How to Wheelie a Dirt Bike?

Ahh, to wheelie a dirt bike. There are few sensations that get close to the rush one feels when riding a dirt bike. The path stretching in front of you, hands strapped in gloves, and the weight of the helmet thudding against your head. The pure unadulterated rush of adrenaline that shoots up your veins when you gear in the accelerator and feel the bike respond to you like a fifth limb.

Not meant for all, racing dirt bikes is an art form that needs a lot of time, effort, and patience to master. And maybe a thick, thick skin and pretty strong resistance to pain.

How To Wheelie a Dirt Bike
Source: MudBike.com

Every racer knows that you can’t master the track in a day or even years. And every racer also probably dreams of executing the perfect wheelie on the bike of their dreams. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And you definitely cannot be built back with cement and stone. Therefore, that flawless wheelie is gonna take a lot of tries, scratches, falls humiliation, frustration, and sometimes more than one broken limb.

Let’s start by diving into what a wheelie means.

The Wheelie

Wheelie is defined as a tricky maneuver in which your motorbike is actually ridden on just the support of the back tire alone. Meaning the front wheel is raised while effectuating the wheelie.

Even reading what a wheelie means sounds unattainably cool. 

Wheelie is often used by riders to get out of difficult and complicated riding situations. And how it looks, definitely does not hurt. The engine power plays a major role in the ability to wheelie a dirt bike. Check out the differences between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke engine.

When to Wheelie the Bike

The riders choose to wheelie the bike when they are trail riding and need to be able to lift up the front wheel to cross over the logs present. It is also used when crossing streams or navigating through rutted or uneven terrains. Sounds fun.

How to Wheelie your Bike (Beginners)

The golden rule is to start slow. Remember, it was the tortoise that won, not your hare. And if you do not want to be strapped onto a hospital bed, be that tortoise. Channel your inner peace. Sorry, Po!

There exist a few different methods to execute a flawless wheelie or at least one that will not get you landed face down in a puddle of mud.

The easiest way to begin practicing wheelies is listed down below. Take a deep breath and march forward, soldier.

The expert advice is to first locate a slightly inclined track road for you to practice without getting disturbed or witnessed. No one needs to see your practice sessions. Hush.

Remove the obstacles for better traction. This means that gravelly roads will not work unless there’s hard-pack dirt below you. 

Try to maintain a speed that has your RPM at the correct level before hitting the bike’s optimal power. You need your bike to give you that little pep when rolling the throttle.

Begin riding in the second or the third gear, depending on your preference.

It is advisable to not have the bike at the top of the RPM range. You are not doing yourself any favors there. The one-third way through the gear might work best.

Now on to the procedure

Place your feet evenly on the pegs so that they are right at the center of your feet. This allows for the back break to be accessed easily. Do not place your weight at the balls of your feet, as it curbs your balance.

Now stand and bend your knees a little. And try to hold on to the position.

Leaning back slightly helps. Drop your pose down a bit, shimmying your hips. Like a little wiggle.

And if you jerk back on the bars, it’s best to lean your way back and blindly goose it. 

Don’t think, just act. Drop your hips and push the bike out using your feet. This helps regain your balance.

Breathe in and turn the accelerator.

Let off the gas a bit and lean forward before executing the wheelie to preload the suspension. This lessens the throttle and jerk experienced.

Maintain the speed and pressure.

And you are done with the easy part.

Balancing the vehicle and your skills at throttle control are now put into question.

Using the acceleration is not beneficial. You have to locate the point of balance to maintain your speed and the front tire up.

If you start at the second gear, it is possible you switch to the third during mid-wheelie, which is completely fine.

And lo and behold, you are doing a wheelie.

Dream on.

It’s gonna take more than reading through one article. So read through this one as well.

But hey, well begun is half done.

The Types

Like I’ve already mentioned before, there exist different types of wheelies. And you can pick the one you think is least likely to make you end up a mummified version of yourself.

The Standing Wheelie

Presenting to you the standing wheelie. This is your basic safe-play wheelie. Highly recommended for the newbies, it is fairly simple and safe to start on with this particular wheelie before scaling up the ranks.

Remember, a wheelie is all about that fine point of balance.

Scoot down, place your weight towards the rear wheel of the bike, get into the second or the third gear, whichever helps you pop the throttle, and pray to god and pop the throttle really fast. And if he’s listening, the front wheel is gonna lift off the ground. Add throttle slowly to put the wheel higher. And when you think you’ve shown off enough, get the wheel back onto the earth. And you are done.

The Power Wheelie

Children, please take a step back. The adults are talking. The power wheelie lets you get away with, no doubt, is for the pros. And you, my child, still have time for it. However, if you are past the amateur stage, then I bow down to you, sir/madam. Let me explain my version of the power wheelie. 

The power wheelie is popped when at high speed and helps maintain it for a longer distance.

Step number one- Grip the bike with your legs. Firmly. And scoot back, as far or close as you’re comfortable. It works when your back hits the pad of your seat.

Always, I repeat always, have a finger on the clutch and a leg on the rear brake. This is a no-negotiation rule. Tapping the rear brake will bring the bike back down when it feels on the verge of flipping.

Choose your gear. Begin from a stop and go straight into a wheelie for the safest play. This requires the first gear. It’s a first gear kinda thing. 

 Rev up the engine with the throttle and the clutch pulled in. This makes the driver be still. 

Now, release the clutch all at once while maintaining throttle.

This pops your wheel, making it scoot up in that beautiful arch you want. Pull back on the handlebars if you feel so.

Wheelie is based on the balance, which is derived from the body position and the exact amount of throttle.

Don’t worry; your body will fall into line, getting the necessary nuances right after enough practice.

And only will it get it right after practice.

Your not Harry Potter, and this is not your expecto patronum; you can’t get it on the first try.

A little loss of concentration and this experience might become your boggart. Excuse my Harry Potter references. I just finished watching the Harry Potter Reunion. A little too scripted, if you ask me. But still, once a potterhead, always a potterhead.

Practice long and practice hard. Own that piece of land you find. Start small. Baby steps. Lift the wheel for an eighth of a second. That, by itself, is great. Now stretch it to a second. Two. Five. Eight. 

Now try changing through the gears and hold onto that wheelie.

There’s a sweet spot – or balancing point where the bike feels weightless. That is when you know you’ve got it.

And you will get it.

All you need is patience and a hard head.

Tips

Remember-  Throttle, clutch, brake, and body position. 

When you are riding a dirt bike on the trails, the throttle and clutch are applied in a more linear fashion which propels the bike forward in a relatively smooth way.

Don’t start your wheelie practice sessions on the pavement.

Hang your feet off the end of the bike. Now try to drag them across the ground instead of placing them on the pegs. This makes it easy to put your foot down, literally, when you think or feel that you are gonna fall sideways. It also helps push the weight onto the back.

Or try putting one of your feet on the pegs instead.

Using a smaller pit bike or lower CC bike is helpful to first learn a wheelie. This is due to their lightweight, making them easy to flip and control when you feel them tip to the sides. 

Repeated again, find a flat surface to practice doing a wheelie.  Obstacles and bumps only result in you flopping over. In a painful fashion. Since most of the rider’s concentration is on balancing the front and the back tires, obstacles cause the vehicle to shake sideways, making him or her easily prone to toppling over.

Don’t sit too far back on the bike, or you’ll end up on your back. It sounds like a pop song lyric.

Have your leg on the brake. When out-of-balance, tap on the brake and let go of the throttle. Do not try to maintain the wheelie. Bringing the tire down is the best option.

When in the middle of the wheelie, try to turn the front tire side to side with the handlebars.

Conclusion

Nothing’s impossible. At the same time, that is not an open invitation to try everything.

A wheelie can be learned over sparing time, energy, effort, dedication, and nice insurance.

Remember the right body position, trust your instincts and practice.

And wear your safety gear and kit.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you pop a wheelie without a clutch?

Yes. Most dirt bikes have plenty of power. Sometimes, using the clutch can cause more harm than good. But to be on the safer side until you’ve got your positioning (foot on brake) and balance down, try using it.

How to do a wheelie with a clutch?

Before trying to wheelie your dirt bike with a clutch, make sure you have your balance is on point and make sure you have solid throttle control. Know your bike’s power band, RPM range, gearing, and sweet spots for feathering and maintaining power and speed.

What’s the “Best” Way to Wheelie a Dirt Bike?

Go to the dunes. The dunes provide the perfect setup for practicing wheelies. Not only are there more-than-enough flat, open spaces with gradual inclines; they also provide you with a lovely platform to crash.

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