There are some very common mistakes with the manual, and I cover them in this video.
Do you try to raise the wheel by pulling your arms towards you, bending them at the elbow? That’s the number 1 mistake I see when helping people with their manuals.
The problem with trying to lift the front wheel like that is that it’s not sustainable. You’ll get the front wheel off the ground, yes, but it’ll plonk right back down again. Neither is it sustainable from a strength point of view. That’s why it’s important to focus on using the weight transfer in your hips, and to think of your arms simply as connectors, or pieces of string, between your torso and the handlebars.
Another mistake I’ve noticed is that the rider executes the weight transfer, moving those hips down and back, but as the front wheel starts to rise, they throw their head between their shoulders/arms. The average human head weighs 5kg, so if you’ve just thrown 5kg forward, you’re really countering what you did when you moved your hips back, and you’re not going to find that balance point to maintain your manual. This was the problem I identified with Cath, my student in this video.
If you’re still working on your manuals, and you can’t quite figure out what’s going wrong, watch the video again, and then head out with your phone set on slo-mo and record what you’re doing. Maybe you’ll be able to see what the problem is immediately, but the tips in the video are definitely going to help iron it out. Don’t forget that you can refer back to the video on your phone whilst you’re out practicing.
And on that note, practice practice practice! Look up a lassie by the name of Danica Fife on Instagram. She decided to practice 15 mins a day about 4 times a week, and after about 3 months became a real manual master! That old mantra “little and often” really works.