Are Wheelies Bad For Your Motorcycle - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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Are Wheelies Bad For Your Motorcycle

After viewing the video "Are Wheelies Bad For Your Motorcycle? | MC Garage" (, a comment near the end of the video wrt SV650 oil starvation, has prompted my query and may serve to enlighten those who are tempted to try.

I found more queries on various other sites wrt oil starvation on the front cylinder of a V motor, "Wheelies starving the engine for oil?" (Wheelies starving the engine for oil? - and "Oil starvation when wheelie - ing?" (Oil starvation when wheelie - ing?! - - SV650 & Gladius 650 Forum) make interesting reading. What is considered a safe short wheelie distance?

Not sure whether this has been discussed? V-Strom engine is a modified SV engine, so could this a problem? Is it limited to an engine type?

I understand that if a wheelie is done incorrectly it can be bad for the fork seals, but engine damage though oil starvation...

It's not that wheelies are a daily occurrence, but once in a while in a vacant parking lot or while off-road ....

Your thoughts?
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post #2 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 07:48 AM
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I don't know, but I do envy you guys that can wheelie......I never learned and I am not gonna try now
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post #3 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 09:15 AM
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The oil pump pickup is in the front of the engine. Get the front wheel high enough and its pumping air instead of oil. Dropping out of a wheelie is also a good way to induce a tank slapper. It may be against the law too. That being said, the typical little pop on takeoff isn't going to hurt anything unless a cop sees you. It's the stunters that break bikes doing extended wheelies or at highway speeds. Google youtube motorcycle wheelie crashes and you might think twice before thinking it's cool.

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post #4 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 09:51 AM
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Kaw on the KZ 903 four put a baffle in bottom motor tray in some of them. When drag racing ten years in the stone age 1977-1987 ran wheelie bars most the time.Now they still lift and slam back down some,just not as high.The one ran more runs on,a 1977 GS750 made into a Yos 843 had so many hits it did not turn a good as it should till new neck bearing in. Drag racing about as hard as any thing you can do to a motor or machine.
Bullet proof not a work used much if you drag every week end.
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post #5 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 10:02 AM
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I'll say this, damage to the rider is what you should be worried about! I know from experience. It is not the "wheelie through second gear" that does any real harm to the engine, but the balance point wheelie where you are going hundreds of yards or even miles on the rear wheel. Some bikes are going to be ok, some are not. As greywolf said, it has to do with the oil pickup and system. Some bikes have dry sump oiling and they pretty much cannot be hurt by wheelies. Back when I used to ride wheelies, it was mostly on two strokes. Which of course don't depend on crankcase oiling.
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post #6 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 12:56 PM
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I've inadvertently wheelied some of my bikes. It's not a practice I exercise intentionally. Used to be fun on a Hodaka or other dirt bike.
The young and crazy love it and is part of the growing/learning process. When it starts costing big bucks, you think twice.
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post #7 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 01:19 PM
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Old days

I you are good at it most motors are wet sump so don't think will hurt them. I had a third gear one on a drag bike at strip all most do me in.It all most went too high.Only time in third gear that high.Ran a bar after that.One of the crazy ways to get hurt bad on a bike at strip in the old days was be in line during time trials.Back in the late 70s they let bikes and cars run against each other in time trials and shake downs. The few of the car drivers hated us so much because we made new stock muscle cars look so sick with 750-1100 cc sport bikes.Eat GTO and Vettes so easy. . Some would fake fooling with a carb so the one behind them ran us . This made us in same entry lines as cars. When drags started we were not together,just trials.
If you got too close to a car that had staged and he had done a burn out,then backed up,staged but went too far and red blinked,then backed up till stage ready and did not put back in low!! Not often but did happen a few times! They were not the best ran places at some strips and half the cars may have no back up lights. All of a sudden he was at red line in reverse!!This all stopped in early 80s and bikes and cars no longer ran next to each other.All strips were ran with stiff rules and for the most part a much better thing.
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post #8 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 05:27 PM
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Whether is bad for the motorcycle or not others will have to answer that question. But, it can be bad for you.

We lost a nephew who was not new to riding or new to doing wheelies. One day, probably showing off to his friends, he overpulled the wheelie, fell off the back and was run over by the car behind him killing him.

Do what you want to do. It's your check you're cashing.

Stepping off my soap box now.

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Last edited by OCADVR; 07-24-2017 at 05:29 PM.
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post #9 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 05:48 PM
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Even then

If you drop the front wheel (rather than powering it down) probably not too good for your front forks or steering head bearings, either. I imagine, if you can wheelie and watch your instrument panel, you'd see the oil pressure light go on (we do have one, don't we ?) if the pump ran dry. I've managed (unintentionally) to do a couple of first-gear wheelies when pulling away from a stop 'briskly', but they were a matter of a 5 or 10 feet. Seen a few folks do them in traffic, and assume, sooner or later, they'll come to grief.
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post #10 of 22 Old 07-24-2017, 05:50 PM
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Power to weight ratio, balance, engine design, and other things all come into play. "Bad for the motorcycle" implies an assumption even as the question is asked.

Generally, I think wheelies stress the frame and other parts (especially the chain, etc) of many street motorcycles in ways they were not designed to be ridden.

On a more personal note, I "flipped" a dirt bike in high school and narrowly avoided serious injuries. Years later in a small town where I lived a young man had sold his sport bike and the day before the buyer was to take delivery, he took it out for "one last ride." And indeed it was a last ride; he wheelied and crashed the bike and totaled it. Naturally, it was in his cul-de-sac neighborhood and he was not wearing a helmet. So while he did not die from the injuries, he spent months in the hospital and will forever require adult care due to the severity of his head injuries.

But as was noted by another poster, one can do as he pleases. Just count the costs beforehand and go for it...
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Last edited by basketcase; 07-24-2017 at 10:36 PM.
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