Riding Motorcycle Wheelies - The Basics
Of course everyone knows that you can easily crash a wheelie by going over backwards or running into something. But what very few people know is that bringing the front tire down out of a wheelie, especially at high speeds, sometimes can be the most dangerous part about riding wheelies. If the front tire is just barely off dead center straight when landing, you will get head shake where the handle bars repeatedly bounce between the left & right steering stops.
If you have never experienced head shake then try imagining turning the handle bars from left to right 5 different times in less than 3 seconds. The thing to remember about head shake is that once it starts, you will most likely crash unless you can control it. I have had even the smallest head shake get so bad that I crash within 1-2 seconds of it starting. Head shake is serious and you must learn how to control small doses of head shake to learn how to control the serious high speed head shake that could end in death.
What is the best way to control head shake? Get down low with the bike and tense every last muscle in your body to get the wheels back into alignment. A position similar to riding through a supercross whoop section is ideal; tucked down low holding on with everything you got to keep the rear wheel in line with the front wheel. Most racers use a steering damper which greatly reduces/eliminates head shake but most dirt bikes are not equipped with steering dampers from the factory so there are plenty of aftermarket options available.
The Basics to Riding Wheelies
· The Balance Point - Every bike has one and every bike is different. I always start small by not riding a wheelie but instead just simply pop the front tire off the ground to get the feel of what the bike wants to do. After several pops, then if you feel comfortable, you should move to a 20-30 ft. long wheelie and work your way up from there.
· Trick to the pull up - Everyone knows how to give it full throttle to pull up the front tire but there is a trick to sticking the pull up. The trick is to gently EASE off the throttle once the wheel is high enough in the air. Easing off the throttle will easily bring the bike into the balance point with very little effort. It's all about being smooth and flowing with the bike which starts with being smooth on the throttle and brakes.
· Most important is that you slowly roll on & off the throttle. Doing this will make you feel more in control of the wheelie giving you more confidence that others will notice.
· Practice Safety because practice makes perfect. Do not ride wheelies in dangerous conditions, populated areas, or near animals. Also, mud in your front brake will cause your front tire to stop rotating while riding wheelies for more than 10 seconds. Serious head shake is caused when your front tire is not spinning after you finish your wheelie therefore never ride wheelies with your finger on the front brake lever.
Chris Nicholas - President of Husky OUTLET
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