[Video Lesson] A Perfect Rear Wheel Lift


Having reliable access to the rear wheel lift technique, which is the ability to lift your rear wheel off the ground without any slope or front brake influence, is crucial for confident technical trail riding. This is lesson 13 of 36 from the new Tight Switchback & Front Wheel Nose Pivot course.

Bowl theory is at work here, which is the muscular tension felt by connecting your hands and your feet. This fluid but secure connection prevents your feet from flying off the pedals when you jump upwards.

  1. Start tall and then rise up by straightening your legs and even doing a small ‘calf-raise’ to prepare for the compression.
  2. Drop down quickly by bending your legs, moving your hips slightly rearward and dropping your heels. The goal is to compress your suspension and tires.
  3. The rebound cycle is next and it begins with an abrupt end to the compression cycle (they actually blend into each other). At the bottom of the compression become strong in the ankles and legs and turn the compression into a rebound by jumping up and matching the stored energy and pace from your rear suspension if have it. Another way to think of it is that you need a solid platform to jump up from, and so your suspension needs to be compressed in order to have something stable to jump up from.

So it is just like jumping up off the ground from a standing position, though lucky for us we have handlebars to help with the process, which allows us to jump up and also forward slightly forward - so you’ll need to hold the bars firmly and keep your arms long with just a slight bend.

It’s important not to collapse your weight forward (bending your arms and moving your chest down) while the rear wheel is lifting.

Start with just the stomp-style compression and smooth rebounds. Then add more dynamism to the rebound by jumping up a little and you’ll begin to feel the rear wheel lift off the ground.

Cool eh!

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