After buying a dirt bike and learning some of the basics, the first thing that goes through every new rider’s mind is learning how to wheelie their dirt bike. Well, that’s what I’m assuming because it was the first thing that went through my mind when I first started riding a dirt bike, and since you’re reading this, I find it to be true.
Anyhow, learning how to wheelie a dirt bike isn’t just about impressing your friends, it’s truly an important aspect that’s going to help you become a better rider. The way it works in teaching you how to become a better rider is because in the process, you also learn clutch, throttle, brake control, body positioning, and balance.
It’s not something that you’ll be able to do overnight, it’s going to take practice and practice until you master it, but you’ll definitely be able to perform unintentional wheelies while trying. Even though you might be on your early stage of learning how to ride a dirt bike, starting off with simple steps such as learning how to do a wheelie will allow you to get to know your dirt bike better, and even help you gain a better understanding of how dirt bikes work.
The way that most people talk about wheeling a dirt bike sounds almost like a mystery to be taught. It doesn’t take a miracle to learn how to wheelie your dirt bike, it only takes focus, motivation, and practice. For the most part, wheeling a dirt bike requires you to use the same basic riding skills such as throttle, clutch, brake, and body positioning.
However, the hard part is that there’s a different way to how you manipulate these controls for this trick. One thing is for sure, the fear of falling will haunt you each second, but that’s just normal, all you need to do is make sure you’re wearing all your safety gear.
Body and mind state
To begin with, first, make sure that you’re sitting properly. Make sure you don’t sit on the front while performing a wheelie. You have to sit at the rear which will totally feel unnatural at first, but once you start progressing and get the front end off the ground, that’s when you know you’re doing it good. Sitting properly has a huge impact on how you perform a wheelie, with some bikes you’re going to have to sit almost on the rear fender, but it’s important that you don’t sit on the front part of the seat for this because you just put more weight to the bike than it already has.
The first time that you’ll notice the front end is lifted off the ground you’re probably going to panic, and it’s normal because no one can afford to get hurt, right? Although, make sure you start slow and don’t push it, practice after practice you’re going to gain the confidence that it takes to perform a wheelie. It’s also important that you have enough room to practice, in a clean and open terrain without trees or rocks. Even the smallest objects can lead to an unpredictable impact, so make sure everything is in place and the terrain is clear enough so you don’t risk injuring yourself.
Assuming that you’ve done a few hops over time, your mind now is not going to think of what can happen, but it’s going to agree with the fact that popping wheelies is fine and doable. I advise you to be focused at all times, even after you master it. In the beginning, try focusing more on the controls, try increasing the throttle and use second gear, just don’t lose focus trying to see how much the front end has come off the ground.
How to wheelie a dirt bike
Let’s break this down into five easy to follow steps. First, imagine a motocross race and all the riders are all lined up and ready to start. As it is better in races, the riders leave their clutches pulled in just enough with the intention of removing power from the rear wheel, but in a position out enough so they can engage the clutch as fast as possible. The proper time for applying throttle is at a steady rev, so the race starts, shift into gear, release the clutch and apply throttle, and that’s what you’re required to do for wheelies. The steps are performed as follows:
- Start off in first gear
- Apply throttle to get to approximately 15 to 20mph
- Pull in the clutch as explained above
- Try to concentrate your weight on the front end then use a mini-explosion of throttle while at the same time letting the clutch out quickly. Grab the handlebars firmly, and concentrate your weight from the front to the rear of the bike, almost on the rear fender
- At first, with that amount of speed, your front end will go off the ground, and if you wish to bring the front end down, tap the rear brake and the bike will go back down. Try learning the nature of covering the rear brake when necessary, because at first when you’re practicing with a powerful dirt bike, the front end will lift much quicker and higher
These whole steps are a part of a process as a whole that requires action smoothly, not one step at a time. Also, considering the fact that almost every dirt bike is set up differently, you might need to pull the clutch in a bit further, or try experimenting until you find the bike’s friction zone, or you can try giving it more throttle.
Tips for not crashing
- Practice on a flat surface where there are no small objects that might change your direction while riding. In case the surface contains bumps, the bike can easily flop over because all your focus is in getting the front end off the ground, not from falling on the sides
- Sit on the rear of the seat, but while you sit make sure you grab the handlebars firmly so you don’t fall on your back
- When doing a wheelie, if you feel like you’re falling or the gravity is pushing you back, tap the rear brake so the front end falls back to the ground.
- Assuming that you now know how to do a wheelie, always try to turn the front tire side to side using the handlebars. It will help with balancing and keeping you focused on what you’re doing, without letting you take your mind off.
That’s pretty much it, and as you can see, wheelies are not as easy as they seem. One thing is for sure, you won’t learn how to do a wheelie overnight, until you learn how not to panic and stress about falling, you’re eventually going to progress in understanding better how wheelies work, and how you manipulate the controls for performing it.