A question I've always wondered about (riding technique)

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by 390beretta, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Derbobs

    Derbobs Adventurer

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    Engine braking doesn't add to your braking, because you can only brake so much, and you can easily get to that point with your rear brake (which is a LOT better controllable). At a certain point, your engine does not even decellerate you, it accelerates you of you don't pull the clutch.
    So, always pull the clutch when you have to brake hard.

    This is even more true if you have ABS, because that only works for your brake, not for the engine.
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  2. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

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    In fact with ABS it's not that important to pull the clutch, because you don't have to think about controlling the braking power - the bike will do it for you and compensate whatever the engine does (as long as it doesn't stall of course).
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  3. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    In my own real world experiences I've found it's almost just as important to avoid the next object as the first. That likely means hard braking and then acceleration.
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  4. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    OK, I'm going to admit to not having read the whole thread, so sorry if some of this is repetitive.

    First point: the MSF is a beginner rider training class. Even the ERC is a fairly low-level of rider training when compared to the full spectrum of riding skills including all varieties of competition.

    The MSF BRC curriculum is designed to be comprehensible and executable by absolute noob riders. The goal is to create scripts in the riders head that work adequately to control a motorcycle in most circumstances.

    It is emphatically NOT the ultimate in riding technique.

    The same reasoning applies to the curriculum taught in my own school, Motorcycle University. Let me be clear: I'm not disrespecting MSF.

    You must walk before you run, and that is how it has to be.

    I am also a 14-year veteran instructor with the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic. Lee has 3 levels of classes - the 2nd level class includes a segment on hard braking.

    With that cirriculum, I commonly see students shorten their braking distances by HALF or better. Some of that is a willingness to increase their threshold, but with many of the students, the biggest improvement an unlearning of the beginner dogma.

    I strongly recommend reading the Total Control book, and taking the class afterward.
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  5. Red9

    Red9 Been here awhile

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    In automobile racing you are taught to put "both feet in."
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  6. Griffin44

    Griffin44 Been here awhile

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    Good points.

    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.
    #46
  7. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    Downshifted to the right gear. MOST people can't judge gear to speed well. You may not want to be down to first when you let the clutch out. Most bikes are capable of skipping the back wheel on abrupt downshifts or over downshifts if they don't have a back torque limiting clutch. Not a problem on dirt , asphalt's another story. Dirt you can instantly drop several gears and dump the clutch , the wheel just hops. On asphalt I downshift one gear at a time and release/dump the clutch , downshifting as quickly as possible. Sometimes you DO have to get out of the way after quickly stopping for a pullout or the guy behind you'll run you down.
    #47
  8. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

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    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!:D 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.
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  9. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    They must be used to old British drum brakes! :lol3

    FACT: trying to downshift and use the engine to help to stop CANNOT be done quickly enough to actually help in threshold braking (aka stopping in an emergency).

    Go out, get rolling and in 5th, then try to downshift as fast as possible. You will quickly find out you cannot pull in the clutch, downshift, engage the clutch, then do it again and again through however many gears and stop efficiently. The way to make as quick a stop as possible involves only braking.

    That is not to say do not downshift with the shifter, rather it means do not bother trying to actually let the clutch out to help slowing down. I personally will be "tap dancing" on the shifter as I am coming to a stop, to be hopefully in 1st, but that has nothing to do with my actual stopping.

    You might also notice in roadracing when a racer is coming into a tight turn from a fast straight, most often at some point you will see them tapping down two, three, even four gears without engaging the clutch. They will blip the throttle, which does help engage gears and also has them at the proper rpm to engage the clutch and make the corner. There isn't enough time to engage each gear on the way in along with hard braking to make the quickest turn.
    #49
  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Only works if you have time to downshift and release. In an emergency situation there may not be time. If there is you aren't using the brakes effectively. Think about it.

    Can you downshift three or four gears engaging the clutch - all within 60 feet? That's what threshold braking level would be at 30 mph. Oh, by the way the bike is going 44 ft/sec at 30 mph, you have to stop within less than 2 seconds. So even if you did 90 feet it would still be less than 2.5 seconds time.

    How are you going to downshift to aid braking to a stop from 30 mph in less than 2.5 seconds? :huh

    Downshift yes, engage clutch for braking - no time to do so.
    #50
  11. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    30 MPH I'm only in first or second anyway.:lol3 Depending which bike. Tell me , can you brake and blip the throttle while downshifting without changing pressure on the front brake? I can also downshift and modulate the rear.
    #51
  12. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Been here awhile

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    Coming from an ex MSF instructor. In emergency breaking you always should be taught to pull the clutch in and keep down shifting until you get into first. As others have noted it is so that you are still in control of the bike ( even though you are in emergency breaking mode ) and if the circumstances change you are still in a position to get out of the emergency breaking and go into evasion mode.

    A lot of what is taught may seem odd, but what they are trying to teach you is basic muscle memory so that you do the same thing over and over. In an emergency situation you will always revert back to what you were taught.

    Another good example. Is that every time you come up to a stop and the bike is upright and straight, always use both brakes. It is a valuable exercise to practice this in a safe location. Gradually apply more and more brakes ( keep your speed down, no more than second gear when doing this). You need to learn how the bike handles under different types of braking and if you have ABS how it works. If you are one of these that only uses either the front or rear brake all the time, when you are faced with an emergency situation you will still only use the one brake or you'll clamp on both brakes too hard and loose control of the bike. On a MSF course I've seem riders apply too much front brake and go right over the handlebars.

    To be a competent rider you always have to practice your skills so that they are going to be there when you need them.
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  13. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    MSF instructors are parking lot experts. Ever heard the saying those who can't do teach? There comes a time when good students surpass their teachers or should.
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  14. dwestly

    dwestly Refuses to Grow Up!

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    Wow. I'm a parking lot expert. I can't do, so I teach. Hmmm, I guess those 42 years of riding all over the world don't count for anything. I'd better park my 2013 Hypermotard SP since my lap times are still just a bit short of the track record. While I'm at it I'll submit my resignation and stop writing as the safety editor for a national monthly riding publication. Damn, now I'll also have to give up my job as the manager of a major OEM's on and off-road national riding demonstration teams.

    Oh, and obviously by your analysis I'm not qualified to teach sport bike classes either, so I'll hand in my coaching certification while I'm at it.

    Here is another idea. Maybe you should actually consider your thoughts before you commit them to an enthusiast forum. Instead of loudly and ignorantly lumping all MSF RiderCoaches together in one broad insult, please recognize that there are varying degrees of ability in and dedication to this profession, just like any other. One more thought: Until you try it, don't even begin to think that (properly) teaching someone to ride a motorcycle is easy.

    BTW, the correct syntax is "Those who can't do, teach." At least get that part right next time.

    I apologize for the slight thread hijack. We now return you to your originally scheduled program. Have a nice day.
    #54
  15. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    I guess you'd better get writing.:lol3 By the way , I live in Dunedin , we should ride.:ear
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  16. hippiebrian

    hippiebrian Long timer

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    I had a dude at an msf course show me the difference. I took the course with a friend just to do it and keep him company and maybe learn something. I had always thought that you pull the clutch just before stalling, and told him this. He had me get up to 30 then emergency stop my way. Then he had me do it while clutching and downshifting and, damn, wouldn't you know the distance was probably 2/3 of what it took the other way?

    Clutch. It works better. And do it every time you stop at a light or whatever so you start just doing it without thinking.
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  17. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Again, 2.5 seconds, stopping far faster with brakes than the motor can decelerate... are you going to waste the time to engage the clutch?

    We're talking emergency "a car just turned left in front of me and stopped" braking, not going into some corner where time is there to do the job.

    No matter how good you are, your engine braking through even a one gear downshift will not help braking with in a 2.5 second time frame that threshold braking from 30 mph gives you. No matter how much you brag about your skills, just won't help.
    #57
  18. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    The actual saying is "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

    I will also say there are numerous teachers out there "who can", like Freddie Spencer, and others.

    I won't say for bikes, but as an industrial technology teacher who came to teaching from mechanical eingineering in industry, I "can", but due to a bad economy and a layoff I "teach", which I find to be enjoyable. Oh, I guess I also "do" making cam chain tensioners.

    So we both know that saying is 99% BS.
    #58