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  1. #1
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    Please Help Me Learn How to Manual!

    So I've been trying to learn how to manual and I'm not getting much progress. I have a 29er which might make it more difficult. I have tried many different things to help me learn like turning around my stem but it didn't help much. A lot of tutorial videos mentioned that it is helpful to push with your feet but I found that very difficult to do. I can pull the handlebars up very high but not high enough so that i can balance.

    Should I try practicing this on a smaller bike like a 26er or a BMX bike or should i just keep practicing on the bike I have?

    I also heard that it is important to be able to wheelie before you attempt to master the manual, is that true because i find the wheelie much harder than the manual and don't want to have to learn to do that.

    Any tips will help.

  2. #2
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    29er isn't gonna make it easy. I can just manual my SE Stout with the seat down. Don't think "pull the handle-bars" or "push with your feet". It is more of a weight shift. On my Double I can manual easier because of geo and 26er. When I was learning I watched Ryan Leech on you-tube. He gives a good tutorial while making it look effortless.

  3. #3
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    Yeah I might want to try it on a 26er and then adapt to my 29er after I become more familiar with the correct form to manual.

  4. #4
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    Bigger wheel is harder to master. I could manual for days on a 20" but can't manage more then a few bike lengths on a trail bike. On a 26" dirt jump I can get into the sweet spot because the seat is slammed.

    You really need to get you but way behind the axle. Bend your knees and lock your elbows as you lean back. Your going to land on your ass a bunch of times so maybe start on the grass. A slight downhill will help.


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  5. #5
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    Big wheels will make it tougher... also your geometry of your bike will make it harder. Trail bikes, especially 29ers have long TT, long chain stays, and low bottom brackets. Low bb's and long chain stays will make it feel very stable and difficult to manual. This is why smaller wheeled bikes like bmx or cruisers are easier to manual. You will also see that park specific bikes are easier to manual than dirt specific.
    I would strongly suggest learning to wheelie first. It will help you to learn balance and the upper body motion is similar. It isn't really a "pulling" of the bars with your arms. Your arms should stay relatively straight. You will bring your chest over the stem, assume the atrack possition. Then quickly shift your upper body backwards while pushing through the bottom bracket with your feet. Once the bike is up you will be able to adjust your balance by bringing your hips in and out.

  6. #6
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    Ok thanks, I decided to try and learn the wheelie and within a couple of hours found that the wheelie is much easier than it seems and can now wheelie a couple of feet but need more practice to be more consistent and comfortable with the balancing point.

  7. #7
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    I have always found wheelying easier than the manual because the torque generated by pedaling helps loft the front end and keep it up.

    I can manual a couple bike lengths or through a smallish [3'] set of doubles, but cannot keep it up like you see the pros in the videos. I envy the way they can pump their legs and just keep that front wheel up forever. I think that skill is pretty rare though because the only time I ever see it is in videos.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaHag View Post
    . . . . I think that skill is pretty rare though because the only time I ever see it is in videos.
    Yeah, I mean it does take a while to get good at, but most intermediate-level BMX'ers do em. Whether on street or on bmx race tracks. It's just one of those fundamentals like bunnyhopping (or ollies, in skateboarding).
    ; )

  9. #9
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    I would also agree... go to any skate park/bike park/bmx track and you will see kids ripping out manuals to trick back to manual... it is for sure easier on the smaller wheels... It takes time and practice to get good and some people are always better than others and the younger you started, probably the better you will be.... just keep practicing... nothing better to do in the spring when its too wet to ride dirt!

  10. #10
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Mt. View Post
    So I've been trying to learn how to manual and I'm not getting much progress. I have a 29er which might make it more difficult. I have tried many different things to help me learn like turning around my stem but it didn't help much. A lot of tutorial videos mentioned that it is helpful to push with your feet but I found that very difficult to do. I can pull the handlebars up very high but not high enough so that i can balance.

    Should I try practicing this on a smaller bike like a 26er or a BMX bike or should i just keep practicing on the bike I have?

    I also heard that it is important to be able to wheelie before you attempt to master the manual, is that true because i find the wheelie much harder than the manual and don't want to have to learn to do that.

    Any tips will help.
    I can manual all my bikes (20", 22", 24", 26"), but when I borrowed a friend's Kona 29'er hard tail xc for a couple of weeks last year, I could not do it. As cglasford said, the front end is just too long, back end long, long stem; it was damn near impossible to get in the "sweet spot" far enough behind the back wheel to make it work. And I'm 6'1" with long arms. Maybe if I could have set it up with a short stem (or a smaller frame), it might have worked.

    Check out this thread:
    Problmes with manual

    a lil hop to manual:
    cmc4130 on Pinkbike

  11. #11
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    I am only about 118 lbs (I'm only 14), so could my low weight make my weight shift have less of an effect because I have a lot of trouble with getting the tire up high enough even though I feel like I am doing the correct form...? Whenever i shift my weight back and straighten out my arms i feel like my shoulders are being pulled down. Any tips to prevent this?

  12. #12
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    Doesn't matter what you weigh. When shifting yer weight back, think about almost scraping yer butt over the slammed seat. Arms and shoulders should be almost motionless, its yer butt that does all the work.

  13. #13
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    That pulling is called gravity

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  14. #14
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    How tall are you? you might struggle to get the needed leverage on a bigger bike like a xc 29er... but really it is all about the motion and snap... have you ever done a kettle bell swing?

    The motion is pretty similar. most of the power is in you hips and legs.

    The first thing I would do is try and loop out (go over backwards)... that way you know how far you can go... so get your flats and just try and over manual... once you know that point you should have a pretty good idea of how much force you will need to use to get the bike up to a point where you can manual it, the sweet spot.

    good luck

  15. #15
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    This bike does appear to have a short stem and not-super-long frame:

    "Manual on 29er"

    Manual on 29er - YouTube

  16. #16
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    Learning it on flat ground will translate faster to multi-bump manuals. Manualling doubles will give you the feeling, prewheelying the first jump of a double will help the leg motion get learned, but then the strength and solidity needed for long ones really seems to be built on the flats. That's what Romero says in his videos, too...

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