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  1. #1
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    Manual Machine - will it help me learn?

    I can't manual. I can barely wheelie for 5 yards. I've tried to learn to manual but it's not progressing.

    I can do this sort of thing with my bad bunny hop technique. But if I could learn to manual, it would be a great start to better bunny hops and jumps:

    https://youtu.be/B4_L0ctHUQ4


    But could this manual machine help me?

    https://sender-ramps.com/?fbclid=IwA...x4nFpHNzgMUbuI

  2. #2
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    I think Skills with Phil or GMBN did a video on how to make your own manual trainer. I wonder how many young BMX rippers use these sort of aids for training?

  3. #3
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    it might help, worth a shot

    the game changer for me was focusing on getting out in front, and pushing the bike forward.

    https://www.bikejames.com/strength/h...hop-your-bike/

    that, and pumptrack time helped a shit ton

  4. #4
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    That rig looks dope. GMBN definitely has vid for building one. I just watched it. I don't think it's as versatile. Just straight manuals cuz your bike sits on a plank. But probly only $30 or so.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lollygaggin View Post
    that, and pumptrack time helped a shit ton
    Lollygaggin -- What particular exercises/drills did you do at pump track to help your manual? I'd love if you could share them, since I suck and want to suck less.

  6. #6
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    Problem I've found using these stationary manual machines, if that the lift is not realistic. It's pretty easy to thrust the hips back and up to get the lift when the back wheel is planted in place. Whole different ballgame when you're whole bike is active without any bump-stops.

    I've thought a more realistic one to build would have the entire platform on a set of rollers so that the unit would slide back and forth creating a more realistic lift n hold feel.

    BTW, I suck at manualling. Never learned how to do it it or wheelie in my bMX days, so now I'm 45 and kinda jammed against the fear of busting my butt going over backwards.
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  7. #7
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    I held off responding to the thread as my manual is no where near as good as my wheelies, not sure if I can be the spoke person on this subject. But, instead of building a manual machine, as a kid, I used to lean my bike against the wall next to the stair case and try to find balance point. This was the days when I didn't know how to hop around on the rear wheel. However, what really did the trick for me was a 20" bmx and practice after practice after practice. Smaller wheels allowed a much easier effort to loop yourself over compared to a full size bike with 100mm XC stem.

    My current manual took 6 years of two-three times a week half an hour practice during lunch. Some skills you must put the time into it. The smaller wheels make it easier to get the feel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin_sbay View Post
    Lollygaggin -- What particular exercises/drills did you do at pump track to help your manual? I'd love if you could share them, since I suck and want to suck less.
    It was the progression of speed - without pedaling

    I found at a certain level of speed, think mostly around tightly spaced rollers, it felt good to leave the front up, and just pump the back - providing a good opportunity to practice the manual motion (which is really a lot of kicking out with your feet).

    I would also try stuff like starting from a trackstand, and see how many rollers it takes to get up to top speed.

  9. #9
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    FYI, if you use a manual machine, you need to take your chain off. The chain provides tension for your cranks that you'll naturally use, but you won't have that tension when you're actually manualing your bike. So you may rock on the manual machine with the chain on, and find it's totally different when you actually try to manual. Also, small wheels are easier to manual. My 29er is definitely harder to manual than my 27.5 bike, even with the same reach and a shorter wheelbase.

    Here's my contraption.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Manual Machine - will it help me learn?-img_2480.jpg  

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    Pivot Mach 5.5

  10. #10
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    I'm not really a fan of the manual machines. I think the action it trains is too isolated when compared to what goes on with an unassisted manual. If what is holding you back is that specific action then sure, manual machine away, but if not then I think it's better to just practice a lot and practice/develop the whole thing together.

    For instance when I was first learning to manual I found that I'd pull harder with my dominant arm and skew the whole thing to one side. I can't imagine the manual trainer would help me correct that imbalance.

    I think folks should remember that these things take lots of practice, the muscle memory won't develop in a day (though it might overnight) and the best training/practice safety is the rear brake and/or knowing how to bail. Also it's easier to balance when carrying a bit more speed (but seriously cover that rear brake).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lollygaggin View Post
    It was the progression of speed - without pedaling

    I found at a certain level of speed, think mostly around tightly spaced rollers, it felt good to leave the front up, and just pump the back - providing a good opportunity to practice the manual motion (which is really a lot of kicking out with your feet).

    I would also try stuff like starting from a trackstand, and see how many rollers it takes to get up to top speed.
    Thank you. Some valuable insight, which I will put to use when the rain clears and track dries... hopefully soon!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin_sbay View Post
    Thank you. Some valuable insight, which I will put to use when the rain clears and track dries... hopefully soon!
    no problem my dude, hope it helps

    have you been to lake cunningham? thats been my go to spot for pumptrack/dirt jump

    Need to call them and see if they have the dirt stuff draining well.

  13. #13
    Mr. Buck E. Fikes
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    I know the plans are all over out there but is there any consensus on a good manual machine build/plans? I think I'm gonna do one.

  14. #14
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    I built a manual machine. It was kindof a fun project and only cost $15 in wood and an hour or 2 of time.

    I haven't found it very helpful for learning manuals. As others have said, it is much easier to loft the front wheel on the machine vs a real manual. It is a good core workout though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    My current manual took 6 years of two-three times a week half an hour practice during lunch. Some skills you must put the time into it. The smaller wheels make it easier to get the feel.
    You could have learned Mandarin with all that effort ! I don't see myself ever putting in the time to get it. If I could go back to being a kid I would cut my video gaming down by 50% and be a damned wizard old man on the bike by now.

  16. #16
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    I canít and didnít try until this year, im 48. With all things bicycle I strongly feel you use the bike and only the bike. Rip Row, manual boxes, scooter bikes...if its meant to be you would have the skills to manual using your bike without attachments. Cheat codes donít work with mtn biking. Clearing 12í gaps, tail whips, riding chunk - gotta learn the good ol fashioned way.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lollygaggin View Post
    no problem my dude, hope it helps

    have you been to lake cunningham? thats been my go to spot for pumptrack/dirt jump

    Need to call them and see if they have the dirt stuff draining well.
    Looking forward to Lake Cunningham summer hours, for my first visit. Right now, it's only Sat/Sun for the bike park I think the small track (Calabasas) near me doesn't really have rollers but more peaks, meant for jumping.

    I did remember your post/suggestion when riding John Nicholas Trail today. They have some rolling sections, and practicing pumping/manuals was AWESOME!

  18. #18
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    https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mt...rom-fluidride/

    Saw this and thought of you guys. Much easier than building a manual machine.

    I still hold my original comment, relentless real life practice is a must, and it takes years to get results.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Mackenzie View Post
    I wonder how many young BMX rippers use these sort of aids for training?
    Zero. These things are strictly limited to middle-age and beyond MTBers who bought dropper posts thinking THAT would be the magic purchase that would make them all of a sudden be able to manual. Turned out that didn't work, so time go shopping for something else!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Zero. These things are strictly limited to middle-age and beyond MTBers who bought dropper posts thinking THAT would be the magic purchase that would make them all of a sudden be able to manual. Turned out that didn't work, so time go shopping for something else!
    Yep, my son learned to manual in about a week when he was 10 or 11 years old. But he also thinks falling is fun! He broke both arms at Skeggs last year, his response, 'it's worth it.'

  21. #21
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    I like how so many people seem to want to skip learning to wheelie before learning to manual. IMHO, if you can't figure out how to ride a wheelie, you sure as hell aren't going to learn to manual, klugey contraption or no klugey contraption.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    I still hold my original comment, relentless real life practice is a must, and it takes years to get results.
    Depends on the person and skill level. I know someone that went from not being about to wheelie at all, to being able to manual down singletrack in less than a year.

    *Definitely not me. I cannot wheelie to save my life. And I donít even try to manual.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Depends on the person and skill level. I know someone that went from not being about to wheelie at all, to being able to manual down singletrack in less than a year.

    *Definitely not me. I cannot wheelie to save my life. And I donít even try to manual.

    If one practice half an hour a day, everyday, then that is triple the amount of practice i put in. Is all in the time spent practicing. It gets pretty boring though after a while. I cant do it for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    If one practice half an hour a day, everyday, then that is triple the amount of practice i put in. Is all in the time spent practicing. It gets pretty boring though after a while. I cant do it for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.
    Iím pretty sure they only practiced while on normal rides. Therefore not dedicating much (if any) specific time for practicing wheelies/manuals.

  25. #25
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    Yeah, some people just get it like it's second nature.

    I'm not one of them. My son is. Pisses me off.
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  26. #26
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    manual gene, youth and practice.

    That's what it takes IMHO. You can do it with only one or two elements but it you have be one of the few, the chosen, the 1%er. Or you have to do a heck of a lot more of the practice part. And if old guys are owning it, they prolly learned it when they were yutes.

    I think the most important element is the practice. Many downplay it but the ones who do it well have practiced it thousands of times. It's all they do it seems. Annoying.

    Whenever I'm on a media trip in Europe, the euro journos pull a manual beside me. There we are, descending a connector mountain road at 20mph and these 6 euro guys pull a manual downhill. Us two old guys just twiddle our thumbs. No one has taken me out yet.
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  27. #27
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    This is an interesting way to learn.


  28. #28
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    I work on a number of things during my sessions, and I was able to get familiar with the magical balance point very quickly.

    trackstands/pumping/Wheelies/Manual/Bunnyhops/drops/figure8s/rearwheel lift&turn/endos

    and its helped my flow on the trail so much its been super easy to get motivated to practice.

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