I just got a new Specialized Roll 3 Low Entry step through today. It weighed a bit more than I like, in at around 31 pounds (14 kilograms).

I managed to get it up about 6 concrete stairs without too much issue. But now I have to take it out and I can't turn it around in the hallway to get to face front wheel first going down the stairs again, because the hall way is too narrow. How the hell do I get it out and down the stairs safely? I can't lift it upwards in the hall to turn it around because it is too heavy for me to do this. Is there some trick to this? I'm a small 5"5 gal. I cannot go backwards down the stairs (someone said inch backwards down the stairs while holding on to the handle bars in the front but there's no way I can do this either...).

Stock photo of this model
From https://www.specialized.com/nz/en/roll-3-0-low-entry/p/216879

  • 2
    Can you flip it up on the back wheel and roll it around like that?
    – Hursey
    Jun 6 at 1:23
  • 1
    I'm trying to visualize this. Pick up the back wheel? I need more of description..It's too heavy for me to pick it up and move it like that. You mean pick it up from the front wheel and stand It on the back with the weight of the bike and pivot it around. The bike is huge so this isn't going to work, this is how I moved smaller, shorter bikes that weighed less. The bike is really long with huge wheels like a fat bike. Jun 6 at 1:48
  • 6 flights of stairs? That's half the daily exercise already! Shame that there isn't a safe-ish option to overnight the bike in a basement room or courtyard. (Always, of course, locked to something sturdy with a brand name U-lock.) Jun 6 at 11:45
  • 2
    The simplest solution would be to roll it from the hallway to a larger room and turn it around there... is that not possible? Too dirty? Jun 6 at 11:49
  • 4
    Thanks for all the great advice! I successfully and painlessly moved it down the stairs by lifting where the seat is and holding on to the handle bars and walking it back tire first down slowly one step at a time. It was surprisingly light after I got use to the weight. Jun 7 at 0:01

3 Answers 3


Your bike has a tiny top-tube which is level and would make a great handle. One method is to stand by the left-side of teh bike (so you're away from the potentially oily chain) and bend at the knees. Grab that little bar with one hand nearer the bike, and use your other hand on the saddle or handlebars for support and balance.
Keep your back straight, and lift with your legs.

If you don't want to/can't pick it up, then a bike will roll backward fine - only downside is that the pedals will revolve as you push it backward and can hit your knees/shins.

Getting it up the stairs would be harder than wheeling it downward where gravity is on your side rather than resisting you. At the stairs either let it roll down while you stand beside, using the brakes to slow the descent, OR set the bike sideways on the top step and lift each end down one step at a time.

@hursey's suggestion was about pulling the bike up so it is balanced on its rear wheel only and you're using two hands on the bars, in combination with the rear brake lever to control the unbalanced bike. Something vaguely like this:

enter image description here
Bodged photo to show idea

To get here, you stand beside the bike, and put both hands on the bars like you're riding. Then clamp on the rear brake only. Pull back on the bars and the front wheel will come up. When its balanced you should only need small inputs to hold it.
If it all starts getting away from you, lock up the rear brake again. Gently release the rear brake and push the bike around - you should be able to rotate in the hallway and face the exit door. Note you can't steer by turning the bars, you have to twist the bike around the vertical axis.
Then lock up the rear brake again and lower the bike's front down gently. Since you're only lifting the front of the bike, its only half the weight and only until the bike gets balanced over the rear wheel.
Notice in photo, the model has her knee against the saddle, providing another point of stability.

  • If this makes no sense, someone might be able to do a short video.
    – Criggie
    Jun 6 at 2:34
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    I doubt that the back-wheel balancing downstairs act is an option for the "small 5"5 gal". What just may be within the reality envelope is to turn the bike around that way in the narrow hall or staircase. Jun 6 at 11:42
  • Do you suggest with the first suggestion to carry the bike down back-wheel first? How do you hold on to the handlebar in that case? If the idea was not to carry it backwards: The question is actually about turning the bike around in a place that's too narrow. Jun 6 at 11:50
  • 1
    @Peter-ReinstateMonica yes, on the back wheel was intended as a way to turn the bike initially, though taking it down the stairs on one wheel may be possible with practice (in fact it may be easier because of relative height of handlebars being lower)
    – Criggie
    Jun 6 at 13:19

I agree with Hursey that the best option is to manoeuvre the bike completely on the back wheel. This can actually work well even with very heavy bikes, as long as they don't have a long rear fender. The trick is to always keep the bike near the balance point and control with the rear brake. Particularly for going down stairs, you actually want to keep it a bit behind the balance point, i.e. the bike tries to fall towards you rather than topple down the stairs.
I agree that this technique is a bit scary though, you should first practice somewhere safe (start out with a single kerb, then a small 2-step stair, then some wide open stair set).
What also makes it easier, at least for practicing, is to remove the front wheel, but if you do this make sure you don't pull the front brake, else the pistons will pop out.

An alternative that's more awkward but perhaps less daunting is to stand in front of the bike (as in, in front of the front wheel), fully grab the handlebars and push the bike backwards. Make sure to still be able to pull the rear brake, probably best with your thumb.
What's tricky with this is that you'll effectively have to use rear-wheel steering. It's a bit mind-bending at first to figure out how to get the bike to roll in the right direction – again, first practise, on the flat.

  • Pushing the bike down back wheel first while being above it on the stairs requires one to step forward enough to counteract the bike's tendency to roll backward/downward by pulling on the handlebar. That, in turn, requires one to step forward enough to lean backward/upward while stil holding on to the handlebar in order to generate the counteracting force. The front wheel will end up between or next to your legs. Jun 6 at 11:55
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica with neither of these methods should you pull on the handlebars at all, instead the brake should be used to keep the speed low. This is best done by starting out with fully-locked brake and only releasing it in short pulses to inch the bike down step by step. But it's nevertheless true that a person with short arms may have trouble with the backwards method if the front wheel is big, fork slack and stem short – all of which does speak against this method for the OP. Jun 6 at 12:44
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    I lifted the back up and held on to the handle bars and went down stairs with the back tire first, I took it easy and eventually got the hang of it and the weight was ok, not as bad as I'd imagine it to be! Thanks so much for responding! Jun 7 at 0:33

Since you managed to take it up the stairs there is a way to get it down.

  1. Do the "wheelie" in your appartment or in the door to the hallway. You can help yourself by locking the rear wheel and pull the bike back and up. When risen up it is quite easy to maintain the ballance, easpecially if you are helping yourself with the brake.

  2. You can hang the bike by the saddle on your (I recommend right shoulder because of the chain) shoulder. If you cannot lift it by your hand(s) you can help yourself by doing a squat and lift it by your legs. One hand holds the bike and in position, the other steer the front wheel to fit in the corners.

  • This is what I do. If I need to maneuver a bike in a tight space, I kick it up onto the rear wheel and move it around with one hand on the bars, and another on the top tube (or in the case of this bike, the saddle). When I need to portage it, I hike it up onto my right shoulder, with my right hand gripping the saddle from beneath. Dipping at the knees will let you lift with your legs.
    – Adam Rice
    Jun 10 at 17:11

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