In this edition of Mel’s Rad Skills Series for beginners, three-time XTERRA World Champion Melanie McQuaid demonstrates the standing front wheel lift.
“This basic maneuver is a combination of some simple skills that will allow you to navigate single track more efficiently,” says the XTERRA Coach and founder of MelRad Multisport. “This efficiency is created by maximizing your suspension and keeping your body centered on your bike thus allowing your bike to do a lot of the work in moving through obstacles.”
To execute a standing front wheel lift McQuaid explains that the first thing you need to do is cover your breaks, “because they are your safety mechanism and will bring your front wheel down if it gets too high.”
To learn this skill, roll in neutral position you’re your pedals flat and then quickly compress your suspension from the middle of your bike by pushing down and then explode straight up by pulling the bike up underneath you with your legs.”
“Don’t yank your bars up to your chest with your arms,” warns McQuaid. “Use a quick motion, compression then explosion, and you’ll find your front wheel pops right up and you don’t have to use a bunch of arm strength at all.”
Once you’ve got the maneuver figured out, increase the challenge by putting some cones down or a stick on the ground to force yourself to make the wheel lift happen at an exact time. From there, McQuaid explains, you can graduate to going faster and adding obstacles.