Welcome back, to this brand new Pulsar mania series where we will take you through the ABC of Stunting. Here’s a quick recap of last month’s wheelie tutorial. Drop the rear tyre pressure. Pull the clutch in. Build up revs. Pop the clutch. Get the front wheel in the air and then bring it down with the rear brake. Our stunt expert on call, Hrishikesh ‘Hrishi’ Mandke, whose two-wheeled daredevilry we have seen in movies like Dhoom 3, even had some fabulous pro tips like that bit about pulling on the handlebars with the strength of the shoulders. Now, Hrishi is back with another new stunt. Follow him and his steps as he takes you through the finer points of pulling a stoppie. As spectacular as a wheelie, a stoppie requires as much skill, courage, and practice. In this step-by-step guide Hrishi breaks things down into bits that will hopefully see us getting our tails in the air soon. But, as before, he needs a steed that offers balance and stability. What better than the latest of the Bajaj Pulsar line that really took motorcycle stunting to the Indian masses? So stay with Hrishi, the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 and us, as the rookie’s guide to stoppies unravels over the next couple of pages.
Step 1: Choosing a spot
Performing motorcycle stunts on a public road continues to be a punishable offence in our country. And for good reason too, like all forms of motorsport – and stunting is indeed a form of sport, it is dangerous. Dangerous to both the stunt artist as well as those around him. Therefore, it stands to reason that if you want to practise this art then you’ll need a safe place. Always, always, select a secluded and open spot to practise any kind of stunting. We had access to the IndiKarting go kart track in Pune for this tutorial. There, Hrishi could stunt to his heart’s content without putting either himself or the motorcycle or anyone for that matter, in jeopardy.
Step 2: Protective gear
Now that we have established the need for a safe location, it is equally important that the rider should be wearing proper protective motorcycle clothing that will help reduce the possibility of serious injury in the event of a crash. You can choose to wear a riding jacket with CE approved armour on the elbows, shoulder and back. Matched with riding pants or jeans with similar protection for the knees and the hip, your body is fairly well protected. A high quality helmet with at least an ISI certificate is a must. If you can get a DOT or a Snell or ECE approved one, even better. Do not forget proper riding boots that will protect the ankle, foot and shin and a good pair of gloves that will protect the fingers, palm and wrist. If you can afford a full leather suit like the one Hrishi is wearing here then that would be perfect since there is nothing more protective
Step 3: Choosing the right bike
The correct motorcycle is as important as the right place and clothing. The Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 is blessed with a 280mm disc at the front wheel and grippy tyres, which is great when you’re pulling a stoppie since there is enough bite at the brake disc and sufficient grip in the tyre to kill momentum, enough to get the tail to go up easily. That, combined with the long wheelbase means that the bike is more stable when on one wheel.
Step 4: Drop front tyre pressure
Dropping the pressure of the front tyre to 20 psi helps increase the contact patch and keeps the bike stable when you decide to ride your motorcycle like a monocycle. This is one of those pro tips that you’re unlikely to find on Google but it makes perfect sense, as long as you remember to refill your tyre after your fun session.
Step 5: Using three fingers on the brakes
Most disc brakes will not need more than the pressure of two fingers to get the bike to come to a stop. Even on a race track. However, to pull a stoppie there needs to be enough violence in the bite for the front to come to a dead halt suddenly. Hence, the need for three fingers instead of the usual two, or one.
Step 6: Squeeze harder progressively
Pulling a stoppie isn’t about grabbing the brakes with all your might. It’s about timing as well. Hrishi says that as he feels the rear end go light as a result of the weight transfer, he increases the pressure on the front brake till the rear of the bike completely lifts off.
Step 7: Use your weight wisely
Once the bike is stood up on its front wheel, any sudden movement forward or backward will upset the balance of the bike. Instead try and keep the weight at the centre of the bike. If you put too much weight towards the front of the bike then there is the risk of flipping the bike over completely whereas if you shift the weight too far back then the bike will come back down.
Step 8 : Maintaining the centre of gravity
Stunting is all about balancing. In this particular case, the act of balancing on one wheel. Obviously you want the bike to stay in the centre, on the vertical axis, without leaning left or right. Hrishi says he uses the left and right foot pegs to keep the bike in the centre. Weigh the left peg if the bike is leaning right and vice versa, and you should be able to keep the bike on the vertical axis with some practice.
Step 9: Rolling stoppie
The trick to impressing the buddies with a magnificent rolling stoppie is to partially release the front brake once the bike’s rear is up in the air. The release should be just enough to allow the front wheel to start rolling again without letting it gather enough momentum to shift weight back to the bike’s rear.
Step 10: Back on terra firma
Simple. Release the front brake and the bike’s rear will bounce off the tarmac with a resounding thud before settling down. But there’s a catch to all this. Before coming back down you need to keep the rear brake covered otherwise the bike will want to roll ahead as soon as the rear hits the tarmac. Secondly, you need to look ahead since that’s where the bike will be headed after it comes down. So now that you know the basics of a stoppie, go ahead and stop right there!