaling.

  12. #12
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    Well i'm not looking to wheelie wheelie, i mean I just want to be able to lift the front wheel high enough so i could climb over obstacles and maybe learn how to bunny hop once i've got that sorted.

  13. #13
    Feral Roadie
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    If you call it a wheelie, instead of a manual, you're too old to be doing them.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbense View Post
    If you call it a wheelie, instead of a manual, you're too old to be doing them.
    He's not trying to manual, just lift the front wheel enough to clear obstacles.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbense View Post
    If you call it a wheelie, instead of a manual, you're too old to be doing them.
    lol had to google manual. I kinda remember the term from Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX on the Dreamcast.

  16. #16
    Picture Unrelated
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    Quote Originally Posted by interdigitate View Post
    I always leave the front gear on the biggest one, maybe i've got to shift it into even lower gear and try it that way.
    Ding ding ding!

    It's way harder to get enough torque with the chain in the big ring, use the middle ring and you'll have an easier time pedaling into the wheelie.

    If you can't get your bike to a position where you can fall over the back of it, then you won't be able to wheelie. Keep practicing until you can pull the wheel so far off the ground that you actually fall backwards (I don't recommend doing this with clipless pedals, I've turtled myself a couple times that way). Wheelies and manuals are not about pulling your bike up to you or pedaling the wheel off the ground, they're more about using your weight shifting to bring the wheel up. I would suggest that you also work on manuals which will teach you the body position you need to maintain your balance over the back wheel.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbense View Post
    If you call it a wheelie, instead of a manual, you're too old to be doing them.
    There IS a difference between wheelies and manuals, btw. You pedal a wheelie, but you don't pedal a manual.

  18. #18
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    I think a maual and a wheelie are two different things. A manual you really dont pedal. Im 40 and I ride "wheelies". edit, Nightman beat me to it and i think he is exactly right.

  19. #19
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    I thought learning a wheelie was the first thing you learned as a kid??

  20. #20
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    36 and I wheelie as much as possible.

  21. #21
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    Put it in 1st gear.... Put your power for at the top of the stroke. While stopped with your weak foot planted an the ground. pedal as hard as you can and pull back hard. The bike should come out from under you but you still have your weak foot to fall onto. Do that then shift up a few gears and do the same thing but moving a little bit. If it goes all the way over be ready to catch yourself. If you can't get it out from under you from that you can try peddling more and more during the wheelie. That's how I learned. I can't ride them for a long time but I can get 10-15 cranks. I hope that was understandable.

  22. #22
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    Try different gears. What works for me is right about in the middle of all the gears (second ring on the front, about the middle on the back). I'm 36 and only bought a bike a few months ago.

  23. #23
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    36 and my kids think it's cool that I can do a wheelie! It helps me to sit far back on the seat so my weight and balance are over the rear tire.

  24. #24
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    You are not too old. I'm 37 and can wheelie and manual with the BMX park kids.

  25. #25
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    its a 120 degrees outside right now so will wait till nightfall and try to get the front wheel up just by dropping down a few gears. I think i'd be a bit more confident to lean further back if I had elbow pads since i'm prone to breaking pretty easily.

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