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Old 24th February 2016, 15:02   #16
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

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Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
I am not a big bike rider, but from my riding experience of more than three decades, can tell this. The front brake is the main brake, the rear one is used mainly to stabilize the bike during braking.
+1 to that. I still have my Suzuki Samurai's owner manual that states "65% of the braking effort comes from the front brake" and the remaining from the rear brake.
I grew up with this old school of thought those days that if you ever use the front brake (even in a bicycle) the bike will skid and you will be thrown off the bike.
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Old 24th February 2016, 16:04   #17
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

There are lots of factors which affect your braking. If you are a new rider, i'd suggest getting used to the bike first. Get a feel for the brakes and always use the front and the rear together (Use the front for the bulk of the braking and then the rear once the vehicle begins slowing down). Then, understand how engine braking works: Run the bike till 5th gear and then drop a cog in between the rev range to understand how RPM affects the engine braking. (Front = 60-85% and Rear = 15-20% and the rest from engine braking)

Your greatest asset while braking is rider position and sight. Weight distribution plays an important role while you brake. Holding the bike with your legs around the tank and having your hands loose.

Concrete and tarmac have similar characteristics and the braking shouldn't really change. On the corners and shoulders of the road, there will be fine sand, your aim should be slowing down and not wiping out by locking the brakes. Also, understanding the extent and speed at which the brakes actually bite is something you learn over time with your vehicle. If you want to learn proper technique, you could try riding without abs enabled in the city and get used to it. Use your body for getting the feel of what the bike is doing. Front and back brakes are basically different. The front is usually larger than the rear because when you brake, the bulk of the weight transfers to the front and this is why some people avoid using the rear when braking heavily and use the front brake and engine braking to slow down. Go about by braking progressively (front and rear while in a straight line - don't jam them. Increase the pressure gradually), gear down and then repeat the routine till you reach
the stop.

Public roads vs Race tracks

Primary difference is the speed at which you'll ride on both of them. On the track, you will gain familiarity and understand the lines to take. You will not have something running or cutting across your route. Your braking will be frequent on the track through the turns. Roads on the other hand, you'll brake for slowing down, negotiating potholed roads etc.

Unpaved roads have sand or mud on them. You will prefer slow speeds and using the brakes by pumping them and gearing down simultaneously.

If you want some more knowledge about techniques, twist of the wrist by Keith Code is worth reading and watching too.
A bit more of reference: http://www.webbikeworld.com/Motorcyc...aking-tips.htm

Last edited by Arch-Angel : 24th February 2016 at 16:10. Reason: Adding reference
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Old 24th February 2016, 16:54   #18
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

Reading the advice from so many people would add to your understanding about braking. The best way to learn is take inputs from others and learn some stuff by yourself.

Attend a track school. Get on track a few times. You will learn stuff by yourself.

I have done Level 1, 2 at Indimotard. 5 years ago I did level 1. Since then my braking style has changed in a very big way. I have put some 40 - 50 thousand kms on cars, around 15k kms on the bike. Had to change brake pads on the bike only once. No brake pads changed on the cars.
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Old 24th February 2016, 17:07   #19
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

Since day one of my motorcycling life, I have used both brakes together. I know people who only rely on one brake (majority goes with the front) and I am still amazed as to how are they still alive.

Engine braking is a very important component of motorcycle braking and not many are aware of this. Although I was very sceptical of this fancy concept initially, it vanished the moment I was asked to bring down a Triumph Tiger down a steep incline using only engine braking - without even touching the brakes. Trust me, engine braking works wonders if you know how to use it, when to use it and why to use it.

I have always used the Front-Rear brakes at a ratio of 60:40 which is one of the reasons why my stock brake pads on my KTM lasted till 12k kms. Be it a speed breaker or a traffic jam, I have always used both brakes together.

Along with using braking skills, an another crucial part of this entire episode are the brake pads. It has surprised me to see people having 15-18k kms on their odo have not even bothered dismantling and cleaning their brake pads! And then they complain of 'weak' brakes and squeaky noises. Getting brake pads cleaned by sand paper every 1000-1500 kms is a must to retain the maximum life out of them and ensure top notch braking. Please keep your brake fluids topped up from time to time as well. Completely draining them and refilling them at every 5k is a wise move as well.

I agree with a gentleman here who mentioned that body positioning is very important for braking efficiency. Yes, it matters a lot. Keeping your body balanced exactly at the centre of gravity of the motorcycle will work wonders in an event of hard braking. Always position your body well, carve out your imaginary escape path and stay composed during emergency braking. Works wonders!

Last of all, if you want to purchase a performance oriented motorcycle, close your eyes, take a deep breath and sprint as fast as you can to the brand that has ABS on it's bikes. It. Is. A. Life. Saver.
I have cheated death (probably!) almost thrice thanks to dolts who have taken U Turns earlier than they should because they believe in Thug Life way too much, ladies with gigantic shades who have taken right turns without using indicators and dogs who thought running the opposite way was more cooler. I wouldn't mind buying a 50bhp 800cc if that bike has sintered brake pads and ABS. Safety of the bike (as well as yourself! ) is prime.

Godspeed, all.

Last edited by barcalad : 24th February 2016 at 17:21.
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Old 24th February 2016, 18:01   #20
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

Whenever you have to brake, use both front & rear together. Rapid pump the front if not ABS equipped & press the rear just enough to keep a straight line. Combine this with optimum engine braking to stop the vehicle exactly where you want it, even on gravel. Engine braking will take time to master but once done, you can even stay away from brakes a lot.
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Old 24th February 2016, 18:14   #21
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

Simple

1. Drive at speeds which won't require panic breaking.
2. Insanity is for tracks only
3. Just be alert for atleast 100m ahead of you
4. Peripheral vision is super critical
5. Never plan to brake in corners
6. The straighter the bike is the stable it will be
7. Front brakes provide 80% of stopping power. Use it
8. Prepare for a slide

Most importantly know your bikes strength with braking and play within its limits

No sort of aids in bike helps when you lose sanity and assume you can stop with all the aids. An abs in gravel can only be deadly whole sanity, slow speed and control helps better.

Last edited by VW2010 : 24th February 2016 at 18:15.
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Old 24th February 2016, 20:57   #22
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

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Originally Posted by barcalad View Post
Engine braking is a very important component of motorcycle braking and not many are aware of this. Although I was very sceptical of this fancy concept initially, it vanished the moment I was asked to bring down a Triumph Tiger down a steep incline using only engine braking - without even touching the brakes. Trust me, engine braking works wonders if you know how to use it, when to use it and why to use it.
Good point but I feel engine braking can be used on bikes (or cars) only in places where we anticipate or are sure we should brake and not during emergency since we dont have so much time to shift down and down and down. So most cases it is used on the Ghat sections when you descent. If you use brakes there, it will heat up and end up with no brakes!!!

I use engine braking in bike but only when I am driving aggressively and need to slow down on speed breakers etc (you know the typical RX100 style )
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Old 24th February 2016, 21:40   #23
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

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Originally Posted by sam_sant2005 View Post
Good point but I feel engine braking can be used on bikes (or cars) only in places where we anticipate or are sure we should brake and not during emergency since we dont have so much time to shift down and down and down. So most cases it is used on the Ghat sections when you descent. If you use brakes there, it will heat up and end up with no brakes!!!

I use engine braking in bike but only when I am driving aggressively and need to slow down on speed breakers etc (you know the typical RX100 style )
Absolutely. Obviously if the person ahead of you brakes all of a sudden, there would be barely any time to downshift and use engine braking. However, say you spot a dog 100 metres away, bang in the middle of the road, staring at you, and you know it will make a dart in either direction, this is when you can make full use of all 3 braking components.

Same here, mate. In hilly roads, using the brakes for long durations is absolute harakiri. I spent my childhood in the hills and I still can't get the smell of burnt brake pads off my head!
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Old 24th February 2016, 22:07   #24
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

Been riding for almost 7 years now, always had proper idea of how to brake on our public roads. I usually use front and the rear so that if the surface suddenly changes or has some dirt I can change the pressure on both and come to a stop safely.

Few months back bought an KTM 200 and bike seems to have weird habit of rear wheel locking up even on proper tarmac! Given that the road condition is usually not very uniform using only front brakes may not be a good idea, can someone suggest better technique?
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Old 24th February 2016, 22:23   #25
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

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Good point but I feel engine braking can be used on bikes (or cars) only in places where we anticipate
Actually even when you don't anticipate. Like an emergency brake failure. The option you have is to cut gears and get the engine braking going. But its difficult to practice this for situation. You either have it or not. Your natural instinct takes over which 90% of us do is close throttle, close clutch and hope the bike stops and put maximum pressure on the brakes using legs as additional stopping force.

Quote:
Few months back bought an KTM 200 and bike seems to have weird habit of rear wheel locking up even on proper tarmac! Given that the road condition is usually not very uniform using only front brakes may not be a good idea, can someone suggest better technique?
Front brakes stopping power is 80%. Rear is just going to fill that 20%. There is no other way to stop a moving bike than using front brakes the best way. Use both is the right technique.



This pretty much gives some basic idea of the science as well as some understanding of basic techniques.

Last edited by VW2010 : 24th February 2016 at 22:35.
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Old 24th February 2016, 22:41   #26
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

My 2 cents:
Tyre pressures are really important. A 2 psi difference can make a world of difference in grip levels. So can having a pillion.

But the best way is to practice, practice, practice - preferably on some empty road close by. Unless you actually try to do emergency stops, you are not going to be aware of your actual stopping distance and the effect of different road conditions.

There is no single formula for brake lever pressure and modulation. It depends on each bike, tyres, condition of brakes etc. Even two bikes of the same make and model will start braking differently as they age.

Motorcycles or scooters are not like cars where you can brake just short of the point of loosing traction and consider that the best brake performance. On a bike for example, moving your upper body a couple of inches forward during braking can make a huge difference to the grip available from the front tyre.

Last edited by braindead : 24th February 2016 at 22:42.
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Old 24th February 2016, 23:24   #27
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

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Originally Posted by MonsterTorque View Post

1. What is the safest method to stop or slow down a speeding motorcycle in different road conditions like wet, dry and a mix of both?
2. Is braking different on tar/concerte roads and unpaved roads?
3. What is the difference between the use of the front and back brakes?
4. What is the difference between braking on public roads versus braking on race tracks?
I always prefer to use engine braking along with applying front and rear brakes simultaneously in a progressive manner. One can start doing it all the time and it will automatically become a habit and will be useful while panic braking.
Different road surfaces provide different grip and your tires thread and compound also add to it. So braking is definitely going to be different in different road surfaces. Feel how much grip your are getting and go gently with brakes.
While braking, the whole weight shifts to front of the bike. Use of front brakes is more effective and also bike will be more steady and in one line. Using rear brake will result in less control and loss rear end as weight of bike is shifted to front.
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Old 24th February 2016, 23:35   #28
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

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Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
Front brakes stopping power is 80%. Rear is just going to fill that 20%. There is no other way to stop a moving bike than using front brakes the best way. Use both is the right technique.
I have been constantly improving riding techniques for sometime now, been following 80/20 rule for almost 5 years, but when we push our machine on unpredictable surface it does surprise us a lot, some long ramps seem to be maintained poorly where 80/20 rule would case the front to slip. I might be wrong but combination of rear disc and weird character of MRF might be the reason! Duke owners kindly shed some light on this issue.
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Old 25th February 2016, 01:52   #29
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

I've never owned a quarter litre or above 250CC bike but based on my experience, I can say that bikes are like women, each have their own way of reacting in different situations. For the record, I've fallen off twice from my activa and wife's pleasure and once from my Pulsar 150 (all at ridiculously low speeds of ~30 kmph !) but never from the FZ16 or R15 I own currently.

Safe Braking depends a lot on your bike's centre of gravity- CG (the rider included). As long as the CG is right in the lower centre there is nothing much to worry. The moment the CG shifts out of the bike's body (as in, when tilting the bike on high speed bends) things can get dangerous. The 'feel' of a bike can be experienced once you find where the CG of your bike normally is.

Based on how your bike 'feels', here are some tips that I can suggest:

1. In case of scooters like Activa, press both brakes firmly, don't ever press only the front brake as the scooter will slip and skid in no time, because most of its weight is at the rear side with rider putting weight at the back. That is the reason why they are coming with this combi-braking system. Moreover, just make it a habit to not ride such scooters at speeds above 50 kmph. They are alarmingly dangerous at high speed with no guarantee of control.

2. In case of front heavy bikes like old Pulsar 150 or 220, the rear wheels lock up easily. High speed Braking is very tricky in these kind of bikes, straight line braking works fine (with a possibility of 'fishtailing' which is easier to deal with) but just ensure you don't brake hard while turning, fishtailing when the CG is 'out' of the bike means you are going to trip.

3. In case of rear heavy bikes like Avenger, using front brake while negotiating turns locks the front wheel easily resulting in the bike skidding. The best practice with such bikes is to ride them in a sedate manner, they just cannot be ridden like sport-bikes.

4. Bikes having engine as stressed member (Yamaha FZ16, Unicorn etc) generally have better handling dynamics than cradle mounted engines (Pulsar 150, Splendour etc). They help the CG get lower making them feel less 'top heavy'. Do consider this when getting a new bike.

4. Sport bikes have the best dynamics, I was surprised how the R15 had mastered physics better than my physics professor. They are the most forgiving till the rider does something extremely stupid or he runs out of luck !
Do a lot of observation while riding the bike, you will come to know how the weight shifts when braking and how to tackle it over the period of time. Start with small experiments in controlled environments (like brightly lit empty streets, vacant parking lots)

Tar roads offers the best braking assistance to vehicles as they are the stickiest and exhibit elasticity property hence absorbing forces. Concrete road if it is very smooth can be tricky, it is not elastic so reactive forces are more (bumpy rides). In such cases the rubber of your tyre plays a very important role. Wet roads on a rainy day ? there is no option but to tame your horse. The probability of something going wrong is highest and the probability of a human getting alive after death is zero. The thumb rule is : don't put yourself in a situation that requires hard braking. If you are riding on a dry surface and suddenly encounter a wet or slippery patch, dont panic and brake before you enter the wet patch, do not tilt or turn the bike while on slippery surface. The trick is to keep the CG in place. ABS is highly recommended. Loose gravel is like wet road, hence braking on such roads is similar to braking on wet roads. No hard braking, use engine braking and intermittent braking technique so that the CG goes forward and comes back before going alarmingly out of place.

Lastly, public roads are not meant for high speed bike riding, take the sport to a proper race track if possbile. My thumb rule is: on public roads, any motorcycle above 60 kmph is out of safe zone considering other variables.
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Old 25th February 2016, 04:36   #30
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Default Re: Motorcycles: Improving Braking Skills

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but when we push our machine on unpredictable surface it does surprise us a lot, some long ramps seem to be maintained poorly where 80/20 rule would case the front to slip.
We dont push on unpredictable surfaces. Our highways and mostly city roads are fairly predictable. In fact highways are predictable simply because of longer straights and ability to see the road atleast 100m in advance.

When you talk about unpredictable surfaces, you have really pushing your luck if you are pushing your bike hard
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