Continued from last month;
Doug Domokos who in my opinion was the original one and only Wheelie King was the grand master of this. During most of the 70s Doug was hired by the National and Supercross Promoters to attempt to wheelie around the entire motocross or supercross track without letting the front wheel come down. He actually did this several times. Some riders thought Doug had a special wheelie bike that made this a lot easier. Although Doug did have a bike set up for him doing wheelies it was no easier to do a wheelie on as many of us found out after attempting wheelies on his bike. The doubters were soon silenced. And besides, what professional doesnít have a special bike set up just for them?
You can still order his DVDs online at; http://www.amazon.com/Doug-Domokos-T.../dp/B003DHSE2I
Doug and I were both riding for Kawasaki back in the mid 70s, Doug as the Wheelie King and myself as a motocross and supercross racer. One afternoon some of the mechanics and I were taking a little lunch break in the parking lot just outside the mechanics shop. Doug hopped on a stock KX 250 in his regular street clothes (tennis shoes, T-shirt and no helmet). He started doing wheelies across the relatively empty parking lot. He was doing a bunch of cool tricks but the one that amazed me most and that Iíll always remember was this one. I guess youíd call it a bump start wheelie. He went across the parking lot in fifth gear, pulled in the clutch and pushed the kill button, he processed to coast there at the perfect balance point for about 20 yards, pulled back a little on the bars as he let the clutch back out to restart the engine and continued on a perfect wheelie. All of us standing there were awe struck as we tried to pick our jaws up off the pavement. This was nothing for Doug, just a little lunch time entertainment. The late Doug Domokus who died in an Altra-lite crash at Lake Ellsinore around 2000 was the true Wheelie King. Doug did write a book titled ďThe Wheelie KingĒ.
Whether you want to follow Dougís footsteps, do wheelies for fun or master wheelies in order to benefit your motocross skills youíll have to understand the proper techniques, be able to do them correctly and do them correctly repeatedly over a period of time that allows you to program it all into your automatic reflex reactions, hereís how. Iím no wheelie expert by any means but since I couldnít find one to demonstrate for this riding tip, I was the next best thing. For a motocrosser I feel that Iím pretty good at wheelies but with no smooth long up hills around the best I could do for you was power wheelies. From a slow speed Iím bringing it up in 3rd gear with the help of the clutch. This is so the engine will be smooth once it gets up there and have a long way to put before Iíll have to shift to forth.
Now letís get a good understanding of the nuts and bolts and all the proper techniques. It helps to have a smooth engine, you donít want a pipey power band that kicks in and loops you out. Another thing is a relatively short swingarm. The longer the swingarm the narrower that balance range will be. Another thing to remember is that itís easier to do wheelies on an up hill rather that flat ground or especially downhill. An uphill keeps you from picking up too much speed and it also makes the balance range wider.
Getting the front end too high and not controlling the rear brake is the worst thing that can happen. This mistake will cause you to go over backwards (loop out). Since nobody wants to do that they end up not getting the front end high enough, they are too low in the wheelie range and have to do a power wheelie in order to try and keep it up. This is known as a power wheelie since the power is whatís keeping it up. Soon you will run out of power and speed. This is why doing wheelies on up hills is much easier. So you see to master the art of wheelies you canít be afraid to get it way up there in the balance range and then you will find the balance point. You wonít be afraid of this if you have control and confidence in the rear brake. The rear brake is your savor from looping out. Make sure your brake is adjusted up high enough so itís easy to reach.
(part 3 coming soon)