How-To: Wheelie an e-MTB
There is a huge segment of dirt bikers who love to throw the leg over an MTB from time to time. In fact, all three of us here at Transmoto regularly hit the trails around the Northern Beaches on both peddle and powered whips. We figured our audience might be of the same mindset so we hit up Australia’s foremost authority when it comes to MTB/e-MTB, [R]evolution + [E]volution Magazine, to showcase the new world of power-assisted riding and understand how these things really work. In this installment, the lad’s dive into popping monos on e-MTBs.
Just like on a traditional bike, wheelies are perfected from practice. Trial and error to find that balance point. On an e-MTB it is no different, you just have pedal assist on your side.
Being able to lift the front wheel up and position it precisely is one of the best e-MTB skills to have, and once mastered you will find yourself front wheel lifting at all occasions, in tech sections and through exits of corners.
1. To start, find somewhere with a slight uphill, just a bit more uphill than you would usually go for on your normal bike. This will make it easier to keep the front wheel up once the pedal assist kicks in and your speed goes up.
2. Start in a low power mode and 1/3 of the way down your cassette. This will help make the wheelie more natural. The better you get at the wheelie then you can start to go up through the higher power modes.
3. Create a start and finish point for your wheelie. This will help you work to a goal.
If you struggle to initially get the front wheel up, try to pick a spot that has a rock or root fixed into the ground, you can use this rock/root as your front wheel lift point.
4. Begin 10 metres before the start of the front wheel lift point and try to ride slowly into the start, this will make it easier to control your speed once you do get your front wheel up.
5. Most swingarms/chain stays on e-MTBs are longer, so finding that balance point can take some practice. It is really trial, error, and persistence. Make sure you have a good back brake you trust, then go forth and don’t give up.
If you struggle with confidence on the initial front wheel lift and are worried about the bike flipping backwards, try dragging the back brake while pedalling on entry to the wheelie, then release the rear brake slowly, this can help give you good control over how high your front wheel lifts.
Once you have the basics, try to use the wheelie skill at least a few times per ride, practicing these skills in different environments on different trails will keep your skills and brain sharp.
Keeping traction on the e-MTB is super important. If you have ridden an e-MTB before, you will know that if you move your weight forward from the rear wheel while pedalling on loose ground, you get wheel spin. Being able to master the wheelie will mean you can stay seated and lean back which will keep your weight on the back wheel, so that you can hold traction especially when powering out of corners.