Idaho Star-Brake before turn vs Trailbraking

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by IdahoRenegade, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. IdahoRenegade

    IdahoRenegade Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,689
    Location:
    Sagle, Idaho
    He made this statement:
    There is some truth to it. If you're rounding a 90degree corner at low speed, perhaps this can work. But if you are on twisty, rural roads, particularly in the mountains, with drops off the lowside and banks on the high (in other words, every road around me), you should be able to brake in a turn. If you come into a turn and a deer jumps out and you "straighten then brake", you'll run out of road before stopping. Granted, MSF does put more emphasis in swerving to avoid obsticales, no one argues with that. Still, in the deer scenario, scrubbing off speed and seeing which way that furbearing terrorist is going to go before committing to a swerve is pretty useful.

    I can understand the reason for that teaching approach for beginning riders. Most braking certainly should be done before rolling into a corner, even if you trailbrake. I can't argue with MSF instructors who have a lot of experience with "what works". But it seems like a risky approach to teach only "one way". IMO, a better approach would be to make it clear why "brake then turn" is taught in basic, with an understanding that "brake while turning" is important in the "real world" and will be taught in more advanced courses.
    #21
  2. smithe

    smithe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    526
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I took the MSF Advance Rider Course earlier this month, they taught both techniques, braking before the turn and trail braking, and did a pretty good job of explaining why, and when, they are used.
    #22
  3. IdahoRenegade

    IdahoRenegade Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,689
    Location:
    Sagle, Idaho
    I'm going to have to look into an Advanced Rider Course. The ID Star "experienced" course is geared towards riders with IIRC 3 month or a very few hundred miles experience riding. It's still a good, worthwhile course. It does teach you to practice max braking (which I actually do on a deserted backroad about once a month) and swerving (hey, that's what those dashed lines in the center of the road are for!). The focus on "looking through the curve" was very useful and worth the redundant training. They do teach "never brake in a turn" and "straighten then brake". I expect it's the best approach with riders with very limited experience; it does reinforce the basic idea.

    I'd like to try a more advanced course as well and see how they teach both approaches. I'm not sure what Idaho teaches in their advaced cornering and braking classes.
    #23
  4. JohnCW

    JohnCW Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,382
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I'll answer it, if they don't yes they are wrong. A previous post says he was taught both methods. If I were developing a basic course I'd probably even consider have a drill where they had to brake coming into a corner and come to a complete stop mid corner. Start slow on gentle corners and build up to a moderate pace moderate corner.

    How does anyone go down a steep twistie mountain road with one curve snaking straight into another all the way from top to bottom without being on the brakes going into corners? You are basically in a continuous corner. The same sort of road where if a car is in front of you the driver has his foot on the brake virtually from top to bottom and all you can smell is his brakes overheating. He's on the brakes in the curves, so you have no choice but to be on the brakes through ever corner as well.
    #24
  5. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    13,110
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    But the basic courses don't do that.

    Any thoughts on why they think their approach is correct?
    #25
  6. MN_Smurf

    MN_Smurf Capt_Confusion

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,247
    Location:
    Oxford, MI
    IMO, it's because most new riders are very ham handed, and it's very easy to overdo it on the brakes. Engine braking and rolling on the throttle are harder to get wrong, especially on the low power bikes MSF uses in their classes.
    #26
  7. mamm

    mamm < advertise here! >

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    232
    Location:
    Floripa, Brazil
    While I agree that completing your braking before leaning is the safest behavior for the street (and its unpredictable surfaces), I love the feeling of starting the leaning while still braking. All that maximized feedback you get from the front tire being pressed hard on the surface is pure magic.

    Of course, if you don't want to loose the front end, the act of leaning should be accompanied by a simultaneous relieving of front brake pressure.
    #27
  8. smithe

    smithe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    526
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Just asking in case I am not following, are you confusing braking in a corner vs making an emergency stop, or stopping in general, while in a corner/turning?
    #28
  9. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    13,110
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    The question is why don't basic riding courses teach trail braking.....when some of the posters here seem to believe that riders don't belong on the road unless they can.
    #29
  10. JohnCW

    JohnCW Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,382
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    No idea. As others have said I think its a basic fundamental skill to be able to brake safely through a corner at the pace a beginner should be riding. You have to do it when you ride e.g. the downhill example I gave, the unseen car broken down just around the corner taking up a fair part of the lane, the tightening radius corner at the end of a long more gradual curve, the little river from rain a week ago running across the road in the corner that you don't see till the last moment, etc, etc. A rider not equipped to be able to handle these situations safely is not yet ready to ride on the road.
    #30
  11. JohnCW

    JohnCW Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,382
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Isn't that the very reason that it should be taught? What's their logic... we don't teach something important because we consider it hard for a new rider..... logic doesn't make sense to me. Lets alter it than, we don't teach it because we don't think its important for a beginner to be able to brake in a corner if they have to.... still having a problem with the logic.
    #31
  12. 2aRover

    2aRover Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Boise
    Engine braking in a curve is still trail braking the rear, so that's been covered. The throttle roll can both use traction and conserve it; the idea is to reap other benefits with that traction. A light roll-on sets the suspension "up" and keeps it there, improving cornering clearance and stability. It also compensates for the light deceleration that occurs in a lean simply because a leaned bike is operating on a smaller tire diameter.
    #32
  13. IdahoRenegade

    IdahoRenegade Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,689
    Location:
    Sagle, Idaho
    I would guess it is due to a matter of time and building upon skills, and not "dumping" everything on a new rider all at once. The beginner courses are aimed at people with very little if any riding experience, and are often one or at most 2 day courses. No one argues that "brake then turn" is easier to teach and a safe way to ride. I can understand teaching that "foundation", with a focus on building on that and teaching more advanced skills later. "Brake while turning" certainly takes a higher level of skill.
    #33
  14. 2aRover

    2aRover Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Boise
    I don't think it isn't in the curricula because it's not important. Personally, I regard trail braking as a tool to use when I choose. From a training point of view, having to brake in a corner because I've entered it too hot is an indicator that I've done something wrong, so how do we prevent that? Look further and press more is probably a better overall solution because new riders have probably come from cars where laying into the brake has few consequences, and because most riders panic well before the bike runs out of capability.

    My opinion only: applying the brakes in a lean changes traction, stability, and cornering clearance (likely at a high rate), whereas looking further and pressing more retains two of the three, and changes traction at a lesser rate.

    Ultimately, whether or not trail braking with either brake or the engine is taught may be a moot point, because students do it. Initially they find that changing the throttle or braking into a turn is an "oh shit" moment and it's not fun. As confidence increases, however, they find themselves braking later and later into the turn. While we coach otherwise in both cases, students learn that it can be done, and that it can be exciting.
    #34
  15. JohnCW

    JohnCW Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,382
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    No doubt probably the reason. I'm not familiar with the MSF course or its intention. It sounds like its about the same as the one that new riders must undergo before they are allowed out on the road where I live. And that's just what it is, the most basic course possible to hopefully keep you from getting done in the first day or so and have a chance to figure the rest out for yourself.
    #35
  16. smithe

    smithe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    526
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Great question, I don't agree with the statement but that's me. When I see/hear statements like that, the basic message given is, if you don't have every skill to do something, you shouldn't do it.

    These are just my thoughts as a fairly long time rider and former MSF instructor, the MSF beginner course is a very basic course, really designed to teach someone who has never ridden how to ride. There really is no way that in 2 days you can teach a group of students the basics of motorcycles and then more advanced techniques like trail braking.
    #36
  17. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,651
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    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?
    #37
  18. JohnCW

    JohnCW Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,382
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I think these discussion result from somehow the message ending up that trail-braking is something that one should't do. I've seen it stated a number of times, it only belongs on a race track. I struggle to understand how someone can ride and never be on the brakes in a corner, can't get my head around it at all.
    #38
  19. 2aRover

    2aRover Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Boise
    Planning on it. I got a new Tiger Explorer in October and I need alllllllll the help I can get. :lol3
    #39
  20. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,324
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    Mostly they only ride as far as the nearest roadside cliff.

    Stand the bike up, apply the brakes, and freefall for a while. :rofl
    #40