The classic front wheel lift is a beginner level skill to learn and has many useful applications on the trail. RLC Head Coach, Ryan Leech, shares the secrets.
The first distinction to make is between the manual front wheel lift and the classic front wheel lift. Many riders are familiar with the manual front wheel lift, where the rider uses body weight to suspend the front wheel in the air as they roll along on their back wheel. It looks totally boss, however, it’s a difficult skill to master, which is why I developed a 30-lesson online course, Manual Masterclass.
In contrast, the classic front wheel lift is much easier to learn. It’s a compact movement where the front wheel is lifted briefly using the arms. It’s not as stylish as the manual, but a super useful skill to have in your toolbox. It requires minimal energy to perform and can be done over a short distance, making it possible to use where a manual would take too much time and effort. It's so versatile!
*please note that there is an infinite spectrum between these two methods of lifting the front wheel off the ground. For example you can perform a 50-50 blend between these two techniques for certain situations out on the trail. The classic front wheel lift is the easiest to learn, so that's what we're briefly covering in this short article!
To ensure you develop the best possible technique when learning the classic front wheel lift, flat pedals and shin pads are highly recommended. Practicing on a flat grassy area provides a softer landing should you stumble. It’s safer if you lower your bike’s seat. Have a sports cone, piece of rope or other low-consequence obstacle on hand for the second lesson.
First spend some time practicing the correct technique before attempting to lift the front wheel over obstacles or using it in a trail environment:
Move on to developing your timing only once you’re confident with the basic technique:
The final step is to bring your front wheel lift to the trail. Do this with caution as performing any technique in a trail environment when fatigued is always more challenging than when learning in a controlled setting. Start slow and small, and work up to larger obstacles at higher speeds.
The classic front wheel lift can be used for:
The classic front wheel lift can be performed at a variety of speeds, from blasting down the trail, to stationary in a rock garden to reposition the front wheel, making it a very useful skill to master. Have fun and ride on!
Those wanting to take their riding to the next level should also consider learning the manual front wheel lift. To explore this skill visit: https://www.ryanleech.com/manual-master-class/