by Dave Hansen,
By request, this month I’d like to share my thoughts on braking.
These thoughts are not meant to be construed as the “correct” or
“only way” to apply your brakes, but rather than try to tell you how you
should use your brakes, I’m simply going to describe the techniques I use.
First of all, almost all of my braking is done with my front brake.
This allows me to become extremely comfortable with the properties and
limitations of my front brake. I can
control it well enough to allow me to maximize my stopping power without lock
I rarely use my rear brake, but here are the times when I will use my
Whenever riding on gravel roads,
I apply rear brake first & cautiously
Riding in rain, I apply both
front & rear brake together, cautiously
Riding “two up” & needing
to stop quickly, I add rear brake after applying front brake to begin
braking & initiate weight transfer
In “panic” braking
situations, I add rear brake cautiously
after applying front brake to begin braking & initiate weight
The reason I never jam on the rear brake in “panic stop” situations
is because it can & will result in over application of the rear brake.
This over application will cause rear wheel lockup as soon as the weight
transfers to the front tire due to the motorcycle & rider mass’ reaction
to the braking forces, reducing weight & traction to the rear tire.
Once rear wheel lockup occurs, you have only one correct choice; keep it
locked until you are completely stopped. This
may cause you to “low side” but, if you release the rear brake you
will “high side”.
Let me add a few thoughts about how road hazards at this time of the
year should also be considered while braking.
If you encounter leaves on the road, you should already be riding slower
& more cautiously than normal. For
braking on leaves I use either the gravel or rain braking technique depending
upon my assessment of the particular conditions I’m facing.
We’ve all been told how slippery wet leaves are, but leaves that look
dry can actually be wet underneath & really fool you.
The same holds true for seemingly dry roads that are actually covered
with “black ice” or a thin frost layer that doesn’t seem apparent at first
glance. Be extremely cautious when
riding in weather conditions that lend to these road conditions being possible,
especially early morning hours.
Just some food for thought.
Words of Safety