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 26, 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.
A sturdy, action-ready BMX bike that comes equipped for tricks.
- Easy to maneuver
- Smooth on streets and at BMX parks
- Assembly is difficult
A functional and smooth-riding option at an affordable price.
- Great for kids
- Designed for BMX tricks
- Durable steel frame
- Bike suffers from quality issues
A high-quality, highly solid bike built for speed and all kinds of riding.
- Sturdy, tough frame
- Retro design
- High-quality components
- Bike seat is very uncomfortable
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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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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?