Episode 111: Motorcycle Flip

Air Date: October 29, 2008

Throwing a wooden pole into the spokes of a motorbike’s front wheel will cause it to flip. (Based on a scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.)

busted

The Mythbusters first obtained a bike similar to the type used during filming of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They built a mechanized rig that could fire a pole at human-like speeds. During a full-scale test with the bike moving at a speed of 40 miles per hour, the bike snapped the wooden pole without stopping, busting the myth. Undeterred, The MythBusters decided to redo the test with a steel pole. Although the steel pole did stop the bike, it skidded instead of flipping, definitively busting the myth. The team analyzed the movie scene and discovered that explosives were used to flip the bike. They then built a mortar and used it to flip the bike in an elaborate recreation of the movie scene.

While escaping prison, you could climb down a wall using a rope made of toilet paper.

plausible

To compensate for toilet paper’s low tensile strength, Tory twisted it into multiple yarns to create rope. After creating the rope, Tory found that it was strong enough to support his weight. During a test climbing down a courthouse, Tory had difficulty keeping a firm grip on the rope. Nonetheless, the Build Team declared the myth plausible.

While escaping prison, you could climb down a wall using a rope made of bedsheets.

confirmed

Grant found that making his bedsheet rope was very easy and quick in comparison to the toilet paper and hair ropes. During the test, the rope held Grant’s weight and he successfully descended to the ground.

While escaping prison, you could climb down a wall using a rope made of hair.

plausible

In order to make a rope, Kari braided numerous ponytails together, with some difficulty. Despite initial doubts, she managed to successfully climb down the hair rope. The Build Team declared this myth plausible since getting the necessary amount of hair to create a rope would be extremely impractical.

87 Comments

  1. Richard Landgraff says:

    If you slow the Indiana Jones movie down, you will see he is pushing the tapered and pointed BROKEN end of the pole through the spokes. Much more plausible than the squared ends the Mythbusters tried.

    • MSpears says:

      It makes no difference, Richard. The point is, the bike would have skidded, not flipped. THAT was what they were testing.

      Maybe if the myth was “Is it easier to push a pole with a tapered end through the spokes of a moving motorcycle wheel”, THEN it would make a difference.

      • Dstephens80 says:

        My issue with the bike flip is that they changed the front wheel to make it stronger. Seems to me if they used a regular wheel the flag pole would have broke the spokes causing the wheel to collapse which would have buried the front fork into the ground causing an immediate stop with no chance to skid potentially causing the flip they were seeking, minus the explosive dust ball of course.

  2. Adriana Castiglioni says:

    can you make mt. dew glow in the dark????????????

  3. Richard Akers says:

    I am just wondering why a tapered, pointed, broken end would make a difference on how the bike reacted to having something shoved through the spokes. I have spent quite a bit of time on a motor cycle, and have accidentally locked up the front brakes more than once. same result every time. Front tire slides. no flip.

  4. Alan Barbato Sr. says:

    hey i have a holiday myth for ya. i heard that a turkey will burst/explode if you deepfry it before you defrost it!?! happy holidays to all at mythbusters me and my family love to watch you all.

    ps. adam watch those eyebrows!! lol!

  5. nadine says:

    hey can you die from brainfreeze ?????? not just one but like 40 or 80 brainfreeze??????????????????????????????????????

    much love
    nadine

    • MSpears says:

      No, because brainfreeze isn’t actually caused by your BRAIN getting cold, it’s caused by overstimulation of the vagus nerves at the back of the throat.

  6. Zac says:

    How High Do You Have To Be To Injure Yourself While Attempting To Jump Into Water Because One Of My Friends Said Someguy Died Parashooting Off A plane And Landing Body First Into To Water.

    Also Mythbusters Is My Favourtie Show So When U Need A Kid To Spice Things Up Email Me!!! =]

  7. Ryan Lee says:

    i think you guys might need to do the motorcycle one again because each time i see the rod go inside, the motorcycle has already tipped over a bit. and if you guys are going to do it again, try using training wheel to keep it up straight

  8. Troy says:

    I have seen a motor cycle flip, when a stick had gotten it to the front spokes. In this situation it was on dirt and most of the spokes had broken, the front forks dug in to the ground and caused the bike and rider to flip end over end. It really did not go airborne as in the movie. In the situation the Mythbusters set up there was no way the bike would have flipped. Especially with the steel wheel Jamie made, the forks could not dig in like the situation I had see or would they on tarmac.

    • Bryce says:

      The key is when Adam says that if the wheel comes to a sudden stop from the flag pole being shoved through it the bike will keep its forward momentum and skid, but if they’d had kept the original spoked wheels it wouldn’t come to an abrupt stop, but slow down very quickly, producing the same effect as slamming on the front brakes which can flip a bike forwards, I’ve done it on a four wheeler.

    • Bob says:

      I absolutely agree with your assessment. The test was invalidated and doomed to failure the moment Jamie built the unbreakable wheel. I know what it feels like to have a front wheel collapse and do a heady over the handle bars with the wheel collapsed. Not as explosive as the Jones movie special effects but bad enough. They really screwed up on this one.

      • Steve says:

        Thank You Bryce and Bob!!! Changing the wheel changed everything. It also didn’t help that they tied a dummy from its back to the back of the motorcycle, thus changing the how the force would be distributed by the rider. Of course, that assumes that the dummy weighed anything close to a real person. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 9 and I’m 51. All anyone has to do is watch bikers performing rear “wheelie” acrobatics to know that a bike can flip from the front wheel stopping abruptly. But I also agree that it wouldn’t get airborne like in the movie.

        • Vic says:

          No way this myth was properly busted. Why? Because motorcycle stunters are capable of doing endos.

          Therefore, some combination of proper modulation of the front brake, and the cg of the deceleration forces of the rider on the bike can cause an effect similar to that of the movie.

          I call for a retest.

          • Jeremy says:

            I have personally flipped a Honda Shadow at 60 mph. The front wheel bearing seized and it was all over. It flipped three times, the first one tossing me forward like a very suprised ragdoll. I was not tied down to the back, the road surface was asphalt, and the tires had about 10,000 miles on them.

            • MSpears says:

              And I bet you learned a very important lesson, too.

              Inertia is PAINFUL. :-D

  9. billy and jorge says:

    in the movie Wanted it shows the you could curve a bullet is it true

    • MSpears says:

      They tested this myth. No, it isn’t.

  10. tanner woehl says:

    your show is the best tv show ever i think they should put mythbusters on all the time i liked that one what will stop a speeding bullet in the shortest distance i think that would be CCCCooooooooooooooooLLLLLLL

  11. caleb says:

    i know that it is possible to flip a bike, my dad did it once when he was riding fast and then he put on the front brakes instead of the back brakes. Although, it was a normal bike not a motor bike.

  12. Tamdhy says:

    Please help me!!! I’m searching for the episode in which the boys test out a viral video that shows a toilet being exploded. I don’t remember what they used on the video, but Jamie and Adam tested it using sodium and eventually potassium. It took a lot to actually make the toilet break apart. Can you identify which season and episode for me?

  13. D Two says:

    could an airplain drop the twin tower? and how? make a show on that, that would get u guys some good ratings!

  14. Parmanand Persaud says:

    Hello Mythbusters, I love your shows and I watch them all the time. I have an experiment that I would like to do with you guys. I am talking about going ” GREEN” to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 2% if this experiment is a success. The two main items are “WATER AND CARBON DIOXIDE. We know gas can be dissolve in water, but the question is how we do it. However, this experiment will cost money but if it is successful, then we can make millions of dollars and I am sure that this will be a successful experiment. It is a simple experiment and I have a simple plan laid out. The success of this expermint will only work in the manufacturing industries because it is design for those tall chimneys to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide by 98%. Together we can make the world a better place, cleaner air to breath, so let us go “GREEN.” I am sure that this will be a successful experiment and this will give you guys the #1 ratings in the world. I hope to hear from you some time soon. Yours sincerely, Parmanand Persaud.

  15. st bernard the great says:

    if you heat lead to the point of liquid form can it melt through a hand or foot

  16. Gary says:

    Love the show, but I’m with Ryan Lee & Caleb, I think you guys messed this one up. My friend flipped his bicycle when we were kids by pressing his foot on the front tire as a brake and having it jam between the forks. I saw it happen.

    I think with a few adjustments to your rig/procedure, you’d come to a conclusion of “plausible”. What has to happen is that the rider’s forward momentum has to transfer to the handlebars.

    My Suggested Changes:

    Step 1 – Tie a rope to the handlebars going forward to a pulley. Hang enough weight on the rope to lift the bike’s back wheel. This determines the rider’s (Buster) minimum required weight. When my friend flipped his bike, he probably weighed 4X as much as the bike, so you may need quite a heavy ‘Buster’.

    Step 2 – During the ride, Buster’s hands can’t let go of the handlebars, and his elbows must be rigid or locked, as if he were bracing for impact. His body’s forward momentum has to be able to transfer through his arms and hands to the handlebars.

    Step 3 – Rig the bike so the handlebars can’t turn, simulating a rider in control of the bike. If the handlebars turn, Buster’s momentum may bring him to either side of the front wheel instead of pushing the handlebars forward over the front wheel.

    Step 4 – Not too sure about this one, but I think Buster’s Center of gravity needs to be lower than the handlebars, or he may just fly over the handlebars without flipping the bike.

  17. Gary says:

    One other thing – I suspect that the higher the handlebars are in relation to the wheel, the lighter the rider’s required weight would be.

  18. dr says:

    how the hell is a bicycle’s center of gravity even comparable to a motorcycle?. seriously, some of you people need basic education.

  19. Aleah Anderson says:

    Hi! I am a big fan and unfortuatly I do not have Dish or any other type of TV brodcasting networks.
    So even if you do happen to do this in an episode then i will not be able to see it…

    But a couple years back I heard that a girl drank to much water and died. To be more spesific she drank a cuople gallons of water and did not go to the bathroom…

    • MSpears says:

      Yes. That was at a “Hold your wee for a Wii” contest hosted by a radio station. The idea was to drink a lot of water and hold your wee the longest. Only problem is… too much of anything can be a poison. Even water. (Yes, the official cause of death was “water poisoning”.)

  20. larry says:

    i have personally had a broom thrown at my bike ,,,the front spokes broke and i flew over 50 feet.landing under a car.not funnie,,,but it can happen

  21. geosynch says:

    I occasionally wince when I watch (poetic, eh?) Mythbusters because when trying to disprove something, you completely pollute the test and are seemingly oblivious. The motorcycle flip is one of those times.

    Hello! McFly! Your shoe’s untied!

    When you made your “unbreakable wheel” you changed a crucial variable in your test. If you would have remained true to the test, you would have kept the spoked wheel and have seen a different outcome (granted, the motorcycle wouldn’t have pole vaulted Indiana Jones style) but I submit that an end over end flip would have been likely.

    The scenario you tested is “Can I lock up a front wheel with a pole?” You proved you can, and that the tire skids.

    The scenario you WANTED to test, yet abandoned, is “what happens when you shove a stick in the spoked wheel of a motorcycle?” You already know what will happen to the wheel — you tested it in your lab. The spokes disintegrate. If you would have carried that out into the filed, you would have found that instead of locking up the front tire, you would have broken every spoke in that wheel, and the front end of the motorcycle would have fallen to the ground, and the motorcycle would likely have flipped over.

    MYTHBUSTERS BUSTED!

    Respectfully,

    geosynch

  22. dan says:

    hi not sure if im doing this right. but you resently did a show on exploding gas tanks.although your tests you did were busted an i am not sure about being shot at the gas tank works. my view couse i did have a 45 galon drum blow up an shot atleast 30 feet across my yard what i had done was wash out the drum with gas with about 1 gallon of gas i had then dumped the remaining gas out then with a long pole lit it up an put it near the barrel an it exploded.it is not the gas that is exploseve its the fumes.just like your car it dont burn pure gas the carb an injecktion systems are made to brake the gas down to a mist an with mixed with the right amount of air comes exploseive.we all know you can take a full 5 gallon gas can fill it full it will just burn off like your gas tank did but if you just had very little gas in there it will blow.ya i agree a trail of gas to the tank an gas still comeing out it will not blow.im a heavey equipment machanic i have done lost of dangerous stuff inclueding welding gas tanks fuel tanks ext they will not blow if there full.i full understand somethings are better proven to be as you say busted.for there are people out there that just might use try these things an hurnt some one.let me know what your view is on this.

  23. Trish Rogers says:

    I was wondering what the difference in the physics were for a bicycle in this incident vs a motercycle. When I was 13 I was racing my bike coming from the grocery store when the bag with the toilet paper I had bought got suddenly jammed between the back of the front wheel and the frame of the bike. I was forcefully launched into the air where I saw the pavement go above the sky three times before I hit the ground. I landed head first but was wearing a helmet. The impact was hard enough to break said helmet in half. I wish I still had it. The bike was twisted metal when we picked it up later.

  24. Trish Rogers says:

    P.S, Lead balloon is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, and I would also love to see the deep fried turkey explode!

  25. Farkum says:

    You guys are way better than those cheesy Smash Lab people. I hate the way those guys talk. Its so unnatural. And they always act as if they know everything. They don’t know how to have fun like Jamie and Adam.

  26. corey says:

    i tried to flip my four wheeler it wont happen unless im going in reverse how can i get it to endo in forward????

  27. Bill Fehlhaber says:

    Flipping a motorcycle is not hard, a CB360 Honda could be flipped by just applying the front brake to fast.

  28. Steve says:

    flipping a motorbike is easy, just hit the front brakes hard like bill said, i’ve done it that many times it’s not funny, if that don’t work lean over the front wheel and try it

  29. titus says:

    Sorry for the mistakes: i’m french and don’t write english well.Try to find the video with this key word: “crash moto GP Catalunya Giberneau Capirossi”. You will see the bar of Giberneau touching the break on the bar of Capirossi ,the Ducati of Capirossi stop immediately and make a very nice “rear flip”. You used an old bike with “TT” tires,the GP bikes have powerfull brakes and the tires “eat” the road and don’t slip. Look this video and try again with a smooth race tire and a hot and dry road (you can ask a little help to Gibernau he his an expert in motorbike crash)

  30. spence says:

    A bike will flip most of the time. Not due to friction between the tyre and the road but the fact that the spokes will snap and then the forks will land on the road. This will resalt in the forks catching an edge and flipping. I have seen this done. It was a grose miscalculation to replace the spokes with plate steel. Then they brag that the pole snapped. TOOLS.

  31. spence says:

    Also have they never heard of a stoppie before. Its a very popular trick with dirt, road and trials bikes.

  32. spence says:

    to flip a bike with the brake is not so easy. applying the bake hard WILL resalt in the tyre skidding. This is called washing out. The aplication must be gradual but fast and all that you need to do is release the brake to stop the potentual flip.
    I dont think there is much chance of somone flipping a bike by acident, with the use of brakes.

  33. john says:

    Ok ready everyone YES you can flip a bike…A BIKE ..not a motorcycle!! two very different things even if they altered the rig it wont happen the weight of the motorcycle alone is too much and would just break the wood or the spokes…so to recap BIKE yes motorcycle NO just cause it has two wheels doesn’t mean its the same thing

  34. ZR4LP says:

    Throwing a pole into a moving motorbike frontwheel will not flipp the bike over. To Flip u need to pull front brake hard on a tar surface with a KTM 250 EXC or any light motorcycle, at same time u have to move ur body weight forward to increase pressure on the front tyre so as to create downforce and more grip. The back will lift up , the idea is to let it topple over onto u killing urself when the bike falls on U.

    Most stuntmen can do a stoppie ,iow riding it on frontwheel only. To break a motorcycle spokes will require a decent wooden pole .the frontwheel will skid immediately loosing traction ,control and it will fall over to a side if it leans over left or right. U can do a front wheel skid if u keep wheel straight.

    ZR4LP

  35. Dan says:

    If you try climbing down a wall made of bedsheets, be sure to use knots, alot of them. I did not, the sheet ripped, and I dropped 30 feet onto a parked car, thank god.

  36. simon says:

    In this myth the handle bars turn if there was a ral person he would be holding the steering straight and when the bar when though it would not turn the handlebars which would give nore chance of a flip

  37. S Mannino says:

    Can a wet kite string that hits a non-insulated power line electrocute the holder of the string?

    Fact or Myth?

  38. aidan kelly says:

    What if you held the handlebars still so they didnt move to the side when the bike was let go then it would flip. Plz try this ;).

  39. Fletcher says:

    I just finished watching your episode on flipping a bike by putting a stick in the spokes. I think you missed one major factor within this test. Buster didn’t have his hands or any of his weight over the handlebars.
    I have had the unfortunate experience where I had a bikelight generator flip into my spokes and this sent me flying (superman style) over the handlebars. I am sure that the bike also went end over end.
    If you have the centre of balance further foward on the bike this will change the outcome. The center of balance in this test was over the middle of the bike (closer to the back then the fromt). Of cause you didn’t flipped the bike.

    I think this myth requires a re opening to test the centre of balance theory!!!!!

  40. G says:

    the main reason the tyre skids is because they used a knobby dirt tyre on the road! of course there is no grip! use knobbys in the dirt or switch to a road tyre :S

  41. TJ says:

    you should see if an arrow can be shot out out of the air and pinned to the wall with another arrow like in robinhood movies :-)

  42. littlejohn says:

    I’m a motorcyclist and I absolutely assure you that a modern sportbike can do a “stoppie,” the opposite of a wheelie. It’s scary and dangerous, but you can stand a motorcycle on its front wheel with very hard braking. But you couldn’t do it with the junky bikes the Mythbusters used. The front tire and brake are inadequate. And, yes, a stoppie will become a flip if you hold the front brake on too long. I’ve seen this.

  43. #1 fan says:

    You try this with a bicycle but you have to be luckly

  44. Alberto says:

    Cuando hicieron la prueba lo realizaron sobre una superficie plana, por lo que la energia del movimiento de la motocicleta al detenerse por el tubo hace que solo se detenga, pero en la película van en un camino de tierra, por lo que podrian haber muchos hoyos y cunetas, si en el momento que la llanta delantera cayera en un hoyo se lanzara el tubo, entonces la parte delantera estaría mas abajo que la lanta trasera, haciendo que la inercia del movimieto aviente la llanta trasera sobre el eje horizontal de la delantera y haga girar la motocicleta haciendola eleverse en el aire

  45. Omar says:

    I don’t ride a motorcycle, but a bicycle, yes. With my mates, i have witnessed one of them pressing the front brake hard and flipping over with the bike. Why? Forward momentum!
    Buster was tied down, so even though the stick stopped the front wheel, there was no kinetic energy transferring from the force of buster’s momentum to allow the bike to flip forward and over.
    Flaw.

  46. Konsta says:

    Motorcycle flip:
    You did two thing wrong. First you didn’t test it in sand road as the movie. Second you didn’t have a right tires to asphalt you had a terrain tires but you had need a street tires which have very much more friction in asphalt than terrain tires. But I like thence explosion. :)

  47. kyzl says:

    do you really gain weight from eating dinner then laying down on a chair or going to sleep?????????????????? my parents say u do but i don’t beleve them. =P

    • MSpears says:

      It isn’t “eating dinner and then lying down” that causes you to gain weight… it’s “eating dinner and not doing any exercise all day long.”

  48. joe says:

    molten lead will not burn through your hand or foot bernard, ive worked in a foundry and had both brass and aluminum, which have higher melting points, and in the case of brass takes longer to cool down, and neither have burned though my hands. you get burned, and although bad, just burned, it wont melt though your hand hahaha

  49. donald a. heisler says:

    if gasoline was in a container, like a gas tank and that tank exploded. 1. would all the gasoline be expended or only part, and the other part left to burn. 2. if nothing else fueled the explosion, how long would it take the gasoline to burn it self out.
    3. if the explosion was in a closed environment and black smoke could be seen, what temperature would the fire be.

  50. Geo says:

    As has been said, it is very possible and in fact a very popular stunt to stop the front wheel of a motorcycle and have the rear wheel come off the ground and the bike start to flip forward. Generally the stunt is controlled well and the rider is able to stop and balance on the front wheel and then drop the rear wheel back to the ground, however when control is lost the bike does continue to flip forward. Of course its not a movie effect, so its not made to look more exciting by giving it lift as well. It will not go “Up” but still gives quite a spectacle. I think there are three large factors that were done incorrectly:
    1) Buster’s position, he was simply perched on top, not as if he was driving it.
    2) The bike was simply being pulled along, it was not generating its own forward motion from the rear wheel. Which I believe is a very large factor.
    3) I realize why you made the new wheel for the front because you had to be sure to get the pole into the spokes, but as far as strength was concerned it needs to be closer to the original.

    Need to be more careful on the initial tests and not start changing everything before the plain and original myth is really tested.

    • Deepak says:

      I’m a beginner moyctorcle driver as well, take the class it is well worth it so you don’t wreck. I drive a 600 katana that I just bought a few days ago and it is just fine. Just remember that every bike will handle differently so you’ll have to get used to how it accelerates, but a 650 for you shouldn’t be to bad. Plus then you won’t have to buy another bike for a few years where as with a 250 you’d want a bigger engine in a few months of driving.

  51. Geo says:

    As far as the ropes are concerned as far as they were stated they should all be confirmed. The myths didnt say anything about actually obtaining “enough” material. And if thats how it works then the bedsheets should be plausible too… Hair or toilet paper would be more time consuming but probably much easier to hide. Sheets may be faster to put together but you’d need to have a decent sized stack of them in your cell before putting them together.

  52. Glen S.R. Woytuck says:

    In obvserving this episode, I understand the stunt was “enhanced” in the movie, however, I cannot help wondering what would’ve happened had they tried the full scale test on a wire-spoke wheel on dirt like the movie.
    My theory is that this scenario would cause all the spokes on the front wheel to shear off. When that happens on dirt, the forks could dig into the ground bringing the front of the bike to a sudden halt and launch the bike…just my theory.

  53. paul.d says:

    heres a myth for you. i heard a man died from standing near a defective micro wave oven that cooked his own liver.

  54. Johnny M. says:

    Would a car attached to an airplane by a rope fly through the air stretched out and almost parallel to the plane as seen in the movie ConAir?

  55. Mike The Piper. says:

    Regarding the Last Crusade bike flip:
    Spokes were not used because they break? I feel that the breaking spokes are part of the formula to making the bike flip. It would drive the (still inflated) rimmed tire into the front face of the engine, thus causing a gripping effect between the bike, the tire, and the ground. also, the weight would be transfered forward, giving more probability that the myth may be plausible.

    ALSO:
    Another Indiana Jones foul up:
    When you dropped the dinghy with Buster on board, why not strap him to the floor of the boat? The center of gravity has to be in the bottom of the INSIDE of the boat.
    Strapping Buster to the walls of the boat, or turning it into a parachute like structure is not what they were trying to accomplish in the film. Cut holes into the bottom of the boat, just big enough to fit a harness or straps. Also, use the same boat. The one you had was too big, the walls lost all their structural strength. And, by dropping it from a helicopter is not the same as a plane. The downward thrust causes too must instability.

  56. Tony says:

    I think the motor cycle needs to be tried again.

    In the episode, they were pulling the bike. This wouldn’t make the bike flip unless it was being pushed by the back wheel!

    Do over!

  57. Jay says:

    How much toilet paper was used to make the rope they used to escape the jail?

  58. Peter says:

    I also think the motor cycle needs to be tried again.

    1) I had the hand break of a 10 speed come off and go into the front spokes… The break destroyed all the spokes, not a pretty sight. The tire seems to drop out from under me and I went over the from of the bicycle.

    2) A motorcycle from the era of the film would probably NOT have any front shocks to absorb the sudden stop. Use a bike from the era.

  59. Cody says:

    I have seen all the episodes and this one was the best

  60. Marc says:

    Go to YOUTUBE, there’s several videos of MOTORCYCLES ( not bicycles ) doing a front flip. True, these were initiated with front brake; but if you can flip with brake you should be able to flip with a pole in spokes.

  61. DJDERELICTE says:

    I have done this twice before to someone on a pedal bike with a hockey stick (only slightly accidental) I think a bike could go over if the rider had their weight forward. I know there is a lot more weight on the back end of a motorbike but they keep saying the physics don’t allow for it. Since a pedal bike and a motorbike are of the same style of build then it begs to say that it is plausible.

  62. ERnurse says:

    The reason the bike didn’t flip; when the pipe went thru the spokes and the front wheel locked a person would have his full weight thrown forward then the bike would flip. They had the dummy attached at the back so his weight never was thrown forward. You need to re-do this one. It is plausible….I have seen the bodies!

  63. WeeWilly says:

    ER Nurse is on the money (as some of the others were, as well). Stopping the front wheel of a moving bike-and-rider combination results in having the entire momentum of the rider continuing forward parallel to the ground and into the handlebars, and this will tip a bike forward. Perhaps this same effect would tip over a motorcycle as well … depending on the relative weights of the rider and the motorcycle, and on how high the rider’s centre of gravity lies above that of the motorcycle! It is important, moreover, to note that the rider is not attached to the bike/motorcycle, but is free to detach from the motorbike (at everywhere but the handlebars) so that, on stopping, the rider’s weight is fully forward and applied at the handlebars alone! In other words, none of the rider’s weight “stays with” the rest of the bicycle/motorcycle to help keep it stable.

    Anyway, your delightful show is absolutely absorbing … even if some of the tests [appear to] miss an aspect of the myth/concept that might be crucial, as this helps to coalesce one’s ideas about what is actually occurring in the event under review.

  64. Rene says:

    RE: Throwing a wooden pole into the spokes of a motorbike’s front wheel will cause it to flip.(2008 episode)

    I was just wondering if the Myth Busters took a shifting of the weight in consideration. When I ride my dirt bike, and put on the front brakes I can make the back wheel get off the ground when I shift my weight over the handle bars.
    In the episode I noticed Buster was tied to the back of the motorcycle, preventing his weight from shifting over the front wheel.

  65. dazza says:

    the motorbike flip fails cuz nothin was holding the handlebars still when they let it go so naturally its gonna wabble which is why it kept falling over

  66. Kicker says:

    The pole being thrown at the wheel will make the wheel turn slightly making it impossible to keep the handlebars straight. EVEN IF someone were paying attention to what was happening and tried to keep it straight, it wouldn’t work. Its just too hard. and its not about getting a motorcycle to flip, its about using a WOODEN pole thrown into the spokes of the front tire to get the bike to flip… not a shift in weight, not a quick break, just a WOODEN pole. Its too hard to get the pole into the spokes and it would make the person veer to the side causing them to fall sideways not flip. Breaks are very different from a pole being thrown into the tire spokes. Mythbusters did it right, the came to the right conclusion. just let it go!

  67. Audfyre says:

    May I say something? Just so you get the point, !st of all, to all of you asking to flip something, it is a BAD idea. You can get very hurt. Like the Mythbusters say at the beginning of each episode “Do NOT try this at home” Also, i think that we can agree that this stunt was preformed using movie magic, so why bother?

  68. R100GS says:

    Oh my. The reason for so many comments is that there are so many variables to control that changes in those variables can result in different outcomes. First, morotcycles or bicycles can be flipped by putting a stick in thefront spokes. Period. Second, putting a stick in to the spokes can cause the front tire to lose traction and simply skid leaving both tires in contact with the planet. Key functions include traction of the front tire and weight distribution. Given the right amount of traction for given weight distribution the motorcycle _may_ pivot on the front axle resulting in a flip. Will spokes break? Maybe. Maybe not. Will energy absorbed by different suspension systems affect the outcome? Absolutely. Is it possible to flip a motorcycle by tossing a wooden stick into the front wheel? Absolutely. Is it likely? As Mythbusters pointed out, not very. These guys aren’t solving for all possible varialbles. They may be a bit too definitive in their resolutions but, jeeze, cut ‘em some slack.

  69. Bob says:

    The test was invalidated and doomed to failure the moment Jamie built the unbreakable wheel. I know what it feels like to have a front wheel collapse and do a heady over the handle bars with the wheel collapsed. Not as explosive as the Jones movie special effects, but bad enough. They really were oblivious on this one.

  70. Patrick Ryan says:

    People who think this myth was unfairly busted need to remember that they were busting it under very specific conditions. They didn’t say “motorcycles can’t do front-flips,” they said, “if you jam a wooden pole into the front spokes, it won’t react like it did in Indiana Jones,” which is pretty accurate to my mind, seeing as how in the movie clip, the Nazi had very little forward movement relative to upward movement; the energy required to do that just can’t be harnessed with a wooden pole, or even with a steel one, as they demonstrated. The fact that they used unbreakable spokes and on asphalt as opposed to sand/dirt was a testament to the fact that they gave this movie myth the best possible chance, although I agree that Buster’s positioning on the bike might’ve made a difference, just not one big enough to skew the results. And someone else claimed that the bike they used was incorrect, even though they said they got the exact same type of bike as used in the movie. Bottom line: a wooden pole can’t withstand the amount of energy it would take to redirect the forward inertia of the biker in an upwards direction as depicted in the movie.

  71. Billie says:

    I want to know about the glow in the dark mountain dew

  72. Matt says:

    Was the motorcycle actually running? As far as I can tell from watching it wasn’t. The bike was being pulled.

    The flipping has nothing to do with momentum and everything to do with the engine continuing to try to turn the wheel. If the wheel is stopped then the motor will instead turn the bike. They showed that normal wheel spokes were enough to stop the wheel, which is all that needs to happen. The spokes don’t have to do anything with the momentum of the bike. Myth totally failed to be tested.

    (I’ve seen this happen on a normal bicycle and a yard rake btw…kids do dumb stuff.)

  73. Matt says:

    I have personally seen a normal 12 year old bicycle flip with person on it from a basic branch off a tree in my neighborhood.
    The problem with this episode and almost every single episode, they are so simple minded about things.
    The person on the bike is lunged forward, so if real person was on that motorcycle, they themselves would have flipped over the front of the bars at minimum. From what I have gathered based of my bike history, I think its totally plausable that it can and will happen on a motorbike. I don’t care what Indiana Jones did, if you do it, it will work, and if you don’t believe then try it yourself.

  74. tom frank says:

    I didn’t read every one of theses , so pardon me if i repeat someone. I also did not see the episode, but if there was not someone on the bike, or a dummy of aproximite weight and anatomy of a real man, then that could explain why it did not flip. a man on the bike will make it more top heavy and so more likely to flip.

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