After doing extensive research and reviewing various models, we decided on the Mongoose Legion BMX as the best bike for wheelies.
However, we know that each rider will have different needs and preferences. So our list of “Best Bikes for Wheelies” includes 5 great bikes in total. In our selection, we relied on our own experience with performing stunts like wheelies, the reviews of our fellow cyclists, and the specs of the models we analyzed.
Throughout the article, we’ll use the words “wheelie bike” or “wheelie bikes” a lot. When we use these words, know that we are referring to a bike(s) that has optimal features for performing wheelies and not necessarily a bike(s) that is defined as a “wheelie bike” by its manufacturer.
We picked the Mongoose legion BMX as the best bike for wheelies because it’s easy to maneuver thanks to its small BMX frame. It’s steel frame is durable and it comes with high-quality parts that won’t easily give way to wear and tear. We also like that this model’s tires have good traction and are sufficiently wide for balanced wheelies.
Best Bicycles for Wheelies
Below are the best bikes for wheelies according to CycleSimply:
- Mongoose Legion BMX
- Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bike
- Mongoose Switchback Adult Mountain Bike
- Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain Bike
- Schwinn Pro and Predator Team BMX Bike
Keep on reading for our detailed review on each wheelie bike!
Mongoose Legion BMX
We start our list of best bikes for wheelies with the Mongoose Legion BMX since it’s our favorite one. BMX bicycles have smaller frames and are therefore relatively easy to maneuver. They are mainly designed for racing and/or stunt riding. So we thought it fit to start off our list with a BMX bike.
Mongoose Legion BMX comes in various styles so you have some options to pick from based on your size and personal preferences. This is a strong bike with high quality components. It has a durable Hi-Ten steel frame and fork that can withstand the added physical stress resulting from performing wheelies.
While steel is typically not the best material for wheelies due to its weight, since this is a small-frame bike it’s still fairly lightweight in spite of its steel frame. Legion L80, which fits riders 5’6” – 6’0″ tall, weighs a mere 26.5 pounds. Steel is also better than aluminum in terms of absorbing bumps.
The tires are decently wide, ranging between 2.25″ and 2.4″ wide depending on the style/size you pick. This provides ample contact area between the tires and the terrain to balance on while doing wheelies. It also makes for more stable rides.
Overall, the Mongoose Legion BMX offers a stable and balanced ride which helps with more confident and in-control wheelies. This BMX bike also comes with a high-quality frame and components that won’t easily give way to wear and tear.
- Small and easy to maneuver
- Durable Hi-Ten steel frame and fork
- Sufficiently wide tires to balance on
- Assembly of the brakes might require the help of an expert
Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bike
The Huffy Hardtail MTB comes in various sizes you can pick from based on your size. We are specifically looking at the 17-inch frame with 26-inch wheels.
The aluminum frame is lightweight and sturdy, which is optimal for wheelies. The Shimano rear derailleur on this 21-speed model allows you to shift between gears seamlessly.
Huffy Hardtail’s 2″ wide knobby tires grip dirt and provide good traction. This is another factor that is important for doing wheelies. You need tires with decent traction if you want to balance on the rear wheel alone securely. The width and thread pattern of the tires makes this bike ideal for off road riding too.
Having the right posture and position on your bike is vital when it comes to doing wheelies. The Huffy Hardtail MTB comes with an adjustable seat so you can set it just the right height for you. The slight-rise handlebars are also ideal for wheelies as they support an upright, more balanced posture.
The durability, balance and support this MTB provides makes it a good bike for wheelies. It’s a great entry level bike and good value for its price point
- Lightweight frame optimal for wheelies
- Various size options to pick from
- Knobby tires provide good traction
- 21-speed rear derailleur to tackle climbs
- Adjustable seat
- Good value
- Alloy linear pull brakes (typically inferior to disc brakes in terms of braking performance although these also provide decent stopping power)
- Hard seat
- Might need an expert’s help in assembly/fine tuning
Mongoose Switchback Adult Mountain Bike
We like the Mongoose Switchback hardtail MTB as a “wheelie bike” since the bike’s aluminum frame is lightweight and durable. The bike’s frame has the kind of strength we would want to see in a bike on this list. Its stability also makes you feel in control as a rider, which is very important for wheelies.
The Mongoose Switchback comes in various types and sizes. We are specifically looking at the Sport version with a Small frame which fits riders 5’3″ to 5’6″ tall. The mechanical disc brakes offer great stopping power and the bike performs nicely when it comes to light off road riding.
This 16-speed MTB offers a stable ride with its 27.5″ x 2.1″ wire bead tires on aluminum double wall rims and helps you feel more in control while performing wheelies. The Shimano front and rear derailleurs on Mongoose Switchback offer smooth shifts between gears.
The main disadvantage of this the Mongoose Switchback sport is that it comes with a hard saddle that isn’t exactly comfortable. However this is is obviously something that can be replaced fairly easily.
- Lightweight and durable aluminum frame
- Mechanical disc brakes are quick and efficient
- 2.1″ wide tires offer stability and good traction
- Shimano front and rear derailleurs offer smooth gear changes
- The saddle is hard and not really comfortable
Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain Bike
The Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain Bike can certainly be considered a “wheelie bike” with its strong and lightweight aluminum frame. It comes with 29-inch wheels and sturdy double wall alloy rims.
This 24-speed MTB allows for smooth gear changes with its Shimano EZ Fire trigger shifters and has durable alloy cranks.
Its front and rear mechanical disc brakes are efficient and offer good stopping power. A secure braking system is very important when performing wheelies. A good rear braking system is especially important and this bike certainly has it.
Schwinn Bonafide also comes with 2.25″ wide knobby mountain tires that grip the earth. Tires that provide good traction are better for wheelies since they make balancing on the rear wheel easier.
These tires, along with the well-performing front suspension fork on this model, absorb bumps and allow for smoother rides. The Schwinn Bonafide is certainly an MTB that can take on rough terrains.
- Strong and lightweight aluminum frame
- Front and rear mechanical disc brakes offer good braking power
- Powerful front suspension fork absorbs bumps, makes for smoother rides and wheelies
- Knobby mountain tires allow for more balanced wheelies
- Pedals might wear down over time, in which case they would have to be replaced
Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator Team BMX Bike
This Schwinn BMX bike is the last one of our favorite wheelie bikes we’d like to give a shout out to. Similar to the Mongoose Legion BMX, the Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator comes with a Hi-ten steel frame that is durable and sturdy.
This Schwinn model, like other BMX bikes, has a compact frame that is easy to maneuver. It comes with an adjustable laid-back seat post and a classic BMX handlebar that helps put you in the optimal posture for doing stunts like wheelies.
This model also has strong and lightweight aluminum rims and a rear caliper brake that allows for quick and efficient braking. Additionally the bike’s tires offer decent traction, which helps you perform more balanced wheelies.
The single speed Schwinn Sting Pro and Predator BMX offers an easy, low-maintenance and stylish ride with high quality parts and vintage-inspired details.
- Durable Hi-ten steel frame
- Easy to maneuver thanks to compact BMX frame
- Adjustable seat post
- Rear brake offers good stopping power
- Vintage look
- Might have to replace the seat with a more comfortable one
How to choose the Best Bicycle For Wheelies?
It’s not a one minute decision to choose the best bike for wheelies. It’s worth spending time looking into specific aspects of a bike before you make a decision. This section will explain how you should decide on the best bike for you to perform wheelies.
What features do you need for doing Wheelies?
It’s important to have the right bike for wheelies to minimize the possibility of damage coming to you or your bike while performing these tricks.
We will now talk about which characteristics a good bike for wheelies should have.
Bike Frame and Material
The ideal bike for wheelies is on the smaller side and lightweight so it’s easy to maneuver. Your ability to control and maneuver your bike is key when it comes to wheelies. That’s why you should go for lightweight bike that is not large or clunky.
Due to their smaller frames and easy maneuverability, we recommend looking at BMX bikes and mountain bikes.
Your bike should also be durable and sturdy. When you are doing a wheelie you are basically concentrating your weight on the rear side of the bike. That means the rear portion of the frame bears your entire weight.
If your bike isn’t sturdy it could result in bends to the frame. So it’s best to go for a material that is durable and lightweight at the same time. For that purpose we would recommend an aluminum frame.
Steel is also a good option but steel frames tend to be heavier than aluminum ones. If you are looking at a BMX bike, this shouldn’t be much of a problem though since BMX bikes have relatively small frames. They tend to be fairly lightweight even if they are made of steel.
Bike tires are an important component of a wheelie bike. The tires should be durable as well due to the same reason explained above: the rear tire will bear the brunt of your weight during a wheelie so you don’t want it giving out.
The tire should also have good traction for stability since you will balancing on one wheel. A tire with nonexistent grip might slip and result in you losing your balance.
A set of extra grippy tires with decent traction will help you achieve a more stable wheelie. A good way to check is to look at the thread pattern on the tires. Knobby bike tires are best for traction and therefore used a lot on the trails.
For balance reasons, it’s also best to go with wide tires.
When you are performing wheelies, you should be able to de-accelerate quickly and efficiently. That’s why having a good braking system on your bike is essential.
This applies to both front and rear brakes although it’s worth admitting the rear brake takes on a more significant role while performing a wheelie.
There are two main brake types on bikes: rim and disc. Disc brakes offer greater stopping power than rim brakes. That’s why they’re better suited to perform wheelies.
Among the two disc brake subtypes (hydraulic and mechanical), hydraulic disc brakes are better when it comes to quick and efficient stops. So we’d recommend hydraulic disc brakes over mechanic disc brakes.
Quality of Components
You should invest in a bike that has high quality components if you are planning on performing wheelies on it.
The reason is that your bike will probably be more susceptible to damage due to how the rear portion bears more of your weight compared to the front whilst performing a wheelie.
So it’s important to have high quality components that won’t break or wear down easily. These parts could include the rear derailleur, wheels, tires, seat post and saddle among others.
Adjustable Seat and Handlebar
For your comfort and safety, you should find the best seat and handlebar height for you for the purposes of performing a wheelie.
Typically wheelies are done with a lower seat height compared to casual riding and the handlebar should be set sufficiently higher than the seat post. To be able to make these adjustments, you need to have an adjustable seat and handlebar on your wheelie bike.
We hope this article helps you pick the best bike for you to perform wheelies on. We presented what we believe to be the best bikes for wheelies on the market right now but it all comes down to your needs and preferences as a bike rider.
Our top pick is the Mongoose Legion BMX. We like that it has a durable Hi-ten steel frame that is sturdy, lightweight and easy to maneuver thanks to its compact size. We also like that it comes with tires that grip the earth and are wide enough for balanced wheelies. If you like this BMX bike as much as we do, you can click here to check it out on Amazon.