We don’t quite know what it is about wheelies, but they sure are fun to do on an ATV. And they?re not just for entertainment either. Out on the trail the ability to pop the front end a couple feet off the ground will make you a better, more efficient (and in some cases a cleaner) rider.
Of course some quads are easier to wheelie than others. Much of it has to do with the type of transmission and clutch used, while in others the so-called “balance” of the machine?its ability to be ridden at a certain angle for a length of time?factors into the equation as well. Fortunately, all quads made today have a rear grabbar that allows the rider to “overcook” it a bit without tipping all the way over backwards, eliminating most of the fear factor when practicing wheelies for the first time.
Following are step-by-step techniques for wheelies on manual-clutched, and auto-clutched four-wheelers. We?ve also included a list of what we feel are the top 10 wheelie quads made today.
Once you have the front end up in the air, the next step is to find the “balance point” of the machine. On most quads it?s the angle pictured here, a point where the quad feels like it can balance on the two rear tires without falling forward or rearward, with you staying put on the back of the seat. Keep it in this position by using both the clutch and the throttle to control the power, and taps on the rear brake to push the front end down slightly if you feel like you?re tipping over backwards. The trick is to make all of these moves quickly and smoothly so the front end doesn?t drop to the ground and you don?t go the other way and drag the grabbar. Once you can keep the quad at the balance point, you can theoretically wheelie forever. Expert wheelie guys can even shift through the gears.
To start your wheelie with a sport or hi-performance quad, pull in the clutch, shift into first or second, rev it up to around 3/4 throttle, sit back, and pop the clutch. Once you start getting close to the balance point, you can use your arms to slightly push or the pull the front end to the right spot, as well as using the clutch and the throttle. If your quad is always pulling to the right or the left when you?re doing a wheelie, one of your tires has lower air pressure than the other.
Auto-clutch quads are little harder to wheelie, but once you get them up, they?re generally easy to balance since the powerband of their engines is so smooth. To get an auto-clutch quad into a wheelie, depress the foot shifter down but don?t let it pop up yet. Then give the quad about half thottle, let the foot shifter pop up into first and at the same time pull up on the bars. Get your weight back, find the balance point, and off you go.
The wheelie-out-of-a-corner is a stylish move you can use to impress the girls. Simply throw the quad into a slide and just as you?re getting forward momentum, pop the clutch, sit back on the seat, and hang on! Top guys can sometimes do one-wheeled wheelies for a moment, but that maneuver will eventually catch up to you. It is best done in the sand so you don?t scrape yourself or your quad up too much.
DIRT WHEELS TOP 10 WHEELIE QUADS
1. Honda FourTrax 400EX
2. Honda FourTrax 300EX
3. Yamaha Blaster 200
4. Kawasaki Mojave 250
5. Honda Recon 250
6. Suzuki QuadSport LT80
7. Yamaha Banshee 350
8. Yamaha Warrior 350
9. Kawasaki Lakota 300
10. Kawasaki Bayou 220