Rear Brake Usage during Braking

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

  1. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

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    But repeatedly doing something risky successfully for 25 years in the real world, where doing it wrong could and likely will fuck you up sooner or later, means doing it mostly right. I try to not have to emergancy brake, but I can't predict absolutely everything all the time, especially in heavy traffic like SoCal perpetually has. So it happens now and then. I consider the emergency stop to be a *very* important skill, as any time you need to do it, the consequences of doing it wrong are likely to be heavy. So I have taken care to know what I'm doing there. And the method I outlined is the best one there is.

    In a literal sense, the clutch comment is from the fact that engine braking usually involves downshifting, which involves the clutch and more specifically involves modulating the clutch with some slip as you re-engage it after the downshift so as not to break the rear wheel loose. Which does cost some clutch wear. More generally, engine braking involves reversing the stresses on the entire drivetrain, and pushing backwards on everything, which really isn't a great idea. So for best care of the bike, it's better to not do a lot of engine braking, and if you want to apply some braking force at the rear, use the rear brake, as that's what it is designed for, and not the engine, which is not optimized for that purpose.

    That has been done MANY times, by various magazines and other groups. EVERY time, they find that using the both brakes makes you stop faster. On some bikes (cruisers, tourers, scooters) the rear brake adds a lot of braking power. On standards a middling amount. On sportbikes a small amount, but not zero. And on all but the best surfaces, the rear is more helpful. I think the last one I saw was from Cycle World, and a couple of the very best riders were able to equal their distances using the front only vs. both, but still only a couple of them, and only on sportbikes on good surfaces.

    And no, if you lock the front and are less than a supreme expert, you are falling down regardless of what the rear is doing. So you won't have a worse time at all if both lock vs. just the front. Nope. Wrong. Fail.

    Have you actually ridden a motorcycle before? Do you know what the clutch is? Even the newest rider knows to pull in the clutch while braking, and that's a universal reflex, requiring no extra attention, among people who have actually ridden more than once. Sheesh.


    PhilB
  2. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

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    There are intermediate courses, starting with the advanced MSF course, which does include instruction and practice in using the rear brake, including controlling the bike if you do lock it up. Also there are track schools that focus on street riders and skills, and street skill classes like Lee Parks' Total Control. I'd recommend any of those.

    PhilB
  3. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    I've seen a Heritage Softail with its ass 4 feet in the air. :deal For that matter the with the ABS touring bikes ...good luck stopping on a CBR as fast as one of those things.

    So far as it goes a buddy who had his rear brake fail in a race "For something that I never use, I sure as hell missed it when it wasn't there." and it wasn't like he went offroading, he finished 2nd.
  4. SocalRob

    SocalRob Long timer

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    If you momentarily lock your front wheel you release the front brake some. You don't need to fall over. Your statement makes it sound like you do not practice true threshold front braking.
  5. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    There are a lot of qualifiers there.
    You can recover the front, but its a bit hairy, and the faster you are going the more time you have to correct it.

    ....assuming you are straight up and down. Because if you aren't that is about the fastest way I can think of to break a collar bone.

    On the street anyway, in dirt, meh, you plow the front end all the damn time anyway.
  6. Jacl-Kampuchea

    Jacl-Kampuchea Booze Merchant

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    Depending on her ride - If she were using the front brake to it's maximum there would be every chance her back wheel would not be on the ground to brake with.

    I use both in emergency stop situations, obviously, with a massive bias toward the front. I don't lock it up when I need to make emergency stops.
  7. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    So the OP is suggesting she not use it at all - and that will magically teach her to feather it as she gains experience? Perhaps she will suddenly wake up one day saying "I am no longer a beginner, I'm going to start using the rear brake."

    It takes a few minutes to teach that skill to a total beginner - and they will get better at it with practice, just like everybody else.

    All the idiots foaming at the mouth and ranting about braking on a sportbike, on smooth dry roads, or under race conditions, etc., have not merely missed the point, they've missed the entire concept.
  8. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

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    No, No, No......what they are doing in that picture is slowing to corner entry speed not "panic" stop. I was willing to agree with you on some of your points but this makes no sense.
  9. ohgood

    ohgood Long timer

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    I've never heard of this notion that the engines gyroscopic forces keeps the bike upright. apparently neither has my drz.




    seriously through, do a couple of panic brake practices engine-off and see there is no difference. well, unless you have a 55lb flywheel on an R6, pegged at the redline.
  10. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

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    I replaced the gremlin bell on my bike with a crystal ball... I haven't made a panic stop since. :D

    Seriously you need to teach her to use BOTH brakes smoothly, and she needs to practice the technique. I suggest a dirtbike.
  11. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    Damn. I expected more of this site. The ignorance in this thread is staggering. Thanks for reminding me why I often ride alone.

    If you doubt the rear brake's contribution to stopping power try getting up to 140 or so and STOP HARD using only the front brake. The effect of the rear brake is more than a shorter stopping distance. It's CONTROL of the motorcycle and in a hard braking scenario is anything more important?
  12. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy Been here awhile

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    I'm with you, but it all depends on the bike, and road as to what's "normal."
    If braking "normally" on dry pavement, (and I'm assuming she's on a light bike, not a tourer?) then it's best to focus on available traction at the front since the rear wheel will be in the air or real light anyways. But, it's also good ta ride around, and only use the rear brake so she can see how worthless and prone to locking it is.

    When I sold my FZ1, it had a little over 50K mi. and was on it's 5th set of front brake pads, while the rears were still on the 1st set. I only used the rear when two up, in the wet, or on gravel.
    Now with my FJR, I use the rear more since the bike's lower, has a longer wheel base, and abs. I can just mash the rear brake 'n not have ta worry 'bout it lock'in.
  13. farmerstu

    farmerstu Been here awhile

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    wrong ,wrong ,wrong, practice practice practice till every input is automatic every time, the brain should never enter into the procedure. eye and hand and feet. no thinking . if you know a full swing excavator operator ask them how much they think about using both hands and both feet all the time. the answer is never. the eyes see, the hands and feet function and the brain listens to talk radio.
  14. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    a perfect example of ignorance...you don't know how to use the front brake and you've never braked hard for a turn from 140mph. :1drink
  15. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    Or you over estimated the risk of riding, or took less than average risk.

    Risk mitigation is the most effective riding stragety and if you're doing it right you should never have to "panic stop".

    What is your high performance riding experience? And what's your experience on high performance bikes

    I guess if you fuck up your downshift and miss the rev match that's the case.

    please... that's non-sense.

    HAHA. Please. Go do it. Go lock up the front, and then go lockup the front while hard on the rear tell me which time you find the pavement like a sack of shit instantly.


    Have you preceeded beyond newb level? Most "advanced" riders leave the clutch out while they're braking unless they are actively engaged in rev matching, or stopped.
  16. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    No it's not, you reduce lever pressure and magically it's not an issue.

    The only difference between it happening at 10 mph and 100mph is the length of the skid mark.
  17. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice Long timer

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    We will eventually need to emergency stop on the street.

    On the race track, I see a lot of slowing down, but stopping? Unless you crash I do not see any stopping on a race track.

    So in the end the technique you use to Stop hard and fast can and will often be different than the technique used to slow, since the intent at the track is not to stop but to reach a certainpoint and then go faster, not stop.
  18. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    Only professional racers have problems getting it right when they plan on stopping, and no when it's going to happen and everyone is doing the same thing.
  19. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    I don't care how anybody uses their brakes. Do whatever you want. I just can't stand all the lecturing from people who don't know what they are talking about.
  20. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    ...and how long it takes before your face is in the pavement.

    There is a BIG difference in a front end lock from 100mph and 10mph. I've done both on more then one occasion.