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Motorcycle riding question


Alpo
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Popping a wheelie.


I have seen this done a time or three in movies and television. It's always done at high speed. They rev it up, pop the clutch, snatch the forks, and roar off down the road at 40 50 miles an hour.


I myself did one accidentally. Dual carburetors, one for each cylinder, and the left one was sticking. So the bike was basically running on one cylinder, and I had the throttle cranked trying to keep the damn thing running, so I can go through the stop sign and the next block or two to my house to figure out what was wrong with the damn thing. And just about the time I'm letting the clutch out I've got it revved enough that the left carburetor finally started working, and I went from 1700 rpms to 3500 real damn fast, just as I started moving, and the front end come up off the ground, which scared the living begeezus outa me, and I released the throttle and the front end came back down.


Not something I wanted to do again.

 

But back to my question. Is it possible to be riding along at about 15, and gently pick the front wheel up off the ground and continue along in a wheelie, still only going about 15? Can this be done at a slow speed?

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I don't know exactly how fast he was going but I can remember an uncle doing wheelies for quite a long distance and not going fast. Also seen him do them on a bicycle and I'm sure he wasn't going 15mph on those. That was around 35 years ago.  He could do anything on a motorcycle he wanted. Rode a wheelie for probably 3 miles at least once 

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Not that I am aware of. You’d have to accelerate a bit to get the front up but then I am pretty sure you could lower the speed back to 15 and maintain a wheelie. 
 

I am not going to test this though. ;)

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The Short Answer Is yes .

But it far more fun to keep the wheel in the air as you accelerate to 95 Miles Per Hour ....

 

Jabez Cowboy 

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Years ago I watched a stunt rider at a county fair that performed all kinds of feats on motorcycles. For his final act he was to jump 7 buses. I was a bit dismayed to find the buses were to be side by side, not lengthwise, but hey, I was 10 years old. There were motorcycle tricks to watch. I forgave Mr. Chitwood (I believe that was his name. Some relation to Joey Chitwood)
Anyway, I got to participate in him jumping over a bunch of us kids lying on the ground. That was fun. Then there were tricks galore leading up to the grand finale. The 7 bus jump. 
They set up the buses and the ramps and the sun was going down. The stuntman and his crew were performing all kinds of tricks all the while the announcer was firing up the crowd. 
All the while this was going on I watched few form on the ramps and I took it upon myself to leave my seat and go down to the track of our little arena and tell someone that they were getting dew buildup on the ramps and that our hero might slide and crash upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere. ;)

They guy actually said “Go away kid, you’re bothering me.” Ala WC Fields. 
Well, I was right. Our hero’s bike tires went out from under him upon landing and he did a spectacular imitation of a rag doll bouncing along down the ramp and up the track. 
The next day my friends and I went to the local hospital to see Mr. Chitwood (I believe he went by “Robbie”). He allowed the nurses to let us in to see him and we marveled at what a tough guy he was and how many bones he’s broken and the number of crashes he had endured. It dawns on me now that I am catching up to his personal list with my own list, but I digress. 
He told me one thing when I told him I wanted to learn how to do stunts like him. I remember it clearly. 
He said “Son, motorcycles have two wheels. Keep them both on the ground and you’ll be much better off. You don’t want to end up like me”

 

Except for a couple times in my life. I have heeded that advice. Apparently keeping both wheels down doesn’t absolve you from other injuries one may incur on motorcycles. Hahaha :D
 

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Light bikes like a trials or motocross bikes can do wheelies at will. OTW, I think it takes more power. Roll-on power helps if moving. Lower gearing can assist for stunt type, distance wheelies. Pulling back on the bars? Dunno, didn't work for me on the ones I had.

 

Stoppies (lifting rear wheel under braking) just takes strong brakes, often due to stupid car drivers. Rule #1 when riding- they're all out to get you. ;)

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42 minutes ago, Go West said:

they're all out to get you. 

I believe that.

 

Mentioned has been made about the size of the bike and the power of the bike. In the book that brought about this ponder, they were police motorcycles. 1972 or 3. So that would be what - 74 inch Harleys? Jon and Ponch rode Kawasakis, but I think CHiPs came out later in the decade.

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33 minutes ago, Alpo said:

I believe that.

 

Mentioned has been made about the size of the bike and the power of the bike. In the book that brought about this ponder, they were police motorcycles. 1972 or 3. So that would be what - 74 inch Harleys? Jon and Ponch rode Kawasakis, but I think CHiPs came out later in the decade.

Yeah, I doubt anyone pops 15mph wheelies on a cop bike without a boost in power and speed. Regardless of manufacturer. 

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1 hour ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Yeah, I doubt anyone pops 15mph wheelies on a cop bike without a boost in power and speed. Regardless of manufacturer. 

 

Would definitely take more than a stock engine.  My old motorcycle mechanic could set up a big Harley with enough HP that it would pull a wheelie at any speed. However you had better be one heck of a rider or you would soon find yourself being ridden by the bike rather than the other way around.

 

He make some pretty good money setting up Harley baggers for the knuckle heads in LA that had way more money than sense.  Its amazing how much HP you can get out of a fat Head engine when you know what you are doing.

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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I have a neighbor, Ted Culbertson, who was a world class motocross and snowmobile exhibition performer and racer, along with Keith Sayers, and could ride his two wheelers for miles on the rear wheel, or long distances across lakes, and he seemed to be able to make them fly at will too. He broke a lot of bones and destroyed a few machines perfecting his freestyle stunts, but at 47, he's given up the extreme riding and now runs a thriving body/paint/towing business here in Helena, regularly donating thousands of dollars and vehicles back to the community, with a focus on medical fund raisers, disabled veterans, and children. 

His dad refused to attend any of his extreme exhibitions because "I didn't want to see him die in front of me".

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Yes, wheelies' can be done at most speeds up to at least 90.....variables depending.

I have seen done many times. Generally the dumb enough to not be wearing any safety gear short of a helmet.

I have seen it it  t-shirts , shorts and sandals in noon hour traffic.

 

Edited by Sawhorse Kid
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Choose a bike with a solid frame, good geometry, good suspension, and adequate horsepower. You can always clutch up, hank on the throttle, and get the front end up.  With today's modern sport bikes, that last will not be a problem.  Dirt bikes are the easiest, and best suited to the stunt.

 

And, armor up.  The learning curve can be a bit intimidating.  Oh - and don't be an asshat and do it on the highways.

 

Cheers,

FJT

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most wheelies i’ve seen aren’t high speed… usually more like street mph

 

there are power wheelies and balance wheelies (torque matters more than horsepower)

Edited by WOLFY
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The Darwin Award candidates do this, at full speed, on Highway 50 in Sacramento.
So far, I've only seen the nominations... have not yet seen an Award recipient.
My #1 nurse daughter sees 'em though... the Award recipient is on top of the gurney, and his leg is on the bottom shelf.

The most wheelie prone bike I owned was a Yamaha RD400.
The weight bias was such that it was especially prone to wheelies with a fat bottom girl on the back.

Edited by bgavin
edited for typos
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Son n law likes bikers...During the summer he makes a good living fixing broken bones on bikers....During Christmas it is, I can reach one more inch to hang that lite...During the off season it is everything else...

 

Texas Lizard

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