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Motorcycle Message Board - Motorcycle USA > MotorcycleUSA.com! > MotoGirls > Proper braking technique on cruisers, for the ladies!  Forum Quick Jump
 
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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 5/13/2009 8:32 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yes, I am a male rider posting in the women's forum, but for good cause. It relates to my other post in the cruisers forum about about proper braking control for bikes with floorboards and raised rear brake pedals, and the resultant high likelyhood for rear tire lockup. This relates specifically to women riders, and riders with smaller feet. I post this because I have seen the results during the ERC classes I teach.
 
In my other post I detail a technique that greatly helps brake control during high effort braking and quick stops. The challenge with floorboards and raised rear brake pedals; is that if you use the ball of your boot on the pedal with your heel off the floorboard, your brake application uses all the large leg muscles along with near full leg weight on the pedal. This makes it VERY difficult to modulate that rear brake with any finesse. I think given the HUGE popularity of Harley's, and the wrong braking techniques I see, it accounts for MANY of the results of bike crashes where the rider looses control.
 
Many new cruiser riders are women, and many of them favor the cruisers for the low seat height. But with that comes that raised rear foot pedal. Now unless they were well-trained car drivers with very good feel for the brake pedal during high effort stops, the more common braking reaction is to TROMP on the ol' brake pedal. When those drivers now become cycle riders (especially of limited riding experience) that same braking action on the rear brake pedal is highly likely. The rear tire locks, the bike's stability is compromised, and the rider has her hands so full of trying to control this 800 lb cycle that proper front brake use is near impossible. It makes for very long poorly controlled stops, and quite likely a lot of dumped bikes.
 
My other post details the technique to avoid over-braking the rear brake. But the challenge for women riders is they generally have smaller feet. Which means they might not be able to keep their boot heel on the floorboard while applying the rear brake for good control. And even a small woman will have plenty sufficient leg strength to over-power the rear brake in a panic stop. So here are some other factors for the small footed rider of HD and metric cruisers:
1. Get rider training. Now here, women almost always out-shine the guys because they are more willing and receptive to the idea of rider training to ride a cycle (none of that macho "I know what I'm doin' crap").
2. REALLY IMPORTANT! Get your cycle's rear brake adjusted to get the pedal down lower to the floorboard, or at least as low as it can be.
3. Adjust the floorboard to angle more up at the front, which will also get the pedal closer to the floorboard.
4. Practice your high-effort quick stops to really develop the muscle memory and reaction moves. Get used to REALLY USING THE FRONT BRAKE! On a cruiser it can be used much more than most riders apply.
 
Now, making the adjustments to the rear brake pedal and floorboard will reduce the effectiveness of your leg muscles, but that is the whole intent. So that means you HAVE to get used to using the front brake a lot more. Its my assumption, and I may be wrong, but I'd bet that high dependance on the rear brake for most stops is more common on cruisers with floorboards.


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

Post Edited (Andy VH) : 5/13/2009 10:33:22 PM GMT

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talon
she rides



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   Posted 5/13/2009 1:56 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thank you Andy :-) I only use my rear brake to settle the bike in turns and I'm lucky enough to have a brake pedal that allows me to keep my heel on the floorboard. I add front brake only when I'm coming to a full stop. When stopping I start gently on the rear and immediately add the front to the degree required by circumstances. This sequence stops the bike very quickly in a controlled fashion (don't know the physics of that either but it works). The back brake settles the bike, but the front brake seems to be the brake that STOPS the bike.


Ride it like you want to ride tomorrow.

Post Edited (talon) : 5/13/2009 9:01:02 PM GMT

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scooterstock
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   Posted 9/3/2009 10:23 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for the information. It is a good idea to post in the cruisers forum about about proper braking control for bikes with floorboards and raised rear brake pedals, and the resultant high likelyhood for rear tire lockup.

Post Edited By Moderator (Rich_S) : 9/4/2009 4:25:11 PM GMT

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psbros
Lets Go For A Ride!



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   Posted 2/2/2010 5:34 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Get out to a Parking Lot and Try it OUT! Play around see what happens front, back. Get use to your Controls! and have fun.

Post Edited By Moderator (Rich_S) : 3/30/2010 8:52:34 PM GMT

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 7/15/2010 6:44 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Here are some more thoughts on why/how it is critical to get your floorboards set up right, to give you the best option for good braking control. This comes from my post in the crusiers forum on proper setup for bikes with floorboards:

During braking, especially hard braking, weight transfer forward can cause the rider to move forward too. Or, at least the feet and leg wieght of the rider moves forward, adding force onto the brake pedal. If the bike has a fairly flat seat, the rider will slide forward during braking, or even just the lower portion of the body, from the hips down, and this could easily apply more braking pedal force even when the rider tries to minimize that action. If the rider is good at using the front brake (and with many cruiser style bikes the front suspension is fairly soft), a lot of front end dive will cause the rider weight to shift forward more, again applying more rear brake action. This is an example why it is critical to practice braking, and get very efficient with BOTH brakes. Using the right amount of rear brake in balance with the front minimizes front end dive. When a rider claims "I only use the front brake!" you also have to consider what he/she is riding to determine why that claim is made.

On a bike with footpegs, especially forward pegs like on a HD, that action is limited because the boot on the peg cannot continue to move forward during braking, and the rider can push against the footpeg to stabilize against the braking action. I have seen a LOT of cruisers with floorboards set up so the boards are very slightly angled up. So during braking, it would be very difficult to hold your boot in position while applying the brakes, just because the boots would naturally want to slide forward on the boards. So the setup of the boards to the controls is also critical for good control. The board position should allow for easy operation of the brake without ever having to lift your heel off the board. But the angle of the board should also be such that your foot doesn't slide up during heavy braking. Have to be careful here too, because too much angle on the boards means your boots will slide down on them all the time, or they'll ahng down so low that they'll drag too easily in corners. However, for the ladies with smaller boot sizes, its even more critical/difficult to get the right height from the floorboard to the pedal to allow for the heel to remain on the floorbard, without requiring a lot of angle on the floorboards.

These are some of the reasons I don't like floorboards on bikes, too many compromises of good control. But to each their own. Just make sure the setup of your floorboards are optimized for good control and not just good comfort. Get the right angle on the floorboard, get the right height of the brake pedal above the floorboard, because both of these factors determine the leverage control on the brake pedal and the resultant force applied.

On some bikes, the brake system is at issue too, even how the brake system is operated. Some bikes have very linear brake systems, meaning the brake feel/response is very consistent as more pedal pressure is applied. On some bikes, due to lever angles and linkage setups, the "gain" on feel/response is not linear and the brake force achieved per application force goes up too quickly. Again, this may relate to how the floorboards are set up relative to the actual brake lever action, which is the first place I'd look. May need to have a rider on the bike operating the brake, and then also look at the mechanical action of the leg, foot, pedal, lever as the brake is applied to see if any "over braking" action starts. Then adjust the floorboard position/angle as needed to get the result needed.

As simple as floorboards are, there is a LOT to consider in setting them up right.


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

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Helga
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   Posted 4/18/2011 5:58 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
It is my first time here and I am learning a LOT from you guys!

Keep it coming!
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chyna
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   Posted 5/9/2011 4:41 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thank you for the good information. I am new too, and a newbie rider. Did ride before but 25 years ago, today it's like I never rode before. Took the course, and got licensed. So back then I never had any good education. Just got on and rode. Wonder how I ever servived! I am 56 years young now and plan to be older. So I am reading all the information I can get my hands on, and practicing my turns, shifting and stopping. When I am ready (and only then) I plan to commute to work on my motorcycle. One thing that hasn't left me from riding years ago, is, I loved it!
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