We all know about motorbikes. Whether they’re the flame-spattered, skull-and-crossbones, chromed-out Harleys that fat, bearded men you wouldn’t mess with ride, or the Sonic the Hedgehog looking colour-coordinated superbikes that would leave even the most souped up cars for dead, one thing is for sure: motorbikes are awesome. Here is a list of some of the more awesome things you can do on them.
10. The Wheelie
The humble Wheelie… Everyone can do a Wheelie, right? The first trick a kid learns on a bike. Still raw and saddle sore from learning how to ride in the first place, even that kid can pop a Wheelie. But the easiest and most ubiquitous of bike tricks is also the most malleable. Any number of variations, manipulations and derivations are available to the more creative rider. Throw in an engine to that mix of ingenuity and two-wheeled innovation and you have any number of stunts that more than justify the Wheelie’s place on this list.
9. The Stoppie
The Stoppie, Endo or Front Wheelie is the Wheelie’s more dangerous cousin. Mess up a Wheelie and you’ve got a shot at landing on your feet; get on the wrong end of an Endo and the best you can hope for is saving a large percent of the skin on your face.
8. The Suicide Burnout
You probably know what a Burnout is even if you think you don’t. You know that ridiculously cool scene from any film with a motorbike where the back wheel spins and spins, so more smoke than your average teachers’ lounge surrounds the hero and some gorgeous leading lady before they blaze off into the sunset? That’s a Burnout. A Suicide Burnout consists of exactly the same principle (extra brownie points for the gorgeous woman!) but with the rider standing in front of the bike. That’s right, on solid ground with a ridiculously powerful machine screeching and howling immediately in front of you.
Image: United States Army
7. The Jesus Christ
Our first trick on flatland may not be the most insane and might even seem vaguely eccentric in comparison to some of the others, but it is probably the only stunt that is easier the faster you’re going. Just pick up a bit of momentum and stand up on your seat or fuel tank. Yes, the Jesus Christ or Cross might not be the most impressive but is most likely the only stunt in this list after the Wheelie that most people have either tried or considered trying, and is therefore awesome enough to be included.
Image: Giyu (Velvia)
6. The Can Can
The Can Can is a trick that involves throwing one leg over to the other side of the bike before kicking both legs out to the side. However, we are venturing into the world of Motocross now, and releasing hold of the bike with only half your available limbs whilst 50 feet in the air isn’t gonna fly for long. For this reason, the Suicide Can Can upped the ante once more. This involves pretty much the same thing as your average, run-of-the-mill Can Can, except once the rider’s legs are free, they completely let go of the bike. Gnarly.
Image: Arwen Twinkle
5. The Superman
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a man (and a bike). All you need is a ramp, speed sufficient enough to turn your eyebrows into ear-brows, and stones the size of beach balls. This is not the sort of stunt you can practice on anything other than a giant ramp while going as fast as you can. Just hurl yourself and your bike over a ramp and then fling your body back off the bike. Holding on to the handlebars is just boring now, after all, so extra points for moving them back to the seat; or if you look rather dashing in a straight jacket, use no hands at all.
4. The Backflip
Perhaps more suited to the world of technological invention than traditional sport, the Backflip was considered impossible on any motorbike for years, and the best of the best didn’t even bother to try. It was too high, too fast and too dangerous. You can hardly blame them: hurtling through the air on top of a searing hot engine is bad enough when you’re the right way up. However, all that changed in 1993 when Bob Kohl successfully converted his BMX flip to a motorbike. The Holy Grail had been found. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that a successful Backflip was completed on a full-size bike, by Caleb Wyatt. The Backflip has progressed from the impossible, to the feasible, to the competition-winning stunt, to an essential part of an extensive repertoire.
Image: Koos Groenewold
3. The Front Flip
The Front Flip still remains mostly elusive. It has been landed, but not by many. Rider Jim Dechamp landed it for the first time in front of the good folks from Guinness in 2008. To even attempt a Front Flip involves going against every instinct you were ever taught when learning how to ride and the one Golden Rule of bike riding: don’t pull your front brake if you don’t want to be picking bits of gravel out of your face. The Front Flip is basically situating yourself in a position where, if anything goes wrong, it’s your head that’s gonna get it. At the top of the ramp, grip your front brakes like a vice, lean forward over the handlebars, and pray.
2. The Kiss of Death
The Kiss of death involves basically the same principles as a Superman: speed, height, distance and being in just about as little contact with the bike and your one method of landing in one piece as possible. But instead of just being hanging horizontally off the back of your bike, the bike becomes almost vertical, and you (if you’re any good, and by good I mean insane!) doing a handstand on your handle bars.
1. The Double Back Flip
The new Holy Grail of Motocross. Once the Backflip had been established as a not only possible but essential stunt in any routine, the Double Backflip was touted as impossible. In an even like a page from mythology, but this time with Youtube thrown in for proof, the first rider to land a Double Backflip successfully, Travis Pastrana, vowed never to do so again.