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03-03-14, 09:56 AM,
Information  Wheelies

Unplanned or deliberate, there’s nothing more satisfying than a controlled wheelie.

Wheelies are fun. They can sometimes be dangerous, and they may be illegal, but if you learn how to do them properly they’ll be even more of a hoot, and a lot less risky. And if you choose the right places to do them, your license should be safe too.

There are two types of wheelies: the sort that come along when you don’t expect it – over a crest in the road or when you’re powering on hard in first on some bikes – these are just a natural by-product of riding quickly. Stunt wheelies are different – a completely separate skill that most people don’t even want to try. Both demand slightly different approaches.

The natural born thriller

The most common way the wheel comes up without being asked is when you power over a crest. This can be a little lump or the huge rollercoasters of the A68 near Jedburgh – the principle’s the same. The first thing to do is to see it coming. If you’re alert it really shouldn't come as a surprise – it’s only the height and duration that are the unknowns. Keep your foot over the back brake so if it comes up higher than you want, you can rotate it back down.

To minimise lift-off, keep your bodyweight forward, and make sure when you hit the crest that you’re not powering on hard – hit the crest with a neutral throttle and you should fly fairly straight and level. On the other hand, if it’s a road you know and want to keep it up for a while, a bit more throttle and/or a gentle tug on the bars should suffice. Make sure you land with the front wheel straight.

The show-off’s delight

If you want to hoist monster wheelies, here’s our step by step guide.

▪ pick a nice clear stretch of road, away from other traffic and prying eyes. Get rolling in first gear, both feet on the pegs. Speed should be between 10-15mph about halfway through the rev range. Relax

▪ Throttle on as if you’re accelerating hard, simultaneously flick the clutch in and out and give the bars a gentle tug. You should still be concentrating on the road ahead.

▪ As the bike starts to climb skyward, roll the throttle to keep the front wheel at the desired height. If the horizon’s been obscured by clocks, then cruising altitude has been attained.

▪ For prolonged pleasure, change into second gear well before you rev out in first. Don’t use the clutch for this manoeuvre or the front wheel will come crashing down, and that hurts your tackle, your wrists and your head bearings.

▪ Height can be controlled by gentle dabs on the rear brake. If you’re worried about flipping the bike, take a fat pillion to land on.

▪ IMPORTANT When you land the wheelie, make sure the front wheel comes down dead straight, and keep a firm grip on the bars – otherwise you could get into a tankslapper, and you really don’t want that.

▪ It goes without saying that we accept no responsibility for the consequences ….

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