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I practice hard stopping almost every time I go for a ride, I practice on deserted safe enough sections of road from 80mph down to 20 mph, I practice in car parks, dirt, wherever I can in an effort to increase my ability and confidence in hard, emergency type braking.

I cannot get over the something that is mentally blocking me from REALLY hitting the picks, I get a constant,overwhelming feeling that I'm about to lock up and go into an unrecoverable front end wash out.

A mental barrier.

This causes me to ease up on the brake, I catch myself and squeeze the damn lever harder in an attempt to get better at it.

There's one section of a back road near me, I have a marker (a convenient white post)that I use to measure my stopping distance.

I go around and pass it time and again at the same speed and try to get on the brakes harder and I just cannot seem to decrease it past a certain distance.

Stoppies?

HAH!

Forget about it, I don't really want to do them but it would be nice to know I could.

Please Oh Wise Ones, share some tips with a hapless non-stopper.

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Buy a bike with ABS, sorted!

 

Otherwise it's just a case of lots of practice, provided you don't yank on the brakes really hard initially and instead build pressure up you're highly unlikely to lock the front, the back is much more likely to come up first.

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You could try - on a cheap dirtbike, preferably - to lock the front on a slicker surface, like gravel, just to learn what happens when the front locks up. Other than that, I can relate; I don't mind bringing a tyre to the verge of lock-up when grip isn't overwhelming, but when using a soft track-oriented tyre I also get this uneasy feeling that I will not be able to cope should it lock up because I do not get the signals from the tyre I'm used to that grip is about to run out.

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I'm the opposite: I can squeeze that brake handle right through the throttle handle with no afterthought whatsoever. However, I need to reprogram myself that I can also use the rear brake when/if required. Something I had unlearned at the track. Of course, on my R1200GS, braking has several options with the ABS.

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Learning the proper technique for braking would be the best thing you could to. If you don't know about "locking in" to the tank, read up on it. It changes the center of gravity dramatically. If your triceps are burning after you practice, I'll guarantee you're doing it wrong. Take a day, set up some braking cones and work on locking your thighs into the tank (buy some stompgrip as it helps A LOT), sitting up straight, head up, looking forward; you know, all the things you learned in the MSF course. Pay STRICT ATTENTION to your arms, ensuring they're relaxed. That's the focus of the day. Don't worry about distance.

 

When you're hard braking and you have your weight on the bars (when you're not locked in), you've managed to get YOUR weight right over and just behind the front tire!!! That's going to get you to do a stoppie. The front tire needs to handle the pressure of stopping not only the bikes weight, but your weight as well. If the bike only weighs 400 pounds, 200 is A THIRD of the overall weight. You've just managed to shift all that pressure is right up front and high. No bueno.

 

Now, think about what happens when you lock into the tank. That's where YOUR pressure goes and that's where YOUR weight is pushing on the bike. It lowers the bikes center of gravity and puts it a couple of feet behind the tires. Sound fantastic? It is.

 

On top of that, the rear brake gives you only like 10% of your total stopping power. If you have the pressure over the front wheel, it's dramatically decreased (if you can dramatically decrease 10%), and takes longer to even be usable. If you keep the pressure between the tires, it will make the rear brake that much more effective.

 

If you're new to the track, and asking for track riding purposes, get the whole clamping onto the brake to slow down out of your head. You need to start thinking of the brake not to stop, per se, but to adjust your speed. You shouldn't be clamping onto the brake to prep for a corner on the track. There's a whole different method to that.

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Umm, I'm an Aussie.

What's an "MSF" course?

Hard braking.

It's not for the track, it's for street emergency stops.

Well, I suppose you'd need them for the Track too but I don't do many track days at all.

I do a lot of long distance touring though.

 

I don't really want to learn how to do "Stoppies". it's info on how to break through the brake barriers that's needed.

I do lock into the tank, keep pressure off the bars as much as I'm consciously aware of,arms relaxed etc, I just can't seem to get over the feeling and fixation that I'm just on the verge of a catastrophic front end lock up and loss.

 

I get on a dirt bike every now and then on a stretch of bull-dust, lock the front brake then plough through the gravel and dust with the front locked,just to get used to the feeling.

That I can do, it's just on tar that it spooks me.

 

Hmmm, there's a lot to be said for ABS bikes but I reckon I'd best get my head around hard front braking on a non ABS bike first, it'd be something that would always come in handy.

Cheers.

 

 

Learning the proper technique for braking would be the best thing you could to. If you don't know about "locking in" to the tank, read up on it. It changes the center of gravity dramatically. If your triceps are burning after you practice, I'll guarantee you're doing it wrong. Take a day, set up some braking cones and work on locking your thighs into the tank (buy some stompgrip as it helps A LOT), sitting up straight, head up, looking forward; you know, all the things you learned in the MSF course. Pay STRICT ATTENTION to your arms, ensuring they're relaxed. That's the focus of the day. Don't worry about distance.

 

When you're hard braking and you have your weight on the bars (when you're not locked in), you've managed to get YOUR weight right over and just behind the front tire!!! That's going to get you to do a stoppie. The front tire needs to handle the pressure of stopping not only the bikes weight, but your weight as well. If the bike only weighs 400 pounds, 200 is A THIRD of the overall weight. You've just managed to shift all that pressure is right up front and high. No bueno.

 

Now, think about what happens when you lock into the tank. That's where YOUR pressure goes and that's where YOUR weight is pushing on the bike. It lowers the bikes center of gravity and puts it a couple of feet behind the tires. Sound fantastic? It is.

 

On top of that, the rear brake gives you only like 10% of your total stopping power. If you have the pressure over the front wheel, it's dramatically decreased (if you can dramatically decrease 10%), and takes longer to even be usable. If you keep the pressure between the tires, it will make the rear brake that much more effective.

 

If you're new to the track, and asking for track riding purposes, get the whole clamping onto the brake to slow down out of your head. You need to start thinking of the brake not to stop, per se, but to adjust your speed. You shouldn't be clamping onto the brake to prep for a corner on the track. There's a whole different method to that.

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In my experience, as long as you gradually increase the pressure on the brake lever, you will start to feel the front end is sort of floating, kind of a vague sensation. The tyre will not lock up suddenly unless you hit a bump that bottoms the suspension. Quite often, it will also begin to howl a little before that. Anyway, when you have this sensation, you are at the limit of adhesion and there is no grip left (unless your name is Stoner, perhaps) to steer or apply more brake without a skid. My Triumph Sprint, fitted with a Pirelli Strada, was dead easy to get to that point, even at high speed. But my current Daytona based bike, fitted with the grippier Bridgestone and much stiffer front end springs, is harder for me. Perhaps because it stops faster than the Sprint without reaching its limit, or because I do not get the sensation from the tyre I need to get the confidence up. Regardless, the bike stops very quickly despite not being at the absolute limit.

 

But to get back to where I started; if you start from a rather high speed, like 120 kph, and gradually and very smoothly apply more and more pressure on the lever, you should be able to feel the limit without locking up. Should the wheel lock up, quickly releasing the brake will prevent a crash.

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I like the first two answers:

 

1) Try a bike with ABS. Yes, you want to learn how to brake hard on any bike, but with an ABS bike, you can squeeze and squeeze till you feel the ABS kick in. That's a pretty safe way to learn how hard you COULD have braked even without the ABS. If everything works as advertised, all you'll get is a little pulsing feeling. If you get greedy with braking a non-ABS bike, you could wash out fall down and get a big, expensive "surprise."

 

2) Play in the dirt. Better to lock it up and fall down off-road on the "soft" dirt than to push too hard on your sport bike, on a public street and crash at 120 mph. Aye? I have dirt on both ends of my daily commute, so I get a little slide practice when ever I want to play with the throttle or brakes. It's funny how much confidence you feel after the front ends gives a little slide here and there and nothing drastic happens.

 

The worst places to learn about sliding the front tire? On a down hill mountain road while loaded up with gear and your true love. Or, on a race track when you've decided to out brake your best friend by dragging the front brake and leaning over at the same time.

 

Good luck. Enjoy.

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Umm, I'm an Aussie.

What's an "MSF" course?

Hard braking.

It's not for the track, it's for street emergency stops.

Well, I suppose you'd need them for the Track too but I don't do many track days at all.

I do a lot of long distance touring though.

 

I don't really want to learn how to do "Stoppies". it's info on how to break through the brake barriers that's needed.

I do lock into the tank, keep pressure off the bars as much as I'm consciously aware of,arms relaxed etc, I just can't seem to get over the feeling and fixation that I'm just on the verge of a catastrophic front end lock up and loss.

 

I get on a dirt bike every now and then on a stretch of bull-dust, lock the front brake then plough through the gravel and dust with the front locked,just to get used to the feeling.

That I can do, it's just on tar that it spooks me.

 

Hmmm, there's a lot to be said for ABS bikes but I reckon I'd best get my head around hard front braking on a non ABS bike first, it'd be something that would always come in handy.

Cheers.

Klavdy,

 

MSF is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation of the US.

 

Bikes with ABS can still do stoppies, and while they allow you to "drop the anchor" with complete abandon, there are a couple of reasons for learning how to do emergency braking on an ABS-shod bike: First of all, an ABS system can fail, leaving you to know how to use the brakes without "training wheels". Secondly, on a surface with good traction, most riders* can get shorter stopping distances by NOT engaging the ABS system, than by getting the ABS to engage. Remember, the ABS works by noticing that the wheel has locked up. Locked up = skidding = longer stopping distance.

 

/PS: how many of those of you, who have a bike with an ABS system, brake routinely so hard that the ABS system engages? It should be done ~monthly to ensure it's working correctly.

 

*) Well, make that all riders I've trained that has gone through this, even on quite modern bike.

 

Regards,

 

Kai

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Brilliant info here! Klavdy if you're serious about learning to wash speed off effectively (road or track) then read Jasonzillas post a number of times over and over till you have a plan to try on the road.

 

Learning the proper technique for braking would be the best thing you could to. If you don't know about "locking in" to the tank, read up on it. It changes the center of gravity dramatically. If your triceps are burning after you practice, I'll guarantee you're doing it wrong. Take a day, set up some braking cones and work on locking your thighs into the tank (buy some stompgrip as it helps A LOT), sitting up straight, head up, looking forward; you know, all the things you learned in the MSF course. Pay STRICT ATTENTION to your arms, ensuring they're relaxed. That's the focus of the day. Don't worry about distance.

 

When you're hard braking and you have your weight on the bars (when you're not locked in), you've managed to get YOUR weight right over and just behind the front tire!!! That's going to get you to do a stoppie. The front tire needs to handle the pressure of stopping not only the bikes weight, but your weight as well. If the bike only weighs 400 pounds, 200 is A THIRD of the overall weight. You've just managed to shift all that pressure is right up front and high. No bueno.

 

Now, think about what happens when you lock into the tank. That's where YOUR pressure goes and that's where YOUR weight is pushing on the bike. It lowers the bikes center of gravity and puts it a couple of feet behind the tires. Sound fantastic? It is.

 

On top of that, the rear brake gives you only like 10% of your total stopping power. If you have the pressure over the front wheel, it's dramatically decreased (if you can dramatically decrease 10%), and takes longer to even be usable. If you keep the pressure between the tires, it will make the rear brake that much more effective.

 

If you're new to the track, and asking for track riding purposes, get the whole clamping onto the brake to slow down out of your head. You need to start thinking of the brake not to stop, per se, but to adjust your speed. You shouldn't be clamping onto the brake to prep for a corner on the track. There's a whole different method to that.

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