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There is that cool maneuver that lets you do a very sharp turn (90° or even 180°) in very tight situations, like descending two flights of staircases (in town) or narrow and very steep winding trails (in nature).

It involves pressing the front brake so the front wheel locks, and the rear wheel rises into the air. You would then place the rear wheel back down wherever you want, disengage the front brake, and continue riding in the new direction.

I saw an owner of a bike shop do this once, but have seen it only in online videos since then.

So, how is this maneuver called? I saw names like "endo" or "stoppie", but "endo" seems to refer to accidents, and "stoppie" seems to mean a "trick", only done for the cool look. Does there exist a name that implies doing this in a mundane way, like when one's commute route just appears to have an angled staircase in it?

Example staircase

In addition (if this is not too much to ask in the same question) - how to practice this?

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How to practice? Very carefully. –  Daniel R Hicks Nov 28 '13 at 13:01
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But but ... carefully sitting on the couch doesn't teach this ... thingie. –  Vorac Nov 28 '13 at 13:15
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An endo is not an accident, it is stopping the bike very quickly and throwing your weight forward to get up onto the front wheel (usually for trials riding). A stoppie is effectively the same, but you are still moving forwards. –  cmannett85 Nov 29 '13 at 8:51
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I guess the question is answered, but I found a very nice gif from a cyclocross race, using this trick for sharp corner: milanofixed.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/wheelie-corner.gif –  Papuass Dec 2 '13 at 9:56
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@Jahaziel If you ever ride in the alps etc, this maneuver might be more useful than you think -- picture a 40cm wide path that bends sharply around a rock or similar. However, drifting the back wheel is most often frowned upon, at least here in Europe as people feel this comes from a lack of technique and it destroys the paths. –  arne Dec 6 '13 at 7:26
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3 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

In german this is called "Hinterrad versetzen" -- "displacing the back wheel". I got to learn this in an mtb course I took a while back. If you can, try to find an instructor or other experienced rider to teach you.

How to practice:

Start very, very small and always wear full protective gear, i.e. a full-face helmet and vest in case you crash. You will crash. Be prepared. Have a friend with you just in case.

Look for an open, empty and even space like a parking lot or similar where you can brake without fear of slipping. If possible, avoid concrete or similar very hard surfaces.

First, you practice the stoppie, without turning. Start small, i.e. just lift your back wheel a couple of centimetres. You don't need to ride very fast, it's mostly about the balance on the bike. It's absolutely possible to do this from a walking pace. Instead of moving your weight far back, as you normally would in a hard stop, keep it (more or less) in front. Find the point where it's easy to lift the back wheel without getting the feeling you will crash any moment. Do this a couple of times. Slowly increase the height of the back wheel.

Do only the stoppie until you feel comfortable "standing on your front wheel" for a second or two without losing control.

If you feel safe holding the stoppie, try pushing your back wheel around a couple of centimetres by letting the inertia turn the bike. You need only provide the tiniest motion yourself, physics will do the rest. Slowly increase the arc until you are where you want to be.

Note 1. If you have front suspension, beware of your fork kicking back when in the stoppie. This can easily overturn you.

Note 2. I wouldn't try this on stairs or a rocky or otherwise dangerous path until I was absolutely sure I can do it. Also, don't force it. Practicing this kind of thing takes time and drains you faster than you think. Try integrating training into normal rides instead of riding out just to train.

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It's called an endo and you can start learning it anywhere right now (e.g in a parking lot). Don't try to learn turning endos or rolling endos at first.

Here is a good how-to video (doesn't matter that it's on a bmx):

Some advanced turning and rolling endos on a mountain bike can be seen at http://www.pinkbike.com/video/259956/ (after 3:30).

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It's called a stoppie or a nose wheelie- in some regions I suppose they call it an endo as well, though where I'm from an endo is going over the bars in a crash.

In terms of how to practice, arne's advice for protective gear is wise. I would also use caution if you use clipless pedals. They can help you lift the back of the bike off the ground, but if you lose your balance and unclipping is not 2nd nature to you, you may not be able to get your foot down in time to prevent falling over.

Practice all of this at slow speed.

  • First, you need to get comfortable with getting the back wheel off of the ground. Practice locking up the front brake until the back wheel comes off the ground. You don't need to get it high, just get comfortable with getting it up.
  • Once you have that, practice doing this with your butt off the saddle and giving a little hop as you gradually apply the brakes. This will make the back wheel come off the ground much easier, so be cautious that you don't go over the bars.
  • Work on getting some hang time on this maneuver. Note that your really don't need to be close to the tipping point to do this efficiently. If you find yourself tipping over the bars, thrust your butt backwards behind the saddle to tip back the other way, at which point you can release the brakes to drop the wheel quickly.
  • Once you're comfortable with just the stoppie, you can start adding the pivot. This is the tricky part. Imagine that you have your hands on the corner of a table, and you're hopping up while pushing off of the table to pivot around to the other side of it. That's basically what you're doing with this maneuver, only your table only has one leg. Practice this against a table. Really. It will help. You're basically jumping forward and to the side as the back wheel pops up to twist the back of the bike around the front wheel, which is acting as your pivot point.
  • Be ready to dab (that means put your foot down), but don't just assume that you're going to need to dab everytime you try this. Try to stick it. This seems like simple advice, but you'd be surprised how important it is to mentally prepare yourself for success when attempting something new like this, whether it be a difficult section of trail or a maneuver like this.
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You are probably right that the name of this trick depends on the region. –  cherouvim Nov 30 '13 at 6:21
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