Part two of our mountain bike skills blog will show you how to lift your rear wheel, a useful skill to save puncturing your rear tyre, potentially destroying the wheel. And put together with the front wheel lift you’ve got the makings of the ‘bunny-hop’, the most useful mountain biking skill.
The best way to practice this is to find an open field or car park, find some marker like a line in the car park or on the football field. Use this as your obstacle, it means there are no real repercussions should you fail to lift the wheel. Once you have mastered the lift and more importantly the timing of the lift, you can move up to practising with an obstacle like a curb or a fallen tree.
Key mountain bike skill 2: how to lift your rear wheel
Useful for: getting safely over obstacles or gaps in the trail without suffering a pinch puncture.
Looking at the image above, from right to left, we’ll talk you through how to master this key mountain biking skill
Frame 1: Ride in at a slow jogging pace on a flat surface away from any other obstacles or moving vehicles.
Frame 2: Compress your rear suspension (if you have it), by moving your body down and slightly back, this will aid you when lifting the rear wheel off the ground. When the suspension starts to push you back upwards you want to prepare yourself to do the lifting part of the movement. To do this ensure that your toes are pointing towards the ground, this will enable you to gain grip from your pedals, and move your body forward to above the handlebars. In doing this you have unweighted the rear wheel, created a forwards momentum and gained further grip from you pedals that will help when lifting the rear wheel.
Frame 3: Now that your weight is moving forward, the rear wheel is becoming lighter and your feet are pointing downwards, you want to scoop the rear of your bike up with your feet and pedals. What do we mean by scoop? If you imagine a bull scraping its hoof on the ground, it will drag its foot backwards and then at the last minute, upwards. Thus lifting the rear wheel (not the bull!).
Frame 4: Once you have cleared the obstacle, you now need to bring the rear wheel back down. All you have to do, is move your weight backwards very slightly and your wheel will fall right where you want it.
This is a worthwhile skill to practise before your tour, but fear not; if you just can’t master it, our guides will be on hand to teach you how to perform this and other skills during your mountain bike holiday with us. The third and final part of our mountain bike skills blog will be the ‘bunny-hop’; coming soon!