Riding Skills - How to Brake Effectively

Mastering a motorcycle’s brakes is the most difficult task, but it can also make the difference when it comes to avoiding a collision, which could end up in tragedy. Though many assume effective braking involves more bravery than brain, it’s for the best to realize exactly what is that you want to achieve with braking and what is the best way to do it. First of all, the whole purpose of braking is either to safely arrive in a particular spot at the desired speed. That includes both stopping at a certain sign and cornering at 45 mph after reaching a speed of, let’s say, 90 mph. We have to tell you from the start that if you thought for just one second that it's better to apply the brakes as later as possible, then you should reconsider, because this preconception is wrong. No racing prize is more valuable than your own life and you should always keep that in mind. The sooner you do your heavy braking and downshifts, the more effective the braking will be. Modulating pressure
As you might have observed by now, maximum braking loads your body tremendously, throwing you and your passenger forward and putting lots of pressure on your arms and upper body. The researchers say that the pressure is equal to what you'd feel if the bike was angled 64 degrees nose-down. The forces effectively lock you into a single posture until the brakes are released. You can't even change the number of fingers on the brake lever, while releasing the brakes to change direction uses up a lot of time and distance.

Release the front brake even slower than you pull it on. This allows the weight to transfer more evenly front-to-rear, to prevent the front suspension from rebounding (springing back) too quickly and upsetting the chassis as you're entering the corner.

Which brake is the most important?

Front or rear? Equally important, as each plays a key role when it comes to saving your life, or your bike’s integrity. While the front brake provides most of your motorcycle’s stopping power, the rear one applies some stabilizing effect, so the back wheel doesn’t try to pass the front. The proper technique involves using both brakes quickly and effectively, as well as modulating pressure as the bike weight shifts and speed decreases. On a 100% proportion, 25% should be the rear brake, while the rest of 75% involves the front brake.

As for the downshifting, studies found that it adds about 10 feet to stopping distances, compared to not shifting and pulling in the clutch. Pulling in the clutch improved stopping performance compared to leaving it engaged and not shifting.

Basic steps:

The researchers found the following sequence as the most effective:
  • Close the throttle and apply the rear brake;
  • Straighten the motorcycle and adjust your posture and hand position;
  • Apply the front brake and declutch;
  • Adjust brake pressure. The initial weight transfer takes about .6 seconds, and the whole stop from 60 mph requires about 3 seconds from  the initial brake application.

Practice, practice and... practice

Just as we mentioned in other guides on how to ... on a motorcycle, the best way to master braking is to practice as much as you can. You can first start to practice bakes at lower speeds until the maneuver becomes a reflex. Begin with early braking points to perfect the sequence without the stress of a fast-approaching corner. Initially, smooth is slow, but as you master the technique, you'll find you will be able to remain smooth while executing these inputs in an ever-shorter period of time.

Front-tire traction is never more critical than while turning into a corner with the throttle off and the front brake on. Braking distances increase exponentially, not linearly. For example, if bringing a bike from 30 mph to a stop takes about 10 meters, at double that speed, it takes 37 meters. Immediate and effective braking may be enough to avoid the impact and, if not, it will certainly lower the speed at which you make contact.

Ride safe!
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