Street extreme riding has been a part of the American biker scene for almost as long as motorcycles have been a part of America. Stunt riding has been around since 1913, when motorcycles such as Indian’s 45ci were the most popular. These bikes literally dumped lube on the pavement.
During the two world wars, military motorcycle commanders began organizing their well-trained riders to do stage shows for new recruits. These guys would mount ladders to their Triumph Bonnevilles and Speed Twins’ frames and would steer with their feet, carrying up to 12 guys on a single bike.
After World War II veterans came home from ducking bullets and weaving around land mines with serious mad riding skills. As seen in the movie “Those Were the Days,” a contingent of WWII veterans were seen doing seatstands, circular burnouts and other stunts most wouldn’t believe were possible on a 600-pound bike with rigid rear suspension and drum brakes.
These days everything has changed. Guys started taking this sport to the streets, and like everything else, it has become a lot more extreme. Young kids, also known as adrenaline junkies, started to push the envelope. The Starboyz, a group from took this sport to the streets and made it big. You might have seen their videos on the Pep Boys shelves. They were the guys with the fur bikes, doing crazy stuff like riding on their front tire (stoppie), riding wheelies for miles at speeds over 100 mph and doing circular burnouts.
Since the Starboyz, other guys now do very slow stuff, like willies while going in circles, or wheelies without hands, where the bike has to balance itself to keep going. Darius Khashabi, a famous biker who has played in movies like “Biker Boys,” is one of a new generation of bikers who push the envelope even further. Khashabi is now working on making stunt-riding part of the X-games.
Police officers are often concerned with guys on street bikes, whether it is their stunting or speeding. Some bikers are not willing to pull over and get their bike impounded. So they end up speeding from the law.
An anonymous rider from Chico confessed, “I was heading back home to Chico doing like 140 on (highway) 99 when I saw some headlight pull over on the side of the road. I knew they were CHP. I didn’t know what to do. If I would have pulled over, I would have risked getting my bike impounded and going to jail, so I decided to take off.”
“I ended up doing close to 180,” he continued, “and when I saw that I pulled away from the cop, I just shut off my bike, and I took an off-ramp exit. As soon as I saw the CHP pass me, I turned on my bike, took off and hid in some parking lot for about one hour. After that I took off home on some back roads.”
Stunt riding is not for everybody. A lot of skill is involved to succeed at a stunt. Most of the guys attempting tricks have crashed and broken bones several times, not to mention all the money paid for tickets and the points on their driver license.