Grabbing the Front Brake Won't Fix Your Lousy Wheelie Landing

Watching people crashing while riding their motorcycle is not exactly a fun thing, save for that somewhat perverse feeling of "thankfully, it wasn't me."
Grabbing the front brake is never a good idea 1 photo
Photo: Youtube capture
However, watching such videos can indeed have a strong educational purpose, so here we go again, this time with a short lesson about what not to do when landing a wheelie goes bad.

Wheelies can go wrong in multiple ways, with the most often scenarios seeing riders doing in an involuntary back flip or failing to land the front properly. The latter happens most often because of the fact that the front wheel is not aligned with the rest of the motorbike and contact with the ground causes the machine to wobble.

Such tank slappers usually result in nasty crashes, with the severity of the injuries and damage to the bike in direct correlation with the speed of the machine.

A little physics talk

Now, when the bike lands, the weight of the vehicle and rider shifts to the front, amplifying the direction changes triggered by the front wheel. Braking hard with the front pushes even more weight in that direction and makes the motorcycle less stable and much more difficult to control.

Add the erratic movement of the fork during a tank slapper and the odds of such a scenario ending without a crash are poorer than seeing Albania win the European Football Championship this year.

Watching this fellow running off the road onto grass is both lucky and unlucky. The chap is at least smart enough to exercise wheeling on a road that doesn't appear too busy, while the absence of concrete curbs, trees or poles spares him of being torn in half after impacting one.

On the unlucky side, it's bad to see him also exercising the death grip on the front brake. Most likely the front wheel locked and he remained upright for several seconds just because of the bike's inertia, but having no directional control whatsoever.

Moments later, the expectable happens, and both rider and his Suzuki go down. This could have been prevented had he used the front brake more sparingly. The grass appears to be level enough for a ride through, so slowing down gradually could have led to a wonderful save.

It wasn't meant to be. And it never is when a rider locks the front.

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