Flashy AND practical? Yep! The manual is a useful skill for lofting your front wheel over a trail obstacle. Yes, lofting as opposed to lifting. Once you add the manual to your skills toolbox, you’ll start to see the trail completely differently. You’ll be able to effortlessly loft the front end of your bike using your hips instead of your arms to avoid losing momentum … plus there are huge bonus points for style!
Step by Step How To:
1. Ride at jogging pace, or a bit faster. You want to go fast enough to provide momentum, but not so fast that you can not control yourself.
2. Start in a ‘high’-ready position (standing neutral) above the saddle.
3. Pumping down towards the saddle, then just as you are about to hit the saddle, shift your weight back. You objective is to make an L with your body movement, down and back. Check out the Manual Machine for a DIY project that will help you perfect this motion.
4. Lock your arms out and allow the handlebars to come back with you.
5. Once you’ve cleared the obstacle, bring your weight back to the neutral or ready position. This will bring the front of the bike back down.
6. Keep a finger over your rear brake at all times. If at any point in this move you feel you are going to flip off the back of the bike, applying the back brake will bring the front wheel back down.
Still having trouble with your manual? Here are some possible reasons …
1. Going too big, too fast. Start small and work to feel the balance point on the bike.
2. Use your weight, do not pull up with your arms.
3. Shifting your weight back is what brings the front of the bike up (lofting), not ‘pulling’ the bars up (lifting). If you pull the bars up without shifting your weight back, the front will quickly go back down.
4. Do not cut the corner. Down and back at the same time, does not work. Think L shape, down THEN back.
5. Are you getting the front end up, but it wont stay up? Lower you center of mass by bringing your hips down closer to the rear wheel.
6. Practice this skill by placing a stick on a slight downward (smooth) path and see how long / far you can hold the wheel lift. Some speed will keep the bike more stable.