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IdahoRenegade 07-23-2014 08:09 AM

Idaho Star-Brake before turn vs Trailbraking
I have read quite a bit, studied, been riding on and off for over 30 years. Got back into riding pretty extensively about 4 years ago after being pretty "intermittent" for a couple decades. Anyway, since getting "back into it", I've studied quite a bit, and have worked hard to get better at "trail-braking", among other things. Seems pretty natural. In the dirt especially, knowing how and when to brake, even when turning, seems pretty critical.

A couple weeks ago I took my first "formal" riding class, the "Idaho Star" experienced course. They focus heavily on braking before the turn and being back on the power before starting the roll in. They also focus on straightening the bike up before emergency braking. All counter to "trailbraking". Does MSF teach the same thing? I expect that these are all aimed at the new rider to avoid overloading the contact patch.

Yossarian™ 07-23-2014 08:15 AM

I think you're spot on. My wife went through MSF a few years back, and she remembers them teaching all braking to be done before initiating the turn.

I routinely trail brake after initiating the turn, but that's just me.

Prettyboy 07-23-2014 08:39 AM

That is definitely the same as the MSF teaches. As the dumbass who dumped the bike in the first turn, I'm glad they teach it that way. I was bad at braking.

Yellow Pig 07-23-2014 09:17 AM

I've got Bosch's MSC.........can break whenever I want. :wink:

Organic Mechanic 07-23-2014 09:28 AM

there is nothing more sketchy than being in second position going through turn and seeing the brake lamp come on from first position. It is amazing what a good downshift can do for your cornering abilities. With the groups I ride with,(older, track experienced trophy winners) everyone has the braking done before corner entry. Using engine compression to slow through turn it keeps the bike more settled through apex.

Just my 2 cents....

Yossarian™ 07-23-2014 11:11 AM


Originally Posted by Yellow Pig (Post 24679954)
I've got Bosch's MSC.........can break whenever I want. :wink:

Hope you can fix whatever you break as well.

Yossarian™ 07-23-2014 11:13 AM


Originally Posted by Organic Mechanic (Post 24680061)
there is nothing more sketchy than being in second position going through turn and seeing the brake lamp come on from first position.

When riding at a fast pace with another rider close behind, I routinely will "tickle" the brake lever just before corner entry. Not enough to actually apply braking pressure, but just enough to cause the brake lamp to illuminate.


dwoodward 07-23-2014 11:20 AM

When riding at any pace and I come up to a corner- especially a blind one, or any other road hazard that riders behind me may not see yet- that I may need to slow for, I'll do the same.

Yellow Pig 07-23-2014 11:27 AM

Doh, darn auto correct

Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk

henshao 07-23-2014 11:41 AM

Yeah, when it's raining hard and you hit a little sand before a turn you'll be glad you straightened up before braking.

2aRover 07-23-2014 12:37 PM

The Scoop
You're correct.

The program doesn't think of it as counter to trail braking, just "in lieu of" or something to be taught after learning more basic skills. For example, in our Precision Riding Clinic, we couldn't care less if you trail brake, and will only coach it if it is interfering with your ability to complete the exercise.

Sorry for the brevity. To add to it, the goal of the program is to prevent crashes and deaths. Completing transitions before the turn is the least risky way to corner; maximum braking in a corner is best achieved (where possible) by straightening first. Said differently, these are the best for street riding. Almost anything I can think of that is different adds to the risk either directly, or through distraction. Thus, we leave trail braking for track instructors.

When it comes to brass tacks, if we taught such advanced skills, it wouldn't be in this class. The Experienced Course is targeted at riders who have a minimum of three months of experience; for some, that's all of 300 miles (and we do get those).

Wraith Rider 07-23-2014 01:33 PM


Originally Posted by Yossarian™ (Post 24680835)
Hope you can fix whatever you break as well.

You know, braking doesn't break things.

scottrnelson 07-23-2014 01:49 PM

I used to trail brake into turns but switched to getting all of the braking done before turning in, then getting lightly on the throttle immediately. I made the switch after reading David L. Hough and a few others.

I find it much better from a safety point of view and if I'm unable to add a little throttle during the turn that means that I got into the turn too fast. Braking first hasn't really made me a slower rider, but it pretty much eliminated the issue of being too hot into a corner.

I don't want to ride as fast as possible, I want to ride fast enough to keep things interesting while minimizing the chance of making a riding error. It's much more fun for me to come back from every ride on the (undamaged) bike than coming back with the bike in the back of a truck and maybe a visit to the emergency room.

Yossarian™ 07-23-2014 01:58 PM

Scott, I don't disagree at all. When I trail brake, it's to slowly remove the braking force that's been happening, so as to not release it all at once and upset the suspension. By slowly letting up on the brake, even after initiating the turn, the bike stays settled and the smooth transition to moderate throttle keeps it settled.

I'm not advocating for any particular style; I know what works for me and won't presume that it's for everyone.

steve68steve 07-23-2014 03:29 PM

MSF (and others) teach to do all braking before turning. I assume the reasoning is that while leaned, some of your traction is being used for turning.
...but not ALL of it. And ironically, I see people talking about engine braking and rolling on throttle while leaned - but those use traction, too. Why are they not so taboo and verboten?

I won't argue that braking before turning is not a better, safer practice - and it's what I endeavor to do. But if the need arises, I'll brake while leaned with no drama. I practice it. Running wide or crashing because you're superstitious about getting on the brakes while you still have a bunch of available traction is not "safer".

If you exceed the available traction, you're in trouble - so don't. But don't crash while leaving a bunch on the table, either.

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