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Can You Wheelie?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by mrtwowheel, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. mrtwowheel

    mrtwowheel Honda Etched On Brain Top Contributor

    Gary recently mentioned wheelies in a thread and got me thinking. My best friend could wheelie his 20" bicycle the full length of his driveway and more. I always wanted to do this too but it never happened. About '74 our county fair had a show of RD riders that could do wheelies farther than one lap around the horse track. Locals entered a wheelie contest during the show, I think the longest wheelie from the locals was shorter than 100 feet. A couple years ago I had a neighbor kid that could do the most graceful wheelies on his dirt bike, a nice ballet to watch. That ended soon when another neighbor reported this to the sheriff.

    So, maybe it's not too late for me to learn to do this. I'll turn 60 in the next year. I could even get a one purpose bike ready to do this. I have a KZ200 that ………. There are some lessons on youtube, haven't watched any yet.

    So, can you wheelie? Got any wheelie stories? Would you like to wheelie? What's the biggest bike you've ever wheelied? How did you learn to wheelie? What's your longest wheelie? Ever flipped the bike? Got any how to tips?

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  2. Ratranger

    Ratranger XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    I've looped plenty of small dirtbikes trying to clutch up the front. Going too slow with too many revs. I've made it a few hundred feet once, on an xr200. I tend to let off and drop the front right about when it hits the balance point, almost feels like you are about to go over.

    Biggest bike? I'd have to say the tiger 800xc, close second the ducati 748. Triumph has to be clutched up, ducati with the 853 big bore would just come up in 1-2 or 3 if you whacked it open at about 4000rpm.

    How did I learn? Small dirt bike and lots of practice. Tips, make sure the back brake works and don't start on a bike you care about.
    YamadudeXS650C, Jim, GLJ and 2 others like this.
  3. willis

    willis xsive compulsive disorder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    First street bike wheelie was on my Kaw 900 z1. Scared the shit out of me. Felt way too out of control as I really didn’t have much riding experience under my belt, so that was the end of that for a while. About 12 or so years ago, two of my buddies and I went to the local HD dealership, which was also a Buell dealer. They were doing advertised test rides. We walked in, showed our licenses with bike endorsements and they wheeled out 3 bikes for us. One of them wouldn’t start (battery), so they wheeled out a brand new one off the showroom for my buddy with zero miles. No helmet requirements, no employee escort, just handed us the keys. Needless to say we all 3 beat the living shit out of those bikes for 30-40 minutes. Ran them up to about 120 on the interstate immediately. I was shocked at how easy those front ends would just walk right up. We were all 3 trying to one up each other with wheelies on the way back. Nothing particularly notable, but Probably the most fun I’ve had on a bike since then.
  4. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Never been worth a smit at doing wheelies. Mostly just "power" wheelies til I need to shift.
    As a kid three turns of the crank in low gear on my ten speed was my record.
    A 305 scrambler with a huge rear sprocket was pretty easy to wheelie.
    Never had a dirt bike long enough to get comfortable at wheelies.
    I believe fairly low rear tire pressure helps.
    Prolly the biggest learning problem is getting used to how high the front has to be to get to the balance point.
    Body is getting too fragile to deal with the risks involved.
    Got a young(er) friend who could endlessly wheelie about any bike.
    In his forties now he's backing off the stunts.
    Had a friend's plus size main squeeze on the back of my Honda 750 chopper in a helmet protest ride, did 100's of wheelies that day. it was so easy. With lots of weight behind the rear contact patch the balance point is much lower.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  5. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    FJ loves to power wheelie, but not coordinated/brave enough to do anything more than bunny-hops.

    Used to do some middlin' jumps on dirt bikes but nothing like the giant air you see on Ewe Toob.
  6. MrBultaco

    MrBultaco it ran before being parked Top Contributor

    A good friend of mine when we were 15 went to get a m/c license. At the time, the 'test' track was go up there and turn around and come back. My friend asked the instructor if he wanted it on 2 wheels or one.:lmao: He was the 'wheelie king' back in the day. Once wheeled a Triumph 650 about 500 feet (the length of the backstretch) on a road race track. He was 16 at the time.
    This was in 1961.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  7. jetmechmarty

    jetmechmarty XS650 Guru Top Contributor


    GTS Jean-Pierre Goy. I've seen him do stoppies on a BMW touring bike with a fat lady on the pillion. (May I say fat lady?)
  8. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge, is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Back in my DT days I could wheelie 'bout as far as I wanted. Like Gary sez... much too brittle to even think about doing it now. Best unintentional was on a Kaw. 500 triple. Nailed it hard up through the first 3 gears. Glance at the speedo to see how well it did and the speedo said 0. I thought WTF!?! Backed off the power, front wheel touched and speedo jumped to 70. :yikes:
  9. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    Only if she's singing!
    I used to do wheelies on a Schwinn Typhoon (26" one-speed. It was the bicycle version of a pan-head!) like it was a unicycle.
    A friend of mine had a Kawaski 500 (single) enduro that he'd wheelie at will. You don't have to go fast, just get it up to the balance point.
  10. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    We may be brothers from another mother, Jim. I had a DT (well, actually, an RT) in Japan. Buddy had a Kaw threeple. We swapped for an afternoon. I scared the whey out of myself...
    gggGary, mrtwowheel, Mailman and 2 others like this.
  11. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    Took the words right out of my mouth...lotta wiseasses around here, ain't there.
  12. ThatXS650Guy

    ThatXS650Guy More Sparky than Speed Racer XS650.com Supporter

    Must have been an early H1. They "fixed" that in the later years with frame geometry and tuning. My H1 will get the front end light with the coal on.
    My YZ426 will wheelie at will in just about any gear if you whack it hard enough. I ride it with my helmet visor over the fender just to keep the front end down on starts. Hell of a machine...
    Gator xs2, mrtwowheel and Jim like this.
  13. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    My experience on the Kaw was in '72 so yeah, it was an early one. Fast as hell, handled like shit and stopped like a hog on ice.
  14. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge, is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    It was drums front and rear... so yeah, prolly an early one. Iirc, they lengthened the swingarm so idjuts like me didn't kill themselves.
  15. JimmyKnievel

    JimmyKnievel XS650 Member XS650.com Supporter

    Consider a "wheelie school". In UK I think its around £125 for a day and if you cant pull a 100ft properly balanced wheelie, you come back for free till you can wheelie. I believe the method used to teach is some contraption on the back which when it hits the ground, cuts the throttle 50%.
    gggGary, mrtwowheel and Jim like this.
  16. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I learned to wheelie as a kid riding dirt bikes in the Arizona desert. When I was 19 I bought a new XT500,
    B96E5E7B-39F1-468B-9008-DDB58131DDE8.jpeg EF1567EC-D463-4DC2-A090-17811F81BE32.jpeg
    I immediately removed the air box and put a big K+N filter, a super trapp exhaust, and upped the jetting, and suddenly it was a torque monster. All you had to do was crack the throttle in the lower gears to loft the front wheel.
    I got pretty good at doing wheelies on it and my friends and ( girls :cool: ) started egging me on whenever I was around on it. I didn’t do monster wheelies, usually just brought the front tire up a couple of feet and carried it for 30 or 40 feet. The last time I did it was in front of my yahoo friends and I got an unintentional big wheelie. Stood it straight up, I was not in control and I almost went over backwards. They were laughing and cheering and I was crapping my pants. To them I acted like I meant to do that, but I just quietly stopped doing them after that! :D
  17. YamadudeXS650C

    YamadudeXS650C Central New York XS650 XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    My wheelie experiences have been similar to Bob's and others. Ten years ago or so I had a '74 TT500 with a big sprocket and a tight, torquey engine, There was a little bump in my side yard which I'd hit at about 30, and it would help raise the front end up. Carried it for maybe 40 feet. Just wish someone had taken a video.
    Just did a top end on my '74 TY250, and looking forward to the snow melting so I can see what it will do. Same with the DT250, once I get it running well.

    all else 005.jpg
  18. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    On my off road racing bikes definitely. Sometimes for fun, sometimes because I needed to.
    On my road bikes never intentionally.
    Question does anybody know how to get a bike with 32 inch wide handlebars between 2 trees 28 inches apart without stopping?
    The pucker factor the first time you try it is off the charts.
  19. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    That was during your Penton racing days no?
    I’m sure you were a much more accomplished rider than I was. Once in a while I used to go dirt bike riding with these guys who used to race cross country desert races. They were riding big bore Husky’s and CZ’s. I was this skinny high school kid riding a beater Honda XL250. Man! I never used to crash as hard and often as I did when I was trying to keep up with those guys!
    gggGary, mrtwowheel, 59Tebo and 2 others like this.
  20. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    It was when I was racing. My last race bike was a 250 KTM.
    As the poor thing sits today. The mud on it is from the last time I raced it. Still kicks over with good compression. Clean the Bing and put in fresh premix and it would probable run. Then I could really hurt myself.:shootme:

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