At a recent ladies only session, I had a couple of them idly mention that they have always wanted to wheelie, so I sounded out another rider to see if she would be keen to learn them also. Her response was a little discouraging.

“I never want to work on wheelies again. The last time I tried them I looped out and hurt my foot.”

Then she read my mind.

Perhaps knowing what I was going to ask next, she added, “I know about using the rear brake to bring the front back down, too.”

Feeling almost shot down, I tried one more question. “Ok, so when the front got too high, what did you actually do?”

“I panicked and took both feet off the pegs,” she said with a sheepish smile. So, she knew the theory but hadn’t trained her muscle memory to react properly.

Breaking the news that her answer meant that I had now decided we would work on wheelies, I asked another question. “How much time did you spend actually practising using the rear brake when the front came off the ground?”

Her answer and the way she said it told me that she admitted her need for what we were obviously going to work on next. “None.”

Super Simple

I had never tried teaching wheelies this way before, but even though this was a big group that I didn’t want to disappoint, the theory worked well enough in my head that I was willing to give it a try.

Choosing the start straight at Moto Central I told them to “just roll along slowly in first gear with your bum back far enough on the seat that you can cover the rear brake with the ball of your foot or toes, while the arch of your foot is still on the footpeg. Then simply turn the throttle for a second or so then suddenly back off the throttle, pull in the clutch and use the rear brake.”

Women are usually pretty good at multi-tasking, so hopefully, this wasn’t too much to ask.

Some interesting problems arose. Small feet meant some riders couldn’t reach the rear brake like this, and so had to have their heel on the footpeg. That was actually ok because it meant they could sit further forward on the seat.

Another issue was a 2-stroke 150cc bike that would bog when only the power was applied. She could have rolled along at a faster speed before powering but thankfully she was experienced enough to use some clutch to help get the front up. Other bikes were just so front heavy that they needed more encouragement to get the front off the ground.

So, after some time simply getting used to powering and then using the rear brake I moved on to stage two.

Ground Breaking

They had now introduced their brain and body into using the rear brake after a hard power, so I felt more confident about giving them the real weapons. But even this was something that I decided to teach in a way I had never taught before. Simplifying the clutch, throttle and brakes of using the rebound action of the forks to help lift the front wheel.

“Still sitting back on the seat and covering the rear brake, this time as you power I also want you to momentarily pull in the front brake and clutch at the same time then let them go. The rest of your movements after that should be the same where you then pull the clutch in, chop off the throttle and use the rear brake at the same time, but because of the front brake and clutch you used with your power earlier, it should be easier to get the front wheel off the ground.”

The ladies were quite dubious. “I’m just not strong enough to pull the front wheel of my bike up,” was the answer that many of them nodded their heads to. I smiled because this was a chance to help them do something they really didn’t believe they could do.

“If you are ok with me borrowing your bikes, I am going to prove that it doesn’t take strength to lift the front wheel on any of your bikes.”

Now it was their turn to smile, for two reasons. They knew that I was calling their bluff, and they were keen to see me try it on their bikes.

I announced that I was going to choose what I considered the most difficult bike to wheelie on first, then paused long enough to build the anticipation as they wondered which one I would choose. On my suddenly choosing the 150cc 2-stroke, there was quite the amused uproar. “What? That should be the easiest bike to wheelie!”

The owner of the bike looked slightly miffed herself, yet at the same time slightly grateful because it meant she was justified in finding it hard to wheelie on. Still shaking their heads as I rode it around to demonstrate, they suddenly all laughed and nodded their agreement when I turned the throttle without using any clutch and the bike bogged big time.

All In

That was my demonstration on why I considered the bike hard to wheelie- and now that they were on my side, I went on to demonstrate the “all in, all out” technique that I wanted them to try.

Without using any brain power, I simply did what I asked them to do, robotically pulling the front brake and clutch in while powering and then letting them out again straight away. This popped the front up nicely, so I then controlled it by backing off the power, pulling the clutch in and using the rear brake at the same time. It worked really well. I then tried on an old school bike that had seemed very front heavy, with the same pleasant result.

“Can you see how I am not hardly pulling on the handlebars at all?”

They admitted they hadn’t seen that, so I went back around and demonstrated again, now getting a chorus of nods. Apart from needing both hands to operate the controls, I could have lifted the front without holding onto the handlebars at all. The power, brake and clutch was enough without any need for pulling.

Now it was my turn to be surprised. The robotic movements that I had told them to do actually worked! Front wheels were popping up all over the place, controlled by the rear brake that I had trained them to do moments before. In saying that, I think the ladies were surprised as well- but also amped.

It was enough proof that I thought our experience good enough to share with you all, so hopefully, more people can learn this very important and very fun skill, without ending up with a sore foot- or bum.

Kawasaki NZ brought their [then] favourite racer along to put the new KX450 through its paces with a view to racing one later in the year. So, in-between motos we got hold of Bay of Plenty’s Rhys Carter and chatted about the new bike, where he’s currently up to and his racing plans for the future.

Words: Paul Pics: Paul, Chris Ritchie, Andy McGechan


He’s currently sitting eighth in the Pirelli MX Nationals in Australia after five rounds, riding for the Complete Parts Kawasaki Racing Team. In what is a fully-stacked field and with the disadvantage of flying in and out between meets, that’s a bloody impressive result. He’s run his own race team (3twenty3 Racing), coaches other racers and has been at the pointy end of the NZ MX scene for over a decade. All set to represent NZ in the MX of Nations in 2017, a practice crash led to a decent break in his collarbone, putting him out of the team and off the bike for a few months. But he came back stronger than ever, and with his continued support from Kawasaki NZ you can expect Rhys to be fighting at the front of the pack come the beginning of the NZMX Nats later this year.

DRD: What are your thoughts on the new 2019 bike as a Kawasaki rider?

Rhys: Straight out of the box I like it. It’s more powerful than last year’s, feels a lot more stable which made me feel more comfortable straight away. I love the hydraulic clutch – although the feel for me is going to take a little bit to get used to with not having much free play. The electric start is unreal, and the suspension for me, especially the forks, is a big thing. We changed a couple clickers here and there which made a massive change to how I could turn, and gave me a lot more confidence in entering turns.

The power itself, it picks up a bit faster and a bit more aggressive than last year and pulls way, way more. The initial punch for me – I like it a lot down the bottom so we tried the aggressive map. When you roll the throttle on with the aggressive plugin, it snaps really good. If you go to whack it straight on, it’s better than the stock coupling but not quite as much as what I like. But in saying that, it’s a lot better than the previous year as well. All in all, it’s a massive step forward. The changes they’ve done is awesome. I actually like the footpegs, they are a lot wider and I feel a lot more balanced and I have a lot more movement in my body with them. The front brake is a lot sharper on last year’s which is a massive, massive, improvement I believe. So, the test has been really positive.

DRD: Does that mean less work for you to transform it into a race bike?

Rhys: Yeah, I think so. The power delivery is great, and once I do what I did with my bike last year with gearing and stuff, I reckon it’ll be even better. Then, when I put a pipe on it, like a Pro Circuit, it will give me more bark and the torque that I like. So yeah definitely. And with the forks and shock being so good straight out of the box and my suspension guys knowing what I like, there’s an easy fix as well. Yeah, definitely a lot less work. But then in saying that, you’re always wanting more, so it depends on how hard you want to go about it.

You can end up with too much. Like when I raced in Aussie a few years ago, I got my bike de-tuned cause there was just too much power. When you have too much, you pump up and the benefit is all gone. So, it’s good with this new bike ’cause you can change the couplings and they make a massive difference, where I thought last year’s ones weren’t huge benefits when you swapped them. With this year’s model, there are big changes between in each one, and that’s going to change how the bike feels which will help a lot people out.

DRD: You’re home from Aussie during the break in their season. How’s it going over there?

Rhys: Aussie is going really good, it’s getting better and better. My results have seen me running in top five within the last three rounds, so that’s really positive. And I got a Super Pole, which is really good for me as I’m not a strong qualifier. We’ve been in a 5-week break, so it’s a massive opportunity for me to gain more out of my riding, and what I’ve worked on in the last five weeks is already a massive benefit for me. You know, a stopwatch doesn’t lie. And when that’s getting better on the track, and the days you go riding with it, it’s really good for my confidence. So, I’m excited for our last five rounds.

DRD: The next round back is Canondale, just out of Brisbane. How do you usually go racing there?

Rhys: Yeah, I like it. It’s got a good flow to it whereas you find a lot of tracks in Aussie are quite tight which I struggle with. I like the nice flowing tracks much like here at Pirini. A few tight sections are okay but not as tight as some of the other ones in Aussie. Thankfully, from now to the end of the season the tracks are very flowy and really my type of tracks. So, I’m excited for those.

DRD: How are you doing the racing in Aussie? Are you part of a team?

Rhys: I ride for the Complete Parts and Equipment Kawasaki Team, so it’s a supported Kawasaki team but at the same time it’s the main Kawasaki team in Australia. There’s myself and a kid called Aaron Tanti – he’s on a 250 and obviously, I’m on a 450. So I just fly in on a Friday, turn up to the track and my bike and everything is there. And I’ve got an awesome team over there, so everything is sorted for me. The team owner is unreal. Everything is enjoyable you know, and I don’t have to stress. All I have to worry about is my flight being on time. So, it’s like a dream, like you go and the bike is immaculate, it’s unreal how it’s built, looks, and you’ve got a big semi truck and everything is there. It’s been really enjoyable and don’t really want it to end!

DRD: What’s the plan for the rest of the year? You’ll finish Aussie and then back here into the team and everything?

Rhys: The plan this year is to finish Aussie and then hopefully go to des Nations in America. Then it will be time to come back and the NZ MX Nats start. So, I guess the next couple months after Australia and des Nations we will work on this bike, getting it sorted and then go onto next year

DRD: Are you running the 3twenty3 team the same this year?

R: No, this year the team will be run out of Head Office, so Kawasaki will run the team. It means myself and Derek will be able to step away from those things, which is good in some ways, you know, Even though I enjoyed working on the team with Derek, now I just get to focus on myself and my riding and go do what I wanna do. So, yeah, it’ll be good.

DRD: Do you think that will make a difference, as you would have always had one eye on your racing and the other on the team side of things and your supported rider? Did that take your eye off the ball when it came to racing?

Rhys: I don’t think so, because I enjoyed it so much. Getting to work with Josh [Tredinnick] last year, like, I really enjoyed working with him. He was a great kid to work with. I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference, the only thing is I won’t have to worry about the kind of budget we have. I’ve just got a straight contract that I’ve got to go with and that’s it. So, just less paperwork and that. And as long as I get to work with all the sponsors I’ve had for years, I’ll be happy.

DRD: And, by the sounds of it they’re all staying the same?

Rhys: I think so. Gear-wise, I won’t change, Shayne [King] has been awesome. He looks after me really well, so gear-wise head-to-toe won’t change. Bike stuff I don’t think there will much of a change, maybe the odd one or two things. But, as I say, I’m not in control of those things anymore, so I just have to go with whatever’s going.

DRD: When do you get your hands on the 2019 model?

Rhys: Umm, that’s supposed to be my one. But for me, it’s not a major because I’m racing an ‘18 all the way through Aussie, so there’s not much point me having one. If someone else needs to ride one or it needs to be tested by someone, that’s fine. I think they’re here mid-July so that gives me plenty of time. 
If they go and say they want to race one in the last two rounds in Australia, then it might change a little bit. But right now, I’ll stick with what I have. I like the bike, I’m in a comfy position, so there’s not much point in changing aye.


Even though Forma is a relatively new company, the people behind the brand have been in the game for many, many years. We were invited to Forbes and Davies – the NZ distributor of Forma Boots – for a presentation on this exciting brand.

Starting off with a little background – the Forma brand was born in 1999 and created by a fella called Ivano Binotto and his wife Simonetta. Even though ‘new’ to the game with Forma, the pair had already spent 25-years as part owners and managers of the largest producer of OEM off-road motorcycle boots in the world.

Ivano decided to start a new 100% independently-owned company in order to launch his new Forma brand onto the world market. Since that time, Forma has continued to grow and currently, the brand is sold in more than 60 countries worldwide. The Forma brand is now recognised as one of the innovative brands in the motorcycle boot business – especially in the adventure market.

Italy-based and close to Asolo and Montebelluna – defined as the heart of the world’s sports shoes like soccer cleats, tennis shoes etc – the amount of manpower and skill on the ground made it the perfect place to get the ball rolling. Now with plants in Romania and Italy, the tagline of ‘Made in Europe’ is something Forma stands strongly by.

Interestingly, Romania was chosen not for its labour prices, but because of communism. It featured the greatest production of soldier’s boots for the entire communist area, so skilled labour was easy to find.

The Forma brand today is still not completely mature, which is why perhaps it is not on the radar of dirt riders in New Zealand. Global sponsorship of top riders like current World Enduro GP champion Steve Holcombe and Enduro GP stalwart Alex Salvini, show that Forma is out to make the brand more recognisable and a real option when it comes to buyers choice.

This is obviously working as over the past 10 years, as the growth of the brand has increased three times over. But this growth has not hit the dirt market in New Zealand yet, with Forma being much more commonly known in the road sector. The Forma Predator (top-level), Dominator, (mid-level) and Terrain X (low-end) boots are few and far between out of the tracks and trails, but that might change in the coming years.

With a market flooded with many different boot options, the lesser known Forma brand will take some time to get traction. But there is traction to be had if you are willing to give the brand a chance. New technology and a different approach to some of the aspects of boot making could see Forma really make a bootprint on the industry here, but that will still a commitment from dealers and consumers alike.

Mauro Pive, Sales Manager at Forma Head Office has been with the company for 17 years, almost from the beginning of the brand, so he knows his stuff. His excellent presentation of the 2018 collection from Forma was only matched by his knowledge of the product and passion for making great boots for all applications and levels.

The all-new Forma Predator 2.0 is on its way to NZ and will be a boot that will challenge any other in the high-end price point. Forma is coming in hot.

Check out www.forbesanddavies for a more in-depth look at the Forma Dirt range and to find a dealer near you.

Fun Fact

The name Forma came about when Ivano wanted to start his own boot business, taking part of a name off a boot that he already manufactured for an OEM company. Does Forma Pro boots from Fox ring a bell? Yep, having made boots for Fox Racing for many years, Ivano struck a deal where he could take the ‘Forma’ part of the name and go his own way. And as you now know, Fox went with the F3 boot before launching the Instinct, which is now also an industry leader in the Motocross market.

The annual Dansey’s Pass Trail Ride is the highlight of the trail ride calendar for many riders in the South Island. Since it’s inception in 1999, well over 20,000 riders have taken on what has become the longest one-day trail ride in Australasia. This ride is over 165km of tracks through private high country farms, braided rivers, forestry, native gorge and rolling farmland in the stunning Waitaki Valley. From Beginner to Extreme, the organisers have got you covered.

In a little pocket of the central South Island is Duntroon School; a rural primary school that sits on the doorstep of some of the most varied and stunning landscapes you’ll find anywhere in the world. This location was the catalyst to create a school fundraiser like no other!

Local landowners, parents and volunteers team up every year and spend hundreds of hours planning, building and running the famous “Dansey’s Pass Trail Ride”. This little school fundraiser attracts riders by the thousands, some travelling from as far away as Australia, Japan and Scotland just to ride it!

So what makes this ride so special?

Some say it’s the huge range of landscapes you can ride through in one day. Native bush, forestry blocks, rolling dairy farm, high country tussock, braided riverbed, swamps, it’s all there. Others say it’s the non-stop challenges around every corner.

We know this for sure: No one goes home without sore muscles and a tale to tell.

“This was the first time I’ve been to the Dansey’s ride. Thought I’d better come to see what all the fuss was about and was definitely not disappointed. I rode the extreme and advanced loops, and they were bloody awesome. Challenging with a bit of everything and never a dull moment, it is a really well-organised and run event with something for everyone, and should be on every riders bucket list,” said Devon Cambridge, a punter on his first Dansey’s Pass.

The ride is split into 5 different loops to accommodate riders of all ages and stages:

Family: A great circuit for beginners, or kids and their parents to enjoy a ride together.

Intermediate: Lots of open farm track riding, rising to over 1000m with some riverbed.

Advanced Moderate: The widest variety of mixed terrain you’ll ever find on one trail. Minimal farm tracks and some gnarly hill climbs.

Advanced Hard: Very challenging hill climbs, flowing into high country tussock.

Extreme: Some of the toughest hill climb descent combos on offer anywhere! For serious riders only.

The track guys spend weeks planning the new loops, then days and days cutting bush, digging tracks and building bridges. This year, there was an added challenge as three days before the ride, the Dansey’s Pass experienced some fairly significant rain, resulting in a few extra grey hairs for organisers! Rivers rose to over 12 times the usual flow and there was a mad scramble to build an entirely new track to replace the Extreme Loop which – after the rain – had become beyond hazardous!

Even with the rain in the lead-up, the day went off perfectly: cool and clear after a little more rain, which only added to the challenge. Despite the number of riders, because the tracks are so vast it never feels crowded. This year, over 1000 riders took on the legendary Dansey’s Pass Trail Ride and – while there might be a few bikes and bodies worse for wear – they’re all keen to do it all again next year on the 23rd of March 2019.

Simon De Lange had this to say. “The best thing about the ride is the different tracks and terrain which caters to most types of riders. Whoever marked out the advanced hard track was a champ. Rode the whole track with a smile. Never once got bored always a new challenge just around the corner. Would and do recommend this ride to others.”

See for more info.


Hot off the press is the new line-up of gear from Fly Racing for 2019. Featuring a refreshing and bold colour range, with matching sets in every category, the new lines are made to deliver. Utilising high tech materials and new safety features, all while offering premium comfort and airflow. Mens and womens styles are available on every line – if the ladies want to stand out, check out the full hot pink sets!

The F2 Carbon Helmet is absolutely one of the top race helmets on the market. The new F2 has gone a step further, with its ‘one-piece tri-composite carbon fibre shell and mouth guard’, along with ‘MIPS’ (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), and the best airflow in it’s class. Impact protection, airflow, and comfort – and cool colours too!



The Elite Vigilant Helmet range are Fly’s original helmet designed to maximise styling and comfort. With multi-port ventilation, reduced weight, and enhanced comfort, the Elite Vigilant is built to meet or exceed DOT and ECE 22.05 standards.



The Lite Hydrogen jersey and pant sets offer unparalleled lightweight performance, comfort, and flexibility. Taking on board feedback from racers, both amateur and professional, Fly continue to develop their best gear to meet the needs of riders. The new Lite Hydrogen pant is now 136grams lighter than last years line. Analyzed to provide maximum flexibility, breathability, and support where needed, the Lite Hydrogen is the original lightweight, minimalist racewear.




To go with their new helmet ranges, Fly have released new racewear in matching colours – the Kinetic range of Shield and Noiz gearsets blend form and function with ultra-durable construction. Made for anyone from the Pro racers to the weekend riders, and yes there is a line for the ladies, the Kinetic range makes a statement!

By comparison, the F-16 racewear sets have a cleaner look, with race-inspired graphics, and a more classic fit and finish. High quality, durable, but still comfortable and stylish, the F-16 sets bring premium features to the track. Whatever look you are wanting, Fly have it covered!

Whether you are a professional or a casual rider, Fly Racing have plenty of solutions for keeping you looking good, while staying comfortable and safe.

Check out their brand new ranges online at Whites Powersports (bits4bikes) or head into your local distributor to update your own gear!