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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Learning Wheelies.......

I am slowly learning how to ride wheelies and I wanted to get everyones/anyones opinion.

Best way to ride monster wheelies is?

A.) Bring it up in first, switch gears to 2nd
B.) Clutch it in 2nd
C.) Just get going fast enough in 2nd gear to bring it up
D.) None of the above, depends on rider

Any and all opinions, suggestions and comments are encouraged.

The amount of fun you will have on a motor vehicle is inversely co-related to the number of wheels you have touching the ground. Adding speed multiples this effect.
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 10:24 AM
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On a Gixxer 1000 I wouldn't suggest learning wheelies in first gear. On that bike it should just come up in second with a twitch of the throttle. If you can't get it to do that then just keep practicing until you can. You can also try bouncing it up in second, stand on the pegs, bounce twice then gas it as the second bounce comes up. Whatever you do, take it easy and learn slow and safe rather than fast and dangerous.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 10:33 AM
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I know on my ZX7 I have to bounce it up in first (rev, dump, rev) but thats only because its got so much weight to the front...on a GSXR1000 I would think you could do that in 3rd and get em up. But ive never rode a liter bike so I dont know what I am talking about
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX7R95
on a GSXR1000 I would think you could do that in 3rd and get em up.
You are right and you could probably do it in 4th too.

If you want to learn quite a bit about wheelies, go to gixxer.com's stunt and tricks section. You need to sign up on the site to see the forum.

I also felt I should add this because it is really good wheelie advice, from Heyabuza, from gixxer.com. I think it makes a lot of sense and was helpful when I was frustrated about wheelies.

His $10 analogy is very good advice indeed.

Ok, something dawned on me while I was out practicing wheelies on my fiddy yesterday. (WTF is wrong with me that I'm thinking of this forum in the middle of a wheelie) Anyhoo, I'm to the point where I'm getting some pretty darn good distance in 2nd now, and it's one of two ways: blipping in/out/past the balance point (auto insert for the squids), or just holding constant throttle/revs. The latter is nirvana, but harder to do. The former is where I spend more time, but my blips are getting much, much smaller, and I rarely go past the balance point (auto insert for the squids) to the point where I either chop the throttle to the point of losing the wheelie, or freak and go for the back brake. And then of course there's the whole steering issue, another major challenge on the fiddy, especially with the gay stock tires, but that's another issue.

I've found myself basically having to relearn how to do wheelies from scratch on the fiddy, despite doing countless wheelies on street bikes. And fear of looping and getting hurt isn't really an issue, as the speeds are so low on a fiddy, (and I wear gear) and I'm not worried about damaging the bike as I've already looped it several times and it hasn't seemed to hurt it. So it's all just learning the technique. Everything is magnified in a way on the fiddy, making technique critical. It doesn't have power like a GSX-R 1000 to snap the front up effortlessly anywhere, anytime. It doesn't have a clutch, so that's not an option, either. If you start chasing it too much, forget about it, there's just not enough power to bring it back up. And the balance point is very small, you can hit it, go over, and be on your ass just like that. The only way to do good wheelies on a fiddy is to be able to snap it up quickly and consistently near the balance point without going over, and then having good throttle control from there. Easier said than done.

My point is this, anyone else ever read Keith Code's books? Remember his bit about having $10 to spend in concentration? Basically think of your concentration as money, and you've got $10 total to spend. If you're a brand new rider, you're probably spending $8 just on operating the bike, shifting, turning, braking etc. An experienced rider is probably spending well under $1 on just operating the bike, it's second nature. You don't even really think about it, you just do it. So right off the bat, if you are a newer rider, you really have no business even TRYING to do nuts like wheelies, as you are spending way too much of your $$$ on just operating the bike to have enough left over to tricks like wheelies.

But let's for the moment assume you are experienced enough to be comfortable operating your bike in a normal manner, basic riding is now second nature to you, and you want to learn how to wheelie. So now let's start with a fresh $10 worth of concentration soley to spend on the wheelies. This is the part I think experienced guys take for granted, and don't really think about, and so may not express to the newbie fully/correctly. When you first start out, you will likely be spending d**n near your whole $10 on just hoisting it up. You've got nothing to spend on balancing and/or steering, and you've really got no frame of reference to think about them anyway.

This part is probably the most intimidating and difficult part to learn, as having the front wheel in the air will feel very strange and probably rather scary. All your natural instincts will be screaming at you to do whatever it takes to bring it back down, right now. That's why beginners will be popping little 6-12" wheelies yet snap the throttle shut as soon as it starts lifting. They are miles from the balance point, yet their instincts tell them the bike is going over backwards, when in reality it's not even close. Only time and practice can get you used to the feeling of the front wheel off the ground, to where it's not scary anymore.

Once you get used to the feeling of the front wheel in the air, it's time to work on consistency and distance. Now that you're not freaking every time it comes up, you've got some extra $$$ to spend on getting better. First thing is being able to hoist to a decent height quickly and consistently. This is where most discussion seems to center for newbies, with a lot of people saying stuff like "just chop the throttle and whack it open". Well it's not quite that simple. How much do you chop it? How much do you whack it open? And most important (and often overlooked) how much and when do you roll off once it comes up? Unfortunately, there are no definite answers to these questions, as it varies from bike to bike, changes with things like gearing, rider weight and body position, etc etc. So there is no magic formula, it's all feel, and once again, there's only one way to get that feel: practice. I also think maybe at this stage there is still a lot of the $10 being spent on just the hoisting, so even the very next step, when/how much to roll off gets only chump change, when in reality that's probably more important to getting a good, steady wheelie than the initial hoist. But ya gotta crawl before ya can walk, and ya gotta walk before ya can run. Did I mention practice?

For all you experienced wheeliemeisters, how much do you think about that stuff? How much of your $10 do you spend on just hoisting? I know I don't really think about it all, I just do it. Do you chop it half way? All the way? When you whack it is it 1/4 throttle, 1/2 throttle, full throttle? When do you start rolling off? 9:00, 10:00, 11:00? How much do you roll off? 1/4 of the way? 1/2 way? f**k if I know. Even I if stop and really think about it, the best answer I can come up with is "it depends". How fast am I going? 1st gear? 2nd gear? Am I on level ground? An incine? Decline? All these things factor into the equation, but for the life of me I couldn't explain exactly how these things translate into what I do with the throttle. Trying thinking about and explaining in detail something like say, throwing a ball at a fixed target. It isn't easy, is it? But you just pick up the ball, look at your target, and throw it.

Basically it all comes down to feel, and of course practice. You just have to get a feel for how much throttle it takes to bring it up, the timing of the chop/whack, when and how much to roll off once it starts coming up. There is no simple, easy answer to it. I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record by now, but I honestly believe there is no better tool to learn this type of feel than a fiddy or similar minibike. They're small, slow and unintimdating. You can crash it over and over and not hurt yourself or the bike. (well within reason) There is no speedo, no tach. You have to do it all by sound and feel. You can't just say, "take it to 6000 rpm or 50 mph and chop/whack". You have to feel where the power is, and how you can make that work to do what you want. You can't look at the tach or speedo to see how fast your speeding up if you're chasing it. You have to listen to motor and hear the revs climbing. And you WILL know what the balance point (auto insert for the squids) feels like, and what it feels like to go past it, and to loop it. Wouldn't you rather loop a fiddy than your street bike? I know I would. I've never looped a street bike. I've looped my fiddy plenty.

But I understand that some people either can't afford or simply don't want to get a fiddy. So you've got only your street bike to learn on, and noone wants to learn the hard way. I think my best advice is to try and make some kind of plan when you practice, tell yourself you're going to work on one aspect at a time, and don't even bother trying to think beyond that. Start at a low RPM in 1st gear, accelerating a little bit, then chop the throttle a bit and open it back up a ways. How did that feel? What did the bike do? Could you feel the forks compress and uncompress? Did the wheel come off the ground at all? If not much happened, up your RPMs a little bit, and make a bigger on/off movement on the throttle. But the important thing is to always be thinking about how it feels, how is the bike reacting to what you're doing. Getting fixated on a certain speed or RPM or certain percentage of on/off throttle is just going to mess you up. Without trying to sound to corny, you need to be one with your bike, to where it is like an extension that does what you tell it. Just like throwing a ball. Or a better example hitting a ball with a bat. Do you really think about how you're swinging the bat, or do you just keep your eye on the ball and hit it? If you concentrate on the bat, you'll never get it.

Whew! I can't believe I typed all that! My fingers hurt, I think I need a beer now. I also think this is my contribution to the endless "how do I wheelie" posts for quite some time. Go out and practice! It took me a long time to get good at it, and I'm still not as good as I'd like to be, and still not as good as lot of other guys. Some people learn quicker than others, but nobody just hops on a bike rips miles long balanced wheelies. Everbody started out with little popcorn nuts, and progressed from there. Practice, be safe, and wear your gear
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 10:49 AM
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The past three liter bikes i had (not counting the RC) i would clutch up second. Go about 30mph and clutch it up and ride it all day, every once in a while shifting to third. I did this on my TLR, 900rr, and 929.

I would suggest trying to do roll ons first though, wont come up as fast and you will have more control. But once you get used to clutching, you can bring it up at a slower speed and hang them for longer,imo.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 10:50 AM
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback so far. People are touching on my "dilemma" which is wanting to ride street wheelies...from slow speed and hanging for distance. Having a 1000, it is easy..too easy...to get it up in first, but then there is the fear of loopin it. So whats the best way to ride 2nd gear wheelies might be a better question. 1st is to torquey(?), 3rd-4th now we're talking 100mph+ which I'm not quiet comfortable with (yet), 2nd gear you can balance nicely and get some decent speed. I have been practicing and slowly progressing through like the book that was posted says, but have heard so many different things I just wanted to get some more opinions.

If you see me tonight, at the open practice, pull me aside if you have any additional comments or whatever.

And Keep Posting.

Thanks everyone so far

The amount of fun you will have on a motor vehicle is inversely co-related to the number of wheels you have touching the ground. Adding speed multiples this effect.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 11:17 AM
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Yeah yall can help me too...my bikes near impossible to wheelie- I need sprockets
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 11:29 AM
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I read that my bike can come up in second gear with wot.. I haven't tried it yet..

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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 12:56 PM
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First off, 75 mph to 90 mph wheelies should be as fast as you ever want to go on a wheelie. If you go over a hundred miles an hour you are going to be in a world of hurt if you crash, besides its cooler if you can wheelie at the speed limit then wheelie going million miles an hour.

Second, its not the bikes that won't wheelie, its the rider. I don't want to sound harsh but if your bike won't wheelie its not the sprockets or map or anything like that, its you. Andyf3 is doing second gear wheelies from like 25 mph on his 98 F3 so the other bikes that were mentioned above should top that easily.
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jokertlr
First off, 75 mph to 90 mph wheelies should be as fast as you ever want to go on a wheelie. If you go over a hundred miles an hour you are going to be in a world of hurt if you crash, besides its cooler if you can wheelie at the speed limit then wheelie going million miles an hour.
Heh... you'd be in a world of hurt crashing while doing a wheelie at 65 mph... especially without proper gear on.

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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjlee
Heh... you'd be in a world of hurt crashing while doing a wheelie at 65 mph... especially without proper gear on.
I'm not saying you wouldn't be, you could get hurt bad crashing at 10 mph, I was just trying to say a little more delicately, maybe too delicately for some, that at speeds well over a hundred you have a very good chance of dying if you crash (even with the "proper" gear on). Fast wheelies are also harder to control and are for the most part pointless.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Exactly why I wanted to get a little more specific advise on 2nd gear

The amount of fun you will have on a motor vehicle is inversely co-related to the number of wheels you have touching the ground. Adding speed multiples this effect.
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Crashing hurts period, I hurt myself falling out my chair once going 0 miles an hour onto carpted/padded floor only 2ft off the ground.

The amount of fun you will have on a motor vehicle is inversely co-related to the number of wheels you have touching the ground. Adding speed multiples this effect.
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jokertlr
Second, its not the bikes that won't wheelie, its the rider. I don't want to sound harsh but if your bike won't wheelie its not the sprockets or map or anything like that, its you. Andyf3 is doing second gear wheelies from like 25 mph on his 98 F3 so the other bikes that were mentioned above should top that easily.
Obviously I could clutch up a wheelie in 3rd probably but Im stating that is doesnt like to come up just by the rev, dump, rev method
Stunting on a ZX7 is tougher way tougher than an F3
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