Pop Your Clutch Into a Wheelie on a Motorcycle

If you know how to ride a motorcycle or quad with a clutch and you want to learn something new this is the page for you. This article will show you how to wheelie and balance yourself on a motorcycle or quad. (Note: These tricks are considered dangerous to some degree. Always take the necessary precautions when attempting or performing any or them.)


  1. Find a safe place to practice. Ideally, this should be a large, flat, open area, that's away from areas of high traffic such as public roads, or neighbouring houses.
    • Some examples of safe practice areas include empty dirt/grass patches and empty lots.
    • Not many people enjoy the sound of loud bikes going back and forth, so be respectful when choosing a practice space.
  2. Use proper safety wear. Proper protection reduces the chance of serious injury, and reduces the severity of any injuries received. This is even more important as you're almost guaranteed to fall a few times.
    • Helmets: - The most important article; even if nothing else is used, a helmet should always be worn. In many accidents, helmets can often mean the difference between life and death.
    • Elbow & Knee pads: - Pads absorb some of the shock directed towards the joints during a fall. This decreases the chance of joints shattering if landed on in an accident.
    • Full, thick clothes & long sleeves/pants - . Extra layers help to guard against [Treat Road Rash|gravel rash] (a type of skin abrasion) if a rider gets tossed from their bike. It can also provide weather protection.
  3. Check the maintenance on the motorcycle or quad. It should go without saying that a well running vehicle is safer than one in disrepair. Get into the habit of performing safety checks before riding away on your bike.
    • Look for any wear on both your front and rear brakes. Worn tires, especially the back tire in this case (as you're balancing on it) are more likely to lose traction and slip.
    • Make sure your bike runs correctly.
  4. Check tire pressure and adjust it for wheelies. Wheelies are usually done with a lower tire pressure than normal depending on the motorcycle. This is because it keeps the tires even with the ground, making it harder for pebbles/debris to interfere with your balance.
  5. Learn to hold the clutch for any sudden lift or drop. The clutch is your friend; learning to control it makes it easier to control your bike. For example while over-revving, you can hold the clutch and the bike won't go anywhere. Similarly if you feel the bike going over or tipping, you can hold the clutch and let the bike glide back down.
  6. Practice solely in first gear until you master the technique. First gear is recommended as it's the slowest gear, making it easier to control. Most bikes have enough power to pop the clutch up.
    • It's best to start off slow, giving yourself more control. Gradually work your way up to higher gears as you get better.
  7. Practice "popping" the clutch. To do this, hold the clutch and give the bike above 50 percent throttle (but not too much). Then, prepare for a bike lift while keeping your foot on the rear brakes. Once you release the clutch, the front of the motorcycle will pop itself upwards.
    • This motion must be performed quickly and smoothly.
    • Be prepared to stop in case of an emergency.
  8. Learn to use the rear brake for balancing and emergencies. Once the front of the bike is airborne, tap the rear brake so you don’t go all the way back. The goal is to remain balanced and continue wheeling without dropping down.
    • Be gentle with how hard you tap your brakes. Too hard and you'll fall forwards, while too light and you'll still fall backwards.
  9. Use the "pop and stop" method until you get the hang of the rear brakes. Practice quickly popping the clutch then tapping the rear brake. Do this until you get used to the feeling of lifting the bike and when to tap the brakes. While in the air, tap the brakes if the bike starts to fall backwards, and accelerate if it starts to fall forwards.
    • Note: You should not be trying to do a full wheelie at this stage. Until you're used to the motion, only lift yourself about a foot off the ground.
    • This method works to remove the fear of falling backwards, while giving you an idea of when to tap the brake.
    • The basic concept is similar to balancing yourself on a ball, or a stick in your hand. Aim to keep the centre of gravity directly above where the rear wheel touches the ground.
  10. Learn to tilt back and find the balance point. Tap the rear brake often and accelerate right afterwards. Once you find the balance point, you can let the bike glide through the wheelie until the throttle is needed.
    • If you're still afraid of raising the bike, try finding the balance point without riding it. To do this, get off the bike and lift it until it's balanced on the rear wheel(s).
    • If you want to stop or there's an emergency (eg. something in the way), simply tap the rear brake to bring the front wheel back down.
  11. Use the momentum and the weight of yourself and the bike to avoid falling back. To further maintain your balance, shift your body forwards or backwards as needed. Shifting your weight forwards pushes the bike down, while shifting it backwards pulls it up.
    • Finally put all steps together and keep practicing until you have mastered first gear to move up to second gear and so on.
  12. Find a safe place to ride once you're good at wheeling. Private land, off-road courses and dirt trails work well for this. They also make for fun side trips that'll help you learn your own bike and how it functions.
  13. Once you've mastered the wheelie, practice on other motorcycles and try learning new tricks. Most bikes, including dirt bikes, quads, trikes and scooters, share the same components as motorcycles. This means that the concepts learned here can be extended to different bikes.
    • Other tricks to try include the one-hander, the Superman, and the no-hands (shown below). Note how the rider keeps his foot on the rear brake in case of emergency drop down.


  • These tricks can be dangerous, and are not recommended for beginner riders. Practice learning how to ride normally before attempting to perform any tricks.
  • Be safe and don't hurt anyone including yourself, be vigilant of what's in front of you as well.


  • New tricks need practising and patience, as well as proper balancing.