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Old 27th March 2010, 19:08   #16
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Default Tip 6: Learn to use the front brake

Learners are often advised to avoid using the front brake, as it is easy to lock-up the front wheel at low speeds and skid and fall. However, at some time you have to learn to use the front brake, at it provides at least 70% of the stopping force during emergency braking [see 1]. Therefore, the front brakes are generally made more powerful (usually disc with double calipers) than the rear brakes. This also makes them more likely to lock-up. Therefore, front brakes have to be handled with care, and learning to use them requires practice. When first learning to use front brakes, practice in parking lots or empty streets (say, early in the morning) wearing safety gear (at least a helmet and a denim jacket), as falls are not unheard of during such practice. You can find a suggested practice session here:
Motorcycle Safety Site
Basic rule of the front brake: Squeeze GENTLY, don't GRAB [as the girl complained to her inexperienced boyfriend in the darkened movie theater!]

1. This is because, during strong de-accelleration, the weight of the bike and rider shifts to the front wheel, which then can generate more friction force to stop the bike. [When a bike does a stoppie, ALL the weight transfers onto the front wheel, so 100% of the braking force comes only from the front brake! However, this can happen only in a bike with short wheel-base and a high centre-of-gravity].

Last edited by Rollin' Thunda : 27th March 2010 at 19:12.
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Old 27th March 2010, 22:37   #17
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I have driven 2 wheelers for over 14 years. I would also try to contribute to this thread.

I would like to emphasise few points mentioned by you:

1. This is India, the land of Horn Please. Don't feel shy to use the horn, just don't overdo it. Use the horn liberally to indicate your presence to pedestrians and cyclists. Also, give a small beep to indicate intention to overtake another vehicle before you start overtaking.

2. Animals like dogs and cows don't have any road sense (just like most human pedestrians). Animals also do not understand the concept of horn. Its no use honking at an animal. Just wait for it to cross the road. Don't try to pass very close to them, you never know how they will react.

3. Learn the proper way to apply brakes (correct combination of front brake, rear brake and engine braking). Don't brake in a panic manner unless the situation really requires it. On a public road you have to brake in a gradual manner, giving sufficient response time to the vehicle behind you. Most people do not understand this concept and get rear ended by another vehicle.

4. Maintain your mental composure while driving/riding. Don't get involved in road rage and don't get agitated by morons driving/riding recklessly on the road. It is not worth risking your life/limb just to satisfy your ego by teaching someone a lesson.

Rohan
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Old 27th March 2010, 23:37   #18
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Thanks, Rohan!

You post deals with some of the stuff I was going to post myself in the next couple of days!
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Old 28th March 2010, 00:32   #19
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This thread is of special importance. Now almost everyday I read in the papers some two wheeler rider is killed in an accident.

Many of these accidents are avoidable if they where riding defensively.
I hope this thread reaches out to one and all
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Old 28th March 2010, 11:01   #20
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Default Tip 7: Use both brakes

7. If you have practiced using the front brake and feel comfortable with it, then make it a habit to hold down the clutch and apply both brakes in most braking situations [for exceptions see Note 1]. The use of both brakes on every occasion habituates you to the proper use of the brakes, and reduces the chance that you will lock them during an emergency. Such lock-ups [Note 2]are extremely dangerous as you will then skid and fall when you are already in a critical situation. In an emergency situation, concentrate on braking firmly but gradually to avoid locking either brake [see Notes: 3 and 4]. Once braking is complete, shift gears down and then release the clutch.

1. For gradual reductions of speed, you can use throttle/clutch/gear control with just mild application of either front or rear brake. If braking while turning, use more of the rear-brake, with the front brake applied very lightly [or not at all] till the bike is going straight again.

2. Lock-up occurs when the braking is so strong that the wheel stops rotating while the bike is still moving. This means that wheel will skid, not roll, on the road. While skidding it is impossible to retain control and [except if the skid is corrected immediately] will result in the bike and rider falling.

3. In an emergency there is NO point in applying the back brake TOO hard, as it is mostly the front brake that will stop the bike. So apply a steady but moderate force on the back brake. To prevent lock-up of the back brake, which is dangerous at higher speeds (see Motorcycle Safety Site )make it a habit of applying it by rotating the front foot while keeping the heel firmly on the foot peg (rather than pushing down directly with the front foot).

4. The front brake should be applied very gently but progressively harder and harder till the bike comes nearly to a stop, and then be immediately released [this last bit is to prevent a low-speed lock-up which could still topple the bike]. The final braking is therefore completed by the back brake. [Also release the front brake immediately if you hear/feel the front tyre skidding, which signals lock-up.]

Emergency braking therefore is not easy and requires a lot of practice.

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Old 29th March 2010, 10:55   #21
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If you hold down the clutch during braking, you will loose the advantage of engine braking. In an emergency braking situation, it is very important to use engine braking.

IMHO, it is better not to press the clutch during braking. Once the speed has reduced considerably and you are about to stop, then the clutch should be pressed to avoid stalling.

Also, it is not a good idea to be braking while turning. You should reduce your speed (and downshift if required) before a turn. The best way to take a turn is to gently accelerate during the turn. This provides better grip while turning. (Braking during turning leads to a loss of grip)

Rohan
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Old 29th March 2010, 14:07   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollin' Thunda View Post
Always signal when you turn, change lanes, overtake vehicles, or even just skirt obstacles. This is to avoid being hit from behind. It is best to signal at least 5 seconds before you actually change directions, to give time for others to take notice and react.
5 seconds is too less. It should be atleast 10 seconds. Assuming, we're talking about electronic indicators, a beep will take atleast 2-3 seconds, two beeps will be required to alert the oncoming person and that person will need about 5 seconds atleast to change his/her course of action.
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Old 29th March 2010, 18:31   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan_iitr View Post
If you hold down the clutch during braking, you will loose the advantage of engine braking. In an emergency braking situation, it is very important to use engine braking.

IMHO, it is better not to press the clutch during braking. Once the speed has reduced considerably and you are about to stop, then the clutch should be pressed to avoid stalling.

Also, it is not a good idea to be braking while turning. You should reduce your speed (and downshift if required) before a turn. The best way to take a turn is to gently accelerate during the turn. This provides better grip while turning. (Braking during turning leads to a loss of grip)

Rohan
At last, some discussion! I was beginning to believe no one was reading my posts!

I make a distinction between gradual reductions of speed, where I believe engine braking has a role, and rapid de-acceleration where I recommend that the clutch be held down. The latter case is to cultivate the habits that will help you during emergency braking, when you won't have time to think but will do whatever your habit tells you to do.

Engine braking requires you to hold in the clutch, shift gear down and release the clutch repeatedly. This would be very difficult to do in a very short time, when you are already concentrating on avoiding a collision and on not locking the brakes. Another factor is that giving power to the wheels, while simultaneously trying to stop them, does not make sense. But most important is the fact that this power will cause a High-sider, which will violently throw you over your bike, if you release the rear-brake by mistake, and your rear-wheel regains traction (as the clutch is not held in). See Highsider - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia High-siders are more likely to occur on more powerful motorcycles.

So on the whole it is far safer IMHO to hold in the clutch and rely on the brakes to do their job.

On your other point, I agree with you that you should not brake on a turn, but brake before you enter it and then accelerate during the turn. This is absolutely correct. I was however talking of emergency situations when you are forced to brake on a turn. I should have been more clear about that.

Last edited by Rollin' Thunda : 29th March 2010 at 18:34.
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Old 29th March 2010, 18:40   #24
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Originally Posted by VBV View Post
5 seconds is too less. It should be atleast 10 seconds. Assuming, we're talking about electronic indicators, a beep will take atleast 2-3 seconds, two beeps will be required to alert the oncoming person and that person will need about 5 seconds atleast to change his/her course of action.
You are right, if you know that you are going to make a turn, signal at least 10 seconds before-hand. However, changing lanes and skirting obstacles are usually more impromptu and spontaneous, and you may not have the 10 seconds in hand.
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Old 29th March 2010, 19:05   #25
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Default Tip 8. Hazards

Intersections of roads, blind turns, uncertain or bad road conditions, foreign material (stones, gravel, sand, oil etc) on the road, speed-breakers, traffic congestion, vehicles/persons/animals /objects blocking traffic or else moving erratically are HAZARDS.

Always throttle-down and gear-down on sighting a hazard directly or potentially in your path: Ideally, check RVMs and start reducing speed 4 seconds ahead [see 1] of the hazard, by throttling down, mild application of front/back brake and shifting gears down; keep two or three fingers on the front brake and proceed cautiously as you approach the hazard. Be specially wary of crowds, and of children or animals running on the road: go dead slow.

Expect speed-breakers near railway crossings, culverts, bridges, schools, in military and residential areas and on road/highways passing through small towns and villages.

[1] 4 seconds = 1 meter for every kmph of your speed. That is, if you are traveling at 50 kmph, start slowing down 50 meters ahead of the hazard.
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Old 29th March 2010, 19:11   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollin' Thunda View Post
...Always throttle-down and gear-down on sighting a hazard directly or potentially in your path: Ideally, check RVMs and start reducing speed 4 seconds ahead [see 1] of the hazard, by throttling down, mild application of front/back brake and shifting gears down; keep two or three fingers on the front brake and proceed cautiously as you approach the hazard....
While I agree that mild application of the brakes is good, i always find it better to slow down well before the hazard and not apply any brake at all on hazards like sand, oil, gravel, stones. There are chances of locking the brakes and sliding on sand, oil, etc and sometimes even a patch of water with not so good tires.
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Old 30th March 2010, 17:38   #27
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i always find it better to slow down well before the hazard and not apply any brake at all on hazards like sand, oil, gravel, stones. There are chances of locking the brakes and sliding on sand, oil, etc and sometimes even a patch of water with not so good tires.
I agree. That is why I suggest braking 4 seconds before the hazard.
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Old 30th March 2010, 17:45   #28
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Default Tip 8: The 2,3,4 second rules

Maintain at least a 2 second distance [see Notes 1 and 2] from the vehicle in front. If this is not possible, as in congested traffic, grasp the front brake, be very alert and stay on one side of the vehicle in front, preferably on its left [for exceptions, see 3], so that you can swerve to avoid it if it stops abruptly. During rain, at night or on highways keep 4 second distances.

[1] That is, you should be able to say “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two” between the instant the vehicle in front passes a marker (street-light pole, say) on the road and the instant you yourself pass it. This distance [in meters] will be approximately equal to half your speed in kmph [i.e. 20 meters if you are traveling at 40kmph]

[2] Actually, for perfect braking conditions good, dry road and good tires use the 2 s rule upto 30kmph, a 3-sec rule upto 60 kmph, and a 4-sec rule up to 120 kmph; this includes a reaction time of 1.5 s as a factor of safety. When braking conditions are poor, as in rain, `double’ the rule, i.e., 4s for less than 30 kmph [don’t travel faster than this, if braking conditions are poor]

[3] Tempos, buses, taxis, autos and other public transport often go left and stop suddenly to disembark passengers. So, if you are behind them, avoid riding on their left or directly behind, stay on their rear right side and maintain extra distance.
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Old 30th March 2010, 20:15   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollin' Thunda View Post
Engine braking requires you to hold in the clutch, shift gear down and release the clutch repeatedly. This would be very difficult to do in a very short time, when you are already concentrating on avoiding a collision and on not locking the brakes.

Another factor is that giving power to the wheels, while simultaneously trying to stop them, does not make sense.
It is especially important to use engine braking during en emergency stop situation.

You don't need to press and release the clutch repeatedly or downshift the gears. Just leave the bike in the same gear and apply both the brakes (without pressing the clutch). When the bike is just about to stop, press the clutch to avoid stalling. (In an emergency braking situation, you are better off stalling the vehicle rather than rear-ending someone)

You would notice that when such engine braking is used (along with the brakes) the braking is much more controlled and the braking distance is lesser as compared to when the bike is stopped with the clutch pressed.

Power is transferred to the wheels only when the accelerator is used. As long as you are not using the accelerator, you can use the engine braking in your favour while braking (even in emergency braking situations).

Rohan
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Old 30th March 2010, 21:38   #30
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Okay, I misunderstood how you would use the engine brake in an emergency, but I am still not convinced that it is a good idea. Modern disc brakes give much more powerful de-acceleration than what you will get through engine braking. Also, just because you use engine braking does not mean that you would not skid and fall. In fact by using engine braking, you lose a lot of control over skidding, as you cannot just get off the brake during a skid, for the bike would then accelerate forward (if the clutch is not held down):

I'll let the experts speak for me:

"Why pull the clutch?

You would think that it is not wise to pull the clutch, because you would profit from the engine brake.
The engine is capable of braking the motorcycle a bit when you stay off the throttle, but it also resists *more* deceleration. And because you should brake much harder than the engine brake, you pull the clutch."

from Tips for braking on a motorcycle

Last edited by Rollin' Thunda : 30th March 2010 at 21:54.
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