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Home / News / The elements of Sportbike Freestyle Riding: Basics and Terminology

The elements of Sportbike Freestyle Riding: Basics and Terminology

They say ‘When in doubt, throttle it out’. So, to free ourselves of doubt, let’s get clarity on Sportbike Freestyle Riding basics and terminology.

First and foremost, this whole compilation is supposed to cater to any doubts regarding the sport. The term Sportbike Freestyle Riding (SFR) is being coined in the same light as BMX is being recognized which is an abbreviation for ‘Bicycle Motocross’.

Sportbike Freestyle Riding (SFR)
is an extreme/adventure sport which requires development of the skill overtime to perform tricks (not stunts) on a motorcycle.


Here’s a fantastic demonstration of what real professional motorcycle freestyle riding looks like (“No Throttle Circles” performed by Rohitesh Upadhyay):

And here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

Popular freestyle motorcycle tricks illustrated

Click to see larger images:

What type of motorcycle is best for freestyle riding? Choose the right category.

There is no fix onto what bikes the riders use or can use. Anything from a mere 100cc to 1 liter cc works as the prop in this sport. Though the masked truth is far from what meets the eye. The physics in general would make the regulars understand that the more powerful motorbike is much difficult to handle because of the increasing mass and inline instantaneous torque at the flick of the throttle.

Balancing is another parameter which hangs on a loose thread of understanding as to which is better amongst a lower cc bike which has less weight but thinner low traction tyres or the bigger cc bikes which is heavier by nature to handle but has better mass centralization as well as better traction footprint because of the fatter tyres.

The wizardry comes into play when every individual uses the pros and cons on different vehicles to his advantage or ends up succumbing to a fall. The other factors such as

  • rider height,
  • rider weight,
  • strength,
  • skill and
  • practice

are the variables which define every individual.

And here’s the secret:

Generally not everyone gets to choose the bike they want to do this activity on (financial issues). Bikes are the second factor for this activity, first being the athlete on hand. The more one practices on a single bike, the more accustomed he becomes to it. Its the rider skill that is more important than the bike in hand. The smoothest transition from one trick to another as well as the capability of holding onto a single trick — his is what defines the results to a jury.

How Motorcylce Freestyle Riding compares to regular racing?

If one observes the whole activity compared to racing on a bike, one can definitely infer that racing is a two degree constraint. The motion of the bike along with the rider in racing is catering to only two axis (X and Y axis) whereas Freestyle Riding has a certain set of tricks which introduce the 3rd axis (Z axis) more than often.

The tricks such as Kangaroo are very much an evidence to how the bike leaves the primary plane (XY plane) and the rider tries to flick the body of the bike in air (Z component) to complete the trick.

What skills are required to perform freestyle riding on a motorbike?

To make this a bit more absorbing one can definitely try understanding the principles of gymnastics.

The sport demands:

  • balance,
  • strength,
  • flexibility,
  • agility,
  • endurance and
  • control.

This in association with

  • mental alertness,
  • daring,
  • self-confidence,
  • precision and
  • self-discipline

can show and achieve acrobatic feats. The usage of poles, beams, uneven bars and other articles which are technically stationary are the elements of the sport.

Here in Freestyle Riding, much of the context is same apart from introduction of bikes as well as some safety gear. It takes time and sweat to perfect each and every trick over years and polishing the same to better it ever further.

The introduction of the bike which potentially isn’t a static element of this sport (unlike BMX or any other sport) is why it is a foolhardy risk for anyone attempting it on public roads or in any illegal terms.

No wonder the sport is being classified as an extreme sport internationally and recognized in the same format by companies such as Red Bull.

The discipline is not really just limited to the amount of time on ground but also on the dining table. Trying to imbibe the right diet to help stay in shape and fit are very important. The discipline also caters to no alcoholism, drugs as well as tobacco in any form in this sport. Well in words, sheer talent and skill is dependent just on will.

Must-do Modifications to the motorcycle for Freestyle Riding

There are a set of alterations needed for making this activity viable. The modifications may vary from person to person but generally are as a safety perspective as well as to provide a base for many tricks.

  • Crash Cages: Crash impact absorption helps both the safety of rider to the side of the bike plus works to minimize the damage to the bike itself.
  • Hand brake: For rear wheel locking regulation using hand itself for different tricks where foot brakes cannot be accessible.
  • Wheelie bars: Metal plates installed in place of grab rails for foot placement during tricks.
  • Highchair tank: A custom dent is a choice for many for foot placement or to sit on during a number of tricks.
  • Custom Sprocket: Torque is a friend and the custom sprocket is installed to derive maximum torque at low revs to fuel most tricks.

Other alterations such as handlebar tweaks, exhaust modifications to achieve a free flow and countless others vary from person to person.

Why conventional motorcycle gear is useless in Freestyle Riding? And what gear you really need.

Proper rider gear is immensely important in terms of safety.

Here’s why…

Usage of DOT helmets along with rider jackets and gloves helps to protect everything between the gelled hairstyle and waist.

The changes are much more noticeable below along the legs where unlike racing riders who wear leather racing suits, the freestyle riders wear jeans as any leather overall will never be able to cater to the change in positions and performing acrobatic feats and other wise.

Conventional high ankle racing boots are not helpful because of which sports shoes are being utilized as the ankle moment and leg moment needs to be constraint free throughout the session.

Afterword: Stay responsible and wear the helm of safety

The sport is yet to explore its boundaries and gates apart from the corporate benefits it is providing. What is of much needed understanding is why there are bylaws being developed for SFR.

One can always start racing on the road tomorrow, claiming that he was racing in the traffic but in literal sense it will be termed rash driving. These irresponsible activities should be avoided in public because roads are not just meant for one but for all.

So understanding the road conduct will always help lower the daily death count of 1217 on Indian roads. Always wear that helm of safety (helmets) for yourself and the ones back home.

We strongly condemn those people who practice this or referring activity in the name of tricks or stunts on public roads unless legally permitted.

Stay tuned for more Freestyle Riding. Share your opinion in comments below.

Till then, May the horsepower be with all!

— Gaganbir Singh

Disclaimer: This article was prepared or accomplished by it's author in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Motorbikes India or it's owners.

The views and opinions expressed on this web site are soley those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Steve Gerweck, the GERWECK.NET staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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Motorbikes India (MI) is an online magazine about motorcycles in India. Motorbikes news, articles, clubs & events, routes, insurance, finance, maintenance & safety. We welcome contributions, from anyone that is enthusiastic about biking. If you are part of a motorbike club in India, please be sure to keep your club info and events up to date in our clubs section.

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