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Smitty
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   Posted 12/8/2005 8:41 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I ride in town or city streets to even amongst traffic on the hwy with the first & second fingers of my hands covering the clutch & brake lever that it is automatic for me to NOT roll on the throttle.  Most of this came from Observed Trials compettion along with when 2-strokes came into action with road racing. So to me it is so automatic that often when I am simply whizzing down the nice rolling roads of the Cdn Rockie Mtns that I will notice I am still doing it though there will be no raffic.  It has become a habit through so many yrs of riding, YET when needed all fingers can go into use when a good handgrip is needed to save the bike & myself. 



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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OhioSteve
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   Posted 12/9/2005 7:39 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
This is a good thread with alot of different people contributing.

I made two changes that enabled me to cut down from 28 feet to 21 feet. Experienced riders on this site recomended both of them. First, DON'T be afraid of the front brake if you have cheap two-caliper brakes like mine. I was only pulling in about 30% before I started to modulate. After building up my courage, I started to pull in 60% before modulating. Second, I reduced my pressure on the rear brake during hard stops. Focus on the front brake. Still I recognize that I have more to learn next season, and a more experienced rider could shave a bit more off of my 21 foot stop (from 35mph).

Now, I have a three questions for our more experienced riders.

1. How much do better brakes help? For example, let's say that after getting to 10,000 miles I traded in my GS500 for a kawa zzr-600. That bike is basically a rebadged 2001 Ninja ZX-6r, and it has six-piston calipers. After I adjusted to the new bike, how much improvement would I see?

2. Is the number of calipers the big factor effecting brake performance? I notice that some fairly nice bikes just have two calipers. Do they all stop as poorly as a GS500?

3. Why are braided steel brake lines so popular? Do they really help?


I am the foremost expert on my opinion.

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DataDan
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   Posted 12/9/2005 10:57 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Ohio Steve asks:
1. How much do better brakes help?
They help a lot in feel and ease of use, but not much in ultimate performance. My 1988 Hawk GT has a single 2-piston caliper up front, but Cycle magazine reported 60-0 stopping distance of 121 feet, comparable to today's sportbikes. However, I recently rode it back-to-back with a Suzuki V-Strom, which has a pair of excellent 4-piston calipers up front. The Strom's brakes took less force at the lever and were very easy to control. Test track performance notwithstanding, I would feel more confident with the Suzuki's brakes than the Hawk's in an emergency.
2. Is the number of calipers the big factor effecting brake performance?
No. In fact, there's not a lot of difference in braking performance across the spectrum of current motorcycles. Again, the differences are in user-friendliness. Two rotors up front require less caliper force to apply a given force at the contact patch, so less lever force is required, making it easier to apply. Ultimately the limiting factors in braking performance are tire grip and the tendency to transfer all the bike's weight onto the front wheel. If the brakes can apply enough force to either stoppie (lift the rear wheel) or to lock the front wheel, additional braking force won't help. But better controllability can.
3. Why are braided steel brake lines so popular?
<heresy> Because they look cool. </heresy>
 
Actually race-quality lines, whether braided stainless or not, do have a functional advantage in that they tend to expand less. The enemy of brake controllability is flex. It can occur at the lever, at the caliper, or hydraulically in the hose. When flex occurs—whereever it occurs—the effect is "squishiness" at the lever. Instead of a nice linear relationship between force and travel at the lever, you gradually get greater travel for a given increment of force, screwing up the tactile feedback that makes accurate control possible. Beefy calipers, radially actuated master cylinders, and stiff hoses all help reduce flex.
 
BTW, the stainless steel braiding is mechanical protection to prevent chafing that could eventually rupture the line. It's more important on a racecar or in an aircraft than on a motorcycle, where the brake hose usually doesn't contact other parts in a way that can cause an abrasion problem.
 
I know a lot of riders experience a real improvement when installing braided brake hoses. But I think most of the improvement comes from either replacing old, tired hose or from getting the system well bled. Stock brake hoses these days, with proper fluid maintenance, are very effective. And in a blindfolded Pepsi Challenge, I don't think most riders—including me—could tell the difference between a good stock system and good aftermarket hose.
 


A superior rider uses superior judgment to avoid problems that would demand his superior skill.

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Smitty
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   Posted 12/10/2005 12:39 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

For some yrs now I have been using Kevlar lines in preference to braided SS lines of the past.  Less chance of them damaging parts of the bike they rub on or the worst being such thin bits of metal getting into my hands that I have to wait till it works its way almost out.  Though I know they are dipping them into plastic so none of the above.  Yet Kevlar is my preference.

It can get pretty hot here in the Summer & the braided or Kevlar will not allow the line to swell with the heat & so a loss in stopping power.  Sort of like just a while ago I replaced my auto-washing machine with braided lines & so not worried about either bursting.  Mind you I automatially turn off the hot tap once I am past luke-warm & the cold line when the washing is done.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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GeoffG
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   Posted 12/10/2005 9:48 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
DataDan said...
2. Is the number of calipers the big factor effecting brake performance?


No. In fact, there's not a lot of difference in braking performance across the spectrum of current motorcycles. Again, the differences are in user-friendliness. Two rotors up front require less caliper force to apply a given force at the contact patch, so less lever force is required, making it easier to apply. Ultimately the limiting factors in braking performance are tire grip and the tendency to transfer all the bike's weight onto the front wheel. If the brakes can apply enough force to either stoppie (lift the rear wheel) or to lock the front wheel, additional braking force won't help. But better controllability can.


Another advantage is lack of fade. Since each set of pads is applying less force to either rotor, heat buildup is less for the same stopping force. Brakes basically convert kinetic energy to heat, then waste it to the atmosphere--so a system which can absorb more energy and waste it more efficiently (two rotors have twice the surface area to radiate heat) will overload less easily. BTW, heat dissipation is also the reason for holes, slots, or wavy edges on rotors.

As for the requirement of less caliper force leading to lower braking force, this is true to a point--dual calipers are also going to require more fluid movement, so will require a larger diameter master cylinder (which leads back to higher lever pressure...).

And as noted, those reinforced brake lines (either steel or kevlar) probably won't make too much difference during normal use, but when heated up (more likely by intense brake use than by environmental conditions) they will be more resistant to expansion... BTW, the ability to withstand heat is also a major function of brake fluid, and the reason you don't ever want to have moisture in your brake system. Another point--the reason you don't want to have true race components on your street bike (like the CF rotors and pads used on MotoGP bikes) is that these components are designed to work only at the high temperatures created by constant hard braking at 200 mph--on the street, they'd never get hot enough to work effectively.
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Smax
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   Posted 12/29/2005 12:21 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Some very good info here, particularly GeoffG's: "...Brakes basically convert kinetic energy to heat, then waste it to the atmosphere...", why motorcycle brake systems are generally more effective in high stress situations, as the rotors are in the open.

"...BTW, heat dissipation is also the reason for holes, slots, or wavy edges on rotors....".
Another reason for the slots is to allow release of the gases produced during heavy braking (with the use of less and less organic brake friction material, this gas buildup is no longer the problem it was in the asbestos days), and some claim less dust w/'fancy' rotors. I'm sure the bling-factor is a large part, too, witness the 'ricers' w/their expensive brake 'decorations'.

I don't agree that the stainless wrap of the core (Kevlar, PTFE, etc) is present for abrasion issues. There is almost always a clear protective outer layer, as The Smitty mentioned. Rather, the SS limits/controls the inner core's expansion, allowing better lever/pedal feel, more immediate caliper actuation and improved high temp. function. Chaffing is not a problem in general automotive applications, nor should it be, ever...really.

The improved lever feel (post-SS line installation) can also be attributed to replacing the old, probably water-logged brake fluid (which is hygroscopic). I think it's important to note that brake fluid should be changed frequently (fluid type - your mileage may vary...), most manuf's recommend every 2-3 yrs, once a year sounds good to me for a performance application.

Also, always choose the proper brake pad for your intended use, i.e., don't run racing pads on the street, as most take too long to build necessary heat.

Happy stopping!


quiet GSX-R 1100

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 1/4/2006 7:07 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Been a while since I've been here. But good to see the post is still going strong.

The comment about replacing aged brake hoses is a good one, because hoses do age and become "softer" due to degredation of the inner tube material (I work in the hydraulic hose field for my job), caused by the water ingression into the brake system over time. Cycle manufacturers use the most effective but least costly brake hose on their bikes, also partly due to the amount of testing required for brake hoses as designated by the DOT and SAE. But, there definitely are better hoses out there. The best "feel" is achieved from hose with the lowest volumetric expansion (that's the change in hose volume in reaction to applied hydraulic pressure). If a hose does not expand, then the pressure applied at the lever is accurately transmitted at the brake pads. This is the "linear braking effect" that the magazine editors love, because you get very accurate reaction at the brakes to the amount of braking effort you apply with your hand.

Replacing your stock brake hoses and putting fresh brake fluid in the system does help. But the stock hoses will only again degrade. The better hoses have a Teflon or Nylon inner tube, reinforced with a stainless steel braided cover. Sometimes there is a clear cover over the stainless steel braid to apply the hose manufacturer name and size as designated by the DOT. Good hoses are can also be made with higher grade inner tube materials reinforced with Kevlar. But, Kevlar has to be covered by a synthetic rubber cover in order to protect it from moisture. Kelvar soaks up water and can quickly degrade. For myself, I would choose the Teflon inner tube with stainless steel braided cover style hose. Just be careful about routing the hose so the s/s braid doesn't abrade parts of your bike or the hose cover.

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PeeWee
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   Posted 1/4/2006 8:41 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hey Andy long time now word. Working at Road America this year? We'll be there ...
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Smitty
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   Posted 1/4/2006 7:43 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
My bikes have been fitted with braided SS lines from early 80s till '89 when I could obtain Kevlar front brake lines.  Oldest bike I have, & fitted with Kevlar, is the '97 Yamaha YZF600r proof that said Kevlar lies with their coverage has stood up said years.  My other bikes are in the hands of other owners or possibly junk shops so I really do not know. 


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 1/22/2006 8:38 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hi PeeWee. After all that fun I had on turn eight at Road America last June I can't wait to do it again!!
What a day that Saturday was! I helped ten riders that went down that day, and helped eight of the ten out of the gravel trap. Got a nice sovenior chunk of one of the Corse Ducati's carbon front fender on my desk, I'll bring it next June to get it signed. Consider me on the list for the corner workers!

I suggest to anyone interested in getting close to the action, seeing professional riders on the edge, over the edge and back, and for seeing in person the great details you wonder about in those great racing photos, volunteer to work a race. WHAT A HOOT! On Sunday one of the racers came to my corner, called to me, and thanked me personally for helping him out and back on the track. I thought that showed a lot of class.
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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 1/22/2006 8:54 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Some other comments.
S/S reinforced teflon lined hose has very low "volumetric expansion", that's what gives the improved solid feel of that type of hose. The teflon inner tube is quite strong, but the S/S braid also aids in that good feel. So Smax you are right on.
Since DOT 3 & DOT 4 brake fluid is hygroscopic it does absorb and hold water in suspension in the fluid. Water (even just 5% to 10%) in brake hoses causes the inner tube to soften and swell over time. That's why old brake hoses give that mushy feel. Most standard brake hoses use neoprene or nitrile (Buna-N) for the inner tube material. Both react to water over time, age and get softer. Change your brake fluid at least every two years. And remember, like tires, hoses are wearable items with a set useful life. Replace them and get that great feel back.
Whatever you do, do NOT put DOT 5 silicon base brake fluid into a brake system designed for DOT 3 or 4. The DOT 5 fluid WILL, I REPEAT WILL, quickly soften the hose inner tube and caliper piston seals, causing dragging brakes and various other ills. Trust me, learned the hard way years ago.
Multi-piston calipers are mostly to give improved linear feel at the brake lever. A single big piston can generate as much brake torque, but it won't have the good progressive feel of the multi-piston calipers. In fact some of the milti-piston calipers have different sized pistons to get that gradual feel. Also, since brake power is more a function of brake disc diameter, the further the caliper pistons are from the axle centerline the more brake torque can be applied. But, for those monster 330mm brake discs we need the small bodied multi-piston calipers in order to fit the whole works into the front wheel. A single big piston caliper would be too large to fit in there.

Oh, I know hoses because I'm an Application Engineer for the world's largest hydraulic hose and components manufacturer, Parker Hannfin. Been doing it for ten years now.
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KF
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   Posted 6/20/2007 7:57 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I do practice maximum braking occasionally. But commuting to work I also get some practice. Mostly this happens when the yellow turns red at an unfamiliar intersection. I may stop in the crosswalk but I stop hard and straight up and remember to shift back to first.
Something else I do as a habit. I always hit my foot brake a second or two first while I’m slowly squeezing the lever. In a “non-emergency situation”, I like to feel the rear foot brake before the front. I think this makes for more even braking, especially when the roads are wet.


Ride Slow,anticipate hazards!

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Bh121869
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   Posted 9/2/2007 8:46 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy VH said...

Wow, I expected some responses but the comments coming back are great!

Red Dog: Black and Blue for a while? That's hilarious!

Yellow Duck: excellant comment about braking skills for the speeds you ride. Definitely a must!

luiggispeed: excellant idea. I wonder why it hasn't happened. But think about the litigation happy society we live in. If the motorcycle manufacturers offerred that, and some edge of the gene pool shmuck wadded up his ride, and claimed "the antilock rear brake was supposed to keep me from falling" to the jury of non-riders, guess who looses. I think that's one of the main reasons the manufacturers leave it up to us as riders to save our butts. Almost any jury sees motorcycling as a high-risk endevour. By the way, if I got in court due to a motorcycle accident, could I get a jury of motorcycle riders with the same experience as I have? Jury of my peers? Doubt it.

I appreciate too, that many of you agree that many motorcyclists follow way too close. I see it all the time. And, I'm STILL surprised that I catch myself doing it, though my sense of "way too close" is still much further back. Guess that's a signal to me that life is interfereing with my riding (losing my focus), when my riding has always been my focus away from the daily life crap. It's one of the reasons I ride! Two wheeled therapy!!!!

Very good content and I fully agree with it all. I am still trying to get better on wet pavement as I get out in the rain now and then. I change bikes often and it makes being good at the stopping issue hard as they are two very different bikes. I am glad to see safety issues being discussed. Some forums do not touch on this.

 


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To The
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   Posted 8/25/2009 7:48 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Are you guys sure that the weight of a M/C will significantly impact the slide to stop or "brake to stop"  or "brake to avoid" distance?  Same goes for the increased size of the front tire patch from weight transfer?  Isn't that a little bit of "angels dancing on the heads of pins" for most street riders??  Won't two bikes even with a 300 pound weight disparity stop in pretty much the same distance, all other things being equal?

Also, in your braking distance, you mentioned a half second reaction time, but either didn't mention perception time or included it the half second.  Not many people perceive and react to a hazard that fast, and at 70mph, the time it takes to realize that the old lady in front of you really IS going to come over into your lane and then hit the brakes in front of you, and then react after you figure that out, adds quite a bit of distance to your stop from when the hazard first started evolving into a problem. 

Post Edited (To The) : 8/26/2009 2:51:46 AM GMT

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iman501
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   Posted 2/3/2010 9:20 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
as far as breaking goes i think i got lucky when i learned this. before i took the mfs course i didnt have any experience what so ever on a motorcycle or dirt bike or anything similar ( i couldnt even drive a standard transmition car at that point). but in the class they taught me to use both brakes, and not get into the habit of only using the front one.

and since thats the way i learned it, thats the way i ride!


bikes dont leak oil, they mark their territory

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louemc
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   Posted 2/5/2010 11:02 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
iman501 said...
as far as breaking goes i think i got lucky when i learned this. before i took the mfs course i didnt have any experience what so ever on a motorcycle or dirt bike or anything similar ( i couldnt even drive a standard transmition car at that point). but in the class they taught me to use both brakes, and not get into the habit of only using the front one.

and since thats the way i learned it, thats the way i ride!

 
You can stop learning if you insist on it,  Or...you could recognize that MSF was the starting point.  A critically valuable introduction to prepair you for the two wheeled experience, and get you going on the right track. 
 
There is more to learn.  The more you learn, the safer you are at facing situations that are beyond the scope of MSF to cover.
 
Your wheels are tools.  You might consider that you have to learn how to use the tools, because the wide variety of conditions that come up, require different use of the tools.
 
1.  Acknowlege that Pro's are Pro's because they know more than You do.
 
2. Work at doing what they did, to get there.  Riding dirt is extremely instructive in a safe way, and just plain fun at the same time. Track schools, under the instruction of Pro teachers instruction and observation and coaching, and associating with others that are on the path, is something you haven't been exposed to. 
 
 
There are times for front only,  There are times for rear only,  There are times for both front and back.  There are times for steering with the brakes and steering with the power.  You have to learn how to do things before the things are needed. 


 Focus the forces, Be The Force

Post Edited (louemc) : 2/5/2010 7:24:15 PM GMT

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 3/10/2010 10:32 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Good points Lou. What is so great about cycles is that there are SO many ways to control them, and make them do what you want or need them to do. However, that requires many skills and abilities that very few people inherently posses. For the rest of us, me included, that means training from people who know, who can teach us, and then us taking that training and using it and ADDING to it with every riding opportunity.

As to the comments about braking capability and cycle weight, its not equal to say that "Won't two bikes even with a 300 pound weight disparity stop in pretty much the same distance, all other things being equal?" Because wieght is mass, and mass figures into the "power" aspect of brakes. Brakes simply convert the energy of a bike in motion to heat while stopping. A heavier bike, having more mass in motion, requires more braking power to stop it. Now, if that 300 lb heavier bike had equivalent larger brakes than a lighter bike, to produce an equivalent braking effort, lets pick one "G" (gravity force) as the comparison. If both bikes could produce a One-G stop, and both bikes had skilled riders on them, and the braking conditions were the same, then yes both bikes shold stop in equal distance. But that bigger, heavier bike has to have bigger brakes to do it.

Front tire contact patch is a factor. As the front tire load is increased during braking, the contact patch does get bigger as the tire is deformed onto the road. But more important, the load force on the tire is met with the higher "normal" force, or seen as the force of the road pushing back up against the tire. The friction force (which is the actual braking effort at the road/tire interface) is increased as the normal force is increased, which produces higher braking effort and shorter stopping distance. This applies right up to, and even slightly beyond the point that the tire actually begins to slide on the surface. ABS systems produce very high braking effort when the tire with ABS control is actually slightly sliding, but still rotating on the surface. This again relates to the deformation of the tire contact patch while braking.

This isn't about "a little bit of "angels dancing on the heads of pins" for most street riders??" when we talk about tire contact patch and braking. Its about realizing all of what our bikes are capable of doing, IF we the riders develop the skills to use what our bikes can do. Its when riders are not aware, or chose not to use what the bike can do, that they can get in trouble. If they chose to not use the bikes capability, or figure those capabilites are beyond any riding they'll ever do, then they better ride a lot slower than they do, create a LOT more space between them and other road users, and stick to the light travelled straight roads.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org

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blazer45
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   Posted 8/3/2010 4:40 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hello I agree that drivers should practice front and rear brake both use in braking. Because, before I only using front brake then there is an incidence that makes me realized that it's important to use both. I was riding in a heavy traffic then suddenly a car bumps me at the back not so hard but its surprise me and I kind accelerate my bike a little then I suddenly hit my front brake and suddenly the brake cable breaks then my bike continues to run fortunately it was just slow and I manage to move my feet to the floor to stop my bike. I never use my rear brake because I never used to it but after that incidence I'm using my rear brake first then support by the front brake when needed.


www.customdirtbikegraphics.com.au

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Andy VH
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   Posted 8/3/2010 7:19 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I actually consider the rear brake on a motorcycle more as a "stability brake" than an actual strong contributor to reduced braking distance.

Under braking, using the rear brake to simply stabilize the bike (helping it track in a straight line) and reduce front fork dive (which helps stability by reducing the rake reduction with excess front dive), by using only medium rear braking effort helps the bike to track very steady and makes accurate application of the front brake easier.

But that does require that you get good at left foot to the ground first stops, which actually is VERY easy to do. I can very easily control the rear brake right to the end of the stop and almost always get my left foot to the ground first during stopping. I rarely if ever come to a stop with both feet down, as there is no real reason to do so. I ride a BMW R1100RS, I'm 5'-6" with a 30" inseam and wear regular motorcycle boots (Euro style I guess).

Using the rear brake for stability also make the stop smoother, if you use the left foot to the ground technique which allows controlled rear brake right up to the complete stop. I see many riders use the rear brake, then at the last 20' of so realease the rear brake to get both feet on the ground. But what that does, is when the rear brake is released, that braking effort is suddenly released and the front brake effort must be increased to compensate. Using both brakes, with the rear for stability, makes the bike simply "squat" into the stop evenly and smoothly. Your passenger will really appreciate the smooth action too.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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