Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bernina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    71

    Small Boy vs. The Ledge (The Boy Won)

    Hubby and I were out riding yesterday. We met an mtb family that included a small boy, about 11 years old. He was on a 26'er that seemed for him to be the equivalent of a man riding a 29'er.

    I was rolling along with the boy behind me. I reached a 14" ledge that I won't climb because I can't lift my front wheel that high. I stopped and stood parallel to the ledge to give the boy room to stop. To my astonishment, the boy lifted his wheel less than half the height of the ledge and effortlessly rolled up and over! Even my hubby and the boy's father struggled to get up this ledge, but not the boy.

    So I get that what the boy did was all about weight distribution, but what surprised me was that he easily got over the ledge without lifting his front wheel the full height. I thought that the goal of wheel lifts was to place your wheel on top of the ledge and then unweight the rear wheel to get the rest of the bike up and over.

    How do you all get up ledges? Do you lift your wheel high enough to place it ON a ledge or just high enough to reduce the height that the front wheel has to finish rolling up?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: t0pcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    438
    Motorcycle trials riders call this the double blip method for steps, the first blip or pedal is to lift the front tire so it hits the lip of the step, the second blip or pedal is when the front tire contacts the step which puts additional pressure on the rear tire for sure traction at which pount you pitch the bike forward so the rear tire makes it up. It is not necessary or always the best thing to do trying to clear an obstacle withthe front tire. hope this helps.

    Advanced Double-Blip Trials Jump on Vimeo vid to show technique
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,172
    Practice wheelies. Get in a good gear to power up, one you won't spin out in. I need to get my wheel up on top of the rock /log. Get your dominate foot just past the top of the pedal stroke, push down, pull up with your arms, easy. Of course I'm a 6'4" guy on a 29er. What kind of bike are you riding? The last part, butt up off of seat, then push your bars forward and the rear wheel should get up over the lip. Brain Lopes has an excellent book about all thing mt biking. Good luck.

  4. #4
    fashion ho
    Reputation: Katz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,531
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina View Post
    ...So I get that what the boy did was all about weight distribution, but what surprised me was that he easily got over the ledge without lifting his front wheel the full height. I thought that the goal of wheel lifts was to place your wheel on top of the ledge and then unweight the rear wheel to get the rest of the bike up and over.
    Bike trials riders use that technique (ie, bumping the front wheel) also, but usually on obstacles too tall to place the front wheel on. IMO, unless you want to learn how to hop up on a 4-foot tall ledge, I think you'll be better served simply learning to lift the front wheel higher.


    Which brings me to a question. How are you trying to lift the front wheel?

    It's a little more difficult for women to lift the front wheel by weight transfer, simply because you ladies are generally lighter while women-specific bikes aren't much (any if at all) lighter than men's bikes. A middle-aged guy with beer gut like me moving my body around transfers a lot more weight than a 120-lb woman doing the same motion.

    If you haven't tried already, learn how to lift the front wheel by using the force from pedaling - Basically wheelie, like Leeboh suggested. Leg muscles are among the strongest muscle in a human body, and you can also get extra leverage by using lower gear.

    The most difficult part of wheelie, aside from overcoming the fear of falling on your butt (always one finger on the rear brake lever), is the coordination between your upper body and legs. You will have to shift your weight towards back a little, and give the pedals smooth but strong crank at the right moment. If you get the timing right, your front wheel will loft effortlessly, much higher than 14".

    I wrote some tutorial-ish stuff a while ago with some videos. It's the post #21 in the thread linked below. I hope it helps you.

    Best FS manual hop wheelie

  5. #5
    Team Chilidog!
    Reputation: Stripes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    7,317
    Quote Originally Posted by Katz View Post
    Bike trials riders use that technique (ie, bumping the front wheel) also, but usually on obstacles too tall to place the front wheel on. IMO, unless you want to learn how to hop up on a 4-foot tall ledge, I think you'll be better served simply learning to lift the front wheel higher.


    Which brings me to a question. How are you trying to lift the front wheel?

    It's a little more difficult for women to lift the front wheel by weight transfer, simply because you ladies are generally lighter while women-specific bikes aren't much (any if at all) lighter than men's bikes. A middle-aged guy with beer gut like me moving my body around transfers a lot more weight than a 120-lb woman doing the same motion.

    If you haven't tried already, learn how to lift the front wheel by using the force from pedaling - Basically wheelie, like Leeboh suggested. Leg muscles are among the strongest muscle in a human body, and you can also get extra leverage by using lower gear.

    The most difficult part of wheelie, aside from overcoming the fear of falling on your butt (always one finger on the rear brake lever), is the coordination between your upper body and legs. You will have to shift your weight towards back a little, and give the pedals smooth but strong crank at the right moment. If you get the timing right, your front wheel will loft effortlessly, much higher than 14".

    I wrote some tutorial-ish stuff a while ago with some videos. It's the post #21 in the thread linked below. I hope it helps you.

    Best FS manual hop wheelie
    Thanks for the post.

    I can do about a 1/2 stroke worth of a wheelie.. I just can't get the front wheel to stay up there. And I can only do it with one leg and not the other (not really practical on a trail since I don't usually ratchet uphill ). If you have suggestions on how to keep the front wheel up on a pedal wheelie, I'm all for it

    Please keep posting tips. That's really helpful, seriously.

    You did say something that kinda bugs me: Why do you assume we all ride WSD bikes? Neither of my bikes are WSD. One of them is easy to wheelie (it's a Yeti DJ), and the other one I haven't tired yet (Mojo HD, just got it).

    Also, to be fair, I see guys yank up on the bars all the time. It's not just a female issue. You'd be amazed at how many guys tell me to "yank up on the bars" instead of using proper technique.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  6. #6
    fashion ho
    Reputation: Katz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,531
    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    You did say something that kinda bugs me: Why do you assume we all ride WSD bikes? Neither of my bikes are WSD. One of them is easy to wheelie (it's a Yeti DJ), and the other one I haven't tired yet (Mojo HD, just got it).

    Also, to be fair, I see guys yank up on the bars all the time. It's not just a female issue. You'd be amazed at how many guys tell me to "yank up on the bars" instead of using proper technique.
    Umm, I didn't mean for that to come across in some kind of a sexist way, and yeah, I see a lot of guys yanking on the handle bars attempting wheelies, which was the point of me making that video in the first place in an effort to illustrate that it takes very little effort to lift the front wheel up by pedaling if done right.

    I'm just saying, again generally speaking, female riders tend to be lighter. And when it comes to lifting the front wheel up by weight transfer (manual and bunnyhop), the ratio of your body weight and bike weight comes into play. It's much easier for a 200-lb guy to throw a 30-lb bike around than a 120-lb woman trying to do the same thing on a similar bike. A pound off the front end is VERY noticeable when lifting the front wheel up strictly by weight transfer even for a heavy guy like me. So I was just implying to the OP that she can use pedals if she is having difficulty getting the wheel up.


    Now as far as your problem goes... It's tough to pin point it over the internet, but I can list a couple of possible causes.

    After you roll a wheelie for half a crank, what happens? Does the front wheel come back down despite you keep pedaling, or perhaps your legs are momentarily stalling when pedals reach top/bottom of the stroke?

    If it's the former, you definitely need to lean back more. Try practicing it like my first video. Keep one foot on the ground so when you lean too far back, the bike will just loop out forward. Relax your upper body and keep arms stretched once the front wheel comes up. You will know when you get in the right balance point.

    If it's the latter, try lowering the saddle. It's tough to sustain wheelie with the saddle in high XC postiion. And possibly different cog in the back might help. If you can go longer with a smaller rear cog, you're still relying a bit much on pedaling so you should lean back more just a hair.

    It's OK if you can only do it with one leg. Once you can roll wheelie for 10~20 feet, you can start worrying about starting it with the other foot, off the saddle, etc.

    Also do you have any sort of video recording device? If you do, take the video of yourself in high fps and watch it slow-mo. You can learn a lot by comparing it to other people's videos.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bernina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    71
    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. The double-blip looks like what the boy did but I'll focus on getting my wheel up higher to place it ON the ledge.

    I'm on an XXS Pivot Mach 4. The bike is considered X-country but the head tube angle on the tiny Pivots is pretty slack, presumably to prevent toe overlap. I'm 5'1" and weigh about 130#, maybe 140# with all of my gear, so I'm a light-weight but not a feather-weight.

    I have been using the pedal push but still can't get my front wheel more than about 6" off the ground. I'm pretty sure that I've been pulling up on the handlebars and not shifting my upper body weight back. I'll try more of a body weight shift next time.

    Katz, I scoffed at your claim that a front wheel can be effortlessly lofted 14" until I watched your videos. Those demonstrations are amazing to me! The slo-mo is very helpful. Thanks!

  8. #8
    fashion ho
    Reputation: Katz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,531
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina View Post
    ...I have been using the pedal push but still can't get my front wheel more than about 6" off the ground. I'm pretty sure that I've been pulling up on the handlebars and not shifting my upper body weight back. I'll try more of a body weight shift next time.
    Also try experimenting with different gear as well as timing of pedaling relative to when you lean back. Let's say you ride with your right foot forward, you want the right pedal to be around 2 o'clock position looking at the bike from drive side just as you lean back. Effectively combining the two forces, weight transfer and pedaling torque, is the key.

    Also notice in the first vid, I'm crouching down before I lean back, compressing the fork. The fork rebound helps boosting the front wheel up also. This is optional, but it will help when you are learning.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Bernina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    71
    Thanks for the additional hints. I think that I'm timing the pedal push and the "handlebar yank" correctly. Hopefully my muscle memory will translate when I substitute leaning back for yanking on the bars. I'll also try fork compression and rebound but all of that is a lot to coordinate while approaching a ledge. I think I'll go back to practicing on curbs for awhile

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: t0pcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    438
    you could try to lower your seat just slightly which would allow you to slide your butt and upper body back which might make a difference for you? its worth a try anyway. It funny trying to learn some of these types of moves sometimes,you'll try and try and then by accident you'll do something just slightly different and wow it works! Used to ride trials it was a real ***** to learn at an older age sometimes i'd go out and practice something all day and not be able to do it and the next day go out and make it first try then stand there wondering what i did different and there was nothing different just nailed the timeing, it is everything!
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  11. #11
    Team Chilidog!
    Reputation: Stripes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    7,317
    Quote Originally Posted by Katz View Post
    Umm, I didn't mean for that to come across in some kind of a sexist way, and yeah, I see a lot of guys yanking on the handle bars attempting wheelies, which was the point of me making that video in the first place in an effort to illustrate that it takes very little effort to lift the front wheel up by pedaling if done right.
    It didn't. My personal issues are with WSD crap

    I'm just saying, again generally speaking, female riders tend to be lighter. And when it comes to lifting the front wheel up by weight transfer (manual and bunnyhop), the ratio of your body weight and bike weight comes into play. It's much easier for a 200-lb guy to throw a 30-lb bike around than a 120-lb woman trying to do the same thing on a similar bike. A pound off the front end is VERY noticeable when lifting the front wheel up strictly by weight transfer even for a heavy guy like me. So I was just implying to the OP that she can use pedals if she is having difficulty getting the wheel up.
    How about a 180 lb woman? While I have 180 lbs my upper body isn't nearly as strong as a guy's. I'm not saying you're stereotyping (you're not--I think you provide a lot of good discussion actually), but be aware that women have all sorts of shapes and sizes and different issues because of it.

    I have a hard time lifting up the front mainly because I'm afraid of looping out. I don't think that varies as much between men and women: some of us just don't like the idea of ending up on our butt than others.

    Now as far as your problem goes... It's tough to pin point it over the internet, but I can list a couple of possible causes.

    After you roll a wheelie for half a crank, what happens? Does the front wheel come back down despite you keep pedaling, or perhaps your legs are momentarily stalling when pedals reach top/bottom of the stroke?

    If it's the former, you definitely need to lean back more. Try practicing it like my first video. Keep one foot on the ground so when you lean too far back, the bike will just loop out forward. Relax your upper body and keep arms stretched once the front wheel comes up. You will know when you get in the right balance point.

    If it's the latter, try lowering the saddle. It's tough to sustain wheelie with the saddle in high XC postiion. And possibly different cog in the back might help. If you can go longer with a smaller rear cog, you're still relying a bit much on pedaling so you should lean back more just a hair.
    It's the latter. Thanks! I didn't even think that it's the saddle height. I'll also try moving the gears up one and see if that helps. Much appreciated!

    It's OK if you can only do it with one leg. Once you can roll wheelie for 10~20 feet, you can start worrying about starting it with the other foot, off the saddle, etc.

    Also do you have any sort of video recording device? If you do, take the video of yourself in high fps and watch it slow-mo. You can learn a lot by comparing it to other people's videos.
    Oh sweet! Thanks for the advice. I'm going to see if I can get some video footage to see what I'm doing wrong. And as much as I hate this idea, I might have to try it in *shudder* spandex instead of my baggies to see what my legs are doing.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  12. #12
    fashion ho
    Reputation: Katz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,531
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina View Post
    Thanks for the additional hints. I think that I'm timing the pedal push and the "handlebar yank" correctly. Hopefully my muscle memory will translate when I substitute leaning back for yanking on the bars. I'll also try fork compression and rebound but all of that is a lot to coordinate while approaching a ledge. I think I'll go back to practicing on curbs for awhile
    I would just practice it on flat ground, unless you want a curb for a reference point. The most important thing is getting consistent and building confidence lifting the front wheel. Once you can lift whenever/wherever you want, it will get a lot less intimidating approaching a ledge.


    Quote Originally Posted by t0pcat View Post
    ...It funny trying to learn some of these types of moves sometimes,you'll try and try and then by accident you'll do something just slightly different and wow it works! Used to ride trials it was a real ***** to learn at an older age sometimes i'd go out and practice something all day and not be able to do it and the next day go out and make it first try then stand there wondering what i did different and there was nothing different just nailed the timeing, it is everything!
    Yes indeed. I rode flatland freestyle for a couple of years when I was in my late teen years so I know the feeling. You pull off a trick out of blue after spending hours and hours getting nowhere.



    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    but be aware that women have all sorts of shapes and sizes and different issues because of it.
    Absolutely.

    I have a hard time lifting up the front mainly because I'm afraid of looping out. I don't think that varies as much between men and women: some of us just don't like the idea of ending up on our butt than others.
    Make sure your rear brake works good consistently (my old Formula Rx brakes had tendency to go on lunch/wine break without notice, darn Italians), and always have one finger on the lever. Learn to bail out by jumping off the pedals and land behind the rear tire.

    It's the latter. Thanks! I didn't even think that it's the saddle height. I'll also try moving the gears up one and see if that helps. Much appreciated!
    In the vid, I have my saddle slammed but that's mostly for practice purposes. Find a spot where your legs are still relaxed and bent at the bottom of the stroke, but not so cramped at the top.

    Also once you start rolling wheelie, you'll kick out knees for side to side balance, and that's going to be difficult when your legs are all stretched out.

    Try one cog up, and if you like it, try one more up. If not, go lower. Find whatever works for you.


    Good luck to you ladies, and report back when you make some progress or got more questions.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,172
    A few more thoughts. Try practicing on flat grass, with flat pedals and knee and elbow pads. As someone who has been practicing since 2nd grade, I can only get about 20 ' or 3-4 pedal strokes on a good wheelie. The finger on the rear brake is a good one. You'll be surprised how far up the front wheel can go without looping out. It is hard to get all three moves working together. Handlebar pull up together with the pedal stroke and lean back.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MSU Alum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    1,071
    I probably missed someone mentioning this, but you don't have to bring the front tire all the way up onto the top of the step. Lifting it enough to allow your forward motion to continue will be enough, in most cases.

Similar Threads

  1. Talk me off the ledge, I'm about to jump!
    By utahheadgear in forum Brake Time
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 12-16-2012, 09:58 AM
  2. Small Frames for Small Riders
    By Davidcopperfield in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 70
    Last Post: 06-14-2012, 09:53 AM
  3. Chain rub in the small ring on the small cogs.
    By ziscwg in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-16-2012, 09:19 PM
  4. Crazy ledge riding video
    By ptbo_mac in forum Eastern Canada
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-29-2011, 12:33 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •