Manual machine day 1- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Manual machine day 1

    Iíve never learned to manual or wheelie and I decided Iíd like to learn to do at least one or the other before I die. It was a really nice day today so I used some scrap wood to make a quick manual cheater machine to see if that can help. After a few adjustments, here was one of my 1st attempts. It is actually easier than I thought it would be with this cheater, but I went to a Grass field afterward and did better than Iíve probably ever done so I am hopeful this will help me progress a little faster. I also figured that posting it here would keep me motivated to keep practicing and try to get better. Any advice tips or tricks are welcomed.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HgmG6q5qvqk


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  2. #2
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    Can you post a photo of you machine you built? I was just thinking about building one of these to help my kids advance their riding skills, and maybe use it myself too. I'm really impressed with how long you were able to balance there!

  3. #3
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    Awesome stuff man! Youíre basically doing a stable manual, you just need to roll. I always strap two pillows to my ass!

  4. #4
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    Were you holding the rear brake? The bike seemed oddly still at the balance point.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid Duffman View Post
    Were you holding the rear brake? The bike seemed oddly still at the balance point.
    This

  6. #6
    fc
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    Nice man. Itís a required skill in europe
    IPA will save America

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Nice man. Itís a required skill in europe
    But in Europe you have to be able to manual while smoking.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    I always strap two pillows to my ass!
    Uh, that is your ass.
    "합니다 행사에서 디비 판매 합니다 관련해" Lesleybien

    Hogan Lake blog. A section of Hogan Lake trails here.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Uh, that is your ass.
    You watch too much Planes, Trains and Automobiles. ĎThose arenít pillows!í

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid Duffman View Post
    Were you holding the rear brake? The bike seemed oddly still at the balance point.
    Yeah since this is my 1st time doing this, I was wondering about that and what is the best way to "simulate" rolling at a constant speed - but my 1st goal was to just try to find the balance point any way I could

    I tried a few different things - after some trial & error, I found that the easiest way was to hold the rear brake before starting the manual to stabilize or else I would roll forward when compressing before shifting back - but then I found it was easier to let go of the rear brake when bringing the front up - this allowed the bike to pivot back easier and then feather the rear brake in conjunction w/ moving to help control how far I tilted back. Once I found the balance point, it was definitely easier to keep it there with the rear brake activated, but I could balance it for a bit with or without the brake once I felt stable

    Again, not sure what the best way to practice is in order to apply it to real world, but would be curious what others think

  11. #11
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    Manual machine day 1

    Quote Originally Posted by richardjohnson View Post
    Can you post a photo of you machine you built? I was just thinking about building one of these to help my kids advance their riding skills, and maybe use it myself too. I'm really impressed with how long you were able to balance there!
    It was easy - took about 30-40 minutes and just used some scraps I found




  12. #12
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    These things aren't really going to do much for you. The challenge of manuals on an MTB isn't finding the initial balance point. I rode BMX for 20 years before touching an MTB, could manual for a quarter mile down SF hills, through rhythm sections, into rails and drops, etc. Got on a MTB for the first time couldn't manual for 10 feet. Took me a long time to get it down on the big bikes and I'm still not great compared to some. Why it's hard to manual an MTB:
    1. BB drop. Your feet functionally go forward for a sec as you lean back, so the balance point is tricky, it's like a parabolic curve instead of a linear progression like a BMX
    2. Rear suspension axle path. It's moving as you lean back, again changing the balance point in a hard to predict way. You'll notice as you start manualing longer you have to readjust after manualing for 5-10 feet as the suspension levels out.
    3. Tons of rolling resistance. You're constantly slowing down unless going down a decent hill, which is trying to drop your front wheel. Some people lean way back and just ride the brake to learn (like you can do on a moto), but you'll never really fully learn to manual this way

    I recommend pumping your shock and rear tire way up, find a 2-3% downhill paved grade that's long, and learning there. It's really hard to loop out an MTB, especially something like a Megatower or similar 29er with longish chainstays and tons of BB drop. Put some flats on and go try to loop out on purpose in the grass/soft ground to find where that point is, you'll realize you should have no fear of looping out one of these big bikes as it's next to impossible.

  13. #13
    fc
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    I wonder if anyone's learned to manual using the manual machine in the last year? How many folks, how long did it take?
    IPA will save America

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWhite415 View Post
    It's really hard to loop out an MTB, especially something like a Megatower or similar 29er with longish chainstays and tons of BB drop. Put some flats on and go try to loop out on purpose in the grass/soft ground to find where that point is, you'll realize you should have no fear of looping out one of these big bikes as it's next to impossible.
    Yeah... that's just wrong. Looping out is dead easy- if it were nearly impossible to do, learning to manual would be easy, which it isn't.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWhite415 View Post
    These things aren't really going to do much for you. The challenge of manuals on an MTB isn't finding the initial balance point. I rode BMX for 20 years before touching an MTB, could manual for a quarter mile down SF hills, through rhythm sections, into rails and drops, etc. Got on a MTB for the first time couldn't manual for 10 feet. Took me a long time to get it down on the big bikes and I'm still not great compared to some. Why it's hard to manual an MTB:
    1. BB drop. Your feet functionally go forward for a sec as you lean back, so the balance point is tricky, it's like a parabolic curve instead of a linear progression like a BMX
    2. Rear suspension axle path. It's moving as you lean back, again changing the balance point in a hard to predict way. You'll notice as you start manualing longer you have to readjust after manualing for 5-10 feet as the suspension levels out.
    3. Tons of rolling resistance. You're constantly slowing down unless going down a decent hill, which is trying to drop your front wheel. Some people lean way back and just ride the brake to learn (like you can do on a moto), but you'll never really fully learn to manual this way

    I recommend pumping your shock and rear tire way up, find a 2-3% downhill paved grade that's long, and learning there. It's really hard to loop out an MTB, especially something like a Megatower or similar 29er with longish chainstays and tons of BB drop. Put some flats on and go try to loop out on purpose in the grass/soft ground to find where that point is, you'll realize you should have no fear of looping out one of these big bikes as it's next to impossible.
    Thanks for the advice - I am practicing on my Canfield Bros. HT w/ flats and semi-slick rear tire w/ pressure at about 40 - had absolutely no problem looping out several times already - I found a slight DH grade on the grass at a nearby park - pavement makes me nervous!

  16. #16
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    Anyone have a link to the super clean pre-fabbed manual machines that were everywhere at Sea Otter?
    I built up a big monstrosity using the wife's old wind trainer. So I can pedal and, theoretically, practice wheelies too.
    I found it helped.
    For sure it helped a lot with the dirt jumper and pump track work.
    It is huge and heavy and awkward though.
    The one at SO looked like the easily came apart into several flat peices.

    It can be stowed flat under the bed with the dusty rowing machine I am supposed to e using

  17. #17
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    I used a grassy area and looped out on purpose a few times. I found the sweet spot pretty well. On a trail (if you ride flats!) you can always throw down both feet and dirt-ski if you overcook the manual.


    Edit - I NEVER seem to reply to the correct thread location unless I quote. I've only been in IT since 1987 so pls forgive me.

  18. #18
    NRP
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    That's pretty cool! How much stress does it put on the rear rim? I'm kinda scared my clumsy ass will tweak my expensive I9 rims if I tried this with my trail bike.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRP View Post
    That's pretty cool! How much stress does it put on the rear rim? I'm kinda scared my clumsy ass will tweak my expensive I9 rims if I tried this with my trail bike.

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    Good question - I thought about this after I started messing around on it - the wheels on that HT are cheap low-end WTBs so I'm not too worried about it, but I might think twice about using expensive wheels - the way I have it set up, if you start to lean too much in either direction, the pieces supporting the rear wheel are fairly flexy and flimsy (probably from some old IKEA furniture) so they give pretty easily and you will have to put a foot down - I didn't really do this on purpose, but I think this forces you to have to center your balance laterally pretty well and takes the stress off the rims

  20. #20
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    Another unforeseen side-effect: I have now practiced for 2 sessions on the machine followed by practicing on the grass - probably about 30 minutes each - I woke up with pretty sore lower back and inner thighs - and I am very active in a lot of activities (mtb, rock climbing, surfing, etc.) so I am using muscles I never use in anything else!

  21. #21
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    [QUOTE=bicyclemech1;1425562
    It can be stowed flat under the bed with the dusty rowing machine I am supposed to e using [/QUOTE]

    Maybe next time you look down there, could see if my Nordic Track is down there, too?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    Another unforeseen side-effect: I have now practiced for 2 sessions on the machine followed by practicing on the grass - probably about 30 minutes each - I woke up with pretty sore lower back and inner thighs - and I am very active in a lot of activities (mtb, rock climbing, surfing, etc.) so I am using muscles I never use in anything else!
    Itís called, not being in your 20ís anymore!

  23. #23
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    Get a long strap on the front wheel so you can't loop it and you can ignore the back brake.
    "My opinions are often more offensive than my *******." - Twindaddy

  24. #24
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    Updates man!

  25. #25
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    I bet specialized is going to build in wheelie control into the next gen of e-bikes...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Updates man!
    After a couple of what felt like productive practice sessions, had to temporarily put things on hold - I was pretty sore for a couple days, then tore a big flap of skin on my palm - mostly from rock climbing but I think practicing this stuff was the final straw - then I had a little crash while "delivering some mail" in SC and while I feel fine, it is slightly uncomfortable to practice so I'm going to give it a couple more days - like you said, not 20 anymore!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctic Pride View Post
    I bet specialized is going to build in wheelie control into the next gen of e-bikes...
    This is a great idea! In fact, why not just skip the bike altogether and make some VR goggles that make u feel like you are manualing!

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