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Here is the explanation on why racers master a rear brake use:

There is an alternative to closing the throttle to tighten your cornering line, and that's draggin the rear brake. This racetrack technique is especially easy in left-hand corners due to the placement of the brake pedal, and is the reason why thumb-operated rear brakes have been appearing on race bikes over the past few years. The problem with closing the throttle mid-corner on the racetrack is that you're often much nearer the traction limit than you would be on the street, and closing the throttle transfers weight onto the front tire, a front tire that may not be able to handle it. Instead, racers have learned to leave the throttle steady and drag a bit of rear brake.

Nick Ientasch book Sport Riding Techniques " Page 38 - Chapter 4, Steer that Thing

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If adding a little throttle can (re-)tighten your line, how does using a little rear brake also tighten it?


The whole back brake discussion usually runs for ever. I'm not that quick but I use some rear brake to stabilise the bike. When the limit of rear traction comes under braking, the chain can clatter a bit (MX styleee) and you'll feel the rear starting to hop a little, so you have to back off. Many people don't use the back brake because modern bikes have such good front brakes and suspension that you can get away with it, I'm not convinced it's the best thing to do though.

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  • 1 month later...

Found this little interesting bit:


Even if you're going to have to go off-line to pass somebody, you really need to have good braking reference points," explains Schwantz "You also have to be really smooth in your transition off of the brakes. For me it was always one or two fingers and just the front brake, I never used the rear brake at all."


"Muscling your way past somebody on the brakes involves just having the confidence to go up the inside of them, and also that you can make that transition smoothly onto the brakes and get all your hard braking done. Once you get to the turn you've got to be able to hold that line and be able to get out of the corner to keep the other guy from coming back underneath you."


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Hey Crosby,

There are only a few times I use the rear brake

1.) I accidently hit it with my foot

2.) I run off the track and need to stop

3.) I am on the throttle and start to wheelie

4.) I am going into a corner way to hot

5.) My front brakes fail

6.) I am sitting on my bike in the garage drinking beer and decide to work out my right calve muscle


7.) Need to change the front sprocket, so get someone to stand on the rear brake to undo the nut :)

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How about Rossi and the other GP lads coming into the turns with their foot off the brake pedal?



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Scrubbing off speed and tightening your line I just got done reading in Nick Ienatesch's book... I prolly just botched his name, but it's definiely something I'm going to experiment with at the track the next few weeks...


What's the suggested approach mate?



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  • 3 weeks later...

I actually spent some time on this topic last year. I personally have been using the rear brake for years on tracks, just a split second push just before the front brakes are put into use. It really does help with front end dive and tail wag in heavy braking zones. The thing is I was reading an article about how to use the rear brake in corners to tighten a line? There is some truth to it, not sure if this is because of affects on suspension, or it really just slows you down, but it does work fairly well? Problem is, if you have a SR #1 while using the rear brake, you had better get off the peddle before you roll off the throttle!! It gets sketchy very quickly!! (not that I would know, LOL)

I ride a V twin 1000, so SR 1 is a biggie to me, I can push the front end out if I go anything past neutral throttle at almost any speed in 1st or 2nd gears. I did try to learn it some, but is was too distracting to be of major benefit to my riding? It also has a bit of clash with throttle roll on out of corners? It took to much timing for me to use, but if I remember correctly, Fredie Spencer smoked his rear brake every race because that is how he controlled the power of the 500cc two strokes of the day? He knew when the tire would light up, and drag the brake to control drive in and out of corners? Not sure this is useful, but stuff I have tried?

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