Reviews

The Best Bikes for Wheelies (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

 The best bicycles for popping wheelies and hitting the pavement for more BMX and freestyle tricks.

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON March 16, 2021

There’s something about mastering a new trick. Whether it’s one that’s simple yet fun to pull off or a trick you’ve been working on for a while, tackling new tricks on your bike is exciting. And once you master wheelies, you’ll have a trick in your arsenal that’s not just awesome to watch — wheelies can also be useful, helping you hop over obstacles and climb uphill. But wheelies aren’t exactly easy to do. They’re one of the most time-consuming and challenging moves, which means you need the right amount of practice and the right bike. What you’re riding makes a difference in how easy it is to tackle wheelies both as you’re learning and while you’re riding. Check out our picks for the best bikes for wheelies below.

Best Overall
Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike
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Summary
Summary

A sturdy, action-ready BMX bike that comes equipped for tricks.

Pros
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Smooth on streets and at BMX parks
Cons
Cons
  • Assembly is difficult
Best Overall
Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike
Best Value
Dynacraft Vertical Firestorm 20” Bike
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Summary
Summary

A functional and smooth-riding option at an affordable price.

Pros
Pros
  • Great for kids
  • Designed for BMX tricks
  • Durable steel frame
Cons
Cons
  • Bike suffers from quality issues
Best Value
Dynacraft Vertical Firestorm 20” Bike
Honorable Mention
Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator Cruiser BMX Bike
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Summary
Summary

A high-quality, highly solid bike built for speed and all kinds of riding.

Pros
Pros
  • Sturdy, tough frame
  • Retro design
  • High-quality components
Cons
Cons
  • Bike seat is very uncomfortable
Honorable Mention
Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator Cruiser BMX Bike
Man On a Bike For Wheelies
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Benefits of Bikes for Wheelies

  • More durable drivetrain. Performing wheelies and other tricks can put a bike’s drivetrain through serious wear and tear — and even abuse. As a result, you need a more durable drivetrain that’ll withstand your riding demands. Bikes made for wheelies tend to deliver.
  • Good rear brake. While handlebar brakes are a common option, a good rear brake setup is a must-have for mastering and performing wheelies. A bike for wheels will have rear brakes that work smoothly and easily so you can practice (or try a wheelie with a moment’s notice).
  • Smooth shifting gears. Every bike rider wants their bicycle to have smoothly shifting gears. This helps you transition and adjust effortlessly while riding, and it can smooth out your performance when hopping from riding right into wheelies.
  • Lightweight build. A lightweight bicycle offers plenty of benefits for riders, including making it easy to reach faster speeds and increasing your bike’s portability. Because you need to be able to lift the front of your bike while performing a wheelie, the BMX bikes that are built for wheelies tend to feature a lightweight build that makes tricks (and regular cycling) a breeze.

Types of Bikes for Wheelies

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes might not seem like they’re ready for tricks, but just think about how tough and durable they are. A mountain bike makes for an excellent bike for wheelies because it’s designed to survive tough terrain, unpredictable riding, and even obstacles. With durable parts and pieces plus wide, knobbed tires for extra traction, a mountain bike is sturdy enough to handle wheelies. Additionally, mountain bikes typically feature powerful braking and drivetrain systems, two features you need to pop wheelies freely and more easily.

BMX Bikes

BMX bikes are one of the most popular types of bikes for wheelies. After all, BMX bicycles are specifically designed for tricks — meaning you can trust that one of the bikes will be able to handle the pressures and demands of performing wheelies. And just like a mountain bike, a BMX bike is engineered to handle tough riding. With special design cues made for stunt cycling, like a smaller frame, extra sturdy parts, and thicker, fatter tires, a BMX bike will make it easy to stay stable and confident in your ability to pull off wheelies anywhere.

Top Brands

Schwinn

Since its founding in 1895, Schwinn has been a go-to choice for bicycles of all different kinds. A true American icon, Schwinn creates bicycles for every type of riding, every age, and every cyclist — and that includes those who love wheelies. Bikes like the Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator Cruiser BMX Bike are perfect picks. 

Mongoose

A leader in the BMX world, Mongoose started creating extra tough and capable bikes in 1974. The first Mongoose bike was designed for the demands of BMX performance — and today, bicycles like the Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike and the Mongoose Title Micro BMX Race Bike are great examples of Mongoose products that’ll survive all kinds of tricks.

Dynacraft

Dynacraft first started selling bicycles in 1985, and over the years the brand became well-known for both its bikes and its other ride-on vehicles. With affordable prices and a specific eye for kids’ bikes, options like the Dynacraft Vertical Firestorm 20” Bike and the Dynacraft Tony Hawk Park Series BMX Freestyle Bike are great for popping wheelies. 

Bikes for Wheelies Pricing

  • Under $100: For less than $100, you can find bikes for wheelies made for younger riders. These kids’ bikes are smaller but just as tough as any wheelie-ready option.
  • $100 to $300: Most good-quality bikes for wheelies fall into this price range. Higher-end options for kids, as well as great options for adults, can be found for under $300.
  • $300 and up: The most premium bikes for wheelies will run you $300 or more. With extra perks and great durability, these options suit the most serious trick-focused cyclists.

Key Features

Reliable Drivetrain

A reliable drivetrain is one of the most critical features of any bike for wheelies. The drivetrain will take most of the abuse, or the wear and tear, each time you perform these tricks. So, you want to choose a bicycle that has a drivetrain that’ll hold up for many miles and many wheelies. The drivetrain should feature durable, quality parts, including a great gear system and crankset. 

Grippy Tires

Tires also play an important role in every wheelie you perform. After all, you’re lifting the front wheel and putting all of your weight onto the back wheel. This means that the best bikes for wheelies will feature tires with great grip and extra stability — which is typically extra-grippy tires that can provide strong traction. Look at the tire tread to determine the grippiness.

Rear Disc Braking System

The braking system of a bike helps determine just how successful you are at pulling off wheelies. If you’re planning on performing wheelies often, you’re going to need a great rear disc braking system. Since wheelies are performed with the rear bike tire as your base, you need to have a quality rear brake setup. And a rear disc braking system will offer you the right blend of power and control, ease of use, and effectiveness.

Other Considerations

  • You Can Perform Wheelies on Almost Any Kind of Bike. While mountain bikes and BMX bikes are two types built for tough tricks as well as hard wear and tear, keep in mind that you can master a wheelie on nearly every type of bicycle. You just may not experience the same durability — and the trick itself will be more challenging — if you opt for a different type of bike.
  • Lightweight Frame. To lift your bike and accomplish the perfect wheelie, you’re going to need a lighter-weight bike frame. Make sure to consider the overall weight of any bicycle before buying so you know whether or not it’ll be a pain to try to lift while you’re riding and practicing wheelies. 
  • Smaller is Better. Smaller bikes are easier to control and manage while you’re trying out tricks. While larger bikes are a good idea if you’re cruising or choosing for a growing kid, a smaller bike is the better option for wheelies. You should be able to easily balance and maneuver your bike so you’re always in control.

Best Bikes for Wheelies Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike

The Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike is a fantastic all-around BMX bike, and it’s one that’s especially great for hitting tricks at the park. It’s strong and sturdy, with great durability thanks to its Mongoose Hi-Ten steel frame and fork. And this bicycle can survive plenty of wear and tear, with its tough machined aluminum mag wheels and sealed bearings. When you’re ready to start trying wheelies, the four freestyle pegs give you unlimited trick potential. A cable detangler allows for easy 360-degree handlebar springs, and the alloy front-load stem clamps offer extra strength. An alloy caliper brake and rear u-brakes give you great control. Equipped with Mongoose’s Micro Drive BMX gearing, you’ll be able to master wheelies and ride smoothly even when you aren’t focused on tricks.

Best Value
Dynacraft Vertical Firestorm 20” Bike

You don’t have to invest a lot of cash to get a high-quality bike for wheelies — the Dynacraft Vertical Firestorm 20” Bike is affordable and great for budget shoppers. It is a kids’ bike, not an adult model, but that means you don’t have to spend much for younger riders to start trying out cool tricks. Featuring 20-inch wheels and a tough, sturdy steel frame, this wheelie-ready bicycle is designed for ages 6 to 10 years old or riders weighing up to 105 pounds. The bicycle features two brake options, front caliper brakes and rear coaster brakes, which offer important flexibility as well as a rear braking system that’s critical for wheelies. The bike is also very lightweight despite its sturdiness, which makes tricks easier. 

Premium Pick
Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator Cruiser BMX Bike

The Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator Cruiser BMX Bike is a combination of two kinds of bikes: a casual, laid-back cruiser and a tough, trick-ready BMX bike. But this unique hybrid bike is a great premium option for wheelies, thanks to both its versatility and its high-quality parts. Designed to last, the bicycle is a new version of Schwinn’s legendary Predator Team 24 from 1983. You can opt for 20 or 24-inch wheels on this retro bike, and its 15-inch frame is built out of hi-tensile steel and chrome. A set of aluminum alloy rims and gum wall tires offers a good blend of traction and support. Intuitive rear caliper brakes are a great fit for tackling wheelies, and this bike will stop smoothly under any conditions. Though this Schwinn bike is more expensive, it offers classic construction and great quality that’s worthwhile.

Most Versatile
Dynacraft Tony Hawk Park Series BMX Freestyle Bike

The Dynacraft Tony Hawk Park Series BMX Freestyle bike is all about park tricks and mastering wheelies. Styled after the famed skateboarder Tony Hawk — who’s no stranger to awesome feats — this BMX bicycle is a great choice for younger riders who are ready to tackle their first wheelies. It’s cool, sure, but it’s also a strong bike that’ll hold up against tough tricks. This 24-inch bike weighs 37 pounds and is recommended for ages 12 and up. It can carry riders weighing up to 275 pounds, which gives you great versatility. With a sturdy steel frame plus enhanced design features like bright green hand grips and a see-through chain guard, this bike looks great at the park and on the street. The rear u-brake prevents parts from causing damage or interfering with tricks. And an alloy threaded handlebar stem offers even more strength and functionality.

Best for Beginners
Huffy Kids Bike Ignyte Quick Connect

Kids can try their hand at wheelies for the very first time with the Huffy Kids Bike Ignite Quick Connect. This durable kid-sized option is designed to introduce young riders to their first tricks, and it includes special design cues that increase durability while letting riders experiment. The 20-inch bike features a steel frame that’s built to survive everything from falls to impacts and more. That frame is even backed by Huffy’s limited lifetime warranty. A front hand brake paired with a rear coaster brake allows kids to learn and make it easy to master wheelies. A set of front pegs are also a great addition, as they’re perfect for kids to test out hops and other introductory tricks. Suitable for ages 5 to 8 years old and heights of 44 to 56 inches, this small bike for wheelies will deliver as kids learn the basics.

Honorable Mention
Elite Bicycles The Stealth Freestyle Bike

The Elite Bicycles The Stealth Freestyle Bike is an excellent choice if you’re seeking an entry-level bike that’ll stand up to frequent tricks. Whether you’re working on wheelies or heading to the park for freestyle riding, this basic BMX bike can handle it all. The Stealth is designed to work equally well on the street, dirt roads or trails, and at the park. It’s constructed with a hi-tensile steel frame with a 1-inch standard head tube, a Stealth alloy top-load stem, and Cro-Mo cranks. A set of low-profile 6061 rims and 2.5-inch street tires complete the setup. Throughout the bike, reinforced welds offer extra protection and durability against where impacts caused by tricks might happen. And of course, wheelie fans will love the micro-knurled surface of the bike’s tires plus the directional and angular raised tread sections, which help enhance grip.

Honorable Mention
Mongoose Title Micro BMX Race Bike

Getting the right amount of lift while balancing on the back wheel of your bike is important to master wheelies, and that’s why the Mongoose Title Micro BMX Race Bike is such a good choice for this particular trick. This very lightweight bicycle makes it incredibly easy to lift; the frame alone weighs just 2.76 pounds. Designed for beginner to intermediate riders, this BMX bike is both speedy and ideal for tricks thanks to its lightweight construction. It features an aluminum frame and suits riders between 4 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 1 inch in height. An integrated headset and internal cable routing create sleek lines, and even the wheels are light thanks to their aluminum double-wall rims. A set of alloy V-brake and brake levers help riders master control at any speed, and the slick stem offers excellent steering performance.

Honorable Mention
 Razor Nebula BMX Freestyle Bike

Need a bike that’s sure to survive all of the wear and tear of frequent wheelies? The Razor Nebula BMX Freestyle Bike is a fantastic choice. This highly durable and extra tough bicycle is built for BMX freestyle, which means it’s equipped to handle everything you can throw its way in terms of tricks. Built with a TIG-welded steel frame and fork, this bike can handle impacts, pressure, and the beatings that can come along with wheelies. It rides on 20-inch wheels, with pegs and a freestyle rotor included. Front hand brakes plus a rear braking system offer both convenience and the rear control you need to master wheelies on your rear wheel. And the bike is pretty lightweight, weighing in at 31.5 pounds in total.

Honorable Mention
Dynacraft Krusher Fat Tire Bike

The Dynacraft Krusher Fat Tire Bike has the most important features of a quality bike for wheelies, plus even more. This bike can take a hit and handle the extra pressure of performing or practicing tricks — all while ensuring you’re comfortable in the process. Built with a steel BMX-style frame, this bike rides on 20-inch tires with alloy rims. A steel rear coaster brake is ideal for wheelies, and the entire bike weighs just 33 pounds. A padded saddle seat and adjustable seat post allow you to make changes based on which tricks you’re practicing and how you’re riding. You’ll be comfortable for hours whether you’re hitting trick after trick or riding on city streets. Equipped for the neighborhood, park, and trail riding, this tough bike can do it all.

Tips

  • Remember that you can always swap out or upgrade certain parts of your bike to make wheelies a bit easier. You can change the seat, pedals, or even add or remove pegs.
  • Wheelies can cause damage to some bikes. Make sure to consider the frame and structure of a bike before attempting to perform a wheelie — or really, any tricks.
  • You need a bike with multiple gears to perform wheelies. Don’t choose a single-speed bike, or you’ll be unable to even try these tricks due to the lack of a drivetrain.

FAQs

Q: What type of bike is easiest to wheelie?

Mountain bikes and BMX bikes are the best for mastering wheelies. However, BMX bikes in particular may make the trick even easier since they’re built specifically for park performance.

Q: How long does it take to wheelie a bike?

You’ll need quite a bit of practice before you can master wheelies. For some riders, a lot of practice can make it possible in just a few weeks. Other riders may take months of practice to accomplish this feat.

Q: Are wheelies dangerous?

Like any stunt or trick, wheelies do involve a certain level of danger. To increase your safety, make sure you’re wearing protective gear — and always wear a helmet when you’re riding your bike in any way.

Final Thoughts

The Mongoose Legion Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike is our top choice for performing wheelies, with BMX qualities that’ll help you learn faster. Another great, affordably priced choice is the Dynacraft Vertical Firestorm 20” Bike for kids. Which bike do you think is the best choice for wheelies?