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How to Do a Wheelie
on a Dirt Bike
Types of Wheelies
1. The standing wheelie
This one is a wheelie done when your bike is stopped. It’s also the safer choice and suggested for first-timers.
2. The power wheelie
This one is the wheelie you do when your bike is moving forward and this option allows for a longer wheelie due to the speed.
There are two different ways you can go about your wheelie. You can do it in the standing position or the sitting position. Standing gives you more strength and the ability to balance your weight and control your bike.
But for beginners, the sitting wheelie may be easier, especially when you have just learned proper balance. Similar to riding a bike, once you find the proper position and stability, you can graduate to the standing wheelie.
Of course, balance is the key when riding a two-wheeled vehicle. A dirt bike is quite heavy, so without balance, you are almost guaranteed to take a tumble. You might find you prefer sitting over standing or vice versa, but it pays off to be able to do both.
Standing wheelies can give the rider more control and easier navigation through rugged terrain. Sitting allows you to exert more control and power through your legs, while standing gives you more power through your feet and arms.
You don’t actually lift the bike up with your biceps (although congrats to those who can), your arms are used more for balance.
- 1Don’t lean forward too much; your weight needs to be dispersed evenly on the bike. Scoot your pooter back until you feel your butt on the edge of the seat.
- 2Keep a hand on the clutch and cover the rear break. This is for emergency purposes. If you feel like you’re going to flip head over heels, tap the break.
- 3First gear is a good starting point for sitting wheelies. Turn your throttle, rev up the engine and pull the clutch to keep yourself in place. Keep your hand on the throttle while releasing the clutch to pop up the wheel.
- 4Everyone has a different neutral position on the bike. You’ll try and try again until you find the most comfortable body position and throttle amount. This can be done over time after you gain more experience.
- 5Last but not least, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect! Remember not to attempt anything too daring on your first try. It’s ok if the wheel only leaves the ground for a second or two. You will eventually make it up to 5 or 10 seconds. Find the exact position to maintain your wheelie and your balance through consistent practice.
The standing wheelie shares similar techniques. The difference is starting in third gear is recommended, and you don’t need to pop the clutch.
Once the wheel is lifted, keep your legs straight and your elbows out as you would usually. It might be easier to loop out with standing wheelies, but they are also very useful to get over obstacles.
Slower speeds raise more of a risk for looping out. Engaging all the muscles in your body to control your bike is important at lower speeds.
Popping a wheelie is a common trick most dirt bikers learn. The fundamentals are pretty simple - balance, position, maintaining the position and the safety tips. Once you have got all that down pat, the next step is regular practice.
It’s important not to try a wheelie unless you have mastered the basics. Remember that learning how to do a one isn’t just for show, but it can be a skill required to get you out of tough circumstances and over obstacles on the road such as a fallen tree, or a large rock.
Start from the easiest sitting wheelie to prevent yourself from looping out and damaging your bike as well. And when you're a wheelie pro, try doing some jumps. See how you could do a dirt bike jump and expand your skills in doing tricks!