I took a trip to the first, and only Wheelie and Knee Down school in Wales, this is how it went..
This is something I’d been meaning to do for a while, being rubbish at both, and great at falling off I figured this can only be fun.
The booking process was simple and straight forward, you choose your date, choose either #Wheelies or #KneeDown then you’ve got 2 time slots available for each date- Morning (9am – 12:30pm) or Afternoon (1pm – 4:30pm)
You’ve also got the option to book both together, which then gives you a £50 discount- even better!
There are directions to where they are based, followed by the booking form and the payment options.
Then on the website there is a bit of a brief explanation of what to wear- you cant just rock up in jeans and trainers, the total cost involved, and an option of a discount on photos taken during the day- great!
For the Wheelies, they use the current model (2017) KTM Duke 390’s, the agile and light machines have plenty of power to lift the front wheel, but are also small and easy to get to grips with, and aren’t as intimidating as using a bigger bike, making it a much more inclusive day.
For the Knee Downs, the bikes are 2019 CW140 S, based on Honda’s CRF110 with very similar styling, these bikes weigh around 70KG, have 12″ Super Moto wheels, and a half turn throttle. This makes them ideal as they’re little, light, and seemingly ideal for getting to grips with the body position needed for getting your Knee Down
The day started at 9am, 6 wheelie learners and 2 instructors;
Drew and James (James is also the Photographer)
The first thing you notice when looking at the bikes is the huge bar, they have a bar on the back where the tail tidy would attach, and some form of trailer attached to the back of the bike, then I noticed the HUGE 52 tooth rear sprockets on them, aiding you in lifting the front wheel with ease.
We all gathered around in a kind of group, and had a little chat, we were then split into 3 groups of two people, with their being 2 bikes there two would ride while 4 spectated, then rotating through out the day.
The First Wheelie Session
The first group was up, two friends that had traveled down together (I’m in group 3) one took to wheelies like a duck to water, the other barely managed to pull off without stalling, both having 1 to 1 tuition with either Drew or James giving them advice, tips, and telling you what you did right, and what you needed to work on.
Then onto the second group, one being Ashleigh, a wheelie master already that I dragged along for company and a laugh, and the other was a first timer to wheelies.
This is where the instructors are great, one was focused on the guy who had never wheelied before, encouraging him and talking him through the process as he did it, the other with Ashleigh watching what he could already do, then helping him better his skills and improve his technique, rather than relying on the throttle, he learnt to cover the back break and was aiming to get the bike to balance point and keep it there
Next was my turn, I’m not a natural when it comes to learning anything at all, I have 0 natural skills or talents, with the exception of being really good at falling off motorbikes, or falling over in general, I’m probably one of the clumsiest people in existence..
I partnered up with another girl that was there, Kirsty. She mentioned she had also been here last week and loved it.
While Kirsty took off and got straight into wheelies, I had to do a lap or two to get used to turning the bike with the trailer on the back, it’s hard! Think turning a quad bike, that’s the most similar thing I could compare it to.
My 2 laps done, Drew was there ready to coach me through lifting the front wheel..
Clutch in, throttle at around 3,500 to 4,000 revs, release the clutch, pull up on the bars, wack the throttle open. It sounds easy, but I instantly stalled, and again, and again.
Eventually I got the wheel up, it may have only been about 3 inches off the floor, but it was off the floor none the less, and I could do it over and over
The Second Wheelie Session
The two friends were up again, the one that was a natural managing to keep it at the balance point for almost the entire length of the course, the other managing to get the bike onto the bar at the back, consistently lifting the front wheel as high as it could go every time he tried to.
The guy who had never wheelied was managing much better clutch control, and started to lift the front wheel more often. Ashleigh then managing to keep at the balance point for the entire course, and even changing into second gear while on one wheel
Me and Kirsty were up again, she was consistently getting the front wheel where she wanted it to be, and managed a decent length getting further and further each go, she was a natural, I was impressed!
After a quick pep talk from Drew, I managed to lift the front wheel almost every time, although my legs were starting to feel pretty bruised from stalling so much to start with!
The words that made everything click for me were from Drew
“Pretend there’s an MT09 next to you at the traffic lights, he’s revving and looking at you and you’re revving, and you wanna beat him off the lights”.
That was it, I got it, all I needed was to make it something competitive. The front wheel came up every single time, I felt confident, and I knew I’d won the imaginary race off the lights each time .
The Third Wheelie Session
Group one were up again, it was amazing how good and consistently smooth the one guys wheelies were, the other guy was getting really good too, until he landed the bike in the hedge, it was great fun and he laughed it off, got back on the bike, and continued to wheelie like a pro
Group two again, the one guy had left while I was on my last session, with it being 20 odd degrees I think he’d gone for a quick spin to cool down. Ashleigh then had the cameras to himself, and consistently pulled great wheelies and had loads of fun
My turn again! Kirsty was now wheelying the length of the course consistently, guaranteeing some great photos! I got some really impressive wheelies in, and managed the length of the course a couple of times, feeling much more confident in the skills I had picked up.
Overall, the Wheelie Days was an amazing experience that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone and everyone, no matter the riding or wheelie ability, whether you’re new to bikes or have been burning rubber for decades- My 52 year old dad is even thinking about it now!
The tuition is thorough, in depth, and personal. You don’t feel like you’re just given a set of instructions and sent out, it really is one to one and its great that you can chat and ask questions as you go along, it makes it fun and you feel safe, knowing they know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about.
The Duke 390 is the perfect bike for this, it’s comfortable, light, and easy to get the hang of, the bikes are very forgiving, if you’re anything like me and keep stalling them or slamming them down when landing.
Getting Started with Knee Down
After the Wheelies were over, it was time for Knee Downs, with it being the first Knee Down session they had run, me and Ashleigh were the only ones booked on, and were the test subjects.
Firstly we familiarised ourselves with the bike, a Honda CRF110 Based Super Moto made by CW, housing a 4 geared 4 stroke 140cc engine
The bike has 4 gears, the first position being neutral meaning that the 4 gears were all up it was a strange concept to take in. The bike has Mag wheels making them plenty strong enough to withstand what they were being used for and pre-cut slicks, allowing the tyres to get hot quickly and inspiring loads of confidence when tipping it in
Drew and James setup the cones, starting with a figure of eight type of lay out, with the aim to go round for a few laps to get to grips with the bike, and to get the tyres nice and warm.
The First Knee Down Session
Not wanting to be the first to hit the deck, I let Ashleigh take the lead, and had the first go at getting his knee down on the CW140 Super Moto, with him already being a natural to getting his right knee down, the left would prove more challenging.
So Ashleigh was up, watching him kick start the tiny pit bike was hilarious, everyone who goes near the bike makes it look tiny, he did plenty of warm up laps, weaving around the figure of eight with ease.
He then begins to adjust his body position on Drew’s instruction, getting his bum over to the other side of the seat, his toe on the edge of the foot peg, and his knee beginning to bend outwards until he’s scraping his slider over and over until..
He managed to tuck the front end, falling off and sending the bike along the tarmac, it was amazing, everyone had a giggle, then made sure he was alright- He was! Then he carried on his go, continuing to scrape both sliders again and again
Now it was my turn, wanting to work on my body position first of all, Drew moved the cones into a circle, I started the bike and began to warm the tyres again, round and round and round.
The next step for me was improving my positioning, Drew told me to slide over to the edge of the seat, moving over further with each lap, my confidence was really growing.
Next was getting my leg in the right place, I was attempting my left hand side first, my toe on the peg, knee pointing out like a ballerina, edging my bum further and further off the seat each time, I was so close to getting my knee to the floor, then it was Ashleigh’s turn again.
The Second Knee Down Session
Ashleigh was up again, a few laps to get the warmth into the tyres again after having a break between my first go and his second go.
The cones now in a slalom to see if he could switch between left and right quickly, it turns out it was a lot harder than he thought.
After figuring out that he needed to hit it at a wider angle, it didn’t take long for him to be successfully scraping left, right, left, right, left, right, getting smoother and smoother each time until there wasn’t much left of his knee sliders
My second go approaching, and he went down with the bike, again.
This time it wasn’t a case of picking it up and having another go, unfortunately the bars had come loose and it wasn’t safe to carry on riding so the day had to end!
I was a little bit gutted, having not touched my knee down yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t complain at all
Although it was cut short (Ashleigh’s fault) the knee down experience was great, in one session alone I bettered my body position and learnt to put more trust in the tyres.
I would also 100% wholeheartedly recommend doing this to anyone and everyone, even if you don’t want to scrape your sliders, bettering your body position can never be a bad thing, you can be cornering much faster in no time
As with the Wheelie Days, the tuition was thorough, personal, and you felt as if you were in safe hands, with Drew and James explaining step by step what you needed to do and how to get there.
In my opinion the Knee Down is trickier to get your head around that Wheelie Days, with the real risk of falling off, although as such slow speeds you’d be very unlikely to get hurt
The bikes were great fun, a little strange at first to get used to the different controls, but once you were off on it, you really feel like you’re getting the hang of it in no time
It was a great day out and something I think everyone should try at least once.
If you’re considering it, or want a little more information or have any questions, their website is – https://wheeliedays.com/
Let me know what you think in the comment box below..