Results 1 to 27 of 27

Thread: Braking on the street

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default Braking on the street

    I'm pretty new to riding on the street and I'm having trouble with the multi-tasking...

    When exactly should I be using my brakes? It seems like 90% of the time I can scrub off speed using engine braking, I only really use my brakes when coming to a complete stop.

    Honestly, I can't even really manipulate the front brake unless the throttle is closed and I'm almost coasting.

    What am I doing wrong?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Page, Arizona
    Posts
    3,100

    Default

    You NEED to get to an MSF rider training class before you hurt yourself.

    While waiting to do that, find a nice, clean open parking lot to practice your braking.

    It sounds like you are riding at a nice, smooth slow pace if you are letting the engine do all the braking. That is fine, and a decent technique to use, when just coasting down from speed at your choosing.

    The problem is, when a car turns left out in front of you, your rate of deceleration is NOT going to be smooth, easy or at your discretion.

    Start by braking straight and becoming familiar with your front brake. You WILL need to master it's use to stay alive on the street. When the shit hits the fan, it will not be at a time or place or at a speed of your choosing.

    Begin slow at like 25 mph. Roll off the gas, clutch in and squeeze on the front brake. You can drag the rear brake at the same time to help, but on pavement 90% of your braking is going to be done by the front tire.

    Do circles around the lot. Get up to speed, and then brake. Practice, practice, practice. Every ten laps pick up the pace a little and gradually increase your lever pressure until you are getting good weight transfer (front end dive) and you are used to going from 50 mph down to a complete stop, downshifting, and then doing it over again.

    Do not GRAB the lever. Get to it quickly, then squeeze it on. As you roll to a stop in the last few feet, start easing off the pressure, to make a clean smooth stop, while tapping down gears.

    It takes time. Repetition is your friend. You are programming your brain. "Muscle Memory" and getting to know the feel for the proper pressure, weight transfer, and traction.

    Gradually increase speeds and how quickly you stop. It is an art. One that will save your life.

    In time, you will be able to stop on a dime, without ever looking at the levers or even thinking about all the various steps involved.

    Find an experienced biker to help show you. Then spend the time to learn how to do it properly.
    '09 DRZ-400SM #43V
    '05 KTM 525 SMR #43

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Page, Arizona
    Posts
    3,100

    Default

    Where are you located? I would be willing to help spend an afternoon with you to help save your bacon.
    '09 DRZ-400SM #43V
    '05 KTM 525 SMR #43

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Thomaston, and I appreciate it! Signed up for a class... But they are all so filled up it's like three months out.

    Riding on the street is nothing like dirt.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Page, Arizona
    Posts
    3,100

    Default

    Uhh, what state? Not familiar with Thomaston.

    In short, due to the level of traction in dirt, you primarily use the rear brake. Drag it and slide it around, being very delicate on the front brake so it doesn't tuck the front end.

    On the street, it's the exact opposite. You should be using primarily the front brake, as you have much better weight transfer to the front resulting in much more traction. The rear is used for slow, parking lot speeds, or helping "settle" the rear setting up for a corner. But, if you try to use alot of rear brake on the street, you are either using only a small fraction of your braking power, or you will lock the rear, skidding along doing little or nothing but getting you out of shape.

    You need to test the limits of your traction and gradually learn to trust how much more traction and strength there is in the front brake. Again, start working up to quicker stops in a STRAIGHT line. Eventually, you will learn to "trail brake" -braking deeper into the corners while turning-.

    But just get out there and start doing big ovals. Get out there, and roll up to speed in second or third gear, then brake down to a stop using the front brake only. Smoothly, yet firmly. Turn back the other way and repeat. Do this over and over.

    It helps if you have a braking marker... something like a painted white line in the parking lot, or even simply placing a rock or your water bottle on the ground. It helps to have a visual aid. Roll up at a constant speed, and then start braking at that marker. Notice where you stop. Maintain the same approach speed and then, using the same braking point (marker) try to gradually start stopping harder and in shorter distances. Make a game out of it.

    It may take a hundred "laps". But you will be learning. When it gets boring, do the same drill, but start increasing your run up speed. Then try to stop in the same distance as before.

    Again, be smooth. Ease on the lever firmly but smoothly. Then as you come to a stop, gradually ease off the pressure, for a nice, smooth controlled stop.

    Your forks should be compressing nice and smooth. Loading up, then unloading, not snapping down and then rebounding violently.

    If you lock the front wheel, just let off and re-apply. In a straight line, this is no problem. Your tire will give you plenty of warning.

    If you want an eye-opening demonstration, once you have gotten good at stopping fro your marker in a certain distance, go back and try doing it with rear brake only. You will be amazed at how much more distance it takes to stop. It may also suprise you to see how easily the rear tire locks when braking hard on pavement. No big deal. It's natural. But it demonstrates how much more effective the front brake is.

    Don't be embarassed. Have fun. Spend some time on your bike, getting to know it and learning some skills. You will be happier, safer and some day IT WILL save your life.

    '09 DRZ-400SM #43V
    '05 KTM 525 SMR #43

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    So... You're either on the gas or on the brake, never both?

    I think my issue is I'm trying to ride like I'm in the woods... Where there really wasn't much of a front brake.

    So clutch in and gas off when I slow for a corner?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Edit: haha Connecticut. There is a pretty big group of riders out here but I'm nowhere near ready for that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Page, Arizona
    Posts
    3,100

    Default

    Yeah, totally different street vs dirt.

    If you are rolling along at 30 mph or freeway speeds and you just want to shed some speed to make a turn, then just roll off the gas, and apply the brakes.

    If you are coming down to a complete stop, or really need to lose speed NOW, then clutch in.

    No reason to try to slow the bike AND the motor.

    It all depends on the corner, how much speed you need to shave off and what is coming up next.

    Moderate deceleration, just roll off the gas, apply the brakes lightly, then look through the turn, off the brakes, back on the gas and off you go.

    If you are slowing for a intersection turn, then roll off the gas, clutch in, apply brakes, tap down the appropriate number of gears, clutch out, roll on the gas.

    If you are in a stop sign situation or panic stop, then roll off the gas and clutch in at the same time. Get on the brakes hard. Tapping down gears as you slow (tap-wait-tap-wait-tap, not bang bang bang).

    Every corner requires a different formula. This is why it helps use a braking marker in the parking lot drill. While providing a visual aid, you are also programming your brain to recognize distance and approach speeds. This way, instead of blazing into a corner with no clue of time or distance, your sub-conscious mind is already "loaded" with a good amount of information, and it will select the appropriate approach speed, braking pressure and lean angle formula in a split second, without conscious thought.

    If you are at a point where you are rolling up to things, coasting around and not really comfortable with the various parameters of the bike, then the bike is in control. YOU need to master the bike, and tell IT where to go. Otherwise you are just a passenger.
    '09 DRZ-400SM #43V
    '05 KTM 525 SMR #43

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Do you teach riding courses? You break it down quite well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Page, Arizona
    Posts
    3,100

    Default

    Yes.

    Real tough on a computer.

    We can go over more in five minutes in person, than an hour of jabbering on a key board because it's more of a "show and tell".

    That's why you need to find a local "mentor" rider. Someone who can show you these techniques, demonstrate them in person, then watch and point out the proper techniques. Plus, it is fun to play a little "follow the leader" and mix things up a bit.

    But, I can't stress slow speed riding practice enough. Even if you aren't doing it just right for now, getting out there and just working on your balance, braking and smooth clutch and throttle control is HUGE. Most skip right over this, and want to go fast.
    They soon crash because they never learned the basics.

    Any bike will "ride itself" at speed. It's at a walking pace that you really learn to concentrate and polish your control skills. ...later those skills will save your bacon once up to speed.

    I don't care how many miles or years someone has been riding. If they haven't mastered the basic clutch/brake/throttle, and learned to be smooth and confident, then they really aren't "experienced". Example; You can get on your bike and log 3000 miles going across country on the freeway. Problem is, you will have not learned to balance, how to properly brake or understand the limits of your bikes tires, lean angles, etc. These guys will then go and fall right over in a gas station or parking lot. God help them if a corner "tightens up" on them, a dog jumps out in the road, or WHEN an idiot turns left right in front of them.

    Get out there, and work through being uncomfortable and nervous. We all started somewhere. It's 1000 times better to have your brain "programmed" and ready to go when the unexpected hits, even if you have only gone 20 miles in a parking lot.

    My survival bet money is on the "parking lot" guy every time, over the "I've ridden ten thousand miles in a straight line at my pace" guy. He's just an accident waiting to happen.

    *Do you have a local kart track supermoto day type of event anywhere near you???
    Go over there and watch, listen and talk to the riders. I am sure they will be more than happy to help you out. Don't be shy. Learn from other people's experience. It's much better than suffering through the damage, injury and frustration all alone just because you were afraid or embarassed to ask and go about this all on your own.
    '09 DRZ-400SM #43V
    '05 KTM 525 SMR #43

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    No... It sucks! Ive looked all over for some sort of real school or class further along than the DMV msf, very frustrating.

    If you ever move to CT hit me up!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Renton,WA
    Posts
    1,539
    Items for Sale

    Default

    Brakelate is so right on Also look and see if they have any TRACKDAY providers in your area and sign up for the BEGINNER course as they usually will explain braking and cornering to you in a Controlled environment

    What state are you in??? as I will look up track day Orgs in your area
    Debi (SMGRANNY) #764
    KTM450SMR
    04YZF250
    One bad azz Truck and a killer Stalker Van hehe "free Candy"
    Who says Granny's can't RIP

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Connecticut... I've looked all over! I'd be willing to travel and make a longish weekend if you know of any in the northeast

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    I do think a big part of it is the bike... I went from a 225 to an SMR510 (I wasn't buying too big cause I thought I could handle it, the deal was too good to pass up).

    But now I'm thinking I may be better off selling and looking for a dizzer to learn on.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Page, Arizona
    Posts
    3,100

    Default

    The SMR510 is a great bike.

    And honestly, the techniques are the same across the board, 225, 400, 510 or 1100 when it comes to braking.

    The DRZ WILL be much easier on the wallet and perhaps your emotions when it tips over. Some would say it is also more stable and predictable, but the weight is similar, if not more depending on specific example.

    Largely, these issues are psychological, not a matter of height/weight/hp specs on paper. If you feel comfortable on a bike, you will learn faster and find it a much more rewarding experience. Like a relationship, if the bike and you just don't "hit it off", then move on. Motor size, purchase price or brand name mean little to nothing compared to the feeling of a bike you jump on and just plain "fits".
    '09 DRZ-400SM #43V
    '05 KTM 525 SMR #43

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    I've gotten a lot more used to it. I had to get rid of the fast track mentality... You don't need To keep speed going in a corner where there is oncoming traffic. Also once I stopped covering the front brake it helped quite a bit with smoothness

    /stupid

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    54

    Default

    I am still a novice rider, I don't race and only drive at a moderate speed on streets. But I don't think I ever use the front brakes with the throttle open at all. Whenever I start applying the front brakes the throttle is already closed. I am not sure if its just because I am still somewhat of a noob or if thats normal for everyone.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Motodeficient View Post
    I am still a novice rider, I don't race and only drive at a moderate speed on streets. But I don't think I ever use the front brakes with the throttle open at all. Whenever I start applying the front brakes the throttle is already closed. I am not sure if its just because I am still somewhat of a noob or if thats normal for everyone.
    Ya pretty much on or off. For a complete stop... Corners I'll use It to scrub speed while on the gas steadily (cutting the throttle give me way to much engine braking and shift The weight too much)

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Personally, unless it's emergency (which is a great skill to have, necessary even) or spirited riding I mostly use engine braking and get on the brakes maybe 15' before my stop. The engine braking on my WR250 is just so good that it seems like a waste to not use it

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    386

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sanchez View Post
    Personally, unless it's emergency (which is a great skill to have, necessary even) or spirited riding I mostly use engine braking and get on the brakes maybe 15' before my stop. The engine braking on my WR250 is just so good that it seems like a waste to not use it
    I'd rather change brake pads than piston rings, but whatever floats your boat.
    2000 XR650R Supermoto- The bike is faster than the rider!
    1982 Yamaha XJ750 Maxim- Covered in truck bed liner, heavy, and fast- when all 4 vacuum slide carbs feel like working.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redlands, CA
    Posts
    136

    Default

    Here's a good rule to live by on the street IMHO.

    USE THE FRONT BRAKE ALL THE TIME when slowing down. Here's one reason.

    Think about what happens when you slow down...the weight of the bike transfers to the front wheel. Then where is the weight not at??? Answer: The weight is NOT on the rear wheel. If you apply REAR brake or just maintain engine braking alone you could stop the rear wheel. This is obviously bad, but lets talk about how this is connected to my "USE THE FRONT BRAKE ALL THE TIME" statement....

    If you lock a rear wheel and you are on the front brakes, the rear wheel will move about but it won't cause any major high side action because you have a large percentage of your weight forward (because you're using front brakes). If you were to lock the rear wheel WITHOUT front brakes applied, you wouldn't have a large percentage of your weight forward which mean the rear is going to be a larger part of your overall stability. If that rear is locked, you have a much higher chance of crashing. :-(

    So use the front breaks smoothly. They're strong and important!!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Anyone know of any track days within 5 hours of ct?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Taylors, SC
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Try NESBA, they do some tracks in Jersey and VA, and I beleive you can sign up for a free half day the first time
    '08 SMR450
    other 2 wheeled toys: '81 CB900F, '92 KDX200, '05 GS500F (wife), '07 CRF230F (wife), project bike '80 CB750F frame & body panels 1123 motor FCR carbs '95 GSXR forks '97 CBR900RR swingarm '02 CBR600F4i wheels

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    North West Connecticut
    Posts
    2,369

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurrican5547 View Post
    Anyone know of any track days within 5 hours of ct?
    http://www.tonystrackdays.com/

    Whats up Hurrican, I'm in New Milford, Ct. Anyone that I know around here that goes to track days is with Tonys. I haven't been a new rider in forever but I have to say whenever the meet spot is at a big parking lot early in the morning and the lot is empty I spend most of my time screwing around and surprise myself with how much I figure out. That would be my suggestion for around here. Get geared up and find some limits on the bike with no risk to others in a nice HUGE empty parking lot. More than anything get as much seat time as possible.
    Looking for excuses... TO RIDE !!!
    The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
    2012 KTM 500EXC , 2008 Aprilia SXV 550 , 1972 Suzuki GT750

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Jewett City, CT
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Hey aptard, did you see that they added Thompson to the list and it says it will be in the 2014 schedule? That is awesome, I definitely want to make some of those, and will try to venture out to some of the other tracks, at least to watch and hang out.
    '08 Ninja 650R selling for a sumo...
    '01 Wr246f project bike

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    North West Connecticut
    Posts
    2,369

    Default

    Yea that looks cool! If the timing and money is right I might be there.
    Looking for excuses... TO RIDE !!!
    The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
    2012 KTM 500EXC , 2008 Aprilia SXV 550 , 1972 Suzuki GT750

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Lots of good info here.
    I have helped some new riders in the past, and have Ride Like a Pro dvd - it's a motorcycle cop training type video with drills and stuff to practice in the parking lot. I like to run these with new riders and really helps get a good feel for the bike.
    I'd be happy to get a copy to you, either a hard copy or electronic copy...
    Let me know if you'd be interested.
    '08 WR250X
    SOLD - '09 KTM 690 SMC

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •