The crankflip is a super fun trick that once learned will leave your shins bruised and your possibilities endless. It’s not a super technical trick but it can take some time to become consistent. Shift into a mid to high gear on you casette to prevent your chain from slipping. If you’re on a single speed or a dirtjumper, that’s fine as well. Let’s get into it! Also, your friends might make fun of you, but shinguards aren’t the worst piece of gear to have when learning this trick.
Crankflip Baby Steps
To start learning proper crankflips, learn to flick your pedals a full rotation backwards while sitting down. This allows you to learn the motion with none of the risk. The motion does change a bit once standing, but not a lot. To make sure you learn with the proper technique when sitting, do not focus on pushing down on your back pedal. Instead, focus on pulling upwards on your front pedal. Weird concept, right? The reason you don’t want to focus on pushing is because once you’re standing up, pushing isn’t so much of an option. When sitting, pushing works because the seat is supporting you. When standing, you have nothing holding you up and pushing down on the pedal will move your entire body. That’s a no go.
To pull up on your front pedal and flip your cranks backwards, angle your toe and the pedal down towards the ground. This will give you a bit of grip and leverage to yank the pedals. It doesn’t take much! Work on this motion sitting unitl you have the timing and pull required down. Standing is harder and higher risk, so make sure you’re comfortable flipping your cranks sitting and with the proper technique.
The Standing Crankflip
Alright, so you’ve got the sitting crankflip dialed. Now it’s time to try it for real. The immediate difference you’ll notice standing is that you need to just float there for a second as you wait for your cranks to come back around. You’ll also notice the pull is a little harder and a little less consistent. Your back foot is much less useful standing, which is why learning with proper technique is important. Focus on angle your front foot down, pulling the crank back, and supplying a little bit of push with your back foot as you jump off of the pedals to allow them to spin freely.
Timing can be difficult. When sitting, all you had to do was pull the cranks. Now, you need to bend your knees and then pull the cranks and pop at the same time. It’s like an ollie on a skateboard, if you’ve ever done that before. Focus on jumping up as you pull your crank so that you have the air time to let your cranks come around. You can put a lot of weight on your bars for support and to help you spend a little more time in the air.
You’ll find once you’ve done a few you learn how to bail pretty effectively – if you’re coming up short, you can widen your legs and land on the ground without smashing your shins. Of course, once you start becoming consistent, you’ll want to start doing them faster and in different terrain. That’s when they get tough… Good luck!
Fun Crankflip Variations
There are tons of different ways and places to do crankflips. One of my favorites is while in a wheelie. Get your wheelies dialed, get your crankflips dialed, and put the two together. It is super fun to see how many crankflips you can do and get your feet back to the pedals and ride away. So far I’ve gotten a triple in a wheelie and double standing – beat my record! It’s also fun to do a stoppie crankflip. Do a normal stoppie and then let the seat come up and hit your butt. Once you’re sitting in the stoppie, try to get a crankflip in before your tail drops. I’d be impressed to see this standing as well!
I’ve started trying to do them just before switchbacks when riding downhill – it’s a fun flair to the corner and doing them with speed and objects to avoid makes it so much harder – you can’t just stare at your feet the whole time! Riders better than me also tend to do them while jumping. Like I said, the possibilities are endless!
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions about the trick. Best of luck and have fun!