Track Time

Home­work has never been this much fun

Motorcyclist - - Contents - —Abhi Eswarappa

ANY­ONE WHO’S SEEN Ari ca­su­ally loft the front wheel of a mo­tor­cy­cle seems to fall into one of two camps: “I can’t wait to do that” or “I wish I knew how to do that.” If you’re in the lat­ter camp, I sym­pa­thize. Wheel­ies have a steep learn­ing curve, and they aren’t easy to prac­tice—es­pe­cially when your sur­vival in­stinct is to chop the throt­tle the in­stant your front wheel starts ris­ing. Wheelie Univer­sity has a so­lu­tion.

The school is run by Brian Steeves on a dragstrip in Barona, Cal­i­for­nia. To get you over that first heart­pound­ing hur­dle, a tool called the Wheelie Height Con­troller (WHC) helps you feel what it’s like to gen­tly kiss the sky with­out the risk of loop­ing and vi­o­lently eat­ing pave­ment.

It’s not straight to the track, though. First, stu­dents sit on a bike that’s been se­cured at its balance point to learn body po­si­tion and to get ac­cus­tomed to look­ing past the gauge clus­ter. Then new wheelie rid­ers will try to at­tempt to achieve the balance point them­selves—in a wheel­chair. Never mind any thought of fore­shad­ow­ing, a rider’s next stop is one of Wheelie Univer­sity’s Tri­umph Speed Triples.

Steeves’ fo­cus is on power wheel­ies: ac­cel­er­ate, cut throt­tle so the fork dives, and whack the throt­tle back open as the sus­pen­sion re­bounds up­ward. The pro­pri­etary WHC lim­its how high the front wheel goes with a com­bi­na­tion of dig­i­tal and me­chan­i­cal trick­ery. As you ride, a binoc­u­lar-equipped Steeves pin­points your mis­takes and iden­ti­fies fixes with in­fec­tious en­thu­si­asm. Once you’re com­fort­able with the tim­ing, it’s all about keep­ing the wheel up. Do it con­sis­tently and Steeves will adjust the WHC so that rid­ers are able to aim the front wheel of the Tri­umph fur­ther aloft.

Wheel­ies are a joy­ous ex­pres­sion of rid­ing ap­ti­tude, but this class is about more than mas­ter­ing a trick. Con­sider Wheelie Univer­sity a thought­ful and skills-fo­cused rid­ing clinic: You’ll im­prove your balance, co­or­di­na­tion, throt­tle mod­u­la­tion, and rear­brake con­trol. All im­por­tant skills, whether you’re on one wheel or two.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.