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Old 03-06-2003, 07:30 AM   #1
-Q- OP
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Question Proper Braking Techniques

Here I go again with another question about technique, but bear with me this is the only way I'm going to get better .

I have the basics of braking under my belt, but I think I am far from mastering it, so any sharing of experience on this subject would be much appreciated.

Also, when is the proper time to use the rear brake on tarmac. I know that on dirt, if you want to slide the rear this is probably one of the best ways of doing this. Is there a situation on tarmac where it would warrant this?

Also, my Adventure comes with the linked braking system, meaning that when the front brake is applied it also brakes the rear as needed, automatically. Any comments on how this might affect the balance on the bike between the front and the rear? Is this ideal for most situations?
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Old 03-06-2003, 09:31 AM   #2
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Hey -Q-...buy yourself a copy of "Proficient Motorcycling" by David Hough. In my opinion the best $25 anyone can spend to improve their motorcycling riding technique.
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Old 03-06-2003, 10:15 AM   #3
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i second the idea about "proficient motorcycling". although i've never read it myself, i do subscribe to MCN and have read some of his articles so i'm sure it would be a good book for newer riders or maybe even long time riders as myself.

as far as you question goes though, i find myself using the rear brake more for stability and balance in low speed maneuvers such as parking lots and u-turns almost never touching the front in these conditions, especially when there is loose gravel or sand around. i sometimes will use it to scrub off a little speed and stabilize the chassis when entering high speed turns as well. i also find i use it at the very end of a stop like at a red light as it allows for a smoother stop with less chassis pitch and reduces the helmet "bonk" from my passenger. and off course there is always rapid stops where i use both together but depending on the bike this can be tricky due to weight shift and how light the rear wheel becomes. of cours this is just for street riding. when riding dirt on my ktm it is a whole new set of parameters.
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Old 03-06-2003, 10:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Said Randy:
i second the idea about "proficient motorcycling".
I third the idea. Just go here and Amazon.com will send you one:

here

I have studied this book, and have given two of them away to new riders who I wanted to live long enough to be old riders.

You have a very powerful machine on your hands. It can do wonderful things, and it can kill you. Get this book. Please.
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Old 03-06-2003, 11:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Said DakotaDakar:
I third the idea. Just go here and Amazon.com will send you one:

here

I have studied this book, and have given two of them away to new riders who I wanted to live long enough to be old riders.

You have a very powerful machine on your hands. It can do wonderful things, and it can kill you. Get this book. Please.
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:38 PM   #6
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:44 AM   #7
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I was taught that on the street, both brakes or none. Steady pressure on the front vs. a "grab" to avoild lockup. Practice is your friend, as every bike's brakes feel different.

Have you taken a safety course? If not and if they offer them in Guatemala, take one. Otherwise, find an empty lot and purposefully practice locking up the back brake, so you learn and know how it feels. Then practice locking it up and then backing off. Also practice the squeeze of the front brake, and learn how much you can get away with (don't, no matter what, lock up that front brake!)
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by hippiebrian View Post
I was taught that on the street, both brakes or none. Steady pressure on the front vs. a "grab" to avoild lockup. Practice is your friend, as every bike's brakes feel different.

Have you taken a safety course? If not and if they offer them in Guatemala, take one. Otherwise, find an empty lot and purposefully practice locking up the back brake, so you learn and know how it feels. Then practice locking it up and then backing off. Also practice the squeeze of the front brake, and learn how much you can get away with (don't, no matter what, lock up that front brake!)
+1

Here's a little more detail. As you apply the front brake let the weight shift forward, putting more weight on the front wheel while applying the brake increases traction there. This can be done very quickly. After the weight shift the front brake will provide 70 - 90% of your braking force.

Grabbing full front brake before the weight shifts forward can lock the front wheel because it doesn't have enough traction without the weight.

Back brake should always be used with the front. Just have to be sensitive to locking it while you develop your technique.

The thing to know about the back brake is in an emergency stop if you lock it you should keep it locked until you stop. If the back end begins to come around, let it, and ride it out with the brake locked. If the rear brake is released the tire could get traction and this will pitch you into a high side.

When you are moving in a straight line if you feel a momentary locking of either front or back, release and re-apply. As you practice, especially on loose surfaces, this will happen more often and will become an automatic response.

It sounds like you are very interested in understanding braking and improving technique. Attitude is the biggest part of constant improvement.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Q- View Post
..............I have the basics of braking under my belt, but I think I am far from mastering it, so any sharing of experience on this subject would be much appreciated.............
Emergency braking is the first thing to master, because it can save your life.
Milder forms of braking are not that extreme and have room for personal preferences.

Find an empty and clean parking lot and practice this:

1) Butt as aft as possible, knees clamping the tank hard, torso and arms relaxed, head up, eyes looking far away, balance sense in red alert.

2) Apply rear brake hard to initiate a quick weight transfer while gently squeezing the front lever, ..........feel the g-force yet?..........pull that front lever hard (but ready for a quick release and re-application if the front tire skids and you lose steering) while releasing pressure on rear lever (partially or fully (my personal preference)).

3) Slowdown as you keep your posture, vision and balance (the rear may want to fishtail some) and while you downshift (optional but much recommended), .....feel that front suspension hitting the tops?

Practice at least 20 minutes each week !!!

There is a natural tendency to look close in front of the wheel during parking lot practices.
However, that is not good for creating the habit of looking for a escape path and much less for keeping the balance when the bike becomes unstable under really hard braking.

Keeping your eyes on the horizon and level gives your internal ears a solid point of reference for pitch, for yaw and for lateral roll of the machine under you.

Here are some very useful articles about emergency braking:

Braking Tips

Some old but good studies on braking

Brake progressively

Keep your controls covered while riding on the street

Stopping distance calculator

During an emergency situation, will you steer in the right direction?

Bike Crash Evasion and Mitigation


Keeping a log book where the stopping distances are recorded will show the real progress.
Once the contact patch is consistently pushed to the limit (some chattering may happens), the practice for quick release following a lock-up and brief skid of the front tire can follow.

And that is just basic braking on a straight line and dry pavement.
After some degree of proficiency is achieved, more real world braking alternatives should be practiced: while turning, on wet surface, on sand, quick acceleration before coming to a full stop, braking followed by swerving, etc.

The skill is not needed for track-days and racing, but for street riding, ........nobody should be doing that before at least mastering emergency braking.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lnewqban View Post

Find an empty and clean parking lot and practice this:

1) Butt as aft as possible, knees clamping the tank hard, torso and arms relaxed, head up, eyes looking far away, balance sense in red alert.

Why practice in a riding positure you are never in during normal riding ?

imho, you cannot practice emergency braking alone

you need a random unknown trigger otherwise its not emergency its just a planned quick stop, no different than launching a mile except braking instead of accelerating

in a parking lot, have another person roll a ball in front of you from hidden positions at unexpected times, while you are in your normal riding posture
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:38 AM   #11
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Plus the front brake should be used 1st then the rear brake 2rd.
60% front and 40% rear in the dry.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #12
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If you're supposed to be sitting with your body as close to the tank as possible, then why would you practice braking with your ass as far back as possible? Remember good braking technique has you clamping your legs around the tank and keeping your arms loose so you can work at the bars smoothly. With your weight back you force weight onto your arms which makes any movement of your body affect the bike. Not the mention the fact you need the weight to transfer forward, so why would you move yourself back?

I'd also suggest staying away from a hard rear brake stab to start the weight transfer. Then soft to hard on the front while gently releasing the rear to prevent a pickup there. When you're almost stopped you can lay off the fronts and add some rear.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by orangebear View Post
Plus the front brake should be used 1st then the rear brake 2rd.
60% front and 40% rear in the dry.
Start with the rear as you need weight to transfer forwards prior to hitting the fronts. Depending on bike and conditions you can achieve 90-100% braking from the fronts.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyo View Post
Why practice in a riding positure you are never in during normal riding ?............
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevv View Post
...........so why would you move yourself back?
That is not far from normal riding posture, except the butt aft, which reason is to move CG aft, avoiding accidental stoppies.
You better get in the habit of adopting the described posture as soon as you see a dangerous situation!
You don't want your b@lls hitting the tank while overloading the front patch, .............or so I believe, ................ although I could be wrong.

Some more tips for the OP, copied from
http://www.motorcyclemojo.com/2008/01/stopping-fast/

"Stopping Fast - by Misti Hurst (motorcycle racer and CSS instructor)

I’ve seen it happen on more than one occasion, motorcyclists making all sorts of detrimental errors while attempting to make an emergency stop. I’ve watched riders lock-up the rear tire so severely, they ended up sliding across the pavement in an avoidable low side (A low side occurs when the bike is leaning, loses traction and slides out on the low side). There have been times that I have witnessed them lock up the front tire, wobble dramatically from side to side and end up sliding across the pavement. I’ve seen people freeze, barely get on the brakes at all and end up hitting the very thing they were trying to avoid. Then there was the time I watched in horror as a rider grabbed the front brake so hard and for so long that he rose up into a massive stoppie with the rear of the bike continuing to gain altitude until it flipped over on top of him.
All of these errors are avoidable, and with a little bit of rider education and training, emergency braking can become a well-learned and well-executed skill. It’s one of the things we coach at the California Superbike School during the two-day camp program, and something I’ve worked on with students in other rider training programs.


Lets talk first about locking up the rear tire. It’s easy to do. It doesn’t take much pressure on the pedal for the rear brake to lock-up and in most cases can cause unnecessary problems. With a locked-up rear tire you lose valuable traction and the back-end has a tendency to fishtail, or skid violently to one side or the other. Less pressure on the rear brake pedal will help to prevent this from happening, and if you do lock it up, just let off the pressure gently until it is no longer locked. Don’t slam it on, and don’t completely let the pressure off.


I personally don’t use the rear brake at all, except if I happen to run off the track, or off the road and end up in gravel or dirt. Then I will use the rear brake to help me slow down because a grab on the front brake will surely send me face first into the ground. On a sportbike, you can get 100% of your braking done with the front, and even on bigger and heavier bikes like cruisers, most of the braking can be done with the front only.


I did a series of braking exercises with several riders on various models and brands of motorcycles. First, their speed and stopping distance was measured with them using a combination of both front and rear brakes, and then measured the same speed with the rider just using their front brakes. To the surprise of many of the riders, the stopping distance and execution was better when they used the front brake only. I’m not saying that you have to do this, or that you shouldn’t use the rear brake at all, only that it is possible to attain better results. Try it.


Most riders have experienced, to some degree, the feeling of locking-up the rear tire and are somewhat comfortable with it. Locking-up the front wheel on a motorcycle, however, is much more elusive and therefore when it does happen, it can be one of the most terrifying experiences of riding.


At the California Superbike School we have a bizarre looking motorcycle in the fleet of specialized training bikes called a ‘Panic Brake Trainer’. It’s a Kawasaki Ninja 650R that has long yellow poles sticking out of the sides. The poles have small skateboard wheels on the ends of them and are designed to act a little bit like training wheels. They prevent the bike from tipping over and low side crashing, therefore providing extra confidence for students that are learning about emergency braking. The idea behind the Panic Brake Trainer, designed by Keith Code, is to allow students to experience a fully locked front wheel and then be trained to recover control. Most have never felt this sensation before so they panic and don’t know what to do.


The exercise involves progressively pulling the front brake lever until the front wheel locks. When this happens, it often makes a loud chattering or skidding noise and sometimes a puff of smoke rises from the wheel. The tendency, when this happens to an inexperienced rider, is to either let off the brakes completely which most often results in hitting the obstacle they were trying to avoid, or to keep the same amount of pressure on the brake lever, which continues the front wheel skid and usually results in a low side crash.


When our students lock-up the front wheel, we coach them to release the brake a little bit, nice and gently, to the point where the front is no longer locked. This way, they continue to come to a stop but will no longer be testing traction with a locked front wheel. Most students find this exercise very valuable for two distinct reasons. One, they get to see how much pressure it takes on the lever to get the front wheel to lock-up, and two, they get to practice locking-up the front and then recovering from it, without fear of crashing the bike. Most are surprised by just how much front brake they can apply without actually locking-up the front tire.


Other things that will help make braking smooth and problem free include lever squeezing technique and body position on the bike. I usually recommend using two fingers on the front brake lever and pulling with a smooth and progressive pressure. Avoid snatching the front brake or squeezing hard and fast at the end of braking. Also, avoid having super stiff or straight arms as you will transfer that pressure into the handlebars, this can initiate a wobbling back and forth that could turn into a tank-slapper. Pinching the tank with your knees will help to keep the weight off your arms, and will also keep your body weight from sliding forward and putting too much weight on the front tire.


When you do find yourself in a situation of having to emergency brake, try to avoid target fixing on the object that you are trying not to hit. Focus on the braking and look for available space around you that you could utilize. If you are able to brake safely and come to a complete stop, then do so. But if you think you won’t be able to brake hard enough to avoid the situation, you’ll have to brake hard to scrub off speed, release the brake completely and then quickly steer around the problem. Don’t try to steer the bike with any amount of brake applied since the bike will not respond as you expect.


Lastly, even though stoppies look cool, having the rear wheel in the air is not the safest way to come to a stop. A lot of people accidentally end up with the rear wheel lifting off the ground because they squeezed the brake lever harder at the end of their braking and they let their entire body weight slide into the tank which puts too much weight forward. That lightens the rear of the bike and results in a reverse wheelie. Squeezing the tank, relaxing the arms and pulling the brake in smoothly and evenly will help prevent this from happening.


This is one riding skill that can be practiced in a parking lot or empty side street. Start slowly, work on squeezing the brake lever smoothly and consistently until you come to a complete stop. Then try to pull the lever a little harder and stop a little quicker. It pays to have at least practiced this skill a few times so that if you do suddenly find yourself in an emergency braking situation, you are better able to handle it."
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:34 AM   #15
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Wow, I have never seen a ten year old thread resurrected before.
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