how long did it take to learn manuals

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1/24/2021 6:35 PM

I had a question on how long did it take for you guys to master manuals

I have started BMX in June (almost 1 year now) and so far I've learned bunnyhops, 180s flat and off curbs, tire-tap 360s, fakies, half cabs, sliders, x-ups, pullup barspins, and fakie bunnyhops but not manuals. I've been consistently trying manuals even before I learned bunnyhops, and I feel like I've progressed a little but not as much as I feel like I should.

I can easily go off curbs and loading docks, etc, but I can't figure out how-to manual, I am using proper form with arms straight and weight back, am I doing something wrong?

I rode with 2 pegs on the drive side for about 1 week back in October and I kinda felt manuals were a little more easier and I could go a little longer, and I stopped grinding and took off my pegs after I found out that my front fork was bent. Now I ride pegless.

But I still can't manually as long as I feel I should, especially practicing for almost a year now. Nowadays I just fall to the side, loop out, or just drop my front tire,

I can average clear a parking spot or two but very inconsistent.

So how long did it take for you guys to master manuals and go on as long as you want?
If you have tips/advice please lmk

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1/24/2021 6:44 PM

Your bag of tricks sounds similar to mine. Manuals were the one thing stumped me forever. I just could not find my balance point.

Several months ago I built a manual machine. With the cold weather, I probably spend a minimum of 30 mins a day on it...just practicing the proper foot/crank position as well as being able to immediately get to my balance point.

While it does not immediately translate to manuals on the street, my manuals have definitely improved and I have a lot more confidence and can chain tricks now with manuals.

Short answer: keep practicing

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1/24/2021 6:48 PM

vagabond wrote:

Your bag of tricks sounds similar to mine. Manuals were the one thing stumped me forever. I just could not find my balance point.

Several months ago I built a manual machine. With the cold weather, I probably spend a minimum of 30 mins a day on it...just practicing the proper foot/crank position as well as being able to immediately get to my balance point.

While it does not immediately translate to manuals on the street, my manuals have definitely improved and I have a lot more confidence and can chain tricks now with manuals.

Short answer: keep practicing

Ok thank you for the feedback I will keep practising and might considering making a manual machine now

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1/24/2021 8:06 PM

You just need more reps. I remember the first year when I started riding. If I were on my way between street spots I'd find a crack or shadow on the road or sidewalk and try to manual to the next crack, shadow, or any landmark. Sometimes giving yourself a set distance or goal to reach during each attempt can push you to learn faster.

Honestly, some people never really learn to manual very well. Me and some of my best friends have been riding 20+ years and as good as some of they are, a few still can't manual the deck of a quarterpipe consistently.

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1/24/2021 10:14 PM

Keep practicing, maybe try adjusting your bar height and/or chainstays lenght to see if that can make manuals more comfortable to hold.

Also don’t build a “manual machine” it’s like playing need for speed and hope it will somehow make you learn how to drive a real car

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1/24/2021 10:54 PM

I'm similar to you as well.

For me, manuals were the trick that I never really set aside time to practice. Unlike 180's or tire-taps, I wouldn't ever strictly practice manuals.

What I did do, though, was continually do manuals everywhere I could. Between parking spaces, from a cone to a street sign, just random instances like that, even if it was only 5 or 6 feet. This is my 7th year riding, but only within the past two years or so, I began to really understand the balance point, and it's one of the only tricks I do nowadays, haha.

Just keep riding and give it time.

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Scooter kid trying to ride a bike.
@scootereyn

1/25/2021 1:46 AM

readybmxer wrote:

I'm similar to you as well.

For me, manuals were the trick that I never really set aside time to practice. Unlike 180's or tire-taps, I wouldn't ever strictly practice manuals.

What I did do, though, was continually do manuals everywhere I could. Between parking spaces, from a cone to a street sign, just random instances like that, even if it was only 5 or 6 feet. This is my 7th year riding, but only within the past two years or so, I began to really understand the balance point, and it's one of the only tricks I do nowadays, haha.

Just keep riding and give it time.

this. one of my friends is the same, he has only started riding again since last summer and he hasnt spent a whole day or week trying manuals, but theres still a noticeable improvement in them, as he tries them whenever he can, especially considering we ride car parks regularly due to the weather. im the same as well, i always only gave them a few goes every time i rode and it came with time as my bike control improved and i found my balance point.

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1/25/2021 3:56 AM

Twenty years and counting...

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Don’t put 25.4 bars in a 22.2 stem.

1/25/2021 4:45 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/25/2021 4:45 AM

the end of the question...be able to manual as long as i want, never happened yet

this summer was the first time i spent actual time practicing them...my suggestion is find the parking lot and aim for 1 spot, then 2 spots and so on....the parking lot i use has this ditch in the middle of it so i manual to hop into it and use the spots before it to practice and don't leave until i beat the day before or until i feel like i can't get another spot but the balance and consistency feels good

i started using a manual machine last week, it is very janky but it seems like it could help with balancing and being able to react to the different things you may experience during a manual....almost like slowing down the move for yourself

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1/25/2021 11:59 AM

Francky wrote:

Keep practicing, maybe try adjusting your bar height and/or chainstays lenght to see if that can make manuals more comfortable to hold.

Also don’t build a “manual machine” it’s like playing need for speed and hope it will somehow make you learn how to drive a real car

I have to disagree. Need for Speed trains the muscles in your thumbs. Manual machine trains the muscles you use while holding a manual. Only thing missing is the rolling, and the time to actually train. You can even add a weight vest if you want, think of it as leg day at the gym.

Put on a movie, hang out on the manual machine, get better at manuals. Throw in some peg work while you're at it, it's not a bad way to fight the winter.

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Remember when you could ride all day and not be sore for a week?
Instagram: @theothermaj

1/25/2021 1:03 PM

Francky wrote:

Keep practicing, maybe try adjusting your bar height and/or chainstays lenght to see if that can make manuals more comfortable to hold.

Also don’t build a “manual machine” it’s like playing need for speed and hope it will somehow make you learn how to drive a real car

MJbmx wrote:

I have to disagree. Need for Speed trains the muscles in your thumbs. Manual machine trains the muscles you use while holding a manual. Only thing missing is the rolling, and the time to actually train. You can even add a weight vest if you want, think of it as leg day at the gym.

Put on a movie, hang out on the manual machine, get better at manuals. Throw in some peg work while you're at it, it's not a bad way to fight the winter.

I think you’re both correct. I will not pretend that a manual machine is a substitute for the real thing. But it does build stamina and help you find your balance point. I am so used to doing tricks with my feet level, that it took focusing on my foot placement to realize that I can balance much easier with my right (forward) foot slightly higher than my left.

Either way, it’s cold as balls here now (it’s actually snowing) and the manual machine is the closest I can get to riding at this moment...better than nothing.

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1/25/2021 2:54 PM

Francky wrote:

Keep practicing, maybe try adjusting your bar height and/or chainstays lenght to see if that can make manuals more comfortable to hold.

Also don’t build a “manual machine” it’s like playing need for speed and hope it will somehow make you learn how to drive a real car

MJbmx wrote:

I have to disagree. Need for Speed trains the muscles in your thumbs. Manual machine trains the muscles you use while holding a manual. Only thing missing is the rolling, and the time to actually train. You can even add a weight vest if you want, think of it as leg day at the gym.

Put on a movie, hang out on the manual machine, get better at manuals. Throw in some peg work while you're at it, it's not a bad way to fight the winter.

vagabond wrote:

I think you’re both correct. I will not pretend that a manual machine is a substitute for the real thing. But it does build stamina and help you find your balance point. I am so used to doing tricks with my feet level, that it took focusing on my foot placement to realize that I can balance much easier with my right (forward) foot slightly higher than my left.

Either way, it’s cold as balls here now (it’s actually snowing) and the manual machine is the closest I can get to riding at this moment...better than nothing.

Good point, I didn't mean to imply otherwise. The older I get, the more I see riding as training, and wish I would have had that mindset earlier. Training on the manual machine is not the same as riding outside, but it can help as long as you don't expect a miracle and get frustrated. Or at least, It's certainly helped me with a few things.

We've got a blizzard starting up right now too. Glad I got some riding in on Saturday.

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Remember when you could ride all day and not be sore for a week?
Instagram: @theothermaj

1/25/2021 3:18 PM

I think it’s funny that it’s called a “machine” being that it is really just simple wooden frame. Other uses that I use for training: better form for bunny hops and foot jam tail whips.

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1/25/2021 7:12 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/25/2021 7:14 PM

I've been riding for like 4 or 5 years and I'm still pretty bad at them. On a good day I can hold them for a decent while and use them in a line, but I'm just really inconsistent with them. Oddly, I'm better at them when im hopping into them, like hopping onto a legde into a manual, but when I'm just doing them on flat I usually can't hold them as long

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1/26/2021 3:24 AM

Just did a manny from the green hatch at top right to where I dropped the bike, distance is just over 300m or around 1000 feet. And not too fast so could catch the loop if needed. The learning never stops unless you're a seasoned pro I'd say.

Photo

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1/26/2021 7:27 AM

Maybe about 7 months since I really started was when I realized I could hold the manual pretty long. But you can always improve them.

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45 refs and counting check profile.

1/26/2021 8:24 AM

That was something I figured out in 2000ish?

I did a lot more flatland stuff back then due to a lack of parks/obstacles until I built them. I rode a lot of dirt back then too.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

"BIKES!" -Tom Segura

1/26/2021 8:28 AM

How long did it take for you to learn sliders?

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1/26/2021 10:43 AM

kid_cutti wrote:

How long did it take for you to learn sliders?

back in the day, maybe a day

relearning, first try...few weeks ago actually...local indoor is so dusty that it made things super simple

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1/26/2021 9:54 PM

it might help to learn to do the classic stand up pedal wheelie.once you've got that licked do a sitdown wheelie..
have you tried to manual on a slight descend?

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1/27/2021 5:30 PM

Took me maybe 2 1/2 years or more to get comfortable with manuals. And the learning process was ups and downs - sometimes I thought I had it figured out and then I'd go into a slump. Like everyone else said, try them all the time.

Keys for me:

1) Arms locked straight. For the most part your adjustments come from the hips not the arms.

2) Get REALLY low and back over the rear axle. It can be surprising how far this needs to be pushed. Stretch your arms and hover low over the back wheel. Arms should feel like you're stretched out to the maximum hanging on.

3) The balance point is not just up and down...it's also left and right. This can be done with the knees and keeps you from falling over to the side.

Also, this video is really good even though it's not bmx: How To Manual Long Distances in 4 Steps

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1/28/2021 4:10 PM

Photo

Maybe 3-4 years to get to the place where I really wanted to be.
I keep the front part of my foot on the pedal while manualing.
If your pedal is in the middle of your foot, like in the arch of your foot, it's really hard to fine tune manuals because your foot is kinda locked in place there.
Also, if I run super high psi it's harder for me to manual for whatever reason.
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1/29/2021 11:24 AM

I found a tight grip, straight arms and low over the back wheel. When I went from a 13.5” to a 12.9” back-end it maybe it bit twitchy, but super easier to control compared to a longer back-end. I try focusing on the front wheel too. I find it helps. I’m regularly able to keep it until the front wheel stops spinning.

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1/29/2021 2:25 PM

its funny i dont remmber the procces of me learning manuals.. but i do remmber i would go with my freind to a flat ground and try it.. i think it took months but truth is i learn them everyday even nowdays (its been 5 years)
and i still feel like i dont have them dialed for some reason

i wish i had them like brock olive, low, smooth and forever locked in
if you start learning them, put effort on how you want them to look like so when u start master them
youll get them with the style u wish to have them

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2/7/2021 7:16 PM

I started maxing out my current practice spot last week so I thought of this thread (I had to stop my manuals because I ran out of space and would have hit the fence) I'm not very good at manuals (like, I can't turn them like the guys that are proper good) and it's been a long journey...like 3-4 years. I think for most people it's pretty much a constant process as long as you ride bikes.

I've never used a manual machine, but what I do when I'm waiting somewhere with my bike, I'd lock the brake, and lean against a wall or something and sit in a "tail tap" like that. I think it does help a bit, but it's not a magic method.

The thing that always killed me was starting to turn...the left-right balance was way harder for me than the front-back balance. People say "use your knees" but then I'd just flap my knees around while falling over. What helped recently with that, was thinking about keeping my butt centered over the back wheel...not front-back but left-right. If you start to lean over, move your butt back the other way. That actually made me wave my knees and balance, but like...the knee waving happens because of the balance, it doesn't cause it, if that makes sense.

Another thing I do when warming up manuals is tuck my thumb on top of the grips (so all your fingers are on top). For whatever reason that makes me "hang" off the bars and get in the groove quickly.

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2/7/2021 10:32 PM

like 20 minutes, cant do em on my bike now cuz im a girl

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13 years old

2/9/2021 10:29 PM

Chumpy wrote:

I had a question on how long did it take for you guys to master manuals

I have started BMX in June (almost 1 year now) and so far I've learned bunnyhops, 180s flat and off curbs, tire-tap 360s, fakies, half cabs, sliders, x-ups, pullup barspins, and fakie bunnyhops but not manuals. I've been consistently trying manuals even before I learned bunnyhops, and I feel like I've progressed a little but not as much as I feel like I should.

I can easily go off curbs and loading docks, etc, but I can't figure out how-to manual, I am using proper form with arms straight and weight back, am I doing something wrong?

I rode with 2 pegs on the drive side for about 1 week back in October and I kinda felt manuals were a little more easier and I could go a little longer, and I stopped grinding and took off my pegs after I found out that my front fork was bent. Now I ride pegless.

But I still can't manually as long as I feel I should, especially practicing for almost a year now. Nowadays I just fall to the side, loop out, or just drop my front tire,

I can average clear a parking spot or two but very inconsistent.

So how long did it take for you guys to master manuals and go on as long as you want?
If you have tips/advice please lmk

I sucked at manuals for my first few months but my friend and I got really competitive with wheelies. Translates well. It's a different position but you still get that understanding of balancing. Honestly just keep trying. I stopped giving a damn about manuals for a while and I feel like I kinda reset my messed up muscle memory for it. So if you know what you're supposed to do but can't get it, that might help. Sometimes taking a break from manuals and doing lots of wheelies seems to make it easier to jump back into them. I was trying to pull back like a bunny hop. If you're going forward, bend knees and go back more. I do the same kind of position I would do if I were just riding around and decided to mess around and basically sit on my tire. Everyone is different tho, some people do em higher up. Do not be afraid loop either, you'll realise that looping really isn't as likely to happen as you think it is, ignore the feeling and when it happens, do the normal thing. I hope this helps, otherwise I just told you a bunch of shit you already know
(Are we allowed to swear here? I'll check rules after I post but hopefully I'm good).

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Speed, I am speed... -Lightning McQueen
Fuck money get bitches... I think?

2/10/2021 7:23 AM

I think there's too much info here.. best way to learn manuals is just riding in your city/downtown. You'll be manualing more than half the time and master em in no time.

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Иди сюда и поцелуй меня

2/10/2021 12:03 PM

i'm convinced that some bikes dont manual.

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2/10/2021 12:10 PM

ghostrider920 wrote:

i'm convinced that some bikes dont manual.

14+CS lengths are near impossible for me. im sure i could get used to it over time but last time i tried manuals on a 13.75CS i could barely stand and move around without my back hurting.

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