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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, im really struggling to get the hang of maintaining balance point with the use of the rear brake on my DRZ 400sm, only started learning last year and i learnt how to shift through 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear on the back wheel, then the past couple of months i've managed to hold them further and further in 2nd gear until i occassionally managed about 3/4 mile in just 2nd gear, the trouble is that im doing this just with throttle control rather than rear brake control, then last sunday i went and looped it at around 45mph, one minute i was riding a really nice wheelie and before i had even realised what was happening i was on my ass being dragged along the road by the bike. Good job it happened on the DRZ and not the 636!

Now i know i've got the height and the body position pretty damn close as im leaning right back with straight arms, looking around the bike and under the fork tubes but i just cant get the hang of this rear brake control, i've read hours and hours worth of 'wheelie threads' and 'how to' guides etc but i cant sus it out! Im happy with where the brake pedal is and i've practiced tapping the brake whilst im below balance point to try and train myself to use it but using it to hold long wheelies just doesnt seem to be happening for me. I also seem to be getting a bit of side to side sway when i get it real high.

Im trying to hold it at around a constant 35mph in 2nd, should the brake be holding the bike at balance point or do i have to keep repeatedly bringing it past balance point and then back forward to balance point to maintain a constand speed?

Any advice welcome as im really not keen on looping out again and its starting to really annoy me now!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
With the clutch.
Ive been learning wheelies since may last year, spent the first two weeks or so powering it up just to get used to the feeling of the bike lifting up but then learnt to clutch it and thats what ive been doing ever since.
Ive been riding reguarly for nearly 11 years now since i was 16 and have done loads of trackdays on sportsbikes so i would say my throttle control and general feel for bikes is pretty good, i bought this DRZ specifically for learning wheelies thinking it would be a doddle but how wrong i was!

Oh and awilliams ive seen your video on youtube and gotta say its one of the best vids ive seen, ive watched it over and over again and it still makes me smile everytime i watch it!
 

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haha sweet man the DRZ is still one of my favorite bikes to wheelie. Basically if I had to describe it, and when I say it I mean the feeling of going beyond the balance point, Id say that when you get the bike high enough youll eventually feel the tail drop down and almost settle in. I learned on an XR100 but the concept is the same on the big bike literally within 3 attempts on the DRZ when i bought it and I was rocking mile plus wheelies. I would go and get a wheelie up and just start riding the rear brake lightly, then id bring it back and kinda modulate the rear brake and work the throttle to keep a balance. Then id start letting off the brake a little bit and letting it come back farther and farther till i found the sweet spot 1:37 in my vid you kinda see what im talkin about. Eventually youll use less and less brake and just tap it instead of ride it all the time since its tough on rotors and pads, but that technique gave me the confidence I needed to get it back far enough and know i had the rear brake if i needed it.
 

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I too, am having problems with the perfect balance point with rear brake control for the speed. There are times that I can hold 3rd and or 4th for a good distance at a constant speed, but if I go past that point, I don't have the brake control to bring it back forward and still maintain the wheelie. And where do I see this video? I think I need to see it as well.
 

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Those are some good wheelies. I realy want to purposely bring the bike past the balance point and then learn the right amount of rear brake pressure, but I can't afford to buy new plastic right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
haha sweet man the DRZ is still one of my favorite bikes to wheelie. Basically if I had to describe it, and when I say it I mean the feeling of going beyond the balance point, Id say that when you get the bike high enough youll eventually feel the tail drop down and almost settle in. I learned on an XR100 but the concept is the same on the big bike literally within 3 attempts on the DRZ when i bought it and I was rocking mile plus wheelies. I would go and get a wheelie up and just start riding the rear brake lightly, then id bring it back and kinda modulate the rear brake and work the throttle to keep a balance. Then id start letting off the brake a little bit and letting it come back farther and farther till i found the sweet spot 1:37 in my vid you kinda see what im talkin about. Eventually youll use less and less brake and just tap it instead of ride it all the time since its tough on rotors and pads, but that technique gave me the confidence I needed to get it back far enough and know i had the rear brake if i needed it.
So the idea is to eventually end up only touching the rear brake to pull the bike forwards to balance point?
I always thought that the pads should be ever so slightly rubbing the brake disc so as all the freeplay in the brake pedal and the tiny gap between the pads and disc was already taken up so that theres no delayed reaction when you need to use the brake. Am i right or wrong to try and learn it that way?
The reason i thought this is because a mate of mine has an R1 which he can wheelie for over a mile at around 40/50 mph but when he does this at night time in the dark the rear disc is normally glowing orange from heating up so much because he does drag the brake the whole time. Is that just because he's not mastered the technique properly or is it just a case of different people using different methods?
 

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I'm kinda surprised you looped, specially if you were already up and riding the wheelie. Usually, unless you snap it past balance point, engine braking alone will bring the wheel down.

I remember when I started riding wheelies, I'd go a little past balance point and although I knew to tap the rear brake, my brain didn't seem to work that fast. But like everything else, after a while it just becomes second nature. Just keep at it and don't get discouraged by a crash......happens to all of us.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
To be honest i dont even know how it happened as it caught me by surprise so much that i didnt even get that "Oh shit" feeling and dont remember hitting the ground so i dont even know if my reactions wudve been quick enough on the brake even if i did know how to use it, all i can remember is riding along on the back wheel and the next thing i remember is the sound of the engine revving as i was holding the throttle wide open with the bike dragging me along the road, then i let go of the bike, stopped sliding, stood up, picked the bike up wiv my mate and cleared off quick coz there was cars stopping by this point. I guess i must've just given it a little too much gas because im feathering the throttle to balance them rather than using the brake, there was also a strong headwind so maybe the wind caught me a bit, i just dont know.
I dont think its discouraged me, im still keen to crack them but i do think its knocked my confidence a bit, today i just cudnt keep them going so im obviously not bringing them high enough now. My leg is still covered in scabs though and got a big bruise on me elbow so i guess im thinking about that at the back of my mind and not wanting to do any more damage!
 

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My brake control is pretty much on/off but what I want to know is are you boys using the rear brake to preload the suspension just before the wheelie?

On this thread on thumpertalk SenorThumpy advises me to use it but I wonder if unless I get the timing just right would it be hindering me?

https://thumpertalk.com/forums/topic/1200552-clutch-wheelie-technique-revelation/

Bear in mind that it is from last year when I was still practicing with wheelies, the second page is more up to date to where I am now.


Also, I can't keep wheelies going in 2nd gear, if I dip even slightly back out of the balance point the revs go too high and close to the limiter which I don't want to risk.

I think if I could keep second going a bit longer that would help me to change gear.

I've read on a few different forums about 2nd gear being short on SM610s.

But my main focus is launching a wheelie and the best way to do that, hence my question about preloading the suspension with the rear brake before hand.

The best wheelies always come from a near balance point or balance point launch then you can keep the revs where they are and just ride it out.

I just think that preloading the suspension with the rear brake might be a bit unnecessary and make the timing more tricky when it doesn't need to be.

Edit: just found this on stuntlife.com

https://redirect.viglink.com/?format=go&jsonp=vglnk_150524891974213&key=fd4d0c8927dbf2331e83bbda32ac7c21&libId=j7i1ickh010004is000DAl09izl80&loc=https://thumpertalk.com/forums/topic/1200552-clutch-wheelie-technique-revelation/?page=2&v=1&out=https://www.stuntlife.com/forums/444-service-repair-maintenance/133256-learning-rear-brake-control.html&title=Clutch wheelie technique revelation - Off-Road Riding Technique - ThumperTalk&txt=https://www.stuntlife.com/forums/444-service-repair-maintenance/133256-learning-rear-brake-control.html

Basically they recommend what Senor Thumpy on thumpertalk recommended and that is to slow down with the rear brake just before the wheelie to get the preload on the suspension and to build up the habit of using the rear brake.

What's good enough for stunters is good enough for me!
 
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