Clutchless Wheelies

"There's no clutch, that's a weird feeling!"

That was the opening line from Aaron Colton's video about transforming an Alta Redshift into a freestyle stunt bike.  I'm proud to say I've known Aaron since he was an adolescent.  When he talks about wheelies, I pay attention.  And I also take notes.

The aptly nicknamed Bull in a China Shop is a fairly long video about the build process, but one of the takeaways is that an electric stunt bike is much harder to ride without a clutch.

How do we apply this knowledge to trials?

You may recall in the Riding Impressions section I said that, for me, the hardest thing about riding a trials bike without a mechanical clutch is how to generate lift without velocity.  Yes, the 5.7 will lift the front wheel if you wack the throttle open abruptly.  But that action also gets you moving forward pretty fast - which is not good for trials.

Aaron tells me that to initiate the wheelie, he fully applies the rear brake, pins the throttle, and simultaneously releases the brake while reducing the throttle.  This makes an unholy sound and scares the crap out of people.  Personally, I don't see that technique being particularly useful to mere mortals riding trials sections.

I think any generally-applicable solution must come via the motor controller.  Firmware needs to sense the rate of throttle opening and alter the peak current delivered to the motor to initiate a wheelie.  But this has the potential side-effect of spitting the rider off the bike if they are not prepared for it.  Coming up with something workable is much easier said than done.  I think any potential solution probably involves an electronic clutch lever.