Best Wheelie Bikes

Our favorite wheelie bikes of 2017

The Doctor
Brno 2014. The Doctor.Motorcyclist

Modern motorcycles are engineered with clinical precision that sometimes makes even fire-breathing superbikes seem relatively sober. Happily, the veneer of civility fades away when a big handful of throttle or a perfectly slipped clutch sends the front wheel skyward. With the right wrist, any bike can be a wheelie monster, but some bikes have hooliganism in their DNA. These are the bikes your mother warned you about, the bikes whose wide bars jeer at you from the darkened corner of the garage, the bikes that encourage behavior frowned upon in polite company. These are five of our favorite wheelie bikes currently on the market.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Super Duke R
Super Duke R: All hail the Duke of Wheelington.Motorcyclist

With 1,301cc of Austrian muscle, the Super Duke is a knuckle-busting brawler that pretty much announces it's up to no good from the moment you thumb the starter. The 75-degree LC8 motor is the chest-thumping alpha of the motorcycle world. Wheelies are its bright plumage, its "look at me" strutting, and the natural consequence of 177 hp and 104 pound-feet of torque (claimed) at just 7,000 rpm.

Suzuki DR-Z400SM

Suzuki DR-Z
It can also do this.Suzuki

The DR-Z is a great wheelie bike because it's basically a dirt bike. Low weight, upright seating position, low-down torque, and dirt bike power delivery mean it will inspire hooliganism in spades, even if it's not the most flash bike on the market. Supermotos are also great at honing your wheelie chops. Just don't slide off the back of that flat seat.

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR

Aprillia Tuono V4
Hey, guys, watch this!Andrea Wilson

For the wheelie hungry, there's no such thing as excess. Since 1 liter wasn't enough, Aprilia boosted displacement of the venerable Tuono V4 back in 2016. Now it wheelies off idle. Much better. When spiky-haired little kids on BMX bikes do the international "pop a wheelie!" sign as you ride by, it will be even easier to oblige and encourage scofflaw-ery in our nation's youth. Way to be a good role model.

Triumph Speed Triple

Triumph Speed Triple
A motorcycle practically designed to be viewed from below.Motorcyclist

The Speed Triple is one of the original factory-made streetfighters. Since 1994, it's been the choice of Anglophile hooligans around the world, giving the impression that its designers might have had a tipple or two when they drew up this stripped-down sportbike. Who knew scrapping a fairing and throwing on a pair of wide bars would encourage such daft behavior? Answer: all of us. Even though it's a more refined package than the original, its 1,050cc three-cylinder engine pumps out 140 hp and 82 pound-feet of torque (claimed), which means it's as easy as ever to hoist the front wheel in deference to Her Majesty.

Yamaha FZ-09

Yamaha FZ-09
On the gas.Motorcyclist

In addition to the 2017 FZ-10—with its crossplane four-cylinder engine derived from the YZF-R1—the FZ-09 triple is a bike begging to have its front-end freed of gravity's tyranny. Although not as trick or "classically hooligan" (if there is such a thing) as the Speed Triple, the FZ ticks all the right boxes and looks good doing it.