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Climbing to front wheel


In situations where the obstacle would be beyond the reach of a regular side hop or pedal hop, an alternative is to reach the top of the obstacle with your front wheel first and then use your momentum to tilt the bike forward.

trials riding tutorials Landing upstream with precision, Benito Ros.

The nose-pick technique enables a pure weight transfer over the gap and can offer much more grip control and fluidity upon landing than a side hop. This is especially true in difficult natural sections where it will avoid the stupid dabs that are typical with the less elaborate "hit-or-miss" approach of big side-hops.

This approach is really an extension of the pedal hop landing on the front wheel, but with extra emphasis on the jump impulse and body language to go upward like in a side hop to front wheel.


How should you try?

trials riding tutorials Ready to pick the front wheel on a rock and tilt the bike.

From a standing position, find your balance over the rear wheel at just about a bike's length from the obstacle. Crouch back and lower the front wheel to get extra torque and compress the rear tyre right on the edge before the pedal kick.

trials riding tutorials Abel Mustieles in a power transfer to front wheel.

Pull yourself on the bars and spring upward into extension, thrusting your hips and shoulders upward while standing on your strong foot before the pedal kick.

trials riding tutorials Try from a trackstand just to feel the right move.

Only release the brake to finish up your jump impulse with a strong pedal kick. The full extension should bring your shoulders over the handlebars, with your abdomen right over the stem, the front wheel moving up again. As soon as the rear wheel takes-off, aim the front wheel right at the top of the obstacle.

As the front tyre reaches the edge, lock the front brake to tilt the bike forward and use your own momentum to transfer your weight further over the front wheel, tucking your knees nearer the handlebars.

Once your shoulders are safely over the obstacle, release the front brake progressively, and carry on with your momentum. Extend your arms to push the bike on the front wheel and clear the rear wheel away from the gap.

trials riding tutorials Kenny Belaey in full extension, taking aim with the front wheel.

trials riding tutorials Vincent Hermance nailing the front wheel just before a wheel swap.


You should end up with your arms fully stretched, either balancing on the rear wheel after a wheel-swap, or with both wheels secured onto the obstacle. Because you land on the front wheel first, the height you must reach up from a balanced position on the rear wheel is much lower than if you had to hop directly to back wheel, making this move very energy efficient.

Also, going front wheel first gives you more visibility, so you can choose the patch that has the best grip to support your front wheel. By controlling your weight transfer over the front wheel, flexing your arms if need be to get closer, you will determine how easy it will be to tilt the bike. But the most important part is to build enough momentum upwards, hence flex well before you jump.


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

Lurch to front wheel

mountain biking and biketrial skills
1° From a standing position, find your balance over the rear wheel at just about a bike's length from the obstacle.

mountain biking and biketrial skills
2° Crouch back and lower the front wheel to get extra torque and compress the rear tyre right on the edge before the pedal kick.

mountain biking and biketrial skills
3° Pull yourself on the bars and spring upward into extension, thrusting your hips and shoulders upward while standing on your strong foot before the pedal kick.

mountain biking and biketrial skills
4° The full extension should bring your shoulders over the handlebars. As soon as the rear wheel takes-off, aim the front wheel right at the top of the obstacle.

mountain biking and biketrial skills
5° As the front tyre reaches the edge, lock the front brake to tilt the bike forward and use your own momentum to transfer your weight further over the front wheel, tucking your knees nearer the handlebars.

mountain biking and biketrial skills
6° Once safely over the obstacle, release the front brake progressively and carry on with your momentum. Extend your arms to push the bike on the front wheel and clear the rear wheel away from the gap.


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


Taking out the mental block

trials riding tutorials Vincent Hermance flexes his arms to dive over the handlebars.

trials riding tutorials Kenny Belaey tucks nearer the front wheel.

The only drawback of this technique is the mental block that comes with the fear of missing the obstacle with your front wheel (this mishap often results in a scary crash). Although it is counter-intuitive, for an optimum pedal kick impulse, you should lower the front wheel quite below the upper edge of the obstacle.

You only need to lift the front wheel up again when you finish off the pedal kick into a full extension. At the beginning, it is easier and safer to practise this technique from a trackstand. For example, you could start in front of a kerb. That gives you plenty of time to prepare yourself and you only have to focus on your weight transfer, not on your balance over the rear wheel.

trials riding tutorials Nicolas Vuillermot flexes his arms to lean further over the handlebars.


Flex your arms to lift the bike further up
The higher the obstacle in front of you, the higher you will have to pull the bike up against your torso, hence the more you will have to flex your arms upon reception on the front wheel. Flexing your arms allows you to dive over the handlebars and tilt the bike on its front wheel with more momentum.

Riders ususally tend to keep their arms straight, which doesn't really help. By lowering your abdomen over the stem (flexing not only your knees but also your arms), you will also be in a much better position to withstand the impact and control the tilt.


Adding up some momentum

trials riding tutorials Marc Caisso regroups over the front wheel.

trials riding tutorials Andrei Burton aims the front wheel with precision.

With very little run-up distance, you can chain up two pedal kicks or accelerate on a smooth pedal up to assist your weight-transfers over the front wheel. Getting your run up distance and timing right is important so you should first master the plain pedal hop, and also the variant where you climb on the front wheel from a standstill or from a standing position on the rear wheel.

A fast pedal up or two successive pedal hops will boost your inertia so that when you pick the front wheel on top of the obstacle, you can thrust your shoulders more easily over it and use this extra momentum to tilt the bike forward before a wheel-swap.

If you have enough run-up distance, try first with a smooth pedal up approach, putting more emphasis on moving your shoulders upward during the final acceleration. Once you understand well the nose-pick, try to gather moment with two pedal hops instead of using a pedal up.

This approach is more difficult but also more versatile as you may not always have the full run-up distance necessary for a pedal up. In this case, two successive landing spots for the rear wheel will be just what you need to build up momentum before the nose-pick.


Double kick to nose-pick

trials riding tutorials Vincent Hermance during a warm up session.

trials riding tutorials Rémy D. lands a first pedal hop to compress the rear tyre.

Get your marks right with enough run-up distance to launch a long pedal hop landing fairly vertical at about a bike's length from the obstacle.

When you land the first pedal hop, the bike tilts forward. Stay supple and crouch back to prepare for the second pedal hop, upwards. Spring up into a full vertical extension, thrusting your hips and shoulders upward with a strong kick on your front pedal.

The vertical jump impulse combined with your horizontal momentum should bring your shoulders over the handlebars, with your abdomen right over the stem, arms stretched down. At the end of your extension, pull the bike up with you and aim the front wheel at the edge of the obstacle.

When the front tyre hits the edge of the obstacle, lock the brake to tilt the bike forward with your momentum. Transfer your weight over the front wheel to lift the rear wheel further. Keep your shoulders moving forward and tuck your knees to bring your hips closer to the stem.

Then release the front brake progressively, extending your arms to roll the front wheel further and finish off the move with both wheels secured on the obstacle. Alternatively, if there isn't room for the full bike, perform a quick front-to-back wheel swap.


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

Double kick to nose-pick

trials riding tutorials
1° Get your marks right with enough run-up distance to launch a long pedal hop landing fairly vertical at about a bike's length from the obstacle.

trials riding tutorials
2° When you land the first pedal hop, the bike tilts forward. Stay supple and crouch back to prepare for the second pedal hop, upwards.

trials riding tutorials
3° Spring up into a full vertical extension, thrusting your hips and shoulders upward while aiming the front wheel at the edge of the obstacle.

trials riding tutorials
4° Pull the bike up with you and lock your front tyre on top of the obstacle, then use your momentum to tilt the bike forward, bringing your hips closer to the stem before a wheel swap.


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


Pedal up to nose-pick

trials riding tutorials Vincent Hermance regroups over the front wheel to tilt the rear wheel up.

trials riding tutorials Vincent Hermance leans forward has he launches a pedal up.

Get your marks right with enough run-up distance to launch a pedal up while aiming the front wheel at the upper edge of the obstacle. At about a bike's length from the obstacle, aim the front wheel as if you were going to roll up the obstacle, stay supple and flex down before the impulse.

Spring up into a full extension upward, thrusting your hips and shoulders as you accelerate on your good pedal, like in a regular pedal up. Pull the bike up with you as you finish up your extension and aim the front wheel right at the obstacle's edge instead of trying to pull the rear wheel up.

trials riding tutorials Janos Boudet tucks nearer the stem to tilt the bike.


When the front tyre touches down on the obstacle, lock the brake and use your momentum to tilt the bike forward. Transfer your weight over the front wheel to lift the rear wheel further. Tuck your knees as much as you can to bring your hips closer to the stem and keep your shoulders moving forward.

Then release the front brake and extend your arms to finish with a wheel swap. Rather than focus on lifting the bike up by just tucking your knees during take-off, you should focus on transferring your weight over the front wheel as it hits the obstacle. This is a very different way to terminate the move compared to a regular pedal up to back wheel.


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

Pedal up to nose-pick

trials riding tutorials
1° Get your marks right with enough run-up distance to launch a pedal up while aiming the front wheel at the upper edge of the obstacle.

trials riding tutorials
2° At about a bike's length from the obstacle, aim the front wheel as if you were going to roll over the obstacle, stay supple and flex down before the impulse.

trials riding tutorials
3° Spring up into a full extension upward and pull the bike up with you as you finish up your extension. Aim the front wheel right at the obstacle's edge.

trials riding tutorials
4° Lock your front tyre on top of the obstacle, then use your momentum to tilt the bike forward, bringing your hips closer to the stem before a wheel swap.


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


Pulling the bike up

trials riding tutorials Benito Ros ready to release the front brake.

trials riding tutorials Janos Boudet about to perform a wheel swap to rear wheel.

The second pedal hop impulse is necessary to boost things up on high obstacles. So it is important to finish off your jump impulse and pull up on the bike as it stands quite vertical with the front wheel up.

Letting the front wheel drop too low before that second pedal kick will lower your shoulders' position and this could make it more difficult to place your front wheel on top of the obstacle.

Building your momentum with a pedal up approach will give you more control over the jump impulse but then, tilting the bike will be less obvious. In any case, you must land the front tyre right onto the edge before you tilt the bike.

Again, some pros will land this move on just anything, including railings or fences, and carry on with a smooth front-to-back wheel-swap.


Getting the move right

trials riding tutorials Rémy D. leverages the front wheel support.

To gain confidence, start on a small obstacle at about a wheel's height to get a good feel. Before you try the frontal approach, it helps to understand the move at an angle of 45°, with your strong foot on the side of the obstacle. An easy start is to do a basic pedal hop, followed straight away with a basic endo onto a small kerb.

Once you get this, launch the pedal hop faster, let the bike tilt faster and clearly on the front wheel, with enough momentum to lift the rear wheel above the horizontal. Indeed, the faster you go, the easier it will be to lean over the front-wheel, based on your momentum alone.


Rounded or slanted obstacles

trials riding tutorials Don't lock your front brake if you land up against a rounded obstacle.

When you reach your upper limit with this technique on rounded obstacles, and you can't land your front wheel on a flat (but against a slanted surface), you should not lock the front wheel upon landing, but simply bounce it off the obstacle and push the bike further up in front of you as you land.

The reason is that locking the front wheel upon landing against the side of a rounded obstacle would not allow you to perform a proper wheel-swap (because once you lean with your abdomen over the handlebars, your weight over the front wheel would push it down, backwards, a sure crash.)

So instead, perform the wheel swap in a continuous rolling move, without touching the front brake. This rolling support on the front wheel will allow you to climb high enough to secure your rear wheel onto the obstacle.

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