Wheelies, it's a love hate relationship.
A crazy person's guide to happiness.
As a kid I can remember seeing people in motorcycle gear, carrying their helmet, at somewhere like the grocery store and thinking to myself "Why do only a small fraction of people ride these badass two wheeled machines?". The short answer is, people that have just a little bit of crazy inside them, people that are in a constant pursuit of adrenaline.
During a rally, a youngster at a gas station wanted to sit on my bike. Of course I let him rev it and had his mom take pictures.
There's a whole other level above that, and in my opinion, one of my favorite parts about riding motorcycles...wheelies. Wheelies are a simple and natural occurrence with riding motorcycles and they can be done both slowly and rather quickly. I found my niche with what some might consider "high speed wheelies", however it's all subjective to your riding experience.
Once you find balance point, you'll want to ride on one wheel, wherever you go. That includes trips to the grocery store.
Wheelies are fairly easy to learn, but definitely something to be practiced and learned in small steps as it tends to be terribly unforgiving. There are certain things that should always be taken into account when riding wheelies, especially at high speeds.
-Tires & Tire Pressure: Not something to be taken lightly this can determine whether or not you get a tank slapper upon bringing the front end down and how stable the bike stays at balance point when going speeds in excess of 100 mph. Get quality rubber, keep it warm and keep that tire pressure in the sweet spot.
-Steering Stabilizers: Do yourself a favor and take off that stock steering stabilizer and replace it with a high quality one from either Ohlins or GPR. Take it from me, there is nothing like bringing the front wheel down from a wheelie and being thrown into a tank slapper at 150 mph....its' f*****g terrifying.
When it comes to steering stabilizers, GPR is my personal favorite.
-GP Shifitng: This is going to make shifting to the next gear and riding wheelies for distance and speed much easier. Ever tried clicking up the gear shifter during a wheelie? It feels more awkward than my first school dance.
-Dyno tune: An unpredictable power band isn't exactly what you want for riding high speed wheelies, do yourself a favor and get that bike tuned.
-Gear ratio: Most Japanese liter bikes have a power band that is usually between 8,000 and 14,000 rpm's and geared slightly tall from the factory. To make those 2nd gear power wheelies a piece of cake, drop -1 tooth on the front sprocket. For more aggressive, low end torque and cake rolling burnouts you can even go -1 +2 :D
On my 2011 ZX-10R it was lacking torque in the low rpm range, but after going with a -1 front sprocket, 2nd gear wheelies were a piece of cake!
-Quickshifter: Don't toast your transmission doing clutchless shifts during wheelies, get yourself an aftermarket quickshifter (if your bike doesn't already have it) and enjoy blissfully banging through the gears, riding wheelies into the sunset.
-Suspension: Although not a deal breaker for riding wheelies, I personally prefer a stiffer suspension set up in the rear to reduce sway during wheelies and increase stability. Setting up the front end to be stiff on the other hand is only going to out unnecessary wear on your front forks.