What’s a Wheelie?

motorcycle wheelieA wheelie is a trick where the front wheel or wheels come off the ground due to an excessive amount of torque being powered to the rear wheel or wheels.

Wheelies are usually associated with motorbikes.

A wheelie on a motorized vehicle is nothing new. In drag racing they are considered a problem, robbing power that could be used to accelerate the vehicle, and many classes of drag racing use wheelie bars to prevent them.

But those are for vehicles specifically built for drag racing, which rarely are street-legal, or unmodified from stock. In contrast, since at least the 1970s, some motorcycles straight from the showroom floor were able to be wheelied.

In the late ’80s and continuing today, motorcycles, and especially sportbikes, have become lighter and more powerful, and have therefore become easier to wheelie.

a pair of wheelies

To perform a wheelie, see our on-line guide: How to do a Wheelie.