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Heavy Braking


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Hi All

 

At my local track there is a 180 degree tight 1st gear bend.

 

On approaching this bend from a long straight it is hard on the brakes to get the speed right down.

When I have been HARD on the brakes to get my speed down, I have been passed by an instructor who it seemed to me was still on the gas.

HOW could he do this, I know that he will be going round the bend faster than me, but it is a very tight 180 deg, so surely the difference in speed can not be so great.

I have no idea how he could bring the speed down so quick.

The only conclusion I can arrive at is that I can squeeze the brakes a damn sight harder than I imagine, but it already feels to me that I am at max squeeze, any more and I'll be doing a stoppie.

Any thoughts?

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There is an art to braking....It's just not squeezing the lever and that's it. For me it's applying enough pressure to set the calipers against the pads, then squeezing the lever to compress the forks with linear pressure. As I do this, the action becomes smooth and I transition the weight to the front. This creates feel and control.It takes your mind off the fear of braking hard. The one aspect that brings this all together is looking through the turn. You can go much faster and brake later when you focus through the turn. Practice, practice, practice.

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It should probably also be mentioned that the bike with the longest wheelbase and biggest trail can break the hardest before lifting the rear wheel.

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When I described how I apply brake pressure..it's not segmented like I set pressure against the pads then compressing the forks..etc, etc...Its one motion...off the throttle..and squEEEEzzzzz..throttle. Depending on the type of corner the pressure and duration of the squeeze is different but the motion is the same for me.

 

There are other factors such as fork springs, fluid levels, single or double rotors, tire condition, track conditions and as khp mentioned length and trail of the bike....Braking shouldn't be a scary experience. It should be second nature and it pretty much has to be if you want to go fast. It takes practice...the tools you learn in school...and familiarity with the bike you are riding.

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Well I think i am pretty smooth and it don't scare me, in fact i quite like it laugh.gif gives me a bit of a buzz, its just that it seemed to me quite impossible the speed he came past me whilst I was full on the brakes. He might well have had top quality all singing all dancing brakes, how much difference they make, i don't know, but the impression I got was that I must surely be able to brake harder than I am. How can you find the limit without eating asphalt ?

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its just that it seemed to me quite impossible the speed he came past me whilst I was full on the brakes.

 

I'm sure many a professional race has had the same thought whilst being passed by a fellow racer who was much later on the brakes yet still made the next corner without dificulty

 

You mentioned he was a instructor so how would you say his track experience with this corner and entry relates to yours ? Also are you using the same turn point or is he turning in later then you, If you combine a little bit more experience with the turn and a little bit more practice braking late with a slightly higher entry speed I'm sure the result will seem like he's blowing past you at a insane rate of speed

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If you like to set your entrance speed before turning in, somebody braking deep into the corner have a lot more distance to get stopped than you. Also, the instructor may be able to flop the bike over on its side much quicker than you, meaning he doesn't need to scrub off as much speed as you. Among other things.

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It sounds like there are a few things going on. You may be able to brake harder than you think, this is not so uncommon. I'd love to tell you how to try it but I'm not that good. Second, as said above if they use a higher speed around turn-in then they're not slowing down as much as you. This is possible by (1) bigger nuts and (2) quick turn-in later than a slow turn-in. Finalyl it sounds like you're braking from a high speed - this means if you don't have a good reference point then a moment's hesitation will see you braking much later (in distance) than usual. The natural reaction to this is to brake a touch earlier to be on the safe side. Have you got reference points for starting and ending braking?

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If the other rider's bike is lighter weight and/or has better suspension or brakes, it is certainly possible that he can brake harder or later, and/or carry more entry speed than you. If you have started braking and he has not, the apparent difference in speed can be startling, even if he starts braking only a fraction later than you.

 

With regard to technique, as Eirik said - if you are setting your entry speed for your initial turnpoint, in what sounds like a double-apex turn, you may be setting a lower entry speed than he is. He may be choosing to trail brake and scrub speed all the way to the second turnpoint, sacrificing mid corner speed in order to keep that straightaway speed longer - or maybe just for the purpose of passing you. This technique can be great for passing, but be aware that the margin for error gets really small - if you come charging into a turn, leaned over and trail braking, you really don't have room to adjust anything if you make an error - you can't squeeze the brake any harder for fear of overloading the front, you can't make steering corrections, etc.

 

What is telling you that you are braking as hard as you can now? Is the rear end wagging, sliding, or lifting in the air? Is the front end vibrating or chattering? Have you put a zip tie on your front fork to see how much your suspension is compressing?

 

Is there any chance you are bottoming out the front suspension? That can give a false sense of being at the braking limit - so can excessive front end dive. Being stiff in your arms can give false feedback, too, and adds more weight to the front than necessary.

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How can you find the limit without eating asphalt ?

 

Very good question. I used to think that I would have to crash to be able to find the limit, but that's not true at all (whether we're talking about cornering, braking, whatever). Actually that's a really bad outlook to have, to think that you need to crash to find the limit. Dangerous and expensive. The bike will give you signs that you're nearing the limit, like Hotfoot mentioned - rear end moving around, front end vibrating, chattering etc. But you've got to recognise those signs rather than continuing to push on far beyond that point.

 

Was this at a regular track day, or was it a CSS instructor (have you attended the Superbike School)? After I did Level 1, the main thing that struck me at my next track day was just how early most people brake for a corner. I used to ride like that as well, I think the main reasons is because I thought I was "being safe", and since that's how a lot of others ride it's easy to get sucked in and just copy their line, braking points etc.

 

Also keep in mind that the very act of turning the bike will scrub off speed. Do you enter the turn and have the feeling that you could be going faster?

 

 

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How can you find the limit without eating asphalt ?

 

Very good question. I used to think that I would have to crash to be able to find the limit, but that's not true at all (whether we're talking about cornering, braking, whatever). Actually that's a really bad outlook to have, to think that you need to crash to find the limit. Dangerous and expensive. The bike will give you signs that you're nearing the limit, like Hotfoot mentioned - rear end moving around, front end vibrating, chattering etc. But you've got to recognise those signs rather than continuing to push on far beyond that point.

 

Was this at a regular track day, or was it a CSS instructor (have you attended the Superbike School)? After I did Level 1, the main thing that struck me at my next track day was just how early most people brake for a corner. I used to ride like that as well, I think the main reasons is because I thought I was "being safe", and since that's how a lot of others ride it's easy to get sucked in and just copy their line, braking points etc.

 

Also keep in mind that the very act of turning the bike will scrub off speed. Do you enter the turn and have the feeling that you could be going faster?

 

 

 

 

 

 

and theres the 2 step visual drill once you can confidently flip the bike real fast B) (its in the TOTW 2 video)

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi All

 

At my local track there is a 180 degree tight 1st gear bend.

 

On approaching this bend from a long straight it is hard on the brakes to get the speed right down.

When I have been HARD on the brakes to get my speed down, I have been passed by an instructor who it seemed to me was still on the gas.

HOW could he do this, I know that he will be going round the bend faster than me, but it is a very tight 180 deg, so surely the difference in speed can not be so great.

I have no idea how he could bring the speed down so quick.

The only conclusion I can arrive at is that I can squeeze the brakes a damn sight harder than I imagine, but it already feels to me that I am at max squeeze, any more and I'll be doing a stoppie.

Any thoughts?

 

When I switched from my Yamaha R6 to a Ducati with forged lightweight wheels I couldn't believe the difference in braking. The bikes weigh within 4 lbs of each other but the reduction of unsprung weight on braking was startling. From a 140 mph straight the bike slows effortlessly quick and I can brake much later than in previous 3 years of track riding. If I could afford carbon wheels I'd buy them as the reduction in wheel weight makes a monster difference in bringing speed down very quickly.

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Having light wheels, that is nice for sure!

 

As to will the bike stoppie, or slide the front, they are treated similarly...come out of the brakes.

 

Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of technique related to braking. We don't have much extra time at the regular schools, so this is not addressed "formally" but we do at the 2-day camps. At a regular school, if this subject is of interest, please do ask your coach (or come see me).

 

At a 2-day camp, ride the Brake Bike!

 

There is some excellent info in the Twist books, anyone care to provide an appropriate quote?

 

Best,

CF

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TOTW II, page 103, Efficient braking:

 

"Trapping yourself into HEAVY (my emphasis added) braking at your turn-in point is working against your desired result."

 

Let that sink in.....

 

 

"The basic product (end result) of braking is to get the speed set accurately for the turn. It is difficult to overcome the SR's (#7) (for the record: SR means Survival Reaction) which compels most riders to gradually increase the braking force and end up with too much at the end. There are at least 5 potential bad results:

 

 

  1. Turning the bike with too much brake; one of the more common causes of crashes
  2. Turn entry speed is wrong, usually too slow
  3. Too much attention on the braking force; not enough on where you are going and what you are doing
  4. Missed turn-points; puts you off line going in.
  5. Too low a turn-entry; gradual instead of decisive turning to avoid SR #7 above."

You said: "HOW could he do this, I know that he will be going round the bend faster than me, but it is a very tight 180 deg, so surely the difference in speed can not be so great.

I have no idea how he could bring the speed down so quick."

 

If I understood your post correctly, you are basically being out-braked, correct? Out-braking is basically the art of being able to brake less than than the other guy and carrying more speed into the corner.

 

Ask yourself this:

  • Is is possible that my perception of the issue is actually 180 degrees reversed?
  • Is it possible that I am braking TOO HARD and the other guy is braking less?
  • Is it possible that I am out-braking myself?

The answers to all 3 questions could very likely be yes.

 

 

That's how he cruises past you with what seems to be massive speed. You should not assume that he stands on the brake massively the moment he gets in front of you either. If he did, you would be reeling him back in, right? He simply brakes less and carries more cornering speed. He has a higher level of confidence. That's why he's the instructor.

 

The best advice I can give you is to buy the books and the video's and study. Next time you do a track day, your level of riding will be improved vastly.

 

 

Get back to me with your thoughts, please?

 

For the record, I am not associated in any way, shape or form with CSS. I have been riding for about 40 years now, instructing on an amateur (love of the sport) level for about 10 years, (on both 2 and 4 wheels).

 

I still find that there is stuff I need to learn. In fact, instructing is also learning.

  • One of the things I learned is to never take a students amount of basic knowledge for granted.
  • Another is to learn to listen well and read between the lines.
  • Finally, apart from learning stuff I simply did not know, one of the benefits that I derive from the CSS books and video's is being able to better quantify, formulate and, yes, LOL, regurgitate the stuff I already know but may not have been able to explain as well in the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For a little while I was semi-seriously considering buying a set of BST carbon fibre wheels. I have no doubt they would make a phenomenal difference to the way the bike handles. But in the end I decided against it because it's a lot of money, and that type of gain will always be available, no matter your current level of skill. The other thing I thought was that if everyone in the Australian Superbike (and probably many other countries national) series can do what they do on OEM wheels, well that just shows that the wheels are not really the limiting factor. wink.gif

 

 

As for the Twist quote on braking... good find Gr8Dane!

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  • 2 months later...

hi guys, instead of starting a new thread i thought id use this one as its based on heavy breaking...

now my query is, wheres ur feet at on pegs under heavy breaking?

i find that squeezing the tank with my knees under heavy breaking doesnt really stop me enough from sliding forward, so ive started to try brace my heel against the peg also to try stop me from sliding forward,

But the im finding it hard to get feet back on the peg on the ball of my foot, just before i tip it into the corner?? any ideas?

 

Madlins perpective:" I myself hook my foot on the arch of my outside foot as I'm in the turn, this helps me power out from corner to corner as I use my legs. The inside foot is on the ball and my feet are on the ball when I'm on the straights as well, upon braking I lock my heel to the peg this helps me from sliding foreward and I can control the weight foreward or back as the bike moves around or to set up for corner entry. But again foot position to balance the bike while in the turn and also to be able to shift or rear brake is also important for me, so peg position is very important and using your feet is just important as well. If you feel like you got to much weight on the inside foot or you ar e using your arms to hold yourself in the corners then you need to adjust your footing to eliminate that, it will save your energy and you will be able to concentrate on riding the bike not holding yourself up."

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Hi the watcher, welcome to the forum! Why not head over to the "New to the forum" section and tell us a bit about yourself and your riding goals?

 

Onto the question of braking and foot position... I can tell you what I do - I setup for the corner while I'm still upright on the straight, well before I have to start braking. This means I get my body into the position I want to be in mid-corner. I move my backside on the seat, I position my outside foot with the arch on the footpeg and my inside foot with the ball of my foot on the 'peg. I have found that it's much easier to get grip on the tank with a traction pad like Tech Spec. Gripping my knees on the tank can still be a real workout if it's a particularly heavy braking section (for example 260 down to 90km/h). But I have found that if I can hold my body position it really pays off when I arrive at the corner, because I just turn in and I don't move my body at all because it's all set. I don't use the rear brake on a race track, if it's a left hand turn I do have to move my foot after gear changes are done, but I am locked in with the outside leg in that case (right leg), so my left leg does not have much weight on it, I just quickly move it into position. Although that still happens ideally before I even turn in, after the last gear change before I finish braking.

 

I'm not quite sure what you mean by bracing your heel against the 'peg... maybe try getting your foot into position, then raising your heel so your knee pushes up into the tank. Imagine a calf raise type movement, like you were standing on a flat floor and you just raise your heel up, keeping the ball of your foot on the ground.

 

A lot of this type of thing can also come down to your size (leg length, etc.) and the size of the bike (seat to 'peg to tank distance etc.). Maybe adjustable rearsets would help so you can get more "locked in".

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We were doing some experimenting recenlty, KC was talking about having as a goal zero bar pressure under braking. For street riding while in the middle of seat easier with both knees on the tank (tank pads work well for this) and some go all the way to doing this on the track with both knees on the tank until braking is basically done.

 

Have any of your experimented with this?

 

CF

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Yes I have done some experimentation! I picked up that idea of zero 'bar pressure from reading the Twist books, that's what I ideally aim for. But I caught myself being slack and leaning on the 'bars a little bit during my last track day on Sunday. I feel much better, and feel that I have more braking capacity by having no weight going through the 'bars. Keeping body low and forearms parallel to the ground has helped me a lot with that. The down side is that it does take more effort to grip with my knees, but I think it's worth it. No one ever said that riding well wasn't going to take some effort!

 

For very heavy braking from high speed to low/medium speed I found that sitting right back in the seat has been necessary to be able to brake harder without the rear wheel leaving the ground so much. But then I have to scoot forward in the seat quickly before I turn in, usually just release my grip on the tank near the end of braking and allow the braking force to move my backside forward in the seat to the right position (around the middle, maybe just forward of middle of the seat for me).

 

Speaking about seat position while braking... I'm curious if any of the CSS staff, KC (or anyone else) has experimented with sitting forward right against the tank while braking? I have tried that briefly, and it seems to solve the problem of having to grip the tank with you knees so much since you can't slide forward if you're already against the tank. But I found that the problem is then that I'm in the wrong position for the corner, I can't get a good lock on at all if I'm sitting right against the tank. Then it's also hard to have my forearms in the correct position (parallel) for maximum 'bar input for turning.

 

Could that be a reason why the old style bikes used to have really long tanks? If so, why did they move to having smaller tanks? Ducati stand out to me as a bike that still has a relatively long tank and reach to the 'bars (or at least the 1198 did). Just thinking out loud...

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Haha, good point. I guess what I consider "old" is the old school type superbikes similar to the current ZRX1200, and anything older than that. Particularly noticeable on cafe racers. Good point about wheelies being a concern (or not being a concern).

 

I suppose body position plays a more important role now with sportbikes getting shorter wheelbases and everything getting smaller - more important to move back in the seat under braking and more important to move way forward under acceleration.

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Modern bikes really do struggle because they have so much grip, so much power and so strong brakes brake and such wide tyres plus the stiff competition.

 

The bikes can accelerate and stop so hard, they would benefit from a drag bike wheelbase. However, that same wheelbase demand more lean for any given corner speed and also more time and distance to change direction.

 

A low CoG would also benefit acceleration and braking, but would limit cornering speed from dragging lots of stuff.

 

In the end, the bikes are compromises. Tall for cornering clearance in order to take advantage of the massive grip and also for nimbler, quicker handling. Short so they do not need to lean so far and again for quicker, nimbler change of direction. Steep rakes and short trails for even quicker steering.

 

Rear tyres are wide to cope with the massive power without overheating and the resultant loss of grip. The same wide rubber make steering heavier and slower and require more lean for any given corner speed. So the bike gets shorter again, rake steeper and the bike taller so it doesn't ground out.

 

Ideally, the bikes would drop 4 inches under acceleration and braking and raise again for cornering. That, if the rider can adapt to the chassis changes on the fly, would lower lap times noticeably be allowing stronger acceleration and harder braking without reducing the ability to corner.

 

If the tyres had significantly less grip, the bikes would most likely be different as well. They would simply have to lower the bikes (no need for the massive cornering clearance if the tyres doesn't allow the lean) and also most likely move more weight rearward in order to get enough grip for acceleration.

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