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Leaning & Brakes


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Hello,

 

I did a track day yesterday at Infineon Raceway. I was going for a pass on the inside of a rider entering the carousel. (long sweeping left turn going downhill) The rider I was about to pass sharpened his line and moved right in front of me. To avoid his back wheel from touching my front wheel, I had to slow down to let him in. I lightly touched my front brake (while leaned over), which made my bike very unstable. I was able to let the bike settle and continue on. So my question, what is a better/safer way to scrub off speed while leaned over, without touching the front brake? I didn't have room to stand the bike up, or sharpen my line as I was on the very inside of the turn.

 

Thanks.

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Yoga,

 

You're not left with very many choices at the point your were in. I can only see two options: roll off the throttle a bit (may not be quick enough) or using the rear brake.

Either case will more more weight to the front, so you may still get the same problem with an unstable bike.

 

My best recommendation would be to avoid getting into the situation next time around - either make a clean pass on the inside before coming to the turn-in point, pass on the outside, or wait with the inside pass until after the apex where the line of the rider in front of you is more predictable.

 

Kai

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To be honest it sounds like you were a bit close to him for a track day, though these things happen, it's not an ideal world. Over here they'll often tell you off for passing people on the inside mid-corner as things like this will come about otherwise.

 

I think I'd go for a bit of back brake, not sure TBH

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No room to move your bike? Sounds like you ended up between a rock and a hard place... Well if you absolutely cannot move your bike anywhere, I'd say that rolling off the throttle and braking is the only option.

 

But this situation is a great one to illustrate this point - when you have a very fine margin between staying upright and crashing, do you want more feel and control or less? Do you have more feel and control in your fingers, or in the bottom of your foot? wink.gif Even in that situation I would not try and reach for the back brake, it would be front brake all the time. The back brake would not provide more stopping power... am I right in guessing that the only reason it's suggested is because people are afraid of locking the front wheel? That is where experience, skill, feel etc. all come into it. Is the possibility of locking the front and lowsiding really worse than the possibility of locking the rear and highsiding?

 

Yogatriathlete, do you think that maybe the bike was unsettled because you made a quick move to the brake? I have surprised myself with what's possible when I'm leant over and smooth with the brake.

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As long as the rear wheel sits on the ground, you stop faster using its available grip for slowing. Plus applying the rear brake momentarily before the front brake will hunker the bike down, lowering the CoG and make it possible to stop in a shorter distance. Rear brakes are good.

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That's true Eirik, but in this particular case we're talking about braking while the bike is leant over in a corner... and probably not with enough time to think about first applying the rear brake before the front? (If that would even provide any benefit while the bike is leant over?)

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You're right, went back and read original post. Applying the front brake when leaned over will try to stand the bike up to a smaller or lesser degree (some bikes will just straighten right up violently, others will more or less just carry on along their chose trajectory) whereas applying the rear brake will tighten the line while also slowing the bike, of course, just like using any brake. I cannot tell you the physical laws behind this, but it is very easily felt in a corner when applying this or that brake.

 

 

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I cannot tell you the physical laws behind this, but it is very easily felt in a corner when applying this or that brake.

 

 

 

One of my fellow CSS students asked about this during one of our Level II classroom sessions. While none of us were physics professors the answer we arrived at after some discussion on what causes the difference in what the bike does depending on which brake you apply was the application of the drag effect and which tire it is applied too. using the front brake applies the braking drag to the front wheel and results in lots of negative suspension stuff that makes the bike stand up, but the application of that same drag effect on the rear tire doesn't cause the same ill effect's as the front wheel is free spinning, and the weight shift forward as you apply the brakes has the same effect on your wheelbase as applying the hook turn technique plus a reduction in speed resulting in the tighter line you get with trail breaking

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The reason I have been asking about those questions about using the rear brake to tighten a line is because that very question was asked at my recent Level 1 day. I'm lead to believe that it's actually something that is taught by another training group here in Australia (and probably others across the world) as a valid technique. But to paraphrase the answer that was given to our Level 1 class: Using the rear brake to tighten your line - no.

 

I see it as a Survival Reaction more than anything else ("Oh no I'm going too fast > I need to slow down > rear brake > ahhh... I feel safe now"). I have done it myself, especially on the street - but now that I think back to those instances my use of the rear brake was also accompanied by a steering input which is what actually tightened my line. I would bet money that anyone who uses the rear brake to tighten their line is also making a steering input.

 

In addition to that - I would argue that the effectiveness of the rear brake would be much less than the natural slowing effect of the bike turning. If I want to tighten my line, I make my steering input, keep the throttle closed, and do not make any additional input to the handlebars. The very act of cornering will reduce my speed, my lean angle does not change - therefore the combination of a lower speed for the same lean angle will result in a tightening line. And having experienced firsthand just how much speed can be shed simply by cornering and leaving the throttle closed, I would be very sceptical that anyone could use the rear brake to achieve the same result.

 

Edited to add: that is also the only option if you're already at max lean angle.

 

Maybe if we ask one of the Riding Coaches nicely they will be able to help explain this?

Edited by mugget
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In addition to that - I would argue that the effectiveness of the rear brake would be much less than the natural slowing effect of the bike turning.

 

I don't buy that. The rear brake can generate a substantial amount of retardation.

 

Many racers (pre electronics, at least) used the rear brakes to modulate power. They could easily go through a set of pads plus disc in one race.

 

A quote:

Marco Lucchinelli

USE THE REAR BRAKE I took the Ducati Riding Experience racing course at Misano, Italy, a few years ago, and my instructor was 1981 500cc World Champion Marco Lucchinelli. Belying his nickname, Lucky spent time in prison on drug charges and frankly wasn't riding like a man who had beaten racing greats with names such as Roberts and Rossi--or at least their dads. The only memorable advice he gave me was, "You should use the rear brake." When I asked him why, he said, "Because there are two," and then explained how using the rear brake to scrub off unwanted speed mid-corner is safer than adding more front brake pressure.

 

Here's an article on the rear brake use:

http://www.sportride...ke/viewall.html

 

 

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