# Wheelie

Motorcycle wheelie (2008)
Wheelie at a tractor pull (2008)

In vehicle acrobatics, a wheelie, or wheelstand[1] is a vehicle maneuver in which the front wheel or wheels come off the ground due to extreme torque being applied to the rear wheel or wheels.[2] Wheelies are usually associated with bicycles and motorcycles, but can be done with other vehicles such as cars, especially in drag racing and tractor pulling.

## History

Wheelies appear in popular culture as early as 1943, as U.S Army motorized cavalry are pictured in Life magazine performing high speed wheelies.[3] Daredevil Evel Knievel performed motorcycle acrobatics including wheelies in his shows. Doug "The Wheelie King" Domokos has accomplished such feats as a 145-mile (233 km) wheelie.[4]

## Types of wheelie

Motorcycle doing a wheelie (Video)

Types of wheelies include:

• Clutch wheelies are performed by disengaging the clutch and opening the throttle to let the engine race and then engaging the clutch abruptly.
• Power wheelies are performed by simply opening the throttle. If the engine has sufficient power, it will be able to lift the front wheel.
• Bounce wheelies are performed by opening and closing the throttle in time with rocking the rider's weight back and forth, thus pre-loading the front suspension so that the throttle is opening at the same time as the front suspension is unloading.

### Motorcycle

A wheelie is also a common motorcycle stunt. The principle is the same as the bicycle wheelie, but the throttle and rear-brakes are used to control the wheelie while a rider uses body weight and the steering to control the direction the inertia of the spinning front wheel acting as a balance.[5]

The world's fastest motorcycle wheelie record is 307.86 km/h (191.30 mph) by Patrick Furstenhoff. April 18, 1999.[6] The world record for the fast wheelie over 1 km (0.6 mi) is 172.9 mph (278.3 km/h),[7] set in September 2006 by Terry Calcott at Elvington airfield in Yorkshire, England.[8]

In some countries, such as the United Kingdom and USA,[9] motorcyclists performing a wheelie on a public road may be prosecuted for dangerous driving,[10][11] an offense which can carry a large fine and a ban of a year or more.[12] In Pakistan, India, and some other countries its illegal to perform these kinds of stunts. If someone is caught performing these acts, they can have their motorcycle impounded and potentially face jail time.[13]

### Automobiles

Camaro at launch, with Altered Vision in the right lane.

Wheelies are common in auto- or motorcycle drag racing, where they represent torque wasted lifting the front end, rather than moving the vehicle forward.

### Bicycles

Manual on a BMX bike

Wheelies are a common stunt in artistic cycling and freestyle BMX. A variation of the wheelie is the manual. This is similar to a wheelie but no pedalling is involved. The bike is balanced by the rider's weight and sometimes use of the rear brake. A style of bicycle, the wheelie bike, has a seating position, and thus center of mass, nearly over the rear wheel that facilitates performing wheelies.

## Wheelie bars

The wheelie bar (foreground) and parachute (gray) on Kenny Bernstein's Top Fuel dragster.
Wheelie bars on a drag racing Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Wheelie bars help prevent a drag vehicle's front end from raising too high or flipping over on launch. Wham-O developed and sold an add-on wheelie bar for wheelie bikes.

## Physics

A wheelie is imminent, when the acceleration is sufficient to reduce the load borne by the front axle to zero.[14] The conditions for this can be calculated with the so-called "weight transfer equation":

$\Delta Weight_{front} = a \frac{h}{w}m$

where $\Delta Weight_{front}$ is the change in load borne by the front wheels, $a$ is the longitudinal acceleration, $h$ is the center of mass height, $w$ is the wheelbase, and $m$ is the total vehicle mass.[15][16]

## Notes

1. ^ John Pearley Huffman (June 2010). "The Physics of Wheelstands". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
2. ^ Investigation of the influences of tyre–road friction and engine power on motorcycle racing performance by means of the optimal manoeuvre method. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering. Professional Engineering Publishing. Volume 224, Number 4 / 2010
3. ^ Seate, Mike (February 2009). "History Of Stunting - The Streets". Super Streetbike magazine. ISSN 1934-4996.
4. ^ American Motorcyclist Association, "Doug Domokos", AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, retrieved 2009-12-17
5. ^ Motorcycle Design and Technology Handbook (Motorbooks Workshop) by Gaetano Cocco (Paperback - Aug 1, 2004)
6. ^ Young, Mark C.; Footman, Tim (2001), Guinness World Records 2001 -, Bantam Books, p. 226, ISBN 0-553-58375-1
7. ^ Rayner, Tom (9 May 2007). "Wheelie record holder dies". Motorcycle News. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
8. ^ "Wheelie title is retained". Bury Free Press. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
9. ^ Weir, Richard (5 May 2008). "Spins the wheelie after flipping off cops". NY Daily News. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
10. ^ Vinter, Phil (14 May 2007). "Biker did wheelie at 61mph". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
11. ^ "Biker with one leg did a wheelie". Swindon Advertiser. 20 November 2004. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
12. ^ "Wheelie Bad". White Dalton. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
13. ^ "368 motorcyclists fined over wheelies". Visordown. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
14. ^ Cossalter, Vittore (2006). Motorcycle Dynamics (Second ed.). Lulu.com. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-4303-0861-4.
15. ^ John Pearley Huffman (June 2010). "The Physics of Wheelstands". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2013-07-13.
16. ^ P. Gritt (8/20/2002). "Introduction to Brake Systems". DaimlerChrysler. Retrieved 2013-07-13.