15

What do we call it when someone rides a bicycle or a motorcycle and suddenly stands on only one wheel (usually on the back wheel) for a short period?

40

You might be referring to a

wheelie

enter image description here

or a

stoppie

enter image description here

  • 5
    +1 for having both versions as per OP's question. – mcalex Sep 10 '18 at 2:47
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    Stoppie is "...also called an endo, or less commonly, a front wheelie." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoppie – sǝɯɐſ Sep 10 '18 at 20:37
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    Nice answer! It is perhaps worth noting that "stoppie" is correct but might not be understood by people who don't do trick bike riding. (I'm a native speaker of northeast AmE, and I've never heard it before. "[To pop a] wheelie" is perfectly understandable to me.) – apsillers Sep 10 '18 at 20:42
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    "Wheelie" is pretty standard for popping up on the back wheel. There seems to be much more variance in the terminology for popping up on the front wheel. We called it an "endo" like @sǝɯɐſ said when I was a kid. I've never heard it called a front wheelie but I think almost anyone would understand what you mean. Never heard it called a "stoppie" but that could be a regional thing. – Kevin Sep 11 '18 at 13:52
26

This trick is called a wheelie:

A trick or manoeuvre whereby a bicycle or motorcycle is ridden for a short distance with the front wheel raised off the ground.

Example:

A boy cavorted around on a dirt bike doing wheelies.

Here's a picture of a motorcyclist performing a wheelie:

And riding on the front wheel, apart from being called a stoppie, can also be referred to as a nose wheelie. This was suggested by the user Matt Menzenski in the comments section.

stoppie

  • 2
    And from that, wheelieing – Richard Sep 9 '18 at 0:10
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    Possibly worth noting that the usual verb expression (universal in AmE, and I've never heard anything else) is pop a wheelie. – chrylis Sep 9 '18 at 4:15
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    In Australia we 'chuck' them. – mcalex Sep 10 '18 at 2:49
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    @SovereignSun riding on the front wheel is generally called a nose wheelie. – Matt Menzenski Sep 10 '18 at 12:14
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    @chrylis in the UK I think it's more usually simply "doing a wheelie". – Muzer Sep 10 '18 at 16:10
17

Noun:

  • wheelie: the only term I use
  • wheely: An alternate spelling according to Wiktionary
  • wheelstand: A synonym according to Wiktionary.
  • mono: Listed on Wiktionary as UK and Australian slang.

For a verb or a verb phrase:

  • pop a wheelie: the only version I use
  • wheelie: according to Wiktionary
  • do a wheelie: according to users
  • wheelstand: according to Wiktionary.
  • perform a wheelie: seen on the Wikipedia page

You can also use the verb phrase in the plural if you're doing the stunt multiple times.

Wiktionary lists these nouns for a wheelie on the front wheel

  • endo
  • stoppie
  • nose wheelie: I'm guessing on the meaning of this one based on an image search.

Example sentences from various parts of Wiktionary:

  • I learned how to let the clutch out slo-ow-ly so my tractor wouldn't pop a wheely and go hauling over backward.
  • Jim fell off his bike when he was trying to do a wheelie.
  • Popping wheelies with your bike was really cool as a kid.
  • You can also feather the clutch to keep from wheelying over, as wel as using throttle control.
  • The other possible problem with uphill, downhill and crested roads is that bikes tend to wheelie over them.

I'd recommend reading the Wikipedia page, too, because that shows a whole vocabulary of technical distinctions that I never imagined. Most fun you can have on your computer.

  • 2
    As a note: generally in cycling, a wheelstand is done on both wheels, either waiting at a stoplight or as a tactical maneuver in track cycling. – JohnP Sep 9 '18 at 15:28
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    "Endo" is short for end-over (the end of the bike going up and over the rider, typically caused by excessive front-braking), so there needs to be some context behind "doing an endo" as that could either imply a crash or trick, where the trick would be almost going end-over-end. – Nick T Sep 10 '18 at 17:35
  • 'wheelstand' is often used to describe when a car over-accelerates off the starting line, and the car lifts up while moving forward, which is likely why they listed it as a synonym. – Joe Sep 10 '18 at 18:27
6

In addition to the various terms already given, mountain bikers refer to this as a manual (see, e.g., British Cycling, REI, Red Bull). "Manual" can also be used as a verb.

  • UK skateboarder here (well, a long long time ago anyway...) rolling along on just your back wheels was always called a "manual roll" in my time, rolling on the front wheels was a "nose wheelie", although this evolved to be "nose manual". – ilikeprogramming Sep 10 '18 at 23:11
3

The person is doing a "Wheelie"

  • also "pulling a wheelie" is used. (if this comment is useful, you can edit it into your answer.) – James K Sep 8 '18 at 21:32
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    When I was a kid, we would "pop a wheelie". We did not "perform", "pull" or "do" a "wheelie". ;-) – Mark Meuer Sep 8 '18 at 22:26
  • It's definitely valid to say "pull" in the UK. In my opinion, it is the standard UK use. – Baracus Sep 10 '18 at 17:58
3

Perhaps out of date, but:

Doing a mono, or
Mono-ing

Mono being a prefix meaning "one" or "single", eg monopod - a camera support having just one foot (mono=one pod=foot) - c.f. a tripod

  • Never heard that in the UK. – David Richerby Sep 10 '18 at 23:13
  • @david I’m pretty old and I haven’t heard it used since I was a kid. Interestingly, “wheelie” was not in use at that time. – Bohemian Sep 10 '18 at 23:32
2

In Australia you are 'doing (or pulling) a mono'. Interestingly, the meaning of 'wheelie' now depends on whether you are on a bike or in a car. It used to be that if you got the front end of a car in the air it was a 'wheelie' (short for wheel stand), but this required tremendous amounts of power. 'Wheelie' eventually came to mean spinning the rear wheels- something much tamer. On a bicycle, however, you can still do a legitimate, old-style wheelie, or mono.

2

When talking about the trick in BMX for example:

Manual, a bicycle technique similar to a wheelie, but without the use of pedal torque.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manual

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