The main reason why one cannot maintain a stable or near stable position is that the rider 'should' let go of the lead foot and put pressure on the back foot so that the pawls can disengage and allow the bike can move backward (regardless if it's via gravity driven or induced by the backward momentum from releasing the brakes and pulling). In other words, perform a slight 'back pedal'
It took my feeble mind a while before figuring out why i keep losing my balance. I noticed this movement when tuning my RD - the wheel won't turn backward when there is chain tension. This is how the freewheel works (duh).
but yeah, if you're beginning, a slight incline helps. the procedure your following is based on a track bike which is a fixie, hence back pedalling can be done. but with a freewheel you'd most likely move forward than back unless you're on an incline.
we're pretty much in the same boat, i can't hold the bike still for a long time, something has to move. it can be the handlebar changing directions, a little forward movement, a little backward rock. thing is, as long as you can pretty much stay in the same place, i think it's all good.
It also helps if you could lower your saddle and use a wider handlebar. Try reading some of the old threads in the Trials and Urban Assault section
Have fun learning!
i find the 125 drop of my saddle just enough for performing these moves, but i do like the saddle completely out of the way of course as it offers more freedom of movement
my 750mm handlebar mated with a 40mm stem is just enough for me; however, i do find its 20mm rise a bit on the low side when performing slow trial movements - i can compensate though. i'm thinking of swapping it out with a 30mm riser and/or an even shorter stem (35mm). as in all cases, there always has to be a compromise.
just sharing an update on my progression... i was able to do a series of momentary trackstands on flat offroad surface.
in my case, common mistakes are: - cranks not level to the ground or front cranks almost sloping vertically forward - not standing tall - not looking far - not modulating front brake
thing is one has to apply fr brakes every so often specially when applying rearward force. when applying rearward force, timing between modulated fr brake and slight back pedal is crucial to simulate a fixie back pedal.
a feeling of fr wheel pivot means your too far forward. you should aim for the reaching just the fine line before reaching this sensation and the zen feeling of rear balance.
it's tough to explain but practice it. you'll know what i'm talking about when you've logged enough hours.
looking forward makes one focus on chain tension which is what you should aim for. forward crank movement and backward momentum (fr brake and hip movement) will provide the tension all throughout. the moment you lose chain tension, you'll lose balance.
relax... a tense muscular system will remove the state of balance.
How long does it have to be to qualify as a trackstand?
good question... but idk
i think as long as one can stay relatively stationary, it's ok (ie moving back n forth for starters, and not going circles)
as time goes by, the back and forth movements become minimal and barely noticeable. in other words, someone trackstanding isn't really stationary perse but doing invisible minute corrections every so often
at this moment i'm still stuck with the timing of back pedal and backward movement even on inclines - not gifted with good proprioception. i always tend to over/under compensate (for the lack of a better term) and seem to have a problem hitting the middle ground