Standing wheelies are very similar in technique as sitting wheelies. The major difference is that the only thing keeping you on the bike is pulling back on the bars and of course the footpegs. When you do a sitting wheelie you have the handlebars, footpegs and seat. I would say the degree of difficulty is about the same.
Keeping the M/C straight (side to side balance)
Besides getting the front in the balance range, and ultimately the sweet spot and balance point, there is also keeping that sucker straight. There are basically three things you have control of in order to accomplish this:
- Side to side movement with your upper body
- Turning the handlebars
- Moving your knees and sometimes even your feet out to the side for extra balance
These movements have to be subtle, smooth and fast. You have to maintain that center of balance because once it gets too far off, it's too late to bring it back. Of course, if you want to turn while you're doing a wheelie you just lean it the way you want to turn, but you still will be using the three control methods just mentioned. An interesting and very helpful effect relating to turning the handlebars is the gyro effect of the front wheel. The faster the front wheel is spinning, the more of this beneficial gyro effect you will feel. This is so important that Doug Domokos had a special, very small battery-operated motor, on his wheelie bike that would continue to spin the front wheel, for those ultra-long wheelies Doug did. Doug has the Guinness World Records Wheelie. I think its 144 miles. He did it around the parking lot of one of the Supercross stadiums. I remember him telling me he finally had to stop because he was getting board, and his arms were getting so tired.
Learn how to use that rear brake right from the get go. It's an important, healthy point to remember. Make sure you have your foot already on it as you begin to bring the front end up. You don't want to go over backwards, now do you? I know I've done it several times in my days. Although it isn't as bad as going over the bars it's still not a positive experience.
Wheelies in Motocross Racing
So how can these wheelie techniques benefit getting you around a Motocross track? Well, you're not going to be doing balance point wheelies while racing Motocross but the easier to do power wheelie can sure come in handy. There are three major places or ways for the wheelie to be used in Motocross:
1. Entering a section of whoops
When you want to skim a set of whoops most of the time you will want to start skimming them right from the first whoop. In this case you don't want to jump in, and rebound up, and then try to start skimming, you want to wheelie into them and set the front wheel down on the first or second whoop. This way the bike will stay flat on top of them and you can start skimming right away. Of course, in this situation you have to be doing a standing wheelie and you want to be doing this standing wheelie more from the front body position than the normally middle to rear body position. This way as the rear wheel hits the first whoop you will still have body movement travel to move back and absorb the kick from the rear wheel. If you were in the rear body position the rear wheel would kick up when it hit the first whoop and throw your body forward at the same time. This is a big no, no as you're going to need total control at this point, there's a whole bunch more whoops coming up right there in front of you.
2. Carrying the front wheel over certain obstacles or bumps
This is helpful when you want to get over some bumps or the next small obstacle without jumping up off of it. If you were to hit it with both wheels you would jump up from it and loose time. If you carry the front wheel over it you will stay on the ground and save time. In some cases, this technique can also be used when landing from a jump and clearing some bumps or a small obstacle with your front wheel.
3. Wheelieing off a jump
This technique is similar to #2. When you hit a jump with both wheels you are going to go higher and further than if you had wheelied over it and just hit it with the rear wheel. Of course, this technique can only be used in certain situations and on certain kinds of jumps. Usually from slower speeds and more rounded jumps. You can't do it on higher speed steep jumps or you would endo quicker than you could leave chili in your shorts. You may find yourself in the middle of next week before you knew what happened. But in the correct situation this technique is a big-time saver.
The art of wheelieing is more than just cool, it's also faster. Check out this video for Faster Lap Times using the Wheelie:
Read The Art of the Wheelie Part 1.
Ride hard, ride smart and have fun,
About Gary Semics:
Learn our GSMXS time tested and proven practice and training methods to improve your riding skills and race results. How? Through our hands on Motocross School Group and Private classes, with 10 GSMXS Certified Instructors located in six countries. Through our Techniques and Training DVDs (currently 28 titles) shipped worldwide or through our Instant Access Video On Demand Streaming platform.