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Look, Ma - No Brakes!


faffi
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Did a 350+ km (220 mi.) ride together with a friend today, and for the first 110 km I only touched the brakes twice - to stop for red lights. Otherwise, I focussed on matching my road speed to the conditions - be that small roundabouts or hairpins or traffic - with nothing but the throttle hand a a little bit of gearbox use.

 

For the remaining 2/3 of the ride, I still did my very best to stay off the brakes, but some hills were too steep with several really tight 180 (or more) hairpins, requiring a light touch of brake here and there. And one section was simply too nice to waste not using a bit of brake. But not once did I brake beyond gentle. My friend had the same goal, but kept rushing the corners and as a result exiting on the back foot. He still learned a lot today, though, and managed to build up a lot of confidence he lost during a spill he had late in 2008.

 

Without the use of the brakes, it was harder to get the entrance speed just right for obtaining my own maximum cornering speed, which just added to the relaxation and safety margin. I still got rid of most of the remainder of the chicken strips on the front tyre, and that without a hint of drama.

 

I do prefer to use the brakes lightly when approaching slow/sharp corners, however so that I do not have to start slowing quite so early, and also to better find the exact entry speed. I know it is cheating, but some cheating is good, I reckon :D

 

Although I have tried to ride smoothly more often than not during my 30 years of road riding, I have never taken it to this level before. This kind of relaxing pace made a lot of sence - and was great fun! I can get used to this!

 

 

 

 

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Yepp, using no brakes made it easier for me to

 

- get turn entry speed right

- hit a constant turn-in point, and

- then follow throttle control rule #1.

 

Although the ability to brake is very important - I recommend it to all new riders until they have a sense for the entry speed and necessary (steering) flick-rate.

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Absolutely 'no brakes' can be not only really beneficial to developing your sense of speed, but also fun.

 

Myself and a couple of mates used to roll down the local twisty mountain here with the idea that we'd eventually prove that the desire to "comfort brake" can be overcome. We got there, was a great exercise, but something best left for a safer place such as a track.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXsPVeF6-RA

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Nice video.

 

One thing that became really apparent was how much the bike would slow by itself when you leaned in quickly and far. Moderate lean doesn't affect speed all that much, but as you go beyond 40 degrees (guesstimate) things slow down in a hurry.

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In my experience, it has to be a fairly steep hill, just to keep the speed up.

On my commute I have a road that goes downhill for about 1km, but even if I start out at 60kph and pull in the clutch, the speed will drop to around 50-55kph. I guess this is why you're having the engine in neutral, as it gives less drag from the gearbox.

 

Regards,

 

Kai

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No brakes - i.e. NO brakes, not even a touch. That get's you pretty well tuned to your corner entry speed.

 

P.s. If you are going to try this make sure you leave the engine running.. keeps the oil warm so your gearbox doesnt suffer if it's too long of a coast.

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