Lifting the front wheel
A starting point for many transitions or repositioning moves, lifting the front wheel enables you to steer the bike not only
on the ground but also vertically, to aim the front wheel directly at an obstacle while standing with precision on the rear wheel.
Understanding the move
Pulling the front wheel up across a slope.
Aim your front wheel at something..
Start from a trackstand position, brakes locked if that makes it more comfortable for you.
Crouch back with your arms stretched and knees half-flexed to lower your bum over the rear wheel.
Load up the front pedal by moving up your strong foot, this gets you ready to push on your front pedal.
As you unlock the brakes, move up on your front pedal pushing progressively but firmly.
The entire move requires no more than a quarter of a crank turn. Pull on the handlebars as the bike stands up progressively,
you'll finish the move with your front pedal at its lowest position.
Lock the brakes and adjust your centre of gravity over the rear hub
to maintain your balance. Back-pedal a quarter crank turn to re-adjust your feet level into a comfortable position.
Click on any photo and use the scroll-wheel to animate the move.
Lifting the front wheel
1° Start from a trackstand position, brakes locked if that makes it more comfortable for you.
2° Crouch back with your arms stretched and knees half-flexed to lower your bum.
3° Load up the front pedal by moving up your strong foot, this gets you ready to push on your front pedal.
4° As you unlock the brakes, move up on your front pedal pushing progressively but firmly.
5° Pull on the handlebars as the bike stands up progressively, adjusting your hips over the rear wheel.
6° Lock the brakes and adjust your centre of gravity over the rear hub to maintain your balance.
Watch this move in slow-motion
Maintain your balance
Ramiro plays with his front wheel up.
You end up with both pedals nearly level. When the front wheel takes off, you should adjust your posture over the rear hub so as to reach the
right balance. Avoid leaning too much forward as this would force the front wheel down straight away.
The key to lifting the front wheel easily is to lean backwards, your bum well over the rear hub.
You should reach a stage where pushing on the pedal will not move the bike forward, but
instead rotate the frame around the rear wheel axis, effectively lifting the front wheel.
In fact, the rear wheel could stay on the same spot during the entire move.
Once the bike is standing on its back wheel, use the brake to stabilize yourself and get ready for the next move
(probably a firm pedal kick at this stage). Be ready to jump off the pedals if you feel that the brake doesn't hold the rear wheel properly
or if you accidentally let the rear wheel slip beneath you.
Staying on the rear wheel
Adjust your hips over the rear wheel to maintain your balance.
The amount of pedal pressure and your overall posture will entirely define your balance on the bike.
The front wheel will drop down if you lean too much over the bars, but then you can lift it up again before it reaches the ground.
Just release the rear brake again and slowly push on your front pedal while leaning further back, arms stretched.
If on the contrary you lose balance backwards, flex your arms and knees to tuck and bring yourself closer to the stem.
With this sort of pedal control, you can lift the front wheel with precision to any height.
By chaining up these front wheel adjustments and locking the rear brake after each adjustment, you'll end up moving in small steps
on the rear wheel. This is the natural approach to
learning the pedal kick
, which is a faster and more powerful version of the same move.