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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm going down the highway (old, really smooth asphalt), I've just crested a short steep hill at about 60 MPH and am going down the other side. When, out of the blue, I've got a red light staring me in the face. I'm not too keen on throttling up and blowing through the intersection since I haven't been on the bike in a few weeks. So I de-clutch and smoothly apply both brakes. No worries...I've made hard stops plenty of times, but, whoa! :shock: The back end is now trying to pass me. The bike didn't get too far out of sorts, because I released both brakes and the clutch (a big no-no, I know) and everything straightened out. I then re-applied the brakes to complete the stop.

The funny thing is that I didn't get the slightest adrenaline rush. :? Maybe it's because the bike didn't get more than a few degrees off-center and then straightened up without bucking. Oh, well. I guess next time I should use a little more front brake and a little less rear.
 

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Under extream breaking situations I don't recomend using your rear break at all. There is plenty of breaking power in the front. This will very from bike to bike. A sports bike like mine I don't use the rear break much. A heavyer cruiser I could see the applications for it.

My reasonings for not using the rear break is because on a sports bike if I really need to stop my back wheel will be floating off the ground so there is no real point to use my rear break other than to lock it up and put the back half of my bike out of control.

I do however use my rear break in normal situations and in cornering (trail breaking).
 

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Neo
good recovery. sounds like you are getting more comfortable on the bike. when you can go through something like that without it phasing you, then that is good. the rear brake can be a very touchy thing. i don't ride a sport bike so i cannot agree/disagree with green knight, but he seems to have a point. on a cruiser that doesn't come in to play as much, but we do have to watch how much we apply it, especially in wet weather. i have actually had situations where i maintained the rear wheel slide to control where i was going. it is kind of one of them things that you have to judge each situation as it comes up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to both of you guys for your input. In the MSF BRC course, they taught us to use both brakes all the time. They also taught that if you lock up the rear wheel, you should ride it to a stop. That's because, as you know, releasing the rear wheel can lead to a "high side". I released both out of reflex because that's what you'd do if you locked up the brakes on your car. I've been driving cars (including some high performance street cars) for 20 years now and and have taken several driving schools.

At this point, after only 9 months and 6k miles of riding, I feel that I'm doing pretty good with "emergency" braking. I check the rearview mirror. I remember to apply the front brake smoothly to allow sufficient time for the weight to transfer forward so that the wheel won't lock. Too, I'm keeping my head up and downshifting in case I have to get out of someone else's way after making the stop. I just need to rely more on the front brake.

Green Knight, you've obviously been doing this for awhile. I'd really freak if my back wheel came off the ground during a stop. (Do you stunt? ;-) ) Unlike with my car, I'm not yet comfortable riding my bike anywhere near it's performance envelope. I do plan on taking the MSF ERC (Experienced Rider Course) in the Spring and they are supposed to cover "advanced braking techniques". Maybe I'll learn some extreme and/or trail braking methods then.
 

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Under extream breaking situations I don't recomend using your rear break at all. There is plenty of breaking power in the front.
I disagree. I've had the experience of locking the front and rear breaks on different occasions. The times where I locked my rear breaks i just eased off the break and rode it out. The one time i locked my front break...went down. If you lock your back break, the rear wheel can still follow the front wheel, but when you lock the front, the rear has nowhere to go.
Yes, you have more breaking power in the front, but it's also alot easier to lose control. That's why i always apply my back before my front. IMHO.
 

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Good job on the recovery.
Good thing you didn't have linked brakes.
I've heard that they are everything from slightly anoying to dangerous.
Greg
 

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Any time you can ride away without a scratch on you and your bike.....you did something right. GOOD JOB!!! :)
 

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re

he's paying attention-that's a good thing :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
bikeaholic said:
he's paying attention-that's a good thing :wink:
Hey, bikeaholic, you keep giving me a hard time and I'll have to ride 6 hours down to the coast and clean your clock...or at least have a cup of coffee and a Krispy Kreme doughnut with you. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Tobydawg said:
The one time i locked my front break...went down.
That reminds me: Years ago I was riding a 10-speed bicycle on a sidewalk down a shallow hill at a high rate of speed. I came to an intersection and had to stop quickly. I grabbed too much front brake and was thrown forward off the bike. I landed on my feet running while the bike took a tumble end-over-end. Boy am I glad I didn't have those clip-in pedals. Back in those days, only pros wore helmets on bicycles. If I'd been locked in, it would have been a face plant for the record books! I can't recall much damage to that old Schwinn Varsity, but what if that'd been a motorcycle?

It's just going to take me some time to build up my riding skill, build my confidence, and to find out where the performance envelope is on my bike.
 

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The reason I say that, on a sport bike atleast, there is no point in using the rear break in extream breaking is that it won't have any effect on slowing you down. As I said... if I'm in extream breaking my back tire will be floating a few inches off the ground. You won't lock up your front tire if you dont grab the break. Thats the first mistake you can make. You apply it quickly and firmly. If it DOES go far enough as to lock you front wheel just let it go a sec and pull it in again. I have had MULTIPUL cases where I was breaking VERY hard because someone pulled out in front of me. I've locked my front tire on several occations. Its not fun believe me, but its not a death sentance for you or your bike. I've never gone down from locking a front tire. I know enough to let up on it when it does lock.

Some of the best superbike racing trainers will MAKE you lock your front tire in the paddock before they will let you on the track. They do this because they want to see how you react in the situation. If you freak out and tence up you will most likely pull harder or not release and go down real fast. If you think quickly and let your reflexes release the break long enough to gain traction again you're fine. They don't want you crashing every time you put too much breaking power down beofore a corner. Racing is all about getting as much speed up before a corner, breaking as late as you can, maintain as much speed as you can through th corner in the tightest arc you can make and getting on the throttle at the appex. Now I understand, you will be in this situation a lot more on the track than on the street but what happens when that car pulls out in front of you and your front tire does lock up?

As far as a rear tire slide it all depends... if I'm going slowI would say it would be best to ride it out. If you're going fast and you lock your rear tire up breaking you can still high side by keeping it locked. Let me illistrate this. You're going down the high way and you have an emergency breaking situation. You apply both breaks frimly and quickly. When you hit your fron break almost ALL of your weight goes to the front shocks. VERY little is left to keep the back tire from sliding. As you apply your back break it begins to slide. You follow your MSF course lesson and keep it locked. If you don't keep that back tire behind you it WILL try to walk its way around you. Your front tire will compesate for the rest of the bike turning by keeping you going in the same direction. All the while its getting closer and closer to the stop postion for the handle bars. When it does reach the stop postion and the front tire can no longer adjust for the angle the back part of the bike is at from your heading you WILL high side.

This is a situation where the rear break is best left alone. All of the riders I look up to and respect opinions from will tell you that the back break isn't for stopping. It is for aiding you in slight adjustments in speed in corners and stabalizing your chasy going into corners.

As far as a slow speed emergency, much like what you would have practiced in MSF course, riding out a rear wheel lock would most likely be fine. I had a situation where a light decided to quickly change on me, much like yours, and I apply the breaks rather hard. I was just a month or so out of MSF. I road out the slide. It wasn't a big deal, but I was about at a 45 degree angle from where I should have been pointed when I stopped. I was going about 40 mph when that happened. Any faster and it could ahve been a very bad deal.

Too many people are afraid of their front break, they are afraid of locking it. Rightly so. It is one of the scariest things to happen on 2 wheels. I made it a point to take my old bicycle on some gravel and practice locking my front wheel to get used to it. It doesn't scare me as much anymore. I don't even want to be the one to freak out and not leg go when I need to.

I stress again. Especially in the sport bike world the rear break is not really a break like you think of a normal break is. Its main function is to aid in stability.
 

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there is no point in using the rear break in extream breaking is that it won't have any effect on slowing you down. As I said... if I'm in extream breaking my back tire will be floating a few inches off the ground
:confused: if your back tire is coming up when you stop hard then it doesn't sound like you are doing it right. unless you let your whole body lunge forward in the breaking to cause your bike to do a pseudo 'stoppie'. how can you say that the back won't have any effect on slowing you down? why do we have back brakes then?
 

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Read my entire post, not just part of it. A back break is for stablizing the chassy. Let me illistrate this as well for you then...

When entering a corner with your front break on you want to let up to go through after slowing down. When you let off your front break the front end has a tendancy to jump up and this is bad when taking corners at high speeds. It will upset the chassy and make you very unstable. To keep this from happening you hold your rear break down (lightly) as you let off the front. It will keep the front from bobbing up. When in a corner you want to keep your revs up to give you good accelleration coming out but you dont' want to get going TOO fast. So you keep on the gas some. If you getting going to fast you NEVER use the front break in a corner and you should not let off the gass either. Doing so will make your front shocks go down and cause you to run wide in the corner. Instead of letting off the gass you apply the rear break to keep you at a manageable speed in the corner.

Now idealy you will become good enough so you won't have to do this because you will know where to start hitting the gas and exacly how much to give it. I like to think of the rear break as a tool to correct errors in a corner.

No, I am NOT doing a stoppie and I never will ever try to. Although my rear tire may end up just barly touching or skimming the road its not a stoppie. It is hard breaking. If I'm doing it wrong you better inform a lot of professional racers what their doing too cause you know more than they do about it. Now don't get me wrong, I'm in no way comparing myself to their ability. I'm taking suggestions and learning from them. I know they are MUCH better riders than I am and in my quest to become a better rider I follow the best. Don't take my word for it though, go to the library and get a couple books. I recommend "A Twist of the Wrist" by Keith Code. There are 2 vol. of this. If you dont' believe in the library I'll leave a link to the superbike school he runs. Go to their forums and tell them they are doing it wrong.

Keith is VERY easy to read from and has VERY good annalogies of many of the skills and obstigals we need to overcome while riding on 2 wheels. Even if you never race a bike in your life you'll learn skills just by visiting the web site and reading the articles he has there and the forums. Again, I am by NO MEANS declaring myself an expert. I dont want you to believe me, GO to the site and read it yourself. You'll learn a lot more than just breaking as well.

http://www.superbikeschool.com/
 

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Braking Proceedures

Hey:
How about SLOWING DOWN and anticipating what might be ahead over the crest of that hill (like a red light) Then you would'nt have to do the front brake - rear brake shuffle. I think they taught you that in the MSf course. If you do a lot of hard braking, check your brake pucks often, there is'nt much meat on them you know.
 

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As Green Knight said... Keith Code's "twist of the wrist" and TOTW 2. I'd recommend TOTW2 before the first one, as its more applicable to street riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Knightrider said:
Hey:How about SLOWING DOWN and anticipating what might be ahead over the crest of that hill (like a red light)
Slowing down? :confused: Nah! That can't possibly be a part of the solution. :p

Yeah, you're right. But by all other accounts, this particular situation didn't seem to warrant slowing down. I was in traffic, which was flowing well in front of me (I do pay attention to brake lights going over hills or around corners in front of me). And, for cryin' out loud, this was 55-60 MPH, 4-lane divided highway!! What a silly place for a traffic light, especially one with limited visibility. While I'll take full responsibillity for my actions, many such traffic lights (including several others on this same stretch of highway) have flashing "Prepare to Stop" signs a quarter mile or so in front of them to indicate 1) the presence of a traffic light; and 2) the fact that it is (or is about to become) red.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Green Knight said:
....No, I am NOT doing a stoppie and I never will ever try to. Although my rear tire may end up just barly touching or skimming the road its not a stoppie. It is hard breaking.....

....As I said... if I'm in extream breaking my back tire will be floating a few inches off the ground....
Green Knight, thanks for the book references. I'd love to do some track time with my bike for the sole purpose of exploring its performance envelope in a safe environment. Better yet, I'd love to do that on someone else's 500R. :grin: By the way, I live only 1.5 hours from Barber Motorsports Park and just 3.5 hours from Road Atlanta. :razz:

What is obvious to me is that you have been riding for a long time (or a lot of miles) and are quite comfortable on the edge with your bike. (You keep saying, "If I'm in extreme braking my back tire will be floating..." Not me...Not Yet!) It is also true (simple physics) that the harder the front brake is applied, the easier it will be to lock up the rear wheel because more of the weight of the bike will be transferred forward. That does render the rear brake proportionally less effective and increases the danger of lock-up and high-siding.

For me, it boils down to this: I'm just not that comfortable yet with really leaning into the front brake. However, this incident has opened my eyes. I've now had an experience that has changed the way I use my brakes. For now, I'm still going to use both brakes in straight-line braking, but I'll be using more front and less rear than before. I'm perfectly comfortable acknowledging that I'm a novice rider (just 9 months & 6k miles). With more years and more miles under my belt, I'll improve. Nobody starts out doing it like the pros. My top priority is to be able to ride for years to come, not to see how quickly I can find the edge. So, that makes me more cautious in every aspect of my riding, not just braking.
 
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