Those who have read my words over the years understand my love for wheelies. I’ve been doing them on a bicycle since I was a kid, and I’ve been pulling them on motorcycles for decades. The physical sensations and the talent challenges of doing wheelies are simply irresistible to me. While impossible to accurately sum, I must be past the 10,000 mark by now.

It’s been almost two years to the day since we posted a list of my Top 10 Motorcycles For Wheelies article, so I think enough time has passed for me to revisit the topic. The difference here is that the subject is about the pictures of the bikes being wheelied rather than a list of the best motorcycles for doing them.

The lead photo above was shot by Alfonse Palaima, MO’s much-loved and long-serving photographer who has since gone on to other pursuits. It exemplifies several aspects I enjoy about wheelie pics. Check out how Fonzie used a slow enough shutter speed to make the wheel spokes practically invisible, and note how the rider’s posture gives the impression the wheelie occurred without trying. It doesn’t hurt the Monster 1100 is an elementally sexy machine.

Ducati Monster 1100 Vs Harley-Davidson XR1200 Review

As a boy, I imagined myself one day becoming a stuntman. In a way, I guess it came true. Hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor!

Dukes Den - Favorite Wheelie Photos 08

Triumph’s Speed Triple is one of the icons of stunt riding and wheelies, due to the stonk of its midrange-heavy motor that is ever-eager to pull up a front wheel. This was shot from a moving car in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains by ace lensman Brian J. Nelson.

2008 Triumph Urban Sports Review

Dukes Den - Favorite Wheelie Photos 03

Kawasaki’s Z1000 is another excellent mount for wheelies, and I love this frame because it’s one of the few wheelie pics I have that was shot in the rain. Photo by Kinney Jones.

2010 Kawasaki Z1000 Review

Dukes Den - Favorite Wheelie Photos 04

This pic of Ducati’s Supersport 800 was snapped somewhere in Spain more than a decade ago. It makes this list because it’s both a wheelie and a jump!

2011 Ducati 1198 SP Review

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And while we’re on the topic of Ducati, here’s a sweet image from the famed Imola Circuit in Italy. The exit of the Acque Minerale corner goes uphill, providing a launching pad for a torquey beast like Ducati’s 1198 SP. I dig how the bike’s exhaust heat haze is visible behind my right boot. Photo by Milagro.

Duke’s Den – My Tour Of Racetracks Around The World: Part 4

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A flat-track-style bike just looks proper with its front wheel in the air, and that’s the case with the Bonneville Performance Street Tracker seen here. This hot-rod transforms Triumph’s mild-mannered Bonneville into a fire-breathing monster. Photo by Mike Maez.

2013 Bonneville Performance Street Tracker Review

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In terms of style points, I don’t think it gets better than a leaned-over and crossed-up wheelie. This 2005 Kawasaki ZX-6R was shot near the Almeria Circuit in Spain.

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Buells were always good wheelie bikes, blessed as they were with torquey V-Twin engines. I feel nostalgic about the defunct brand and hope for new and better things from Erik Buell. This wheelie shot makes the list as the only one I have with a white-water river as a backdrop. Photo shot by Brian J. Nelson in Colorado.

The Man Who Bought Buell: Bruce Belfer

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This wheelie isn’t spectacular, but it makes this list because it was my first time back on a motorcycle after blowing apart my ankle on a motocross jump. Notice my right foot ensconced in a super-sized tennis shoe, which was covering up a plastic leg brace after doctors ordered me to be non-weight-bearing for six months.

Dukes Den - Favorite Wheelie Photos 10

This wheelie is special because it’s the only one I have of pulling up the front wheel of a bike on a superspeedway oval track, in this case Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Later that day I’d cut a high 9-second quarter-mile time aboard the awesome ZX-14, Kawasaki’s 2006 answer to Suzuki’s Hayabusa. Photo by Tom Riles.

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It should be no mystery why I like this pic shot by Alfonse “Fonzie” Palaima. Former MOron Pete Brissette (sniff…) provided beneficial weight distribution.

2009 Luxury Touring Shootout

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This is probably my favorite wheelie photo of them all. It’s also the stupidest and least safe one, as it’s the only wheelie I’ve ever performed without a helmet (shot in Colorado, where there is no helmet law). But, dang, I think it’s hilarious, and it’s one of the only one-handed wheelies I’ve pulled that was captured on film. Literally film, as this was shot 20 years ago by my Denver buddy Kevin Vesel.

  • TalonMech

    The first one is a Ducati Monster 1100. Not an Evo. Just picking a nit.

    • Kevin Duke

      Keen eyes! Thanks for the edit.

  • Ducati Kid


    Doug Domokos, the now deceased ‘Wheelie King!’, your not!


    The only wheelies I have performed reliably were 6″ in height for 100 feet before settling this after leaving the starting line at our local Drag Strip astride my KAWASAKI racer.

    • Curtis Brandt

      Mr. Kid,
      A few thoughts:
      Motorcycles = cool.
      Wheelies = cool.
      Motorcycles doing wheelies = cool.
      Articles about motorcycles doing wheelies, written by a fairly cool cat = cool.
      You, reminding anyone the self-evident fact that they are not Mr. Domokos = not terribly cool.
      Stay classy, brother.

      • Ducati Kid


        Did you have the thrill of observing Doug circulate the entirety of a multiple turn, varying elevation racetrack on one wheel?

        That was Cool, never seen it since though their’s a seasoned European motorcycle journalist who’s better than most.


        Could never wheelie …

        • Curtis Brandt

          Mr. Kid,
          I never saw Mr. Domokos live, but as a youngster enjoyed watching his mastery on TV (long before YouTube). Amazing and inspiring riding.
          While I have spent a moderate amount of time on the rear wheel of most of my motorcycles, including getting to the point of clicking up thru the gears on my YZ400F, I am no Duke, by any stretch, let alone Domokos (which is ok, because no one else is, either).

  • JMDonald

    I know God loves us because he gave us the wheelie. As far as I know I only have one observed wheelie under my belt. I was coming out of a tight curve on my CB600 hit the throttle in the right gear and there it was. I thought nothing of it until my riding buddy mentioned seeing it when we stopped for a much needed rehydration session. It couldn’t have been a very big one. At least I’ve got that going for me. Wheelie on old man.

  • Old MOron

    What’s next, pictures of your top 10 prettiest girlfriends?
    Followed by your top 10 recession-proof stock market funds?
    Your top 10 relatives in Canada’s monarchy?
    Top 10 debauched motorcycle press introductions?

    Take off, eh!

  • B.Hoop

    I like the Goldwing pic! it looks like you took some inspiration from Performance Bikes…They ground the mufflers down though…I think their rider was Ronnie Smith (?) who has since passed on…

  • Michael Howard

    Ever wheelied with an auto clutch and CVT? 😉

  • Michael Howard

    Ever wheelied with an auto clutch and CVT? 😉

  • Born to Ride

    I certainly can’t claim to have ridden(or wheelied) a fraction of the bikes Mr. Duke has tested, but I can attest that it’s almost a sin not to chuck a wheelie at least once every time I’m on one of my monsters. The M1100s is by far the most confident wheelie machine I’ve had the pleasure of pointing skyward, except perhaps a CR85 that nearly left me paralyzed. Oh the joy of wheelies.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Fun article!

    I will never forget the Duke on a BMW 1600 wheelie photo. That photo is striking as the 1600 is a massive bike. It is also hilarious, as the 1600 is such a classy bike. Gotta love the debaucherous mind and the talent required to hoist that big Beemer into wheelie mode.

    I have this poster on the wall in my garage – met Domokos prior to his untimely passing. He was a cool guy. Who needs a 12:00 bar when huge balls and the tail light will do? – LOL.

    As for the trophy, that was from a desert race in the 90s on the 500 2 stroker, a bike that was quite adept at wheelies. Saw the course photographer sign, cranked a nice standing crossed up wheelie, got a cool photo trophy instead of the usual plastic motorcycle variety. That plan came together nicely!

    • Kevin Duke

      Cool Domokos poster! And a nice wheelie of your own!

  • Old MOron

    I’d like to take this moment to give props to Fonzie, the “much-loved and long-serving [MOronic] photographer”. The man is a class act, has a heart of gold, and is a talent. What a shot!

  • Kenneth

    While I’m late to this thread, I recently found a video of a young French woman rider, Sarah Lezito – her trick riding is a treat to behold. The video is in French, but worthwhile and interesting, nevertheless, for English-only watchers.

  • Kenneth

    I’m late to this thread, but I recently found a video of a young French woman, Sarah Lezito, who displays some expert skill – and aggression.