BoiseRiders.net does not encourage or condone stunting on public roads BUT, for those who've got a big private, closed off area to practice at: There's a pretty cool article / how to guide on stoppies over at SuperStreetBike.com (they've even go a couple pictures if you don't get what the article is talking about): http://superstreetbike.com/stunt_howto/122_0444_hdt/ How'D They Do That? Stoppies explained By Matt Blankstrom Photography: Dave Avila No matter what you call 'em--stoppies, endos or even the lame-sounding "nose wheelies"watching a pro stunter roll past at 100 mph with the rear wheel floating four feet off the ground is one of the most visually stunning sights in street freestyle competition. A sky-high stoppie is also one of the most difficult and dangerous maneuvers to master. Unlike a wheelie, where the rear brake can always return you to terra firma if things get out of hand, there is no safety mechanism to bring things back once a 550-plus-pound sportbike and rider start sailing past the balance point. If you misjudge and build too much momentum on the way up, you're over and done. In the upper echelon of street freestyle competition, no one rolls endos quite like Thew Blankstrom, the point man for Michigan's Team 1096. Blankstrom was among the first Americans to attempt the insanely long stoppies pioneered by such Euro tricksters as Craig Jones. Never one to imitate, Blankstrom confidently upped the ante and endoed into the record books in spring 2003 when he outdid Jones' Guinness World Record of 738 feet with his own 749-foot stoppie. How, you might wonder, does he do it? In our latest installment of "How'd They Do That?" Blankstrom breaks down his endo technique and tells us exactly how he consistently gets it up so high and in so many different positions without ever going over the top. Here are his secrets in his own words. Basic Stoppie Basic Stoppie Body position--specifically, keeping your body centered over the bike--is probably the most important aspect of pulling off a safe stoppie. You must first get your body dead-center over the middle of the bike with your head straight, shoulders squared and arms stiff. Having your body off-center is what's going to cause the back end to kick out once you get the back wheel up. Once you're up to speed and your body is properly positioned, pull the clutch in and get on the brake. Make the initial brake input pretty strong, about 80 percent of full braking pressure, then back off as the bike comes up. Weight transfer is also important. At the same time you begin braking, rock your body forward to move your weight out over the front wheel. Starting from the middle of the seat, bring your shoulders up and slide up along the gas tank until you're off the seat just a little. When you move forward, make sure your body stays as straight as possible. Remember to keep your arms straight with elbows locked so your weight shift doesn't unintentionally steer the bike one way or the other. As the back end comes up, gradually let off the brake as you approach the balance point. As long as you're on that brake hard, it'll keep coming up. You know you're near the balance point when you're barely on the brake and that back wheel is floating--not going any higher or dropping any lower. When I'm rolling a long one at the balance point, I'm just barely on the front brake--just about five percent, just dragging the pads. For basic stoppies, you don't really have to think about steering--just keep your arms straight and you'll keep rolling straight. It's only when you start rolling them out really long that you have to worry about steering. The only difference between a 150-foot endo and, say, a 600-foot one is being able to steer it. Steering an endo is just like steering into a corner on two wheels--you have to countersteer. If the back end kicks to the right, push on the right bar and steer into it to pull the front wheel the same way the back end is going. The higher the bike is, the easier it is to steer. For basic endos, just ride it out to a complete stop, let the back end fall, let out the clutch and ride away. You always want your body straight right up until the moment the tire touches the ground. Any time you move, you add a steering input to the front end. Don't be too worried if the bike gets a little out of line--it can get eight to 10 degrees off and you can still ride it out without highsiding. Sometimes I'll tap the rear brake just before the back end comes down. This stops the tire spinning and tightens the chain to keep it from slapping when it hits. It sounds better--a little style thing. 180 endo 180 Endo To pull this off, you really need to know how to steer an endo well. I didn't learn the 180 until a while after I learned how to steer. Instead of trying to steer the bike straight, intentionally add a steering input to bring the back end of the bike around, then control that input so it doesn't come around too fast or too slow. To launch a 180, get the bike up to the balance point with your body centered you don't want to look for the balance point when the back end is already kicking around. The higher you are, the easier it is to steer and the smoother the back end comes around. Once you're up, start the rotation by countersteering. It takes a major input on the handlebars to make the back end come around. To get it to crank--to move all that weight around--really takes some strength. You can't just snap it around. Avoid the temptation to roll your body into the rotation--to maintain control over the bike, you really want to stay above the bike, on top of it at all times. As the back end starts to come around, the bike will usually stall because you don't have enough momentum behind it. More height is better here--at a lower height you need more speed to snap the bike around. One way to make it spin around faster is to use more brake. The 180 endo is probably the only endo where you need to increase--not decrease--brake pressure as the endo progresses. At the end of the rotation, you're probably going to have to pull the brake back to that initial 80 percent to get it to come around. You're always at a dead stop at the end of a 180. One-Hander One-Hander Bring the bike up just like a normal endo, and once you get to the balance point let go of the bar with your left hand. It's almost that easy. The key here is to keep your right arm extra stiff to make sure the bike doesn't drift either way when you let your left hand off. When you remove your left hand, make absolutely sure your right hand is not going to move. You don't want to have your right arm half-bent when you throw your left arm off--or hello tank-slapper, you're gonna eat pavement. Supporting your body weight with your legs is important because you can't really use your upper body to hold yourself on the bike with only one arm. To make this work, get all your weight up on the tank (get your package out of the way first!) and jam your knees into the tank cutout to hold you up so you don't have to press on the bars. I always throw the bike in neutral before pulling a one-hander--that way the back end won't come down when I let off the clutch. High chair High Chair We're moving into experts-only territory here. The toughest part of a high chair is moving into position on the bike--getting up on the tank with your feet out over the front of the bike. Like any acrobatic trick, the key is to get into position as quickly as possible. I jump up from the pegs as if I'm doing an elevator, but I jump straight over into the high-chair position. I put one hand on the windscreen, right in the middle, and jump straight up and forward, kicking my legs out around the bars as I come across. Having a hand on the windscreen allows me to gauge how far forward I'm going to jump. It looks really dramatic, but in actuality I'm only moving my butt about six inches. Your other hand can be anywhere during this time--I usually throw it up like a rodeo clown. Once you're up and over, grab the handlebars and settle in on the tank, bracing yourself against the windscreen. Basically, your upper fairing holds all your weight. A high chair takes less initial brake to bring the back end up, and the back end definitely comes up quicker. You don't have to worry about weight transfer with this maneuver--all your weight is already over the front wheel. The back wheel also doesn't ride as high--the balance point is lower with a high chair. Feet-over-the-front endos tend to be shorter in distance because it's harder to steer the back end. You can't grab the bike with your knees and move it around underneath you. In fact, you can't even tell when the bike gets out of line, really. You don't want to come to a complete stop finishing these off--you always want a little speed left so you can roll out of it without stalling the bike because you're not going to save it when you're sitting up on the tank. no-footer No-Footer Once you start doing rolling endos, a no-footer is probably the easiest variation to pull off. This is basically the same thing as a regular endo, but your arms support all your weight--your feet aren't on the pegs and you can't grab the gas tank with your knees. You're basically sitting on the gas tank, so your body has to be up against it right from the get-go. Practice these by doing regular endos and bending your knees to gradually unweight your feet and legs--the best way to tell if you're ready to bring your feet off the pegs is if your upper body is right and everything else is square. Because you don't have to worry about the handlebars moving when you bring your feet off the pegs, a no-footer is much easier than a one-hander, and you can bring your feet off a lot sooner than your hand. Just remember not to kick your feet off before you're up against the gas tank or you'll slam your junk against it and wreck yourself. Stoppie SetUp Confession time: I've never, ever adjusted the fork on my 2000 GSX-R750. I'm not a big guy, and the factory settings work fine for me. Just make sure you have enough preload and compression damping so you aren't at the end of the travel when you're up on the endo--if you bottom out the fork when you're up on the front wheel, you're going over. Run around 25 psi in the front tire to give a little more surface area and help it hook up better. Steel-braided brake lines are a must, and I get the best feel from Ferodo brake pads, street compound. Check the brake-mounting hardware all the time--especially if you're getting good and coming in really fast, or doing a lot of stoppies. I've had the caliper fixing bolts and the bolt that holds the caliper together loosen up everything. I like to turn my handlebars out a bit--a wider stance gives more leverage and makes the stoppie a bit easier to steer. And always always run a steering damper, turned way up. A tank-slapper when you're up on one wheel is bad news. Getting Started Most people think the best way to learn how to do endos is baby stoppies--you know, roll in at five mph, jam on the front brake and try not to get thrown off when the back end shoots skyward. These are so dangerous--you grab all the brake at once, causing the fork to dive too fast and the rear end to rebound and kick up, and it's easy to lose the front end or flip over when you hit the bottom of the suspension travel. A better way is to come into your practice area fast and then slowly, smoothly grab more brake. When you feel the brake pads starting to bite, throw your weight up a little and grab just a bit more brake. If you do this methodically, you'll soon float the back wheel a few feet and everything will be smooth--none of the sharp, abrupt braking or suspension loading that will cause the front wheel to wash out or the suspension to bottom. When it feels like you're getting up too high, let off the brake slowly and you'll be back on the ground. When you're new at it, anything more than two feet will make you say, "Oh my god, I'm going to flip over." But that's the best way to learn, and if you take it slow and increase your brake pressure incrementally as your comfort level increases, you'll be floating at the balance point in no time. Saving It There are theories on correcting stoppies gone bad, but when you're really at the balance point and you feel like you're going over, there's not much you can do to save it. It's not like a wheelie, where you can just tap the back brake or chop the throttle and bring it back down. With most stoppies, you've got the bike in gear and the clutch pulled in. In theory, you should be able to just dump the clutch and hit the gas, and the gyroscopic force of the rear wheel spinning will actually pull the bike back down. But when you're way up and it's going over, the balance point for a stoppie is so fine and there's so much momentum carrying the bike forward that by the time you realize you've crossed over, it's too late--you're going off the bike. Well, as they say, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it.