Background

super duper wheelie“Stunters” are a subculture of motorcycling. Stunters perform stunts such as wheelies, stoppies and burn-outs on sportbikes, on public roads and in private venues. Some stunters have organized commercial teams.

Since at least the 1970s, some motorcycles straight from the showroom floor were able to be wheelied.  Since the late ’80s and continuing today, motorcycles and sport-bikes have become lighter and more powerful. Other stunts have become possible, if not easy. With lighter, shorter, better-braked bikes on the market, the stoppie has become within reach of many.

In the ’90s some riders made performing stunts the primary focus of their riding. A wheelie or other stunt was not just something to do while riding, it became the main goal in riding.


Some stunters form teams and make stunting into a commercial endeavor, such as the Star Boyz. They sell branded merchandise, videos of their stunts, produce shows, and even offer schools on stunting. The StarBoyz formed in 1996 in Akron, Ohio, USA; and another commercial team, Las Vegas Extremes, formed in 1999.

Renamed Streetbike Freestyle, stunting is becoming recognized as a sport by more mainstream venues, such as AMA Superbike races, which sometimes feature professional stunters as “halftime” entertainment.

The fact that many stunters perform their stunts on public roads draws the ire of other motorcyclists. They intentionally draw a lot of attention to their apparently reckless behavior, and other motorcyclists, especially sport-bike riders, feel that stunters give all riders a reputation for being irresponsible and dangerous to others.

Some motorcyclists simply equate stunters with squids, and disregard them. However, stunters are not merely squids who have some talent. The squid is typically ignorant, inexperienced, and most likely will only ride a motorcycle for a short period before giving up the sport. Stunters are dedicated to their sport. They practice, they discuss the sport with other stunters, they modify their motorcycles specifically for stunting. Some even turn stunting into their profession.