Riding a wheelie

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Pengaleng, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Pengaleng

    Pengaleng Hellbilly Peckerwood

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,519
    Location:
    Georgia Home Boy
    This mere mortal can't do it. But I'm going to be learning.

    Got an advise? xr600
    #1
  2. Possu

    Possu de-nOObed!

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,230
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    On an XR600, you should have no problem getting it up in second by dipping the clutch & giving it a small handful of throttle. Before tryin anything spectacular, get used to the bike coming up & play around with the revs at which you use to determine what's best.

    Then get used to the balance point of the bike i.e. point at which the bike is steady & you're comfortable before trying to change up to third.

    Alternatively, just dump the clutch in first with plenty of revs, first having goodbye to friends & family, wriTten your will & made an booking with the local ER : :evil

    I used to be able to wheelie an XL500 in third standing on the pegs, until it went wrong one day :rofl :rofl
    #2
  3. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Oddometer:
    9,337
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I found the easiest way to learn on my old airheads was to find the sweet spot where the torque was nice and shift there from first to second. This got the front up and by managing the throttle I could get it up to the balance point. Going up a slight uphill also helps. I stopped all that nonsense when the wife and kids caught me doing a stand-up on the hill to our house. That and the CBR wants to stand up on the rear at far too high a speed.

    The Adventure will pull the front up even with that huge tank filled. With the proper timing when shifting between first and second it's easy. Scares the heck out of small plastic clad little sport bikes in the canyons.

    Now, if I can only get used to mud and dirt...
    #3
  4. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,673
    Location:
    Fairfield County, CT
    You should cover the rear brake, and stay seated to modulate the pedal with the finest control. Finding the balance point means finessing the front wheel between too low and too high, which you control between the throttle and rear brake, respectively. Also, it's nice to know you can always stop from looping it.

    Keep the front wheel spinning, the faster the better, it acts as a gyroscope - second gear wheelies will be easier to balance than first gear wheelies.

    This is mountain biking wheelie experience... I don't want to try on the GS :D.
    #4
  5. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    48,979
    Location:
    Harrys place
    its all in the right hand. start getting cute with clutch and brake and your asking for a lesson in humility.
    #5
  6. Pengaleng

    Pengaleng Hellbilly Peckerwood

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,519
    Location:
    Georgia Home Boy
    Hey - are you saying that my right hand ain't cute...

    she's the cutiest thing I know. :lol3


    Keep the good advise coming. I've heard about the rear brake peddal hover. I think it is a good idea. :thumb
    #6
  7. GaelicDog

    GaelicDog Lesser of Two Weasels

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,326
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Being able to wheelie a bike is one of the things I used to do well. Getting older and sometimes wiser makes you think these things through, too far sometimes!

    When you initially start, find the neutral point on the bike. Do not try to go too far too soon. Use your weight to help bring the front end up. To me it's more about balancing the bike as opposed to using horsepower to bring it up. IF you are using the horse power ALONE to bring the bike up you risk getting the front end too high, hitting the power band and shooting the bike out from under you.

    I, unlike SNAPPER do not use the back brake to bring the front end down. I just use the throttle. I can wheelie the GS pretty well, but it sure is a big bike to land.

    The best street bike I have ever had as far as riding wheelies was my V65 Sabre. While going to the lake on the weekends I would hit GA 400 @ I-285 and bring it up coming off the ramp, shifting with the front in the air and ride it for miles. Early edition of Biker Boyz. I look back and wonder WTF was I thinking!
    #7
  8. ysr612

    ysr612 Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Oddometer:
    10,104
    Location:
    Beaumont, texas
    right 1st roll off roll on it will come up. If you find a hill and do it while riding up it is even easier.
    #8
  9. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,541
    Location:
    Coweta Oklahoma
    Scoot forward as far as possible. keep your head level and keep your back straight up and down.
    #9
  10. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,179
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    advice: Don't flip. :D


    1) Bringing it up
    - Sit as far back as you can, where have good feel over all your controls (foot and hand). The further back your weight is, the lower the bike will achieve the balance point. Remember- as the bike rotates up, your moment changes in relation to the rear axle. I put my ass back to bring it up, and then scooch forward and straighten my arms once it's up.
    - Actually, on dirtbikes, I smash the back of the seat with my ass just as I hit the clutch. The bike comes up nice and easy, and generally won't spin even on slippery surfaces.
    - I prefer clutch to throttle for bringing her up. The clutch reacts much faster than the throttle will. Practice tons of launches- on an XR 600, it's easy to roll along just above idle in 2nd, give it a pop of throttle, and bring her up on the clutch.
    - Once the clutch is out, leave it out. If you bring it in, you lose your ability to control the wheelie with the throttle.

    2) Keeping it up
    - Once you are comfortable with the launch, and with your ability to bring it back to earth by snapping the throttle shut, start lookign for the balance point. It's a LOT higher than you think. You'll be looking through the handlebars, along the forks when the bike is actually balanced. You can hold it up below that with the power, but the length of your wheelie is limited by the amount of r's you have left.
    - The balance point is much higher or lower depending on your body position. Use this to your advantage- play around with balancing it with your torso forward (steeper) and with your arms extended (lower).
    - Slow wheelies are less committed, but MUCH harder than fast wheelies. 1st gear is very hard on the big XR's, where 2nd/3rd are easy squeezey lemon pleasy. Bike doesn't want to fall off line all the time...
    - Practice on a hill. That way the wheel is closer to the ground at the balance point.
    - Shifting: There's two ways to do this. First is to get beyond the balance point, just a bit, so that you can unload the tranny an hit another gear. The other is to blip it hard, and smack a shift in while everything is temporarily unloaded after the blip.
    - Use the rear brake very sparingly. It's easy to smash the front wheel down so hard that you lowside. DAMHIK.
    - Ideal is to roll out of it before the rev limiter does it for you. That way, as you approach earth, you can pin it again and ease the landing.

    It's hard to establish the connection in your brain between right wrist and height of wheelie. XR 100's have been the key to that for me, because it's alright to loop them...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Johnny KLR

    Johnny KLR Woefully Adventurous

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,282
    Location:
    Fate, TX
    NO! All wrong!

    Sit back. This puts the weight further to the rear of the pivot (rear tire) and makes it much easier to get your bike up. The further forward you are, the more the engine has to work to get the front of the bike up.

    In first, you can get up to your thick torque spot, get off and back on the throttle very quickly (kind of bouncing the front end) and it will come right up. This saves your clutch too.

    In second, you'll either need to make a quick transition with a good bit of throttle from first to second, or involve some clutch slip and a good bit of throttle. The KLR does not like to do this (unless the saddlebags are really loaded; see above about weight and pivot points).
    #11
  12. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,541
    Location:
    Coweta Oklahoma
    It's like balancing a hammer in your palm. If the heavy end is up high then you can feel small changes in the angle quicker and make adjustments quicker. I am 47 years old and don't wheelie as often as i used to. I discovered a long time ago (25 years) that you can hold a wheelie longer if you are scooted farther forward on the seat. The faster you are going the easier it is. I can hold a wheelie as long as the front wheel is spinning. I have seen guys wheelie a couple of hundred yards and then SWEAR they went a couple of miles. I can honestly say that i have wheelied over a mile 2 or 3 times, half a mile probably 100 times. I have done slow 1st gear wheelie for several blocks. I have brought it up in 1st and shifted through fifth. I have done one handed wheelies for a block or so. I used to be able to touch the rear fender and keep going. I can still turn a corner on a wheelie, and i have ridden a wheelie all the way around the block (4 turns) several times. All of this was done while scooted up so my nuts were on the gas tank.
    #12
  13. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,617
    Location:
    Beautiful Downtown Springville, Alabama
    Beg, borrow, or steal a smaller bike, Xr100s are damn near perfect for learning almost anything on :nod .
    Busting your butt on a XR100 or something similair won't hurt nearly as much, and will allow you to learn without the fear of a big sucker crushing you.

    Trials bikes are the easiest to learn wheelies on, but are hard to come by. These days I do mostly standup wheelies, even on the GS, drop the knees, then straighten up, pull the bars back, slide your butt back, and roll the throttle on at the same time. Going uphill while learning will help a lot.

    On the GS, I cover the rear brake, and use the throttle to control the height. On the trials bike I cover the rear brake, but also the clutch. I use the clutch more and a whole lot less throttle, less than 1/8, esp if it's slippery.

    Good luck, practice on dirt or grass, it's a whole lot softer :nod
    #13
  14. ysr612

    ysr612 Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Oddometer:
    10,104
    Location:
    Beaumont, texas
    learn by neduros way and move up to this both are correct.
    #14
  15. Skinner

    Skinner Mr.KTM

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,780
    Location:
    Lake county Il
    Get someone take pics of the first few attempts, just in case you know what happens, it'd be nice to capture on film for the recovery period couchwheelies [​IMG]Thats me right now. Happened while teaching a new rider how to ride a quad rut w/ front tire out and rear tire in (like a curby on bicycles) it is good for balance practice. I guess I need more practice. Clavicle broke in 5 spots.
    #15
  16. Gregg Wannabe

    Gregg Wannabe Just killing time

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,682
    Location:
    San Diego
    Everybody's different but here's how I learned:

    If possible get a smaller bike like an XR100, and in first gear pull the front up while keeping your feet on the ground, then drag your feet behind you so they act kind of like outriggers and the other two legs of a tripod. This is easiest to do on an uphill. Just go real slow <5 MPH and get comfortable with being at the balance point and keeping it there with the throttle. At this speed the worst thing that can happen is you loop it in which case you just hold the bars and put it back down. I mean you are standing after all. After a while you'll have less and less weight on your feet (outriggers) and you'll be able to scoot up the street at say 10 MPH just skimming your feet.

    Moving to your XR600 which is a great wheelie machine by the way, start in first gear and load and unload the front wheel by blipping and cutting the throttle in a rythmic rocking and bouncing motion. Make sure the bike is in the powerband. You should be going about 10 MPH and your goal is just to bounce the front tire up a bit at a time and learn where the meat of the powerband is. Try 1 bounce, 2 bounces and then on three really gas it and bring the wheel up. Now do this about 200 times and each time you'll be going a bit further. Again this is easiest when traveling uphill.

    When you can ride a wheelie for a little while, say until you rev out in first, (you are not really at the balance point if you are revving out but that's OK you're getting there) try doing the blip thing again except in 2nd gear traveling at about 20 MPH or so. You'll know the speed because you'll have to get the bike in the powerband again. Same technique as above. Just keep practicing and working your self higher and higher and farther and farther. Repeat 200 times.

    On the faster wheelies it is a good idea to keep your foot on the rear brake but just cutting the throttle will bring you down pretty good because of 4 stroke engine braking. Some guys use the front brake to bring the front down (a gyro thing), some feather or pull in the clutch to bring the front down. 3rd and 4th gear wheelies are now my favorite and they are far easier than 1-2 gear wheelies. I can bring the front up on my 525 at 60 MPH in 4th gear very easily with throttle only and a little tug.


    FWIW - I am in the sit down and back camp, I can't wheelie standing up or while up near my tank for any length of time. And, the balance point is way further back than you think it is.
    #16
  17. XRsLug

    XRsLug Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    LA
    If the rear brake is covered, the bike can (in theory) be scraping its rear fender and be brought back down. There is an amazing video of Max Biaggi pulling a wheelie across the finish line on his old 500 GP bike and hitting the powerband unexpectedly. If you were looking at him from the side, his front wheel would have been at about 1:30 on a clock face. He hits the back brake, and down it comes, disaster (in this case, looping a multi-million dollar bike :lol3 ) averted.
    #17
  18. cbob

    cbob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Buford, GA
    Standing on the passenger pegs helps, but is cheating.

    Same for adjusting out all the rebound damping on the front end - Boing!

    Definitely start on uphills - it's easier to bring it up because the bike attitude is already in a wheelie and down is easier because the bike decellerates faster. This is the place to learn.

    And lastly (and most sadly), keep your wheelies out of general public view - positive or negative, we have an image to present.

    practice, practice, practice

    - c
    #18
  19. Pengaleng

    Pengaleng Hellbilly Peckerwood

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,519
    Location:
    Georgia Home Boy
    I completely agree having already seen national headline news regarding stunt bikers. :thumb I just think that it would be nice to know the bike you are ridding.
    #19
  20. QuickMule

    QuickMule Half-fast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,697
    Location:
    Baja, Arizona
    Here ya go...
    #20