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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Ladies - looking for some advice and tips to overcome something thats been holding me back from progressing since I started riding mtb a year ago.

And that thing is... getting my front wheel off the ground - on both flat ground and especially when the ground points up, for log obstacles and rock steps.

I can get my wheel up and over anything thats about 15cm high half the time - anything more than that and my co-ordination/bike handling/brain rebels and I need to get off and step over. Its even worse when going up hills, and then I can't even manage to get my wheel up onto logs or rocks less than 15cm. I love a good climb and the local trails are absolutely littered with log obstacles, rock steps and log ramps - so having to get off and walk these is really holding back my progression :mad:

I approach the obstacle in attack position, at walking speed, compress the fork and then unweight the wheel. If I do this on a mild uphill it feels like im going to fall backwards.

I am guessing mastering a wheelie is the trick to getting over these obstacles when the trail points up... (Had no problem doing wheelies and manuals up and down the road when I was much much younger - why isn't that a skill you get to keep forever!! :madman:)

Can anyone give me some pointers? am I doing something wrong? I would really like to get on top of this :) Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks rangeriderdave - I have watched heaps of youtube videos, read a few mtb skills magazines and also been to an intermediate skills course (which got me to the stage of being able to get my wheel up and onto and over the smaller/less tricky obstacles on the trail) The problem with all these is that each one uses a different technique to get the wheel up, and I have tried them all - I just can't seem to get anything to work for me. Its really frustrating me.
 

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Dudette
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This is exactly the skill I'm determined to learn to do this year, too! I spent all winter reading and reviewing everything I could get my hands on. I've watched countless YouTube videos and the like. Maybe try to break it down into steps? For instance, I'm just starting to get the idea of the power pedal stroke (or whatever you want to call it) to get the front wheel up.

I have found a few things that have helped me with this:
1) make sure you are on a slight uphill gradient
2) make sure you aren't in too easy a gear, cover your rear brake (as scary as it is to feel like you are falling backwards, once you touch the rear brake, you will come back down). I like the middle ring and then the 3rd to last large cog
3) have some sort of structure you want the wheel to go up and over (doesn't have to be big - just has to be there)

Personally, I've found the biggest motivator has been having something in my path and then working on the timing to get my front wheel up. It can be a little tricky doing this going uphill, depending on how steep the hill is and how high the obstacle. I get out for practice sessions at least 1x/week now, just to work on that. I also set up my camera on a self-timer. Having visual confirmation that yes, my wheel did actually come up, motivates me to keep trying. Good luck!! :)
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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There are lots of different wheel lifts, all involving slightly different technique
Basic Front Wheel Lift
Manual
Power Stroke Wheelie
Wheelie

The easiest one to learn is the basic. Women are usually told to pull up on the bars but that is NOT how you get a good range of lift. You have to get your legs and hips into the movement. The motion is to "load" (compress) the front suspension and the legs and hips, "explode" upwards, and "pull" - as you explode the compression your hips are shifted back and you bring the bars up/shoulders back at the same time.

Until I understood the hips and legs compress/explode portion of this skill, which is often neglected, I couldn't do too much with it.

Practice with the saddle down (gets it out of the way) and warm up by bouncing on your bike with the suspension. Once you get your whole body into the movement, your range should improve dramatically.

Pedal stroke lifts and manual are the next level up; learn this one first if you can.
 

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X2 formica :) The hips lift without the pedal stroke is the most important one since you can use it at high or low speeds regardless. It is related also to the bunny hop in a certain way, so learning it is a good step to the next thing. Do you use SPD pedals? There are some advantages to both but the techniques vary specific to the system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks petey, formica and supersedona :)

I think im getting the front compression, but not doing a lot with the rest of my body - I might set up some logs in my yard and see what I can achieve by getting my entire body/shifting centre of gravity into it.

Supersedona - I ride SPDs and flats - totally flexy, however after years of using SPDs on the road and now mountain, I actually think I prefer flats. plus - I prefer to learn any new skills using flats (so I have the option of a quick bailout!)
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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It helps to really, really exaggerate the motion. What you think you are doing and what you really are doing are usually two different things.
 

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I had this problem too and I traded a stem for lessons. The biggest thing I learned was to use your legs (pedals stroke) as others have said. I recommend practicing this alone first, without using our upper body to compress or pull. On a grassy slight uphill, get into a fairly difficult gear. Ride slowly, then with your power foot at about 10:00 or 11:00 on the pedals, push down hard on the pedal. You should feel the front end of your bike lighten up. If your weight isn't too far forward and you push hard enough, the front end might even lift up. Once you get this feeling, practice doing it over a very small stick to get the timing. Then, you can add the upper body compression of the fork, pull up, etc.
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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When you put a pedal stroke into it, it is technically a different move than a basic front wheel lift. Concept is the same, but in a basic lift you are not using the pedal stroke to assist in the lift, just the body.
 
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