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How often would you say you trail brake into a corner? I didn't really understand trail braking until I just watched the TWOT2 again, it's so true that every time you watch it you learn something new or it clarifies something as well. I always thought trail braking was when you used the rear brake and slid the rear tire into the turn or is that just another form of trail braking? After watching the video I realized it's using the front brake and easing off into the turn once you have reached your turn entry speed.

 

I know trail braking when the track is wet is generally not ideal but I am sure with practice it could be done precision. Or would you avoid trail braking at all when the track is wet? If I am not mistaken in the video it says trail braking into the turn is the preferred method of braking.

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How often would you say you trail brake into a corner? I didn't really understand trail braking until I just watched the TWOT2 again, it's so true that every time you watch it you learn something new or it clarifies something as well. I always thought trail braking was when you used the rear brake and slid the rear tire into the turn or is that just another form of trail braking? After watching the video I realized it's using the front brake and easing off into the turn once you have reached your turn entry speed.

 

I know trail braking when the track is wet is generally not ideal but I am sure with practice it could be done precision. Or would you avoid trail braking at all when the track is wet? If I am not mistaken in the video it says trail braking into the turn is the preferred method of braking.

 

On the track? Every corner that requires heavy braking (once my tires are up to temp.) In the canyons, pretty much only when I decide I've left braking too late and I need a little more time to set the corner speed I want. Or I'll do it intentionally just to practice the easing off. You don't want to release the front brakes abruptly and upset the suspension when you're fully leaned over, right?

 

Using the rear brake to "back it in" is what you're describing. It's a pretty advanced technique and it's tough on the rear tire. I also think it's starting to fall out of favor, but I could be wrong on that.

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Up until recently, all the time. Even in the wet. I've never had an issue with trail braking (deep) into corners over 30 years of riding. Over the past two years, I've gone to more and more early braking, often no braking at all, and early throttle application. I've had grip issues I've never experienced before. It has taken time to master this way of riding, but if the past couple of months is an indication, I may have cracked it. Without the feedback from the front under braking to judge available grip, one must leave a bit more margin for error riding slow in-fast out since the corner speed will be significantly higher. So although it feels a bit slow and lean is less impressive, it is imperative that I stay fully concentrated at all times in order to ride well. I cannot be sloppy the way I can when braking later. Probably because I have far more experience trail braking than accelerating early. Going in slower also means less leeway for altering speed mid-corner as one is using the throttle instead of the brakes. So I'm re-learning how to ride, you may well say. I ride only on the road, BTW.

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How often would you say you trail brake into a corner? I didn't really understand trail braking until I just watched the TWOT2 again, it's so true that every time you watch it you learn something new or it clarifies something as well. I always thought trail braking was when you used the rear brake and slid the rear tire into the turn or is that just another form of trail braking? After watching the video I realized it's using the front brake and easing off into the turn once you have reached your turn entry speed.

 

I know trail braking when the track is wet is generally not ideal but I am sure with practice it could be done precision. Or would you avoid trail braking at all when the track is wet? If I am not mistaken in the video it says trail braking into the turn is the preferred method of braking.

 

Different people define trail braking different ways, as you are discovering! So let's clear up some terminology first. Let's call the "turn point" the place where you actually make your steering input. Most people consider "trail braking" to involve continuing your braking action PAST the turn point and often up to the apex of the turn, so you are braking while leaned over and turning the bike, so let's go with that as our definition. (I would also assume this to be ALL front brake, and I agree with utahphunk that I'd call using the rear brake to slide the back around "backing it in".)

 

There have been a lot of discussions about this so if you do a forum search you can find some great discussions about the trail braking and when it is useful.

 

Trail braking can be a dicey proposition because you are putting a lot of load on your front tire while leaned over.

 

To answer your question, I rarely trail brake because I very much prefer to have my entry speed set at my turn point. I like getting my hard braking done early with the bike as close to vertical as possible, tapering the brakes as I approach my turn point to accurately set my entry speed, and ideally releasing the brake at the exact moment I turn the bike, so that the front suspension stays compressed throughout. I do sometimes trail brake into decreasing radius turns that have a wide, high speed entrance, or if I am trying to make a very late pass on the brakes (but there is a risk of being passed on the exit, if the other rider is quicker to get back to the throttle).

 

I never trail brake on the street becuase I'd be concerned about hitting something slick (or even a big bump!) on the road while leaned over and on the brakes.

 

This year I gave trail braking a really good try, because I'm riding a bike that is lightweight and I can get amazing grip with the front tire. I made a concerted effort to brake later, deeper into the corners, and carry more entry speed. I was trying to lower my laptimes and also prevent anyone from passing me on corner entries. Here's what I found: I wore out my front tire prematurely, at one point I overheated my brakes by braking more gently and for longer (essentially dragging the brake), and I had more moments where I came close to falling than I've had in 5 years. I found myself bracing my arms and couldn't get low and relaxed entering corners so my steering was less effective and I was having to lean the bike more, and I was REALLY overloading the front (leaning plus brakes plus stiff arms, bad plan!).

 

I had convinced myself that corner speed was so critical on this lightweight bike that I HAD to trail brake or I would be passed on turn entries in my races - because it seemed like everyone ELSE was trail braking. However, in the last practice day before my race (a couple of weeks ago), I came so close to crashing so many times that I decided to quit trying so hard to trail brake and just work on getting accurate entry speeds and good quick turns, so I wouldn't crash!

 

Guess what happened? I stopped trying to trail brake, and my laptimes came down two seconds! I won both my races. I had one particularly fast rider that kept coming up on me at the entry of one of the turns where I had been trail braking (this is what I was afriad of!) and he managed to pass me on the entrance twice - but both times I got back on the throttle earlier and passed him right back on the exit. He could get INTO the corner faster, but he couldn't get OUT faster. :)

 

So not only did I go faster overall, I was MUCH more in control, the bike handled better, my tires didn't wear as much, and I didn't have any "oh sh*t" moments even though I was racing and riding as fast as I could. It was way, way, better in every way.

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Interesting, I will go search the forum and find some other information about trail braking and hopefully find when and where it could be a better choice. Not that it could be used all of the time but would it be safe to say there are areas when racing that trail braking could come in handy? The reason I brought this up was because if memory serves me right I was watching Lorenzo trail braking in the middle of a chicane, I figured he may have done this to shed a little speed before the next turn?

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Did you read Rea's comments about how the MotoGP tyres allowed hard braking even when leaned over 50 degrees? In order to win races at the top level, you must use every bit of grip available to you, but even there some will brake deeper than others. They still circulate at around the same time. Deep braking is an advantage to pass someone on the brakes, and you succeed if you can keep the other guy out so long that he cannot cut back underneath you - or if you can still maintain your correct line despite the hard braking.

 

I guess trail braking is also a skill that can be learned and also something learned easier by some than others. Just like some find it natural to wheelie or slide the rear, etc. But please note that as a street rider, I never brake as hard as what Hootfoot described.

 

Here is one little clip that show the advantage of late braking

 

HOWEVER! I would NEVER practice trail braking regularly unless I had reached a level where I needed it to extract the final fractions in order to win races at a high level. For me, it has always been the natural way to ride, but it is not common. And I never thought about it for the first 25 years of riding, it was just what I did automatically. But it seems pretty clear to me that learning to do the cornering process properly first have far greater advantages than going in fast and out slow. And it's harder to learn if you're used to late braking because the cornering speed seems to high, it's hard to understand the tyres and suspension and you must force yourself to use the throttle instead of the brakes. So you risk ending up like me; having to learn all over again how to ride.

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Did you read Rea's comments about how the MotoGP tyres allowed hard braking even when leaned over 50 degrees?

No I can't say I remember seeing that, although that would make sense how they can do some of the things they can without losing the front end. I am not saying I want to use it all of the time, I think it's great to have different skills in your toolbox. If everyone rode the same then there wouldn't be much of a competition it would just come down to bike technology. Certainly I will not argue with it's better to be slow in and fast out however I am sure there are times when you can misjudge your late braking and have too much speed into the corner so that is where the trail braking skill would come in handy because being slightly faster in and slower out I would imagine being better then running too wide off of your line and allowing people to pass you and then making up for time loss or even running off track.

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Did you read Rea's comments about how the MotoGP tyres allowed hard braking even when leaned over 50 degrees?

No I can't say I remember seeing that, although that would make sense how they can do some of the things they can without losing the front end. I am not saying I want to use it all of the time, I think it's great to have different skills in your toolbox. If everyone rode the same then there wouldn't be much of a competition it would just come down to bike technology. Certainly I will not argue with it's better to be slow in and fast out however I am sure there are times when you can misjudge your late braking and have too much speed into the corner so that is where the trail braking skill would come in handy because being slightly faster in and slower out I would imagine being better then running too wide off of your line and allowing people to pass you and then making up for time loss or even running off track.

 

at the risk of sounding snobby... did you even go thru one complete screening of the TOTW2 DVD? because all the answers you asked is in there ...

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Did you read Rea's comments about how the MotoGP tyres allowed hard braking even when leaned over 50 degrees?

 

No I can't say I remember seeing that, although that would make sense how they can do some of the things they can without losing the front end. I am not saying I want to use it all of the time, I think it's great to have different skills in your toolbox. If everyone rode the same then there wouldn't be much of a competition it would just come down to bike technology. Certainly I will not argue with it's better to be slow in and fast out however I am sure there are times when you can misjudge your late braking and have too much speed into the corner so that is where the trail braking skill would come in handy because being slightly faster in and slower out I would imagine being better then running too wide off of your line and allowing people to pass you and then making up for time loss or even running off track.

 

at the risk of sounding snobby... did you even go thru one complete screening of the TOTW2 DVD? because all the answers you asked is in there ...

 

 

 

I have watched it many times, it specifically says "gradually trailing the brake off is the accurate way to find your entry speed" then it says "despite it's drawbacks trail braking is also a useful tool". I don't know how this turned into the proper way to brake.....all I was asking is how often do you find yourself trail braking? I don't see anywhere in the video where it says it's best to trail brake like I asked.

 

I apologize if I sound flustered but this has been taken out of context and seems like people are taking it as me asking when to brake, how to brake and ect.....that is not what I asked.

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Did you read Rea's comments about how the MotoGP tyres allowed hard braking even when leaned over 50 degrees?

 

No I can't say I remember seeing that, although that would make sense how they can do some of the things they can without losing the front end. I am not saying I want to use it all of the time, I think it's great to have different skills in your toolbox. If everyone rode the same then there wouldn't be much of a competition it would just come down to bike technology. Certainly I will not argue with it's better to be slow in and fast out however I am sure there are times when you can misjudge your late braking and have too much speed into the corner so that is where the trail braking skill would come in handy because being slightly faster in and slower out I would imagine being better then running too wide off of your line and allowing people to pass you and then making up for time loss or even running off track.

 

at the risk of sounding snobby... did you even go thru one complete screening of the TOTW2 DVD? because all the answers you asked is in there ...

 

 

 

I have watched it many times, it specifically says "gradually trailing the brake off is the accurate way to find your entry speed" then it says "despite it's drawbacks trail braking is also a useful tool". I don't know how this turned into the proper way to brake.....all I was asking is how often do you find yourself trail braking? I don't see anywhere in the video where it says it's best to trail brake like I asked.

 

I apologize if I sound flustered but this has been taken out of context and seems like people are taking it as me asking when to brake, how to brake and ect.....that is not what I asked.

 

 

 

 

Sorry if I spoke in an intrusive way,

 

I do trail brake alot downhill imho , esp on 180 degree positive banking downhill corners, the gravitational , incline and bank angle makes it fun and

 

imho far safer than leveled roads where i adhere to TOTW2's brake markers and pre-corner procedures. the rear sus still is in the mid stroke while i do that so i cant be far off the mark i guess  

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Did you read Rea's comments about how the MotoGP tyres allowed hard braking even when leaned over 50 degrees?

 

No I can't say I remember seeing that, although that would make sense how they can do some of the things they can without losing the front end. I am not saying I want to use it all of the time, I think it's great to have different skills in your toolbox. If everyone rode the same then there wouldn't be much of a competition it would just come down to bike technology. Certainly I will not argue with it's better to be slow in and fast out however I am sure there are times when you can misjudge your late braking and have too much speed into the corner so that is where the trail braking skill would come in handy because being slightly faster in and slower out I would imagine being better then running too wide off of your line and allowing people to pass you and then making up for time loss or even running off track.

 

at the risk of sounding snobby... did you even go thru one complete screening of the TOTW2 DVD? because all the answers you asked is in there ...

 

 

 

I have watched it many times, it specifically says "gradually trailing the brake off is the accurate way to find your entry speed" then it says "despite it's drawbacks trail braking is also a useful tool". I don't know how this turned into the proper way to brake.....all I was asking is how often do you find yourself trail braking? I don't see anywhere in the video where it says it's best to trail brake like I asked.

 

I apologize if I sound flustered but this has been taken out of context and seems like people are taking it as me asking when to brake, how to brake and ect.....that is not what I asked.

 

 

 

 

Sorry if I spoke in an intrusive way,

 

I do trail brake alot downhill imho , esp on 180 degree positive banking downhill corners, the gravitational , incline and bank angle makes it fun and

 

imho far safer than leveled roads where i adhere to TOTW2's brake markers and pre-corner procedures. the rear sus still is in the mid stroke while i do that so i cant be far off the mark i guess  

 

 

 

 

Now that's what I am talking about lol.....nothing against you I guess maybe I didn't explain well enough exactly what I was looking for in my previous posts. So your basically saying that the gravitational pull makes it less risky for the front tire to slide?

 

 

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Did you read Rea's comments about how the MotoGP tyres allowed hard braking even when leaned over 50 degrees?

 

No I can't say I remember seeing that, although that would make sense how they can do some of the things they can without losing the front end. I am not saying I want to use it all of the time, I think it's great to have different skills in your toolbox. If everyone rode the same then there wouldn't be much of a competition it would just come down to bike technology. Certainly I will not argue with it's better to be slow in and fast out however I am sure there are times when you can misjudge your late braking and have too much speed into the corner so that is where the trail braking skill would come in handy because being slightly faster in and slower out I would imagine being better then running too wide off of your line and allowing people to pass you and then making up for time loss or even running off track.

 

at the risk of sounding snobby... did you even go thru one complete screening of the TOTW2 DVD? because all the answers you asked is in there ...

 

 

 

I have watched it many times, it specifically says "gradually trailing the brake off is the accurate way to find your entry speed" then it says "despite it's drawbacks trail braking is also a useful tool". I don't know how this turned into the proper way to brake.....all I was asking is how often do you find yourself trail braking? I don't see anywhere in the video where it says it's best to trail brake like I asked.

 

I apologize if I sound flustered but this has been taken out of context and seems like people are taking it as me asking when to brake, how to brake and ect.....that is not what I asked.

 

 

 

 

Sorry if I spoke in an intrusive way,

 

I do trail brake alot downhill imho , esp on 180 degree positive banking downhill corners, the gravitational , incline and bank angle makes it fun and

 

imho far safer than leveled roads where i adhere to TOTW2's brake markers and pre-corner procedures. the rear sus still is in the mid stroke while i do that so i cant be far off the mark i guess  

 

 

 

 

Now that's what I am talking about lol.....nothing against you I guess maybe I didn't explain well enough exactly what I was looking for in my previous posts. So your basically saying that the gravitational pull makes it less risky for the front tire to slide?

 

 

 

 

 

 

gravitational is always constant , me bad

incline (the front and rear loading is much different from uphhills and level ground corners)

bank angle (i use much less lean in relation to the road )

 

i dont know how to put it into words properly but i do uphill/ level/downhill runs to work on all aspects of my bike's handling and my skills , especially expectations from the TOTW2 stuff .

 

for level roads , expectations dont come in nearly 95% of the time

 

for uphills , expectations dont come in 99% of the time

 

 

BUT for downhills at my area

 

 

expectations come in at 50% of the time partly due to the amount of hairpins ,steep decline and continuity of turns; essentially for 3/4 of the downhill roads, there is next to no buffer zone or straights for you to scrub off enough speed , you'll have to scrub it off and prime your turn in speed for the next turn whist exiting the turn or in the previous turn.

 

turn in points and speed is still massively important

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I find the majority of this post completely counter-intuitive. blink.gif

Without the feedback from the front under braking to judge available grip

What feedback are you getting from the front tire while trail-braking, specifically?

 

... one must leave a bit more margin for error riding slow in-fast out since the corner speed will be significantly higher.

Say you need your speed at the apex to be 40mph (just to pick a number.) If you're trail-braking, you tip into the corner at 60mph, and trail-brake down to 40mph. Your average pre-apex speed for that corner is higher than 40mph.

 

If you aren't trail-braking, you brake from 60mph down to 40mph before the corner, tip into the corner at 40mph, then set maintenance throttle to keep you right at 40mph (and to stabilize the suspension, etc, etc.) until you hit the apex. Your average pre-apex speed for that corner is 40mph.

 

So, slow-in fast-out (aka, no trail-braking) gives you a slower average corner speed than trail-braking, not faster. It sounds like you're not comparing apples to apples, i.e. hitting the apex at 40mph in both situations.

 

I cannot be sloppy the way I can when braking later.

By definition, trail-braking leaves less margin for error, not more. Where do you get this extra margin if you've put yourself in a situation where you need to balance the front tires turning and braking demands at the same time?

 

Going in slower also means less leeway for altering speed mid-corner as one is using the throttle instead of the brakes.

How so? The brakes can regressively slow the bike (trail-braking) and tighten the turn radius. Conversely, the throttle can speed/stand the bike up and widen the radius. In terms of margin for error - if you go in too fast, you're going to have an SR-ful mess on your hands. If you go in too slow, you can roll the throttle on sooner or more aggressively with zero drama.

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If I can hit the apex at 40 on the brakes, I can probably go through at 50-55 on the throttle, and exit speed will be significantly higher. I have experimented, and it's amazing how much distance I can pull in just one corner to the person behind.

 

The feedback I get from trail braking is regarding traction. If the front starts to feel vague prematurely, I can stay upright longer and continue braking. It will mess up the corner, but I will most likely save the day. If I do not discover this until I'm on the throttle midcorner, it can be too late. Of course, braking hard early will give the same feedback, but these days I rarely touch the brakes.

 

Before, I used to brake to the apex - and even beyond at times - whereas I today not only maintain my speed, but I accelerate through most of the corner. The moment I have reached my determed lean angle, I get on the throttle well enough to accelerate. While trail braking, I would go deep, be very slow mid-corner, square the corner and start accelerating out. This worked very well -and still does - on an unfamiliar road with blind corners because quite often you do not need to brake at all. So the early braker will lose time entering every corner, and the number of corners I mess up by going in too fast and out too slow will be more than compensated by the number of corners I didn't slow at all. Another benefit of braking deep is that you're already on the brakes if something appear in the road, like a tractor.

 

So for me, trail braking have clear benefits. I have only gone down twice in 32 years of riding, including several winters worth of riding on snow and ice - using only the front brake to slow and stop on both ice and snow with feet on pegs. Once were when hitting a huge bump I didn't see and once when I apparenty used too much brake when a car came around a corner on my side of the road. The following head on have erased my memory, but the skidmark told a story.

 

However, I do not enjoy pushing my luck in this manner anymore. So I slow down and ride more or less no faster than I can stop in the distance I see to be clear. And as such, being able to roll on the throttle the moment I see the road opens up is something I find very beneficial. And on a flowing road with visibility, this seems clearly the better way to make up time than upsetting the bike and progress with hard braking and low mid-corner speed.

 

The final question you raise is how can I change my line better on the brakes than on the throttle. Now, this may still be down to my levels of skill performing one over the other and may not be the physical limitations. However, I find that when I brake going into a corner, I can easily brake a bit harder or lighter, longer or shorter, and alter my line for obstructions. While braking, I have a feeling that I am free to put the bike whereever I want to. Currently, when I accelerate early, my feeling is that I have less options, that my line is more set and that I have no knowledge of what grip I'm playing with. It's probably more a case of learning to read the messages coming from the rear tyre like I do from the front, but so far I am not there.

 

Still, I enjoy the far smoother, flowing riding I experience the way I ride today versus what I used to do, which was far more staccato. I understand I will never win racer and I will never become an expert rider at the upper level. But that doesn't prevent me from trying to understand what's going one while riding. And I'm sure some of my understanding will evolve as I learn more and some may even change completely. However, that's part of the fun :)

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