Rear Brake Usage during Braking

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ParaMud, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. ParaMud

    ParaMud Been here awhile

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    I am not talking about going around in a parking lot and using the back brake, I am talking about on the freeway and coming to a stop.

    I have been telling my girlfriend not to use the rear brake on the street. Her front brake is more than enough to stop and she just needs to smoothly keep applying more pressure on it to stop, and even harder to stop faster.

    The point of telling her not to use it during normal stops is because during an emergency brake, it is very hard to feather the rear brake and not lock it up and by not using it everyday, she won't slam down on it during an emergency brake out of habit.

    So what is your opinion on this matter on teaching beginners about braking?

    Personally, I very rarely use the rear brake.
    #1
  2. the Pheasant

    the Pheasant Been here awhile

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    In general riding, the harder I brake, the less rear brake I use. Sometimes I use no rear brake at all. If the road is wet, I use more rear. Only when filtering through traffic at low speed or if I suspect the road is slippery from ice or diesel do I use rear only. That said, I occasionally drag the back brake when accelerating on a greasy surface. FWIW I haven't locked the back brake unintentionally since as long as I can remember. Nor the front.

    Seems to me it is important to teach learners to learn to use the rear brake in regular riding since it can be very useful. Without practice at using it, the rider is denied the ability to use it correctly when needed. Learn to use it and then use it or not as you see fit.
    #2
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    that's absolutely incorrect to never use rear brakes on the road. true most of braking comes from front. but in some situations like slick roads, rear brakes are mandatory.

    your mileage may veri ... but I've always used rear brakes in correct proportion to what's needed to stop. it may only a tiny dab at end of stop or what ever.

    one stops fastest when tires are at edge of adhesion. two tires will bite harder than one, four better than two, etc. it's learning your bike on what to apply, when. personal preference rules, that's why I don't like ABS on cars or motorcycles.
    #3
  4. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

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    Then you personally probably do not ride when traction is reduced much.....ala offroad.

    You should become adept at using all braking power that our weee little contact patches provide. I believe that braking force is something of a 70/30 split front to rear.

    There are going to be certain circumstances that proper use of the rear brake may just save your bacon. :deal
    #4
  5. urbanXJ

    urbanXJ Long timer

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    If you ride the track and go off into the gravel you only use the rear break. At least that is what I learned and it seems to work (I don't go down).
    #5
  6. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    The front brake supplies 70% of the stopping power. The rear takes up the slack. Why only use 70%(probably less if your not using bot brakes) of your stopping power? Learn/teach to use both brakes...and use BOTH of them. Practice your "emergency" braking technique often, BEFORE you need to use it. :deal

    What if your girl friend has an actual emergency braking situation, left hand turner, deer runs across road, etc? With out ever using the rear brake or practicing any kind of emergency braking the scenario will most likely not turn out well.

    If you are worried about her locking up the rear tire...practice,, practice, practice, makes perfect, or close to it. :D
    #6
  7. ParaMud

    ParaMud Been here awhile

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    Yes I use the rear brake off road, I use it in parking lots, and I use it in the rain.

    I do not use it when slowing down as fast as possible.

    As a beginner a person does not know how to feather the rear brake. The front all of the stopping power when emergency braking.

    I am talking life and death, there is a car stopped in front of you. You need to stop ASAP, do you think you can modulate the rear brake to not lock up?

    Is it better to lock up the rear brake or do nothing to it?
    Unless you are on a cruiser or some back heavy bike, I don't think many people can not lock up the rear tire in an emergency stop.

    People under estimate the amount of front tire brake that you can do.

    As for the percentage of rear brake, during an emergency brake I believe it is 95% front to 5% rear.
    #7
  8. GoGoGavin41

    GoGoGavin41 Isn't this that guy?

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    If you aren't, then you're not.
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  9. catweasel67

    catweasel67 Honda XRV 750 RD04

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    the front brake doesn't provide 70% of the stopping power....that's just wrong...

    Instructors generally advise a 70/30 split...front/rear..and maybe that's where you're getting your information from...and that's cos force/weight/momemtum thingie...is transferred to the front wheel (compressing the forks) and reducing the "weight" on the rear (can you tell I'm no scientist?) so it's easier to lock up the rear wheel as it has less weight on it, and it's harder to lock up the front as it has more...

    and as we slow down that split (70/30) should change and you can use the rear more..

    it is a feel thing, a practice thing (so at least bwalsh got that right). Obviously as road conditions change you're going to want to vary that split.
    #9
  10. Hawk62cj5

    Hawk62cj5 2 Cheap 4 a KLR

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    Im a newb and I practiced E stops alot when I first got my bike and still do when weather changes or I come across a new road surface . The other week I had a truck pull out in front of me I got on the front hard and hit the rear brake I stopped about 6 inches from the side of the truck . I think if I wouldnt have gave it the rear brake I would have made contact , not hard contact but contact none the less.
    #10
  11. ParaMud

    ParaMud Been here awhile

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    Do you think you were using the front brake to its full potential? Think you could have used it more?

    It does also depend on the bike you were on.

    Ill brake (or is it break getting a bit confused now lol) It down for different bikes.

    My KLR, front brake is not very good, so I have to use the rear brake to slow also.
    SV650: I Don't use the rear brake at all
    Monster 695: I Don't use the rear brake.

    I am not saying I am 100% right, just saying how I see it and am looking for other opinions.

    I do believe to stop the fastest you use both brakes, just don't believe it is possible in a emergency situation even with tons of practice.
    #11
  12. catweasel67

    catweasel67 Honda XRV 750 RD04

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    As good as your front brake is you're still going to have to use your rear from time to time.....or crash..or just never ride in slippy conditions.
    #12
  13. pretbek

    pretbek Long timer

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    I find that also using the rear brake stabilizes the bike when braking.

    And like the others said: Learn to use the rear brake too, then practice, practice, practice your emergency braking...before you have an emergency.
    #13
  14. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    I agree with you. She should be using only the front brake unless she's on a cruiser with a ton of weight on the rear wheel.
    #14
  15. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

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    There will never be a right answer for that question.

    Tell the beginner to concentrate on best braking with the front brake, ignore the rear brake?
    Tell her to concentrate on the front an just lock up the rear, because it's controllable?
    Tell her to brake as hard as she can with both brakes, because most beginners not even nearly use the full potential of their brakes?

    Every one of these advices is reasonable or not, depending on whom you are talking to. You have to know the person.

    On my bike the front brake only does about 85% of the job. I nearly allways use both brakes, no matter what, but then... I have C-ABS and don't have to worry about locking up anything. On a sports bike under good conditions you might ignore the rear brake because you will lift it, on the other hand if you don't (nearly) lift it, there WILL be some traction left on the rear you could use to brake.

    I'd go with the advice to allways use both brakes and IF the rear locks up, leave it locked up for the beginners or release it if you have quick reactions and some training.
    #15
  16. catweasel67

    catweasel67 Honda XRV 750 RD04

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    I wish people would stop saying things like this...

    brake...weight shifts forward..forks compress...front tyre profile changes to provide more contact with road so front brakes are more effective..

    this simply doesn't happen with the rear brakes..

    IMO a heavy cruiser has just as much reason to front wheel brake (in conjuction with the rear) than any other bike.....when the conditions allow it.

    As for the newbie choice presented by Wraith...I'm going to go with "none of the above".

    Instead I'd teach a newbie to brake properly...front and back, with no locking..and keep teaching until they can manage that before they get let loose on the road. Braking is a fundamental skill.
    #16
  17. Tim_Tom

    Tim_Tom Been here awhile

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    Seems silly to me to deny your ANY percentage of your brakes the chance to stop you in an emergency. I use both brakes often, and have found that good use of the rear has led to being quicker on the twisty roads. By splitting the braking between the front and rear, you minimize chassis de-stabalizing, and the bike is better settled and set up for the turn. Only using the front brakes has my bike feeling squirrelly and not at all confidence inspiring. Also I find I often over brake for a corner when only using the front. Using both it is easier to modulate my corner entry speed.

    In an emergency braking I also use both brakes and if the rear locks up, it is still controllable.

    I would tell the new rider to practice using both brakes so he or she understands and knows how they react. Telling someone to ignore any of their braking potential seems like a bad idea to me. Just my thoughts.
    #17
  18. Crisis management

    Crisis management Latte riders FTW!

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    Pretty much this.

    Without writing a full graduate paper on the subject (I'm sure you will have that before too long), both brakes have their uses so ultimately you want to learn to use all the features of the bike, not just some of them. I can understand telling a new rider to just use the front brake until they become competent with it, there is a lot to learn / co-ordinate when you are starting out but after a week I would expect the new rider to be using all the brakes.
    In the same way you would introduce more advanced steering inputs as the riders competency grows, the end result you are aiming for is a rider fully capable of getting the best they can from the motorcycle.

    In answer to your brake question, I use the rear all the time on every bike, dirt, road and track, it's a great tool, learn to get the best out of it.
    #18
  19. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Practice Practice PRACTICE.

    Use both and make a habit of doing a few threshold braking maneuvers each and EVERY ride.
    #19
  20. Frostback

    Frostback Frostback

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    Hell, I don't even like to use my rear brakes on my car. I use them occasionally though and for deliberate skids they are pretty handy.
    #20