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How to Wheelie on a BMX Bike in 3 Easy & Simple Steps

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how to wheelie on a bmx bike

Pulling off tricks is a great way to showcase the bicycle skills you’ve honed. You don’t need to be a professional to pull them off but they take skill and dedication to learn. The wheelie is one of the most recognizable stunts you can learn early.

Let’s take a look at how to wheelie on a BMX bike. More than just a means to impress it has practical applications too such as using it to ride over obstacles. Learning this will also prepare you for more advanced skills.

Keep reading to learn more.

What You’ll Need

  • BMX bike with flat pedals
  • Safety equipment (helmet, pads)
  • Open and flat space for practice

Steps to Wheelie BMX Bikes

Step 1: Pedal and lean forward


The first step to performing a wheelie is to pedal and then shift your weight forward. Start with riding your bicycle normally at a slow speed then pre-load the bike by leaning forward and bringing your body close to the handlebar.

You can also wheelie a BMX bike standing up but starting seated is recommended for beginners because it is more comfortable.

Step 2: Pop the bike


The next step is to pop the bicycle where you raise the front wheel. This is done right after leaning forward on the handlebar. The succession of shifting your weight forward and then popping right after is important.

Raising the wheel is done by pedaling hard using your dominant foot beginning from the top of the rotation until you reach the bottom in one stroke. The pedaling force will cause the front wheel to lift.

As the wheel rises, you then shift your body back by leaning away from the handlebar. This is the pop and it’s a good idea to first practice popping and then bringing the wheel back down to the ground.

Step 3: Balancing while pedaling


Once you are used to popping, it’s time to try the wheelie. The key is to find the point of balance where you can maintain the raised front wheel. Start with an angle between 40 to 45 degrees and see what works for you.

As you raise the wheel, hold your position and pedal. If you feel that you are going to flip over, you can use your body to shift forward slightly. Find your balance by leaning forward and back to find the right spot.

You can also use your brakes to limit how far the front wheel raises. Push on it slightly to stop the bicycle from flipping over.

When you can pedal while holding the raised wheel in position, you can wheelie a bike. You may start with just being able to pedal a few times, but you’ll be able to ride longer with practice.

Tips for Learning to Wheelie a BMX


  • Do not pull the handlebars up with your arms. Use the pedal to raise it.
  • Only make small adjustments when balancing the bike.
  • Improve your upper-body strength for better performance.
  • Learn how to bail out in case the trick goes wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why should you learn to perform a wheelie?

The wheelie and the manual are basic stunts that teach you fundamental skills to learn more tricks. The pop that is required for these stunts is also needed for more advanced tricks on a BMX bike such as jumping. These are also used to clear obstacles so it doesn’t hurt to have them in your arsenal.

What is the difference between the wheelie and the manual?

These are both basic tricks that are useful in getting anyone started when learning riding skills. They are done by preloading and popping the bike and then maintaining the raised wheel for an extended period. The main difference is that you do not pedal when doing the manual.

Since they are very similar, if you can do a manual on a BMX bike then it shouldn’t take too long to learn the wheelie as well.

What size BMX bike is right for wheelies?

When performing tricks such as wheelies, the best BMX bike size is appropriate for you. One of the easiest ways to determine this is by looking at your height and referring to a size chart.

For example, the average height in the US for men is 5’9” and 5’4” for women. This means a Pro XL frame with 18” wheels for men is ideal and an Expert XL frame with an 18” wheel for women.

Can I do a wheelie on a regular bike?

You can wheelie a mountain bike or any bike, but the more important matter is to consider the right bicycle size for you.

What are the bikes that are good for wheelies?

The best wheelie bicycles are those that are easy to balance which means lightweight ones are a good choice. Mountain bikes are also a good choice because of their superior traction and lightweight front.

Many find that BMX bikes for wheelies are a good fit because of their small wheels that make them more stable for pulling off tricks.


Now you know how to wheelie on a BMX bike but the technique discussed here can be used on any type. All that is left is to put in the time for practice and you may even be able to wheelie on a BMX bike GTA 5 style.

Have you tried to pull off the wheelie before? What was the most challenging thing about it and how were you able to overcome it? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.

Always ride safely.

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