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Old 07-23-2014, 08:09 AM   #1
IdahoRenegade OP
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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.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:15 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:39 AM   #3
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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.

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Old 07-23-2014, 09:17 AM   #4
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I've got Bosch's MSC.........can break whenever I want.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:28 AM   #5
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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....
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Organic Mechanic View Post
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.

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Old 07-23-2014, 11:11 AM   #7
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I've got Bosch's MSC.........can break whenever I want.
Hope you can fix whatever you break as well.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:33 PM   #8
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Hope you can fix whatever you break as well.
You know, braking doesn't break things.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:27 AM   #9
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Doh, darn auto correct

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Old 07-23-2014, 11:41 AM   #10
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Yeah, when it's raining hard and you hit a little sand before a turn you'll be glad you straightened up before braking.
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:37 PM   #11
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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).

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Old 07-24-2014, 10:22 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 2aRover View Post
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.
Yeah. Pretty much any state-sponsored, open to any rider on any bike safety class, is going to focus (hopefully help RE-focus) riders on getting the basics down first. I suspect very few riders they see there have that.

I know quite a lot of the riders we see at TEAM Oregon's ART- taught on a 3/4 mile kart track- are barely in control of direction, let alone precise control of brakes and throttle.

Speaking of- you comin' to ART this year?
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:43 AM   #13
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Speaking of- you comin' to ART this year?
Planning on it. I got a new Tiger Explorer in October and I need alllllllll the help I can get.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:29 PM   #14
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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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Old 07-24-2014, 05:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by steve68steve View Post
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".
You beat me to the very point I was thinking as I was reading the previous responses. Doing all your braking before you reach the corner may be a great theory for a beginner, but what happens when this beginner makes an error in judgement and finds themselves coming into a corner to hot? Don't let that happen is probably what someone is going to reply. There are riders who've gone into a corner to hot, and those who lie that they haven't.

Having the skill and confidence to be able to brake into a corner is IMO an essential skill for every rider. Even if you don't want to be an intermediate/advanced level rider you will find yourself needing to do it one day because you will make an error in judgement. It is fanciful to think you won't. You will be far safer being prepared in advance to handle this situation when (not if) it arises, and that is by progressively practicing the technique building up your skill, confidence, and understanding of your bikes capability.
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