Originally Posted by Griffin44
I was taught, and have always, pulled the clutch in when braking hard. Engine braking on a motorcycle is negligible. On my bike its less than useless. My bike is on its nose under hard braking, the rear wheel isn't in contact with the ground.
Downshifting allows you options you wouldn't otherwise have. Why throw out half your options when you don't have to. Brake hard, but be ready to get on the gas to get out of the disaster about to happen around you - and to do that you need to have downshifted.
All good advice I'm thinking. This thread has helped me clear up the lack of understanding I've had for years. Thanks to everyone who contributed!
You know, I had an incident just this morning: Here in Phx, people often use the left turn lane as a "safe place" to pull into when there's a lot of traffic and they want to turn left; they'll wait until traffic is somewhat clear coming from their left, quickly dart into the left turn lane, then wait until traffic coming from their right is clear to move into one of the right hand lanes. (This practice is I think illegal, but not enforced), however it does drive me crazy! When riding a bike, one never knows whether they've seen you and of course they seldom use their turn signal to indicate that they're ready to merge into the lanes to their right. Today, a 3/4 to lifted Ford, shot from a strip mall into the left turn lane very aggressively. I was in the left lane, traveling the direction he wanted to go. I braked rather aggressively, downshifted and checked my right hand mirror and did a quick shoulder check to be sure I could swap lanes if needed, also moved to the right edge of the lane I was in. Luckily, no issue, he had seen me and made no move to usurp my space, but this sort of maneuver is commonplace and always makes my hair stand up.