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Turning 180° in one move


The U-turn is about as extreme as it gets when changing direction. this comes in handy when there is no room for small intermediate steps, for example if your wheels are aligned on a narrow edge or just gripping onto ridiculous spots.

The rear wheel pivot approach will set you back a bike's length.
The front wheel pivot will require some landing spot in front of you.
Now if you are balancing onto sharp edges and there is nothing around, your only option is a clean and sharp U-turn on the spot assisted by a brief pedal kick. In all these techniques, body weight shifting is key, with both brakes locked at all times except during the brief pedal kick.


Spinning on the rear wheel
Being able to pivot on the rear wheel in one move rather than in small successive hops is a handy shortcut to perform a change of direction. The rear wheel pivot approach will set you back a bike's length. It is usually easier to spin in the direction opposite your front foot side (i.e anticlockwise if you are right foot forward).


Drive the rotation with your hips

trials riding tutorials Swing your hips to assist the rotation.

Start from a comfortable trackstand position with both brakes locked. Crouch and lean over the bars while turning the front wheel on your front foot side. When ready, thrust yourself away from the handlebars, pushing vigorously on the front wheel.

As you shift your weight back, swing the bars to the side of your lazy foot. Pulling up the front wheel to follow your torso. Assist the rotation with your torso, with a twist of your hips in the opposite direction.

The bike stands up or even hops on site from the rear tyre bounce-back effect, stay well centered over the rear hub. Focus on maintaining your balance over the rear wheel axis, over the same spot so at not to be thrown sideways The friction will slow you down, stay tuned above the rear hub until you face your front wheel target.


Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

Pivoting on the rear wheel

trials riding tutorials
1° Start from a comfortable trackstand position with both brakes locked. Crouch and lean over the bars turned on your front foot side.

trials riding tutorials
2° When ready, thrust yourself away from the handlebars, pushing vigorously on the front wheel.

trials riding tutorials
3° As you shift your weight back, swing the bars to the side of your lazy foot. Pulling up the front wheel to follow your torso.

trials riding tutorials
4° The bike stands up or even hops on site from the rear tyre bounce-back effect, stay well centered over the rear hub.

trials riding tutorials
5° Focus on maintaining your balance over the rear wheel axis, over the same spot.

trials riding tutorials
6° The friction will slow you down, stay tuned above the rear hub until you face your front wheel target.



Biketrial video Watch all the slow-motion video clips for this move Biketrial video


The full turn for fun
Swinging your hips and swirling your shoulders make up most of the move. On a smooth or slippery surface, you can keep your rear brake locked into a full stop and spin nicely. If you swing your body correctly, the rotation comes quite effortlessly.

You can reduce the spin with precision by leaning forward and push the front wheel down to a full stop on the ground. After some practise, you'll be able to perform full turns just for the fun before a drop-off or another transition.

On a gripping surface, tyre friction will stop the bike from spinning fairly quickly (maybe half-way through a 180° spin), but you can cheat on friction by occasionally releasing the rear brake and letting the wheel roll a few inches.

A slight pedal stroke (not a kick) while releasing the rear brake will allow the rear tyre to roll and re-adjust to the new direction. Learning the 180° spin will mainly help you master the 90 degree pivot on the rear wheel, which will be useful in many situations.


Spinning on edges

trials riding tutorials Taking off the rear wheel prevents being stuck during the rotation.

Once you master the pivots backwards and you know your marks well enough, you can try this with both wheels resting on edges, for example with the bike bridging a gap. As long as you can push on the front wheel to turn and accelerate backwards, you will get enough rotational inertia to spin.

On a railing or on any sharp edge, you must absolutely hop the rear wheel off the edge so as to be able to turn beyond 90°. Otherwise, the rear tyre may slip off your spinning point and get stuck on one side of the edge as you crash with inertia onto the other side.

trials riding tutorials Perform a brief hop at about 90 degrees of the rotation.

With a brief hop at around 90 degrees of rotation (pulling up on the bars and tucking the knees), you can land again perpendicular to the edge for maximum support and grip, facing the other direction. In order to control your turn at 180 degrees and finish ready for a pedal kick, you'll have to tune very carefully your initial rotation.

The effort you should put into the rotation will depend on the friction of the rear tyre with the obstacle or the grip of the edge you are spinning on, but also on the hop that you will be launching (since there is no friction while you are in mid-air).

Don't over-do it or you will spin too much and you will end up being dragged out of balance before you can adjust again on the bike, facing the edge in the opposite direction. In fact, this is a neat combination of a back hop and a rear wheel pivot.


Turning 180° on the front wheel

trials riding tutorials Turning on the front wheel is another game.

Beyond the basic pivot, turning 180 degrees or more on the front wheel requires a special focus on the bar spin. You must shift your centre of gravity above the front wheel axis to follow the rotation with your torso.

Being well positioned over the front wheel axis is what allows you to turn smoothly, in balance right above the stem, without being destabilized sideways during the rotation.

This technique is generally easier to learn when pivoting on your front foot side (that is, anticlockwise if you are right-footed, or clockwise if you are left-footed).


Practice on some marks
Maintain a trackstand with your front wheel pointing in the direction opposite the rotation you want to initiate, so that you can switch the handlebars later and pivot with your inertial moment.

Initiate a rotation with your torso, concentrate your weight over the stem, with your shoulders well over the handlebars. As you turn the bars in one swift move, follow the rotation with your torso until you can no longer twist your hips, you should end up leaning forward into a full extension.

As you lean forward, tilt the bike onto the front wheel and swing the frame with your legs to push the rotation further, re-adjusting the frame in line with the front wheel. With the rear wheel lifted, keep your weight well above the front hub so that you don't get dragged sideways or lose your balance during the rotation.

Friction will stop you from spinning fairly quickly, especially with low pressure in the front tyre. You can swing the frame past that point by twisting your hips to push the rear wheel further into the change of direction.


Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

180° turn on the front wheel

trials riding tutorials
1° Maintain a trackstand with your front wheel pointing in the direction opposite the rotation you want to initiate.

trials riding tutorials
2° Initiate a rotation with your torso, concentrate your weight over the stem, with your shoulders well over the handlebars.

trials riding tutorials
3° As you turn the bars in one swift move, follow the rotation with your torso until you can no longer twist your hips.

trials riding tutorials
4° As you lean forward, tilt the bike onto the front wheel and swing the frame with your legs to push the rotation further.

trials riding tutorials
5° With the rear wheel lifted, keep your weight well above the front hub so that you don't get dragged sideways.

trials riding tutorials
6° Swing the frame past the alignment with your shoulders by twisting your hips to push the rear wheel further.


Controlling the rotation
You can stop the rotation at any time and with precision by shifting your weight over the back wheel again to stick the rear tyre down. Even with the brakes locked, the front wheel still rolls slightly when you tilt the bike, so make sure to take this into account, especially on narrow edges.

At the beginning, it helps to learn this endo variation at a slow pace instead of starting from a trackstand, but you will never get as much control because the bike inertia could destabilize you.

It is better if you can control the whole move through pure body language. Pushing the front pivot to a full turn is really difficult and requires precise balance as you spin, but it is a nice trick for demos. It does help to learn in a mild slope, going upward.

Pivot the first 180° up against the slope and finish with the rear wheel completing the turn down into the slope. Gravity helps you swing the rear wheel back down into the slope, compensating for your lack of rotational inertia after the first 180° swing.


Turn 180° in one kick

trials riding tutorials Body language completes the pedal kick to swing the bike.

On rare occasions, with no room or support for intermediate steps, you may have to turn 180° in one go. If you are bridging a gap between two railings for example, and you need to turn around, your only option is a clean and sharp turn on the spot assisted by a brief pedal kick.

In effect, this technique combines a subtle pedal kick with a rotation driven by your shoulders. Practise on virtual edges, like two lines marked on the ground to get the amount of rotation and kick power exactly right, over and over again. Then try across a small kerb.


Understanding the move
Bridging a gap with your bike, make sure to position your rear hub above or beyond the rear edge of the gap, so that your wheel doesn't get stuck. With a quick push-up from the arms, thrust your hips away from the front edge and spin the bars on your lazy foot side.

Carry on the movement by lifting the front wheel during an upward extension. Follow the rotation with your shoulders as if you wanted to look back. Finish the extension with a small pedal kick that propels the rear wheel off the edge, and keep your rotational inertia going.

Once in mid-air, swing the bike further to face the opposite direction, past the alignment with your shoulders, twist your hips to add more rotational effect.

By flexing your arms and knees, adjust the exact position of the bike so it lands with each wheel positioned exactely in place of the other.


Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.

Turn 180° in one kick

trials riding tutorials
1° Bridge a gap with your bike, position your rear hub above or beyond the rear edge of the gap, so that your wheel doesn't get stuck.

trials riding tutorials
2° With a quick push-up from the arms, thrust your hips away from the front edge and spin the bars on your lazy foot side.

trials riding tutorials
3° Carry on the movement by lifting the front wheel during an upward extension. Follow the rotation with your shoulders to look back.

trials riding tutorials
4° Finish the extension with a small pedal kick that propels the rear wheel off the edge, and keep your rotational inertia going.

trials riding tutorials
5° In mid-air, swing the bike further to face the opposite direction, past the alignment with your shoulders, twist your hips to add more effect.

trials riding tutorials
6° By flexing your arms and knees, adjust the exact position of the bike so it lands with each wheel positioned exactely in place of the other.


Biketrial video Watch all the slow-motion video clips for this move Biketrial video


Fine tuning
In this specific scenario, the pedal kick should just compensate for the backwards motion you would get when pivoting on the rear wheel, but it should not send you completely across the gap either.

Depending on the final position you aim for, you can increase or decrease the amount of kicking power. Over-do it and you will end up jumping over the bridging-gap with a 180° turn to back-wheel.

If you don't kick enough, you'll end up a little bit offset backwards from your initial position like when pivoting on the rear wheel, hence missing the edge where your front wheel was resting.

What would be the right amount of kicking power is difficult to assess as this will vary depending on the surface and adherence of the edges you are bridging. The pedal kick must take place at the last moment. On slippery obstacles, use more body language and less pressure in the pedal kick.


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