10 of the best motorcycles for big wheelies

If you like to hoik the front at any given opportunity, then these bikes are for you

Posted: 15 July 2011
by Ben Cope

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Wheelies: they're not big and they're not clever but they are a lot of fun.

My first bike was a TZR125 and on asking if I could wheelie it, a friend said to me: 'If it's got two wheels, it'll wheelie'.

That's a mantra I've enjoyed testing out for the last decade. For the large part, he was right.

In my 10 years of riding, I've ridden over 200 different motorcycles and almost all of them have had their front wheel aloft. Power isn't a straight route to wheelies, although it does help. Some bikes have the motor to wheelie almost anytime, any place but don't feel at home on the back wheel. So this is my pick of the best bikes for big wheelies: the bikes that appear to have had it factored into their design brief and the ones that flatter even the most ham-fisted attempts to hoist the front.

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Suzuki Bandit 1200

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Discuss this story

Yep - the Bandit 1200 - MK1 is best. I can never sell mine purely because its sooo nice to wheelie.

Posted: 15/07/2011 at 14:41

And the mighty Aprilia Tuono! Thats my other bike!

No need to clutch it up though - just crack the throttle in 2nd. Mind you I've gone down one tooth on the front cog.

Posted: 15/07/2011 at 14:44

My othger halfs old Vertemati seemed to live on its back wheel, high and long too!!

Posted: 15/07/2011 at 15:22

Verty who? Now yer just boasting.

Posted: 15/07/2011 at 15:43

No Street Triple? Waste of web space then

Posted: 15/07/2011 at 16:28

CB1000R is even better for power wheelies (detuned Fireblade's engine with more power in bottom and mid range)

Posted: 15/07/2011 at 19:38

I'd put mine in there just above the SMR 510 - SMS 630 (a bit weightier, more torquey, less mental urgency and a feck sight comfier, spends way too much time on one wheel, so much so I got another letter from the local plod that the locals are complaining again :(

Posted: 19/07/2011 at 08:17

Best i've had are my 2004 955i Speedie and a Honda Firestorm, brilliant for wheelies they were.

Posted: 19/07/2011 at 14:47

Good wheelie bikes, all of them. Good to see my bike (R1200R) isn't on the list - I've yet to get the front wheel off the ground, no matter how hard I try.

Which bikes make make the WORST wheelies? I'll start with anything built by Harley Davidson.

Posted: 19/07/2011 at 18:29

Can't wheelie a harley?


Posted: 22/07/2011 at 13:56

I used to have a gpz1100 unitrak. You couldn't even turn it let alone wheelie the feckin thing. Wheelbase was about 3km.

Posted: 22/07/2011 at 14:00

Huh? I had a GPZ1100 B2 and used to wheelie it at 200kmph over a rise (using a lookout). It was predictable and controlable, and would stay up 4-5 seconds with a gentle re-entry- 200m wheelies. I also used to enjoy corners on it and could scrape the pegs. I have a TLS now and still miss aspects of the GPZ by comparision...

Posted: 04/08/2012 at 08:25

Aye well the unitrak ones were much longer than the twin shockers, Colin. Fair effort though.
I had a z1100r (before or after can't remember which) which was much livelier. And green. Never managed to wheelie it though.

Posted: 04/02/2013 at 16:58

My Yam 660 Tenere was fully loaded with a weeks worth of clothing on a recent trip to France. After taking yet another wrong turn we pulled over to turn around.
I was first to pull away and giving it too much throttle the front wheel went up and I shot down the road balanced on the back wheel, hanging on for dear life.
Scared the life out of me but when we stopped for a break some time later I got so much praise from the others for a perfect wheelie I didn't have the heart to tell them it was not planned and I was shitting myself.

Posted: 05/02/2013 at 18:48

@SOCO Great story mate hehehehe

Posted: 09/05/2013 at 00:36

My V2 Tuono Factory wheelied way down but even with the "Wheelie Control" electronics off I have to pull my V4 Tuono up by the bars. That was until I grabbed a handfull of high-speed throttle. The V4 loves to wheelie at the other end of the box and looks even more astounding to other car drivers when it goes past on the back wheel.

Posted: 13/03/2015 at 23:50

Sorry but your wrong....If you want to see the bikes that are REALLY the best for wheelies come and see us this year for the GUINNESS WORLDS FASTEST 1km WHEELIE on the 15th and 16th August at Elvington Airfield,YORK. 200mph+ kilometre wheelies on Suzuki GSXR's and Hayabusa https://www.facebook.com/events/798332860204077/

Posted: 28/04/2015 at 18:01

Are you going to be there wheelie-ing a Suzy GixxaJase? Should be a fine summer ride so see you there to have my amature skills put to shame.

Posted: 11/05/2015 at 02:53

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