The thrills and chills of wheelies

Inspired by ‘Mission: Impossible 2’, we give wheelies a try and discover they can be safe and fun too

February 10, 2021 03:44 am | Updated 10:46 am IST

There are some movie scenes you can never forget. For me, it is the iconic chase sequence in Mission: Impossible 2; the highlight of this scene is where Tom Cruise wheelies a Triumph Speed Triple which then goes on to explode mid-air. For years, there was no one cooler to me than Tom Cruise just because of that scene. That is exactly the point about wheelies, they look cool as heck.

Wheelies are not all drama though and mastering them can help you improve as a rider, especially if you do not have a lot of experience with powerful machines. When you have got over 100hp and not a lot of electronics, front wheels on motorcycles like going up. This feeling can be a bit scary, but knowing what it’s like and learning how to control it can help you be a better, and yes, a safer rider.

Learning wheelies used to come at the cost of having a few tumbles. But there are wheelie training rigs now and Ajmera IndiKarting and Sachin (aka Riderboy the instructor) invited us over to give their set-up a go. My colleagues Vishal Venugopal and Rishabh Bhaskar joined me and our class began with Sachin explaining how the rig worked, followed by a simple up and down ride of the course to get familiar with it.

As a safety measure, we were also asked not to use the front brake or take our legs off the pegs under any circumstances. After that, we were positioned in the centre of the track, instructed about body positioning and told to give it a shot. Sachin observed what mistakes each one of us made and kept correcting us along the way. Despite being one of India’s top stunters, he is a pleasantly frank and down-to-earth teacher. In the beginning, I found myself giving it too little throttle, but after I got that right, I pulled my first proper wheelie.

‘Gaining confidence’

Keep in mind, even with the rig and the professional by our side, it was still scary. We only began gaining confidence after half an hour of attempts. This is also when he asked us to touch the wheelie bar on the back of the Pulsar to the styrofoam on the rig, at which point we would be pulling a 70-degree wheelie. Vishal and I got really close to reaching that point, but Rishabh was the only one to achieve it. Rishabh also quickly grasped how to accelerate while the front wheel was in the air and to keep the wheelie going for more than 20 feet.

At this point, our session was over, but there is still so much one can learn. If Vishal and I had also reached the same stage as Rishabh, the next session would include removing the layers of styrofoam step by step. The styrofoam stops you; essentially it helps you increase your wheelie angle.

The class is held right next to the Ajmera IndiKarting track in Mumbai and you can book a slot by getting in touch with Sachin Riderboy at 8767961180. A one-hour session will cost you ₹2,500 and that includes fuel and wear-and-tear expenses on the motorcycles. Would I recommend it? Yes, because learning how to wheelie has never been this safe, fun and easy.

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