When riding on a mountain biking trail with many obstacles, wheel lifts can be a crucial skill. You might already know that when roots, rocks, or ditches are in your way that a front-wheel lift can help you smoothly ride over them.
But there is another move, the back wheel lift, that is equally important. So read on to learn all about how to lift back wheel of bike.
Instead of shifting your weight backward so that the front wheel goes up, this move involves pulling up on the pedals to make the back wheel go up. Especially on challenging trails, this move will make your ride smoother and safer.
Why Lifting Back Wheel of Bike Is Useful
The front-wheel lift is a bit more obvious—the front wheel lifts to avoid hitting an obstacle. Executing a front-wheel lift is much easier, and it makes your ride smoother and more controlled.
And while back wheel lifts can also smooth out your ride, they also have another crucial function of protecting your tire. Because after your front wheel clears an obstacle, the back wheel can slam into it and get punctured. Or worse, you can damage the rim.
One option is to slow down to a stop to clear every obstacle. But if you want to maintain your motion safely, you have to learn how to lift the back wheel of your bike as well.
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How to Lift Back Wheel of Bike: A Step-by-Step Guide
The following is a step-by-step guide for lifting the back wheel of your bike. Read over it a few times before trying, and be sure to practice this lift on a flat and safe surface. While you will eventually be using this maneuver to avoid obstacles, it is more complex than the front wheel lift and takes practice.
- Choose a gear that allows you to pedal the bike at a slow and comfortable speed.
- Shift your bodyweight down and back. This motion will engage your bike’s compression if you have it.
- When the momentum starts pushing you back upward, prepare to lift by pointing your toes towards the ground.
- With your toes pointing down and your weight moving up/forward, grip the pedals with a scooping motion backward and upwards. Because you have shifted your weight away from the back wheel, this scooping motion should lift the back wheel.
- To bring the back wheel back onto the ground, simply move your weight backward into balance. This backward shift should be subtle and slow. It should not take too much effort for the back wheel to fall back down.
The back wheel lift is not as intuitive as the front wheel lift, but as you can see, it is essentially a compressing motion. And as you get more skilled at it, you can do this move faster and over higher obstacles.
But if you’re having some trouble making this move work, check out some of the common problems below.
The Obstacle Is Too High
While you can practice the back wheel lift by itself on a flat surface, you will be combining this move with the front wheel lift on a trail with obstacles. The front wheel clears the barrier first, followed by the back wheel.
And this allows you to transfer the energy from the front lift into the back lift. You can combine the front wheel going down with your body weight going up and forward. Eventually, you can do this shift while the front wheel is still in the air, otherwise known as a bunny hop.
Not Enough Compression
If you’re not getting enough compression, you can practice the up and down motion until it improves. The first step is to practice standing up while riding, slowly bending your legs, and lowering your body. Get used to the feel of shifting your body weight in this way.
After that practice, use this spring-like motion of the legs to smoothly pull your feet up. Think of the organic way a spring compresses and releases—this is how to lift the back wheel of your bike effortlessly and fluidly.
Watching videos of the back wheel lift will also help your brain understand the fluid way that this compression should work.
The last thing you want on a nice mountain bike ride is to have a punctured tire or a damaged rim. And stopping at every obstacle is no fun either.
So knowing how to lift the back wheel of a bike, combined with the front wheel lift, will allow you to smoothly and effortlessly bypass obstacles without stopping. Just be sure to practice it many times on a flat and safe surface before trying it on the trail.