Motorcycle stunts and tricks are nothing new to the world of motorcycle riding or motorcyclists around the world. In recent years, especially the past two decades though, motorcycle stunts and tricks have gained a wider audience and attention among thrill seekers and fans of such acrobatic tricks that seem to defy nature, gravity, and the laws of physics.
It’s important to note, however, that motorcycle stunts and tricks that one may see performed in movies, on television programs, or live during controlled performances are carried out by the most skilled professionals and that by attempting any of these stunts by an amateur can lead to potentially serious injuries and even death. The collateral damage that is possible can also result in major violations and legal issues.
Motorcycle stunts and tricks are defined generally as maneuvers carried out on a motorcycle or dirt bike that are outside of the realm of normal operation. Each passing year there are more stunts and tricks being devised and designed by people around the world, with some capturing the attention and imagination of fans of this exciting pastime.
Wheelies are the most traditional and well-known type of stunt that is performed on a motorcycle and has been around since almost the beginning of the machine itself. Many people can report having witness wheelies being performed on the street, in parking lots, and even private locations, some with more success that others. A wheelie is where the engine is revved up high and the front wheel is lifted off the ground. The motorcycle then rides on the back wheel for a determined amount of time. The world record currently holds at more than 145 miles of continuous riding with a wheelie.
There are also variations on the wheelie, such as the rider performing acrobatic stunts while the motorcycle is in this particular position. Some might liken these stunts to those performed by gymnasts, with the legs being dangled from the side of the bike, lifted over the handlebars, or elevated over the riders head, putting him or her in an upside down position.
Getting involved in motorcycle stunts and tricks requires more than simply taking out one’s motorcycle from the garage and seeing what one can do. It requires some planning, careful consideration on the location for performing or practicing these types of tricks and stunts, and safety equipment. Without the proper attention to these details, serious injuries are not only possible, but likely.
Before you set out to begin performing stunts or tricks on your motorcycle, understand the basics and take all proper precautions necessary.
First and foremost in any motorcycle stunt or trick is safety. When it comes to performing these death-defying stunts, there can never be too many safety measures in place. The first thing that any rider who is planning on attempting such stunts and tricks should take into account is the safety of any people as well as any property that is within the range of their motorcycle.
Even though a rider may look around at the local mall parking lot and see a wide open area without any cars parked there, this isn’t the best location to practice these stunts. For starters, those properties are private lots and the rider could be cited for reckless driving or even trespassing. Second, even though the nearest person or vehicle may be one hundred feet away, a motorcyclist who looses control can easily travel that far in a matter of seconds, putting those innocent bystanders in danger.
Motorcycle stunts and tricks often require that the rider rev the engine to high RPMs, putting the bike under intense torque, which can cause the rider to lose control quickly, before he knows what happened.
Seek out a location that is isolated, has no other vehicles around, and where you can safely and legally practice your maneuvers. This may require you to find a private empty lot, locate the owner of the lot, and seek permission. When there are no other people around, other than those helping you, then you will not put anyone in unnecessary danger.
The state or locale in which you live may not require that you wear a helmet for your own protection, but when taking on motorcycle stunts, you should never be without one. A full-face helmet, meaning one that covers the entire head, is the best option. A half helmet (or one that only covers the top of the head) may help protect you in the event of a fall or crash, but 64% of all crashes involving the head make contact with the ground on the chin and jaw line, which are not protected with half helmets.
Next are elbow and knee pads. When you begin your quest to become the next great motorcycle stunt rider, you are going to fall. A lot. You may have seen some of the best riders in the world perform their stunts wearing nothing but shorts and a tee-shirt, but rest assured they didn’t start out that way. Make sure that your knees and elbows are well protected.
Strong boots are also a must. Steel toed boots are ideal as they will effectively protect your foot and ankles from the hot pips and accidental drops of the bike that land on your feet.
Gloves are another benefit as they will protect your skin of your hands from the ground as well as the hot components of the motorcycle that you may come in contact with while learning and practicing your stunts.
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of safety when taking on the adrenaline rush of motorcycle stunts.
While you want to be safe and wear the right clothing to keep you safe, you can also add a number of safety items to your motorcycle to protect it and yourself from dangerous crashes. There are scrape bars (which attach to the rear of the motorcycle, just behind the second seat, that are used to keep the bike from flipping over when attempting a wheelie), and crash cages (that protect not only the rider’s legs and feet, but also the engine itself).
What kind of equipment and safety gear you use is entirely up to the individual, of course, but overestimating one’s ability to successfully perform different stunts has often been one of the main reasons people don’t buy the proper safety gear, and also the number one reason why these same people end up seriously injured, or paying thousands of dollars to repair or replace their motorcycle.
Basic Stunt and Tricks
If you are looking to start out basic with the motorcycle stunts and tricks that you perform, the first thing to keep in mind is the speed at which you practice them. Most stunts can and should be done at low speeds, in first gear, and not increased until the individual is more than comfortable with those tricks.
A wheelie as well as a brake stand require the engine to be revved high and the rear tire to have enough power to either lift the front wheel (wheelie) or spin the back tire (brake stand) without going anywhere.
First things first
Before you were able to run, you had to learn to walk and before you could walk, you had to learn to crawl. Use the same premise when approaching motorcycle stunts. Don’t run if you don’t even know how to crawl.
The first test of skill and experience riding is to be able to control the motorcycle at extremely slow speeds. If you can’t keep the bike from wobbling while riding very slow, then your balance will not do you any favors when you try to perform a stunt. Anyone can ride at normal speed; the bike balances itself. Learn to ride slow, at a crawl, and be able to maintain a smooth ride in doing so.
Once you can comfortably ride at slow speeds, then you’re ready to start taking on some of the basic stunts. The first one that builds on the balance factor is being able to ride in a straight line without your hands. This stunt is commonly performed by children when they are riding their bicycles. A motorcycle is no different and will ride in a straight line with enough speed. When you’re comfortable with that, practice leaning slightly in one direction or the other to turn the bike. This is about developing balance on the motorcycle.
Without proper balance, any attempts at stunts will not only be limited, but they will become even more dangerous to you, the rider. When you manage to achieve the balance and control need to ride these basic stunts, then you are ready to try the more complicated stunts.
Whatever you do, though, never ride alone and if possible, seek out a qualified instructor to guide you in your early endeavors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much experience do you need to be a motorcycle stunt rider?
That all depends on one’s skills. There will be riders who have been riding for more than twenty years who have never gained the right kind of skills to take on stunts. There will also be those individuals who are naturally gifted when it comes to riding a motorcycle who may not have the ‘experience’ level of other riders, but they happen to be better at it.
If you have trouble with basic starts and stops, dealing with riding in traffic, or any other issues that cause you concern about your own safety or of those around you, then you may need to take safety and skill training courses to help you gain the right level of experience to perform those stunts.
What if I’m too old to try motorcycle stunts?
Only you can answer the question of whether or not you think that you’re too old to attempt motorcycle stunts. Obviously, the older a person is, the longer it takes for his or her body to heal from crashes. If you have the desire and the confidence to attempt stunts, then there should be no reason that age will keep you away from it.
What kind of motorcycle should I use to perform these stunts?
While your Harley may be a powerful motorcycle, the weight distribution and torque power of the engine make them not ideal for motorcycle stunts. Sport bikes, on the other hand, are the most common motorcycles used in performing stunts. When you are first starting out learning how to perform these risky maneuvers, it’s generally a good idea to use a motorcycle that is a bit older and one that you won’t mind getting dinged up, dropped, and possible damaged severely.
There are a number of cages and braces that are placed on these sport bikes to protect the engine and the rider from dangerous spills and all of the safety gear that is available exists for a reason. Don’t underestimate their importance.
Wanting to get into the exciting world of motorcycle stunts and tricks can be quite intriguing, exhilarating, and tempting. Seeing what some of the world’s best riders can do with their motorcycles can make it seem far too easy and something that virtually everyone can do without much effort or worry. Yet the reality is a far different creature altogether.
Motorcycle rider safety should be the first and foremost issue for any rider looking to tackle stunts, whether they are basic wheelies or even more complex stoppies. The adrenaline rush that motorcycle stunts offer the average rider can often be quite significant, but to reach that level of skill requires practice, patience, and often guidance or instruction.
Going out on the main streets in town and trying these stunts for the first time can be extremely dangerous, not only to the rider himself but also to the people who are also traveling on the roads at that time. Stunts should be practiced in a controlled, closed environment and should never be performed on public streets, no matter how skilled the rider may be.