The ability to pop a wheelie on a bike is one of the easiest tricks in the book. Instead of going out there and trying to do too much in the beginning, it is better to have a basic knowledge to increase the success rate.
Popping a wheelie on a fat bike is a little more challenging, simply because fat bikes weigh more than most other options. For an easier experience, a dirt bike or mountain bike probably works best.
Those insisting on learning how to do a fat bike wheelie, here is a step-by-step process on how to tackle everything.
1. Make subtle bike adjustments
The first step doesn’t have to do with the actual stunt, but it does help increase the chances of success. It can be very challenging to get the right type of balance on the bike, and that will make people either not pull the wheelie off, or fall off from doing too much.
First, do a check all around the bike to make sure that it is in great working order. When trying any type of stunt, there is no reason to go out there with a bike that is in great working order.
Make sure the tires are properly inflated, all the screws are tightened, and the drivetrain is working correctly.
If the bike hasn’t been fitted properly, now is the time to do that. That means putting the seat in a middle position that is comfortable for the rider. This helps with balance, especially from a wheelie standpoint. It changes the center of gravity and improves the chances of success.
2. Start Riding in a Low Gear
Some people are under the impression that they must go very fast to pop a wheelie. It is better not to go fast at all, because if something goes wrong, there is much less of an injury risk.
It is also easier to control the bike instead of flying down the road.
3. Practice With Space
Even if it takes some riding around to find the perfect spot, it is better to have more space than too little. A big, open space allows for experimentation that other areas just won’t.
Some people prefer practicing on the pavement because it is very smooth and consistent. Other fat bike riders might pick a softer surface because if they do fall, it won’t hurt as much.
The downfall is that a softer surface will be a little more challenging since the bike will sink a bit.
Flat terrains are preferred but go into a gentle uphill incline if that is not available. It makes leaning backward a little easier for the rider and might give that extra bit of confidence.
4. Start Slow
It should be repeated that there is no reason to go as fast as possible when trying to pull off a fat bike wheelie. The slower, the better, because it slows down the entire process.
When learning for the first time, it should never feel rushed, and going too fast will put added pressure on a person.
Once a wheelie is perfected, that is when a person can add more speed and challenges to the mix. People are very tempted to go fast from the very beginning, but that is how a person gets in a lot of trouble.
5. Position to Fit Correctly
The feet play an essential role in pulling off a wheelie on a fat bike. They need to be in one of the most powerful positions possible, so it is very easy to accelerate at the right time.
To do that, put the dominant foot at the 2 o’clock position when looking at things from the side of the bike. This allows for very fast acceleration at just the right time.
Having maximum acceleration opportunity will only help a person’s chances of pulling off a wheelie.
6. Push Down Hard on the Pedal and Lean Back
When the time comes to pull off the move, quickly accelerate while leaning back. In the beginning, it makes sense to try only to lift the front wheel a little bit.
It is better to be careful at first instead of pulling way too hard. If a person pulls way too hard, that is going to increase the chances of falling.
It is unrealistic to think that a perfect wheelie will be pulled off the very first time. Every single person needs to get a feel for how much effort needs put into the move to see results.
Fat bikes are a little more challenging, so a pretty good lean back while pulling the handlebars will likely be needed for a good wheelie.
If the situation comes where it does feel like there is a good chance of falling backward, use the rear brake as quickly as possible. This stops the back wheel from moving, and the bike should fall back down safely right away.
It is sometimes hard to think that quickly on the go, so practice from time to time to get that move down as well.
7. Experiment With Different Points of Balance
It is one thing to pull off a quick wheelie, but it is natural for people to try more and more to extend it. In order to keep going with a wheelie, a lot of it comes down to shifting weight and finding a good balance point.
It is hard to give exact directions with this since every person’s body and every bike is different. It is more of a feel thing, and experimenting is the best way to go.
One thing people forget to realize is that balance is vital in the front and the back for obvious reasons, but also side to side.
Keep the body pretty centered with the bike for good results. Do not make any sudden movements, or else there is a high chance of tipping over. Any shift in balance should be done carefully.
Also, while performing a wheelie, a person is essentially turning their bike into a unicycle. That means there is no such thing as coasting. To keep a wheelie going, constant pedaling is needed.
8. Perfect Landing
Before getting too advanced with the wheelie, landing correctly is very important as well. The best way to land carefully is to use the rear brakes only.
By breaking with the rear, the bike falls down instantly. Do not slam on the brakes, but use them pretty gradually to see the results.
Do not try to be too fancy with the landing, because that is how a person fails to stick it. Try to align the front wheel with the rest of the bike as much as possible.
Landing too harshly can do some damage to some bikes, but fat bikes are usually durable enough to handle everything. Still, it is best for the body to try to have a controlled landing instead of slamming down.
9. Just How Hard is a Wheelie with a Fat Bike?
A fat bike is not the easiest to use for a wheelie, but most people should be able to get the hang of it in a relatively short amount of time.
Remember to just take things slowly at first, because accidents happen when people try too much, too soon. There is nothing wrong with doing smaller wheelies at first, and then pushing the limits later on.
It is highly recommended to wear protective gear when trying any type of new stunt. Not only is a helmet essential, but think about elbow and kneepads as well. All it takes is one fall for a person to understand why that protection matters.