Why cant I wheelie?

Alright first off i know I'm a pathetic beginner but I'd rather ask here first than try it outside and potentially destroy my bike.

Anyway I've been trying to wheelie in parking lots and such just to learn how. My SM is completely stock and from I've heard and seen it should be easy to get the front tire up. The only way I can get it up is by dumping the clutch in first gear and that's only a few inches off the ground before I lose it.

Literally all I'm doing is dumping the clutch I'm not pulling back at all or bouncing - should I have to do these? I know on bicycles i have to but I figured a motorcycle should do all the work for me.

I figured it's not a bad idea to get this down before I install my new carb and pipe that way the extra power doesn't make me accidentally loop it.

Thanks for the help with a dumb question

How big of a bike is it? The bigger the CC's the easier it will be. You should practice power wheelies first since the front end wont come up as fast. Then once you get good at that work on slipping the clutch. Some bikes do need a lil help with it. Just gotta time it wjen you need to pull back on the bars. It just takes practice.

Lots of practice just start in 1st using the clutch , its also a head thing your head is telling you no no no switch off ! you want your front wheel level with your helmet ! . Its taken me a good while now but up in 2nd run that out then 3rd run it out again then 4th just need to slow down now and hold the balance. Above all cover the rear brake and wear the propper kit. The bike bends back gravel and tarmac rash is very very painfull ! good luck

Don't be afraid to CRACK open that throttle. Keep foot over rear brake/be ready to pull clutch in if you are going up too fast.

You said you are new to riding. So. Maybe work on riding well, before you start trying to pull wheelies.

Practice going uphill. Heaps easier.

im just now getting to where i can toy with the balance point for a few feet till i run out of rev's. its a hella lot of a mind thing. my hand would chop the throttle whether i told it to or not lol. keep practicing and keep it on the DL, fines for a wheelie around here (flat-ass florida) are a cool 1000 bucks!!

lean back.

lean back, tug and slip the clutch at the same time.I little more power would help.like a pipe and 3x3 jetted. A -1 front sprocket will also help.

You said you are new to riding. So. Maybe work on riding well, before you start trying to pull wheelies.

Everyone's advice is spot on, but I think this is the best start. In order to gain competence you have to first feel very comfy w/ the bike...being able to flick it about easily/comfortably, easy balance at slow or no speed, know where the power is, etc. Once you feel as though the bike is a comfy extension of yourself then you'll find wheelie'ing much easier and more safe to enter into.

Uphill is easier, as was said. For some reason I'm also more confident doing it too. I like to pop it up in 2nd doing about 20 (but I don't look at the speedo, it screws me up) and shift up to 3rd or 4th to cruise with the front end up. My bike won't pop it up in 3rd yet with my mods, but it would easily pop it up in 2nd when it was stock.

This is my favorite position when cruising with the front up... IMG_1407.jpg

I'm also a BMX guy, and the practice I've had on my bike was an amazing skill builder. Can you comfortably indefinitely wheelie a bicycle until you run out of room? If you get bored I'd start with that.

It seems a lot of people trying to learn how to wheelie are often flooded with advice and try to execute too much at once for their experience level. While it all may be good advice like you're getting in this thread, chances are if you're a noob at riding a mono, it's also not easy for you to remember 20 things at once at the exact moment it's needed.

I recently watched my brother buy his Honda Cbr and constantly talk about all the advice he got online about wheeling (too proud to just ask me for tips...) but he'd be forgetting major things. Not opening the throttle all the way, not preloading the suspension or timing it wrong, trying to learn the basics in 2nd gear high in the rpms on a powerful sportbike...etc etc. Like I said all the advice above is excellent...but at the end of the day it was a couple years of hard practice that was the only thing that worked for me...practice practice practice! You will get there.

and save money for a clutch eventually...

My first dirt bike was a 2005 RMZ 450. A very powerful bike. And I had a hard time doing wheelies on that thing! Once I got comfortable on the bike, I could do top gear wheelies.

Just get used to slow, 1st gear stuff. Don't try to get close to the balance point. I still don't like the balance point. I just do power wheelies, where I'm still accelerating.

It's good to learn, because then you can loft the front wheel over ruts, logs, or anything else you may come across. Lean back and cover the rear brake!


Should be able to do first gear power wheelies on a stock 400sm. try wheelieing uphill, and as you progress clutch wheelie in second around 20mph. cover the back brake :thumbsup:

Wow, Lots of good advice.

Jimmyhoffa - I remember back in my highschool days I could hold a wheelie for blocks on my bmx. The whole 280 pound difference this is what scares me a little though haha.

Anyway I'll gradually start giving some of this stuff a shot as I get more comfortable with it. Thanks a lot!

I had a horrible BMX experience recently, actually. I went for a ride with my girlfriend and found that my bike was 250 pounds lighter than I wanted it to be. My brain was conditioned for my Sumo, and my little Fit with loads of aluminum bits flicked all over the place! Don't worry, it'll come to you. Just like spending hours on your BMX gave you confidence, buying more gas for your SM will do the same. I even feel awkward for a few minutes when I bust out my yz250f. It's sooooo light.... :thumbsup:

Eventually you'll get all sorts of fun things too, like being confident when the back end loosens up, being able to loft off of drop-offs in urban areas and pop the front end over curbs with some degree of flow. My fave is the tight-turn-follwed-by-tail-loosening-throttle-crack maneuver in tight spaces. Confuses most people when something with a license plate does that.

Crank in some rear spring preload, reset for dirt.

I'm not great in the art of lofting the front wheel high in the air for hours on end.

But what I have found works for me is about 20mph in 1st give it a hand full and it'll snap right up.

Keep the rear brake covered and once you get enough practice in you should be able to get into higher gears.

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