Motorcycle Braking

Only on a short introductory note, I'm going to tell that motorcycle braking should be rather a first thing to concentrate on when improving your riding abilities. It is not simple skill to learn and requires more time to master but it is probably the most important of all riding techniques as it makes your rides more enjoyable as well as can save you trouble. Bear in mind that anyone can accelerate but not everyone will know how to stop the motorcycle in a short distance. Simply, if you ride fast but cannot stop fast, you shouldn't be riding.

Firstly, we going to concentrate on the front brake as it's the most effective from the motorcycle braking system. Some riders choose to not even touch the rear brake lever, for reasons explained later, although it is obvious that applying both brakes will shorten your braking distance. 

The secret is in smoothness. Never grab but squeeze the liver. At the start, you'd want the bike's mass to transfer forward to load the tire. You only really need to close the throttle for this to happen but you want a little more of the weight transfer so to increase the front tire grip. Once the mass is shifted forward, you can continue squeezing the brake lever to create more braking power. This should really be happening in one continuous input. The first stage though should be more gradual and when you feel the front tire working you can squeeze it more quickly.

What happens if you grab the brake liver instead is that the front tyre can lock and you crash as there is not great deal of fraction going on between the tire and the road. In other words, the tyre's area adjacent to the road is not significant unlike when the motorcycle weight is shifted forward.

Remember the correct position and tighten your legs on the tank as you decelerate so you not pushing the handlebars. Motorcycle braking in a corner should not straighten up your bike and if this happens you're pushing on the bars. With braking only the radius will tighten up.

Motorcycle braking with downshifting

Perhaps not the easiest thing although we all know how to brake and downshift. Notice that only to smoothly downshift you need to bring the engine revs a little up to match the new revs with the gear. If you don’t, the rear tire will transfer to load and speed to the engine which can momentary lock the tire, and this is something you don’t want to happen. So the trick is to turn the throttle a little to bring the revs up and make the clutch engage in a smooth manner. 

Now, when you brake and want to downshift at the same time, the slight movement of your hand on the throttle can actually change the pressure on the front brake lever as this only involves you right hand. You will see that it is not that easy to control and maintain the pressure on the brake lever. Adjust your brake lever so it is most suited for your hand size.

When to use rear brake

As mentioned earlier, using your rear brake will shorten your braking distance. It is however, imperative to use it sensibly. As you know, braking will shift the mass of your bike forward and will take the some load off the rear tire. The load will depend on the front braking power.  In effect it will take a little pedal pressure to lock the tire. For this reason some decided not to use it at all. However, you should not ignore the advantages of using the rear brake.

Applying it  fraction of a second before the front brake stabilise the bike more for the reason explained below.

With the front brake applied you simply and most abruptly shift and the weight forward. The front end compresses and the rear shock rebounds. Applying the rear brake slows down the rear rebound and make the front end compression less intense which in turn adds to the motorcycle stability.

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