Looking for backspin tips

The directions in the IUF skill levels show the following for a backspin:

  1. While riding forwards, slowly turn the upper body 90 degrees left (or right) relative to the wheel’s direction.
  2. Quickly twist the upper body 180 degrees (the action), causing the wheel to pivot on its vertical axis 180 degrees in the opposite direction (the reaction).
  3. Recover from the 180 degree wheel snap by slowly returning the upper body to a normal riding position from its 90 degree right (or left) position.

As I am working on this move, I am not sure when to initiate the move in relation to my feet. Does it matter? Is it best to lead into it with the outside or inside foot? Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Thought I’d give this one more shot and bring it back to the top. Can anyone help me or give me a link to go for help?


i have never even attempted this trick but here is my advice:

if there is a certain way (clockwise, counter-clockwise) you twist, then twist that way for the first and final 90 degree twists and the other way for the 180. this is so you can recover. good luck.

I haven’t tried it either (but I will do after reading this thread), I can see myself stopping and then spinning 180 but to do it and convert your forwards momentum into backwards momentum, you’d have to spin really quick. Hands up who can do this?

Anyone who has passed level 6. :slight_smile:

The IUF skill levels have an explanation of the frontspin and backspin in level 6.

Hopefully someone knowledgeable will jump in with some additional hints for doing a frontspin and backspin.

Re: Looking for backspin tips

a while a go i read a fascinatingly technical discussion how to make what is seemingly impossible possible
i wish i could find the link
doing searches on front- and backspin might get it

one thing i do remember was the suggestionthat u dont ride in a straight line but rather a gentle curve to help set-up the momentum for the rotation

does anyone remember reading this article?

The first post I did shows the tips given for the backspin. But the tip does not mention anything about timing of the spin and the feet. That is my specific question.

Thanks to all of you who have given your thoughts. I was starting to feel a little lonely. :wink:

Now to wait patiently for a level 6 + rider to share their wealth of knowledge and experience.



Someone must be able to describe the backspin, please.
What are the crank positions?
Or could anyone post/find a video clip?

I find when I do a backspin, that I start with my strong foot forward, and as I start the action/reaction turn, I push my strong foot so that it is straight down, and moves a little to the back. Then when I start in backwards I push my strong foot down again to begin the backwards motion.

I practiced by starting doing an exaggerated turn where you do a smooth 90 degree turn to stop, then pull backwards out of it to get the other 90 degrees. As you get better the turn gets smaller and smaller until you can do the spin.

THAt listens…

I have been having a little success by doing what joshp said. For example I lead into the spin/turn with my right foot while pedaling down into the spin, then use the same foot to start pedaling backwards.

Best I have done is more like doing an 90 degree turn in and out of the move. So I am going about a foot to the side to complete the “spin”. I’ve seen videos of freestylers spinning and staying almost in a straight line. To me, that is a true spin.

Thanks for your input folks.

I’ve seen a post that was looking for a collection of videos showing the different moves. That would be great! I’ve seen great sites for footbag and for juggling that do this well. They offer the clips in real time and slo motion. Great teaching aid.

I’m sure this type of a site would take a massive amount of time and energy.


i can

i can backspin pretty well, as i am nearing completion of level 6. when i backspin,(which is a little less smooth than my frontspin) i slow down while riding forwards. when my cranks are in the cranks level position( for me right foot forward) i stand up a little bit, lean back, and lock my legs, using my arms to provide rotation. this ends up with me rotating 180 smoothly while my momentum from riding transfers. by the time i have rotated, the momentum is forward, and i am facing backwards, which i ride out of. i think this is it. if i am doing anything wrong someone tell me. later. Nick

This is where to start. Foot position is not relevant. Regardless of what previous posters have mentioned, to stop (and switch pedaling direction) your feet are going to be somewhere in the horizontal range. You can’t help it. If you ride slow enough, you can do it with your feet in the dead spot, but the move only really looks good when there’s some speed and fluidity.

Your object is to get yourself turned around to going in reverse, with as little upper body movement as possible. In other words, your upper body should continue in an unbroken straight line (not counting any arm movements or torso twisting). Of course it has to rotate around.

Start slow, by making a 90 degree turn to the side, followed by a reverse 90 degree turn to continue in the same direction. The slow version is like pulling into and out of a tiny parking space. That’s what your wheel is going to do.

Now gradually work it up to faster speeds. Think about your upper body, and work toward having it continue in an unbroken straight line while the other stuff happens mostly at the lower body area. As you smooth it out, the size of your “course deviation” will get smaller, but it will always be there. It just won’t look like it, because your upper body keeps a straight line. Your upper half should continue in a flow, while the wheel “snaps” around to face the other way.

To do any trick well, it should look smooth and effortless. Unless it’s not a smooth-moving trick. You’ll know you’ve got the backspin where you want it when it feels smooth. Then work on the frontspin.

I watch the younger and beginner riders do slow-mo backspins in their Standard Skill competition routines. Ouch. Those aren’t really backspins. But there is no speed requirement, so pulling into and out of a parking space is technically acceptable.

Pittburgh riding

If I a not mistaken joshp is a Pittsburgh rider. I will be in Pittsburgh next Friday and plan to ride with the Pitt. Campus Fools.


Probably 6-8 pm

Billham you are more than welcome to join the party.

john_childs posted this link a while back with some nice freestyle videos.


Possibly if you can step through the frames you can get some good spin breakdown. They aren’t the best quality, but still really inspirational, I love sin02h_1, especially the backwards piruette followed by the sitting gliding spin, WOW. I was also rewatching some of UNICON11 recently… Irene does some great one-footed front and back spins, WOW again, maybe if I am unlame I will post those videos, unless anyone else has some really good quality freestyle videos, all of mine are painfully grainy…

I do have my two favorites from UNICON up, the robot was of course the freestyle champ. If I post anything else this is where it will be:


Hope that helps and look forward to maybe seeing you in Pittsburgh!



Unfortunately I am busy next Friday or I would show up for the Campus RFools and to meet you. I have the pleasure of supervising a French engineering student who did an internship where I work. That Friday night we are having a going away party. Missing it is NOT an option.

I have ridden several times with Mike Carroll and plan on making it to the Pitt gathering sometime.

Those Japanese freestyle videos are amazing. They are the first freestyle routines I have ever seen and I loved the fluid, dance style movements.

joshp - if you are in Pittsburgh area, post a reply in this thread. I don’t check my personal email for this forum very often. I am always interested in riding with others.

John F - thanks for the advice. I am appreciative of your experience and willingness to spend time on line to help others learn the sport.



Maybe if Mike is interested we can all get together for some Muni over the weekend then. I bet we could get a good Pittsburgh crew together, I only wish Boston had as many enthusiastic riders.

Will start new thread soon.


Billham, I’ll show you mine in a couple of weeks. That way, you can see a “backspin” in person. --chirokid–

Re: Looking for backspin tips

On Thu, 8 Apr 2004 01:48:09 -0500, “duaner” wrote:

>Or could anyon post/find a video clip?

As if the Japanese videos are not enough, the video linked at the
bottom of <http://www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/sem_teresa.htm> shows Teresa
Abrahams doing a backspin.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Clearly a system of 1/14 and 1/16 is not decimal - Mikefule on the English weight system

Re: Looking for backspin tips

On Thu, 8 Apr 2004 11:24:39 -0500, “billham” wrote:

>I’ve seen a post that was looking for a collection of videos showing the
>different moves. That would be great! I’ve seen great sites for
>footbag and for juggling that do this well. They offer the clips in
>real time and slo motion. Great teaching aid.

This Korean site shows many skills, from very basic to not so basic,
in a nice organised fashion:


Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Clearly a system of 1/14 and 1/16 is not decimal - Mikefule on the English weight system

Yeah, I’m in Pittsburgh. Mike Carroll is the president of the Campus Fools, so I ride with him all the time. I’ll be in Pittsburgh for the next 2 months, so you’ll have to come up some time and we can all go riding together. If it is this next weekend, (April 17th-18th) then Zia will be here too!