Wheelie 101 - How To... - Sportbike Forums : Sportbikes Motorcycle Racing Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-28-2003, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 611
Wheelie 101 - How To...

I am not a wheelie god... I am not a lisenced wheelie-master-teacher. I am only relating to everyone MY opinions on what a wheelie is, and how to accomplish one. please use your brain before attempting any form of freestyle sportbike riding, please use ovious common sense so as not to get yourself arrested, injured, or killed for attempting this please. I am meaning only to help in my ultimate goal of making ALL of sportbiking a freestyle based... again i am not a lisenced wheelie master, i am only explaining my experience with freestyle so as to attempt to teach everyone on how to wheelie. again these are only my opinions and of course are all subject to debate... thank you -Kane


First off we need to establish what a "wheelie" is. far too often do I hear people talkin about how they can do, or have seen someone wheelie, yet when compared to what -I- consider a wheelie, they fail to hold a candle... so I'll explain and elaborate on what a wheelie is...

you have your beginner WEEs, your typical WHEELIE, your rarely seen BALANCE POINT WHEELIE, and your unicorn "12 O'CLOCK" wheelie...

a WEE-(pronouced weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee) its your first stage of wheeling, its when the front comes off the ground, and most people panic. on todays sportbikes all it takes is crackin open the throttle wide and next thing you know your WEEEEin. a wee does NOT go beyond the hump of the wheelie (I'll explain later) and definatly comes no where near balance. its simply anytime the front leaves the ground for a few seconds and never gets more then 1-2 feet off the ground..

WHEELIE- the point where a WEE becomes a WHEELIE is when you pass the hump. its when you must start to modulate/feather the amount of throttle given so as to elongate the time the front wheel is airborn. its your classic 1/2 block racer finish line, throwing of the front airborn. in your typical wheelie the rider can still see over the front of the windscreen while looking strait ahead, and the bike is still in a constant state of acceleration.

BALANCE POINT WHEELIE - Ill go more in depth on WHAT the balance point is, in a minute, but for now know that a balance point wheelie is one where the bike is no longer accelerating while the front is in the air. simple as that. usualy while in a balance point wheelie, the riders modulation of the throttle is quite minute and very smooth. no jerky on, off, eratic inputs needed here... only smooth, steady rpm sailing here.. more often than not, a balance point wheelie is seen on highways or long stretches of road... once constant balance point status is acheived the length of the wheelie is determined (usually) by arm strength, and how well a rider can deal with arm pump, along with steady throttle application.

12 O'CLOCK WHEELIE - the elusive new york style 12... an ovious example of a 12 o'clock wheelie is any time the tailsection of the bike touches/scrapes the ground. but more specifically a true 12 is when the wheelie becomes near, or perfectly vertical, perpendicular to the ground. in fact any time that the bike is beyond the balance point enough to where pulling in the clutch forces the bike backwards (as in looping is) is infringing on a 12 oclock wheelie status in the broader sense of the word. "laymans terms" anywheelie that is high enough to where the rear brake is in constant stimulation as to keep one from looping it... (but we all know taildragging is the epitome of a 12 o clock) ((aside of course from ovious WHEELIE BAR only tricks... aka ape hangers, cliff hangers.. etc))

Before i teach you HOW to wheelie i need to make sure that you know what to do if and when you begin to bite off more than you can chew. ALWAYS remember to chop throttle. if at anytime you begin to feel as though your going to loop it, or that your just not comfortable.... CHOP THE THROTTLE.. the front end WILL come back down! some people will tell you "just hit the rear brake" but ill level will ya here... by the time most people go to hit the rear... too late... your on the concrete... its much more natural to simple.. (say it with me now) CHOP THE THROTTLE ... believe me the engine compression on these bikes WILL pull the front end back down. I have scraped tail and simply choped tail and saved the wheelie... no rear brake needed...

there are two main points of the wheelie...the hump, and then the balance point.

the hump of the wheelie is waaayyy to comonly confused with the balance point by a beginner. to keep it simple the hump is the point that as long as your below the hump even if you full throttle the bike the rpms will just soar up and the bike will constantly accelerate and the front will not go any higher...

the balance point of the wheelie is the point at which the bike... BALANCES!!!... yes that right... the BALANCE point is when you BALANCE the bike. its typical felt when once the front end is up, the bike no longer accelerates. the speed is kept constant and the bike just sort of sits at one height. the lower the speed the higher the balance point. the reasoning behind that is based upon the fact that at higher speed the "wind" (the displacement of air in front of the bike) begins to force the front steady, same way that at 100mph if you stick your arm outside of the car itll be pushed backward quickly... the faster the wheelie the lower the front needs to be to atain steady constant speed, and balance...

contrary to popular belief neither the balance point, nor the hump. can be measured at one exact mesurement in degrees... both are more of a broad, to narrow (depending on bike) spectrum of degrees... hence the reason some bikes are easier to learn on and more forgiving than others..

IE SRAD GSXR 750s, 900RRs are a lot more STABLE and forgiving than say an R1 or 929....

ok now that that is a little clearer we need to talk more in depth on HOW TO bring that front end up...

As far as im concerned there is two major catagories on the techniques of wheelies... there is the throttle only, and then there is clutching it... I personaly am a fan of, and advocate use of the clutching technique....

inside each of the two (THROTTLE, CLUTCH) techniques, lies 2 more subdivisions... two different throttle only techniques, and two different clutching techniques...

ill explain all four. three briefly, and one in depthly. (the one i prefer, oviously)


Power wheelie:
The easiest form of wheelieing, that is as long as your bike is powerful enough. mostly made capable only by use of geared literbikes and formidable GSXR 1000s... the powerwheelie is accomplished by simply twisting the throttle all the way... as the powercomes on, the front comes up, and on many of todays beastly bikes, the front will easily come up and over the hump and strait into wheelie territory. most 600cc bikes, can do quick impressive WEEs but sadly, unless geared, cannot simply twist and wheelie....

Bounced On/Off/On Throttle Wheelie:
What most people mean when they say a "bounced" wheelie is this technique right here. a throttle only technique accomplished by a quick snapping, ON, OFF, ON of the throttle combined usually with a slight to heavy jumping/pushing of the rider forcing the suspension to compress and combined with the power of the engine hopefully rebound and send the front end soaring.. exact timing and technique i will not be elaborating on as this style is not used often by me, and is by no means a favorite... it is useful though, for bringing up "one handed" wheelies.


Pull Rev Go:
Is technique is what most people think of when they think of clutching a wheelie. to me this specific technique is a sloppy, and quite dangerous to learn (for wheelie beginners) and is definatley not recommended by me at all... the Pull Rev GO... technique is layed out just like that, it is accomplished by a) pulling in the clutch b) reving the piss out of your engine and c) letting go of the the clutch... it can result in a variety of outcomes.. one and most hoped for result is that it is very likely to get the front wheel in the air. another more likely and least opted for result is a mix of either, breaking the tire loose and causing the bike to get all sideways, tire hooking up remarkably and REAAAALLLY sending that front end sideways.... and strait into 12-o'clock zone (IE better be on that back break bubbaa...) most likely outcome of longed term useagle of this style wheelie is severe damage to your clutch discs, pressure plate, and somtimes basket. again this is only my opinion but be quite weary when attempting to learn wheelies by the pull rev go technique... more often than no the result is an erratic scramble to keep control of you vehicle...

Go, Clutch, Go:
Now here is a technique that works.. is easly to learn with, does minamal damage to engine compenents, looks sounds and performes perfectly, oh did i mention it is the tenchnique i use and perfer? or did you guess that by now...

Basically whatcha wanna do is this...
regardless of what bike your on you want to pick a gear (1st or 2nd, id advise 2nd) get into a low constant RPM (around 4-5k) sit steadily at that rpm for a moment to collect yourself and ready yourself. next your going to want to twit the throttle fully.. 100%, WOT, pin the bitch, ALL THE WAY... the bike will jump... and often times as the rpms settle the bike may jerk and suddenly smooth out. it is at that point (the smoothing point) that youll want to enact the next step. morespecificly on the smoothing point, it can be seen cleary while reading the tachometer.. with the initial snapping open of the throttle the needle will dance and as the needle begins to skyrocket into the rpms the smoothing point will relate fully with the powerband, on most bikes its when the tach sweeps 6-7k....at this time youll want to do two simultanious things... 1) PUSH... heave your weight forward and down onto the tripple tree... do your best to compress the suspension while riding. as your pushing youll want to PULL in the clutch. or to be more acurate youll want to "bump" the clutch. bump the clutch by pulling it in enough to allow the engine to slip and soar higher into the rpms range. the amount the engine surgess will be determined by the intensity and length of time given to the bumping of the clutch. here, at this time is what will seperate this technique from different model, type bikes. your timming of bumping will be different on a gsxr 1000 as it would an f4I. here is where practice will come into play. you then want to release the clutch, and pull forcingly back on the bars and give that little extra tug into helping the bikes front end come up, the surge of new power combined with the compressing/releasing of the suspension should easily send the front up on ANY bike... as i said before it is all in the timing.. you must remember to keep hard on the throttle throughought the process ("specially" for beginers, once your more easily learn the technique youll learn the amount of throttle truly nessicary to launch your bike specificly.. but for now, treat all bikes the same and keep on the gas 100%!!!)

in any event once the correct rpm, and timing are mended poping the front end up should become childsplay for any rider... it is then that one must beging to enatct some skill in feathering/modulating the throttle so as to control the speed, height, and even direction of the wheelie... but for just keep practicing on how to pop the front up. nikki hayden did not drag elbow the first day, he started with footpegs, went to knee... and down the road it turned into elbows.. the same goes for wheelies... before you do the 10 mile standups you must adequatly learn how to ride out the 1/8th block sitdowns...

good luck and remember if at any point you get scared... chop the throttle!!

Kaneone is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-28-2003, 06:06 PM
longrider's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Colorado
Posts: 7,723
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

Thank you Kane for a very well written post. I am going to leave this at the top since this will always be the number one question of this forum.

longrider is offline  
post #3 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-29-2003, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 238
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

Kane, this is a great "How to...." summary! I read your last post about a year ago and your method works good! :
WntMo is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-29-2003, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,966
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

Awesome article Kane, thanks

bump the clutch by pulling it in enough to allow the engine to slip and soar higher into the rpms range

[/ QUOTE ]

My question, how much higher into the rpm range...

and also, on a sportbike, are you really going to have enough to to bump the clutch and push your weight forward in the time it takes for the tach to start at 5K and then get to 6 or 7?
ZX6RMaverick is offline  
post #5 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-29-2003, 12:40 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,520
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

i learned how to do them just by knowing the feel of the power of my bikes, i have never payed any attention to looking at my rpms ,i think when you are comfortable with knowing the power of your bike is when you should start trying them, although i could not do a wheelie on a 600 for the life of me ,, my gixxer and tl could come up just rolling on the gas. :
chingonbox is offline  
post #6 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-29-2003, 04:38 PM
a929rronone's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: H-Town
Posts: 4,176
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

Kane : : : : :

I really liked the Bubba line :

Further testing required 99999
a929rronone is offline  
post #7 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-30-2003, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 417
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

once you bump the clutch and the bike starts coming up, thats when u back off from being all the way on the gas and start to modulate the throttle? is this correct?
seebeeare929 is offline  
post #8 of 121 (permalink) Old 01-30-2003, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 611
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

yes you will have enough time to throw your weight and bump the clutch before the engine soars.. and also dont take me 100% literally in the 5k-6/7k rpm thing... as i said exact timing and RPM varies from bike to bike.. PRACTICE try out all of them.. for istance an f4i is really easy at low low rpms (ie 3k-4k) while the gsxr600s are easier up high (round 6-8k) practice... usually they coinside with the powerband of the bike...

no seebeerare929, you do not want to start modulating the throttle until after you raise above the hump of the wheelie.. basically after you feel point at which the bike begins to fly up quicker with less throttle.. kinda hard to explain but easy to feel. most people mistake the hump as the balance point but the balance point is still much much higher...

Kaneone is offline  
post #9 of 121 (permalink) Old 02-01-2003, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 298
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

Tried the second gear technique on the Yamaha FZ1 today. I could get the front wheel about 2 feet off the ground before it would come back down. I think I need to work on my timing and tug at the bars a little more. I also found out that you need to stay on the throttle hard after you bump the clutch or it will come up and then go down. I can tell the bike feels more stable wheeling in second gear as opposed to first. Anyway, Kane21 thanks for your tips. Practice makes Perfect...
m.mcqueen is offline  
post #10 of 121 (permalink) Old 02-01-2003, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,062
Re: Wheelie 101 - How To...

Kane has all the info you need : I can go into depth about my preferred "learning" method, bouncing(a.k.a bunny hopping) I feel that this method is a little safer to learn throttle control. When your learning, practice riding out a "wee" till you hit the rev limiter. This will teach you how to maintain the throttle while keeping the risk of looping it very low. Keep your goals realistic when learning. The bounce method allows you to control the rate of ascent much better than using the clutch, especially if your'e learning. Practice riding out wee's at 2,3 then 3.5 feet. It'll give you much more confidence on the back wheel. Beleive me, the first time you come up past the "hump" it'll scare the be-Jesus outta ya and you're sure you're going to loop it when in reality you still have a ways to go before you're in trouble. Your goal should be feeling comfortable with the bikes "rock-back" from the hump on the way to the balance point. It took me a whole summer of constant practice to get to the balance point in first and even longer than that to switch gears once the front was up. I still have trouble with that sometimes. Keep the rubber side down and stunt resposibly
RuffRyder12 is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Sportbike Forums : Sportbikes Motorcycle Racing Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome