KTM WELCOMES INSANE STUNT RIDER ARŪNAS GIBIEŽA TO THE TEAM
Red Bull extreme athlete Arūnas ‘Aras’ Gibieža joins an illustrious list of KTM Orange Bleeders, bringing more READY TO RACE spirit to the realm of stunt riding.
Lithuanian stunt rider Arūnas Gibieža is no rookie when it comes to adding silverware to his trophy cabinet – likewise, when it comes to adding world records to his already impressive resume. Having won several international competitions, being the opening ‘act’ to many high-profile events and being the holder of the world record for the longest no-handed wheelie, Arūnas has an interesting story to tell.
He discovered his passion for motorcycles at the tender age of 10 when his grandfather bought him his first scooter. Unbeknownst to him then, that little 50 cc scooter would be the turning point in his life – one that would be cemented on 2-wheels.
It didn’t take him long to work out how to hoist the front wheel, dragging his feet on the ground to find the balance point, pushing the limits of how high it could go before flipping over. At this point, he already knew that he wanted to entertain the crowd in plumes of tire smoke, with at least one wheel off the ground at all times.
His talents quickly outgrew his machinery, with Arūnas moving onto his first Superbike at the age of 16. Naturally, his love for riding would find its way to the race track with Aras getting his knee down in a number of road racing championships across Europe.
Having already become quite well-known in stunt-riding circles, and with the racing scene not quite filling the gap despite some good results, he abandoned his racing career and decided to become a full-time, professional stunt rider in 2008.
Two years later, Aras took his exhibition to the next level, entering into as many European competitions as possible. In 2011, he began taking home the top accolades from many of those competitions – and by 2012, he was winning them all, eventually signing with Red Bull in 2013.
We sat down with Arūnas and asked him a few questions.
KTM: Who or what inspired your love for stunt riding?
AG: To be honest, my first introduction to ‘stunting’ happened while watching my first MotoGP™ race on TV at the age of 5. I can’t recall who exactly it was, but they wheelied across the finish line and I was hooked on that moment.
Then it became an obsession. I was always riding my bicycle and imagining that I’m on a big bike doing wheelies. When I turned 10, I got my first scooter and wheelies were the first stunt I learned.
KTM: What’s your current stunt weapon of choice, and why?
AG: Right now, I’m on a KTM 890 DUKE R. For me, it’s quite a unique motorcycle with its own character. I really love its low-down torque and predictability throughout the rev range. This is important when performing different stunts, as you don’t suddenly want to be surprised by an unexpected dip in power.
It’s impressive to perform on such a machine. It really feels like the future has arrived in the stunt scene and I’m very excited to be part of it!
KTM: What are the 5 key modifications on your stunt bike?
AG: The most important part is an engine idling adjuster. Without this, most of the tricks I perform are impossible, specifically the no-handed tricks.
I also have three brake calipers on the rear wheel. Two are fitted to a handbrake, and one works as a traditional footbrake. These are mostly used for wheelies and skids.
Then, obviously, protection. Performing and learning new stunts means that you will drop the bike at some point. So, engine cage protection is ultra-important to prevent any major damage if you have a fall.
I also use a modified, flat-profile gas tank. This allows me to perform a number of, what I call, tank tricks, like highchair wheelies.
And lastly, I have a specially designed hole in the rear seat to place my foot inside, I use it most of the time for performing standing wheelies, as it allows me to find the balance point quicker and looks pretty cool too.
KTM: Are there any new world record attempts on the horizon?
AG: I’m always thinking of the next big thing. But most recently, I have been playing with an old dream to smash the world record for the fastest wheelie on ice!
I used to train a lot during winter times, and I think it is about time I bring my icy A-game into action. But also, watch this space.
KTM: And lastly, other than your stunt machine, what else do you ride?
AG: I love riding my KTM 300 EXC, especially during winter when I spend most of the time in the south of Europe. It’s also great for training too.
But, hands-down, my favorite motorcycle besides my stunt bike is my KTM 450 SMR. It is truly a race-inspired machine. It’s so easy to ride hard, sliding and going sideways into every turn. Oh, and it wheelies so easily.
KTM: Cheers Aras!
AG: Thank you KTM.
In case you were wondering, Aras smashed the no-handed wheelie record, setting the new bar at 580 meters and 81 centimeters (1,902 ft 32 in).
You can stay in touch with all his latest news by following Aras on Instagram at @aras_freestyle and find out where he is performing next!