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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a DIY manual machine made out of wood. With today’s prices for wood, I probably saved money over building it myself. I have an issue, I have push the rear wheel on both bikes into the machine. So I’m wondering if I do this will it be like cheating in the manual or not make it easier? Remedies are to widen the wheel well just a bit which wouldn’t be that hard. Or perhaps reducing the air in the tires could make it fit easier.

And should I focus on manual training with the hardtail or the FS? Is one easier than the other to start with?
 

· Rippin da fAt
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I just picked up a DIY manual machine made out of wood. With today’s prices for wood, I probably saved money over building it myself. I have an issue, I have push the rear wheel on both bikes into the machine. So I’m wondering if I do this will it be like cheating in the manual or not make it easier? Remedies are to widen the wheel well just a bit which wouldn’t be that hard. Or perhaps reducing the air in the tires could make it fit easier.

And should I focus on manual training with the hardtail or the FS? Is one easier than the other to start with?
All the machine does is get you past the fear of eatin' it although, that will be a likely occurrence in the real world anyway. You are going to be practicing, practicing, practicing, simply stated.
Stay away from starting out on a fully. The suspension will make it more difficult.
 

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Getting over obstacles and rollers fast. I can’t manual very far these days, but can do it between dips or to suck up a bump at speed. Watch BMX or 4x for an idea.
Yeah, I completely get lifting your front tire over things and maintaining speed easier with a short and well placed tire lift.

I was commenting more on the general trend that you're not a serious mountain biker unless you can manual for 30+ feet. It is just comical to me that people are putting such an emphasis on super long manuals that they are building machines to help them with a completely pointless "skill".
 

· Rippin da fAt
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I still don’t get the obsession people have with a manual…

looks cool, but I just don’t get it in a practical sense for an everyday mountain biker.
Some of us take pleasure in it, what's not to get? I also use the manual in lieu of a wheelie because I can. It is a time sink to learn for some and some are naturals, as with life, c'est la vie!
 

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Crossing a big pond of water with relatively smooth bedrock, I can wheelie over it, or manual over it to stay dry. Wheelie is very difficult to start at high speed. At least I haven’t figured out how. Manual can be done at high speed.

Thats the primary use of a manual. Otherwise as you said, its just a visual trick.
 

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OK I don't own a manual machine, but from what I have heard, you have to do it with the chain removed from your bike. With the chain on you just use the tension in drive train to keep you up and this is nothing like a manual. With the chain off, it's now going to better simulate a manual.
You're so right. Most Youtube videos I see regarding the manual machine, people are keeping the chain installed and using pressure on the forward pedal to maintain the manual. This is not realistic of how riding a rolling manual actually works. I suppose it still helps you to learn forward and back / side to side balance, and use of the brake somewhat.

As for a question the O.P. posed, I think the tire should not fit too tight. A little side to side play will help you to learn side to side balancing techniques.
 

· Always in the wrong gear
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I can ride a wheelie inconsistently- sometimes 6 feet, sometimes 200 feet. I figured a manual wouldnt be too hard to grasp
I built a manual stand way back at the start of COVID. Ive used it like 5-6 times.
I honestly didn't find it that helpful, even with all the internet advice to take off the chain and also managing expectations of what it could do- that it doesn't really teach how to manual, it just makes findingthe fore/aft balance point without pedlaing a little safer and controlled.
Ultimately, I quit using it because I really felt uncomfortable with the amount of side-stress it put on the wheel. I'm probably being a ninny, and it's less stress than I imagine, but man it just feels wrong. It made practicing really un-enjoyable; every time I tried a manual I had the fear it was gonna be the end of my expensive i9 rear wheel.

It did kinda help me realize that lifting the front (too high) actually takes more effort than I would have guessed, which did help me when I'm lofting the front over trail features.
 

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Best way to practice manuals is on a grass lawn until you can get the feeling of where you loop out down. Reason I haven’t been practicing much is it’s one of the few things I feel more vulnerable doing while riding clipless
 

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, I have push the rear wheel on both bikes into the machine. So I’m wondering if I do this will it be like cheating in the manual or not make it easier?
It is better to have the rear wheel snug, remember you are not rolling forward so it is difficult to keep balance unless you rear wheel is held firmly in the machine. Tie a rope to the front wheel if you have one. On the machine it is much easier to get the wheel up so you might end getting it too high.
 

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Riding a manual is one of the funnest things to do on a bike, to me. Just an awesome sensation, and I use it for practical reasons, multiple times a ride. Not that I can hold one forever, but enough to enjoy it, and use it.

I learned the old fashioned way...
So did everyone else who can actually pull a decent manual.

Manual machines are a joke, sorry not sorry.

🤷‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It is better to have the rear wheel snug, remember you are not rolling forward so it is difficult to keep balance unless you rear wheel is held firmly in the machine. Tie a rope to the front wheel if you have one. On the machine it is much easier to get the wheel up so you might end getting it too high.
Thanks.

I'm learning for two reasons, for overall balance and control and to look cool in front of my friends in the parking lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Manual machines are useful for realising how far away from the balance point you actually are when trying to do it properly. I don't think they're good for anything other than that.
It cost me $40...pretty sure I can get that back on FB marketplace when I'm tired of looking at it in my garage.
 

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Yeah, I completely get lifting your front tire over things and maintaining speed easier with a short and well placed tire lift.

I was commenting more on the general trend that you're not a serious mountain biker unless you can manual for 30+ feet. It is just comical to me that people are putting such an emphasis on super long manuals that they are building machines to help them with a completely pointless "skill".
some people have the same thoughts about jumping, but some of us actually like to play around on our bikes instead of taking everything so serious...
 
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