As long as it’s done in a safe environment with proper riding gear on, monkeying around on two wheels is fun. One of the most popular but tricky tricks to pull off is popping a wheelie to allow the front wheel to catch some airtime. It requires a certain degree of mastery with the clutch, the throttle, the rear brake and the body’s position before one can transform the bike into a prancing horse. And making it lift is just half the job done, holding it there is another story. A wheelie can be pulled off from a standing start, while the bike is in motion, or if there are too many eager horses inside the motor, it happens naturally when the throttle is whacked open.
Although it does become second nature once you get a hang of it, a lot also depends on the kind of motorcycle and the surface. Lifting the front wheel of a road-going bike with enough grip for the rear wheel seems easy if one starts imagining doing the same with a full-size Adventure Motorcycle on some loose stuff. But if there’s anyone who can make it look easy, it has to be Chris Birch – Eight-time New Zealand enduro overall champion, three-time Roof of Africa winner and a hugely respected off-road coach who teaches 300 – 400 people every year, across the World. If you still need an introduction, just watch some of his other videos on YouTube and you’d be amazed at how he treats that full-size Adventure motorcycle like it’s a Trials bike.
And if you are thinking that popping a wheelie is all about pointless fun, there’s logic to it too. Chris explains how a functional wheelie lets the rider to tackle uneven terrain more efficiently as the front wheel doesn’t take any impact and makes it easier to cross an obstacle on just one wheel. Chris makes it really simple to understand by breaking the process into sections and like most other new activities, he too advises practice before you turn the bike into a horse. Watch the video and do subscribe to his channel if you wish to learn more.