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Brake More Efficiently


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Just checking with the floor

 

How do we use our brake more efficiently in the corners?

 

Always notice in SBK or MotoGP, the bikes that enter into the corners, most of their front fork is almost top out. But when i try in on the track, as long as hard braking is involve, it always spook me due to the front end of the fork dipping to much.

 

Is there a drill to practice this?

 

Look forward for advice.

 

Cheers,

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Just checking with the floor

 

How do we use our brake more efficiently in the corners?

 

Always notice in SBK or MotoGP, the bikes that enter into the corners, most of their front fork is almost top out. But when i try in on the track, as long as hard braking is involve, it always spook me due to the front end of the fork dipping to much.

 

Is there a drill to practice this?

 

Look forward for advice.

 

Cheers,

 

You're using the phrase "top out" which means "using zero percent of its travel" such as when the bike is not braking at all, or even just sitting there with no rider on it.

 

I'm guessing you really mean "their front fork is fully compressed" which means it's using almost all of its travel. That is what happens when a motorcycle is braking hard.

 

What is spooking you about the front end dipping so much under hard braking? If it's dipping violently, then it sounds like you are apply the front brake too quickly ("grabbing" the front brake instead of progressively squeeeezing it.)

 

What are you afraid of during hard braking like this?

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Just checking with the floor

 

How do we use our brake more efficiently in the corners?

 

Always notice in SBK or MotoGP, the bikes that enter into the corners, most of their front fork is almost top out. But when i try in on the track, as long as hard braking is involve, it always spook me due to the front end of the fork dipping to much.

 

Is there a drill to practice this?

 

Look forward for advice.

 

Cheers,

 

You're using the phrase "top out" which means "using zero percent of its travel" such as when the bike is not braking at all, or even just sitting there with no rider on it.

 

I'm guessing you really mean "their front fork is fully compressed" which means it's using almost all of its travel. That is what happens when a motorcycle is braking hard.

 

What is spooking you about the front end dipping so much under hard braking? If it's dipping violently, then it sounds like you are apply the front brake too quickly ("grabbing" the front brake instead of progressively squeeeezing it.)

 

What are you afraid of during hard braking like this?

 

 

 

Hahaha... sorry used the wrong words. I'm only afraid of losing the front because i did lose the front in hard braking before.

 

Is there a drill to practice how to brake correctly??

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You can start by not doing this :D

 

 

Ha ha....he endo'd it, no? Oops.

 

"Yeah, I put in the super aggressive racing pads...but then I forgot they were in there...."

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Hey bloodrun, that sounds like a really big question! "How to use your brakes more effectively"... there could be so many answers, and a lot would depend on what exactly you want to achieve by braking at that moment.

 

While I would agree that it's definitely really interesting and exciting to watch how WSBK and MotoGP riders use their brakes, trying to imitate their methods may not have the desired result of helping you to brake more effectively...

 

The point you mentioned about being spooked by the front end diving fast under heavy/sudden braking really caught my attention. It reminded me of a tip I received at one rider training day. The gist of the advice goes like this: "don't focus on the downward movement of the front end/forks compressing, or your pressure on the brake lever. Concentrate only on the feeling of traction at the front tyre". I did that for the rest of the braking drill and the rest of the day, improve my braking a lot.

 

What I noticed in myself was that when I was thinking about how much the forks were moving through their stroke, I would have a tendency to try and adjust for any sudden fork movements by releasing the front brake lever and re-applying the brake! This is definitely not an efficient braking method... I think I had also been concentrating on the brake lever pressure so much because I was trying to create a gradual, even fork compression. But by concentrating on the tyre grip you can also feel a gradual build up of grip in the front tyre which achieves the same result of a smooth fork compression.

 

By turning all your focus onto the front tyre, you are going to be in a better frame of mind to concentrate on what is really important, and be able to listen to what the bike is telling your about your front tyre traction. The reality is that it doesn't matter how dramatic the fork dive feels, the important thing is that you can feel the tyre traction and recognise when you're nearing the limits. Look out for any signs from the front tyre that could indicate that the braking forces are starting to overload the tyre - things like shuddering, chirping, skipping, etc. If you concentrate on gradually building grip into the front tyre, you can still achieve smooth braking even if the forks do dive through the stroke.

 

This is something I've been working on ever since, every time I go for a ride whether it's just around the suburbs or on a track day - it's just as applicable. If you're able to give it a try I'd be interested to see what you think about it! biggrin.gif

 

I think if you work on tuning into the front tyre and getting good at "listening" to it, that will take you a long way towards having more confidence. From then you can start to try out different things, like trying to find how hard you can brake while turning slightly (I suppose this would lead onto being more confident to try trail braking, if you are interested in that), and what effect fork dive has if you're turning... But take it easy and don't ride over your limits. It seems like one of the reasons you don't get many "braking drills" in books etc. is that there is the real possibility of things going bad, as the above video demonstrates! But from what I know, there isn't any big secret, it's all just down to a riders individual ability to feel what the bike is doing. A big part of that is directing your attention in the correct manner, it's probably no coincidence that also applies to many other areas of riding...

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Respectfully, I think it's simpler than mugget describes and I think his suggestions spend attention (can we call these Code bucks?) where it's not warranted.

 

To brake hard with the bike upright, apply progressive pressure to the front brakes in order to progressively load the front tire. This makes the part of the tire touching the ground squish under the weight and spread out. This increases the size of its contact patch. The bigger the contact patch, the more friction/traction it can provide. This means it can be used to brake harder, but only after it's loaded.

 

"Grabbing" the brakes too quickly applies is simply asking too much of the tire for the small contact patch it has before it's loaded, so it slides.

 

Here's the main reason I disagree with mugget's suggestions: While the bike is upright, a proper progressive application of front brake (squeezing it rather than grabbing it) will stoppie the bike before it would lock up the front tire. (You can see this in action by watching high end racers braking hard - their rear tires are barely skipping across the surface of the track.)

 

Note that poor suspension setup can cause problems even when braking appropriately. The forks could bottom out, which eliminates your suspension's ability to keep your tire on the pavement, which could cause it to lock up even if you've followed the progressive pressure rule. Forks in poor condition could also cause the front end to dive under braking, which would certainly be a spooky feeling even if it did not cause a crash. How's your fork setup? Fork oil age? Fork sag?

 

If we're talking about braking into a corner while turning, aka "trail braking," then you really need to get yourself to a school to learn that effectively. BASE jumping and trail-braking are the two things that I always suggest people learn in person from a professional, rather than on an internet forum. ;)

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utahphunk - I think you've misread my post or misunderstood what I'm trying to say...

Although we do both agree about not spending attention where it's not needed! smile.gif

 

The point I was making is that you can save attention by spending it mostly on the one place that really matters - front tyre traction. After all, that is the main thing keeping our bikes off the floor! I'm suggest that it's not necessary to spend attention on brake lever pressure or fork travel.

 

I'll put a few questions out there to try and open up the discussion:

  • Do you think it's necessary to spend attention on brake lever pressure? Why?
  • Do you think it's necessary to spend attention on fork travel? Why?
  • Where do you currently spend the majority of your attention when braking? (As far as bike controls go?)

I'm confused about how you came to the conclusion that my suggestions could result in a stoppie rather than hard braking/lock up? Was it because of the way I talk about the fork diving through the travel?

 

Just to try and clear things up - any time I'm discussing riding techniques, methods etc. here I always assume a bike in good mechanical condition. When I mention large amounts of fok dive I'm talking about bikes in good condition, but for one reason or another they may just be setup that way. It could be a sportbike that has been setup to deal with a certain situation, but has to compromise with diving through the travel in another area. Or some bikes as just like that. When I was writing that post I was thinking of my own XR400 motard. The suspension is in good condition, and the forks never bottom out. But being a street motard it has quite a lot of fork travel, and compared to my Gixxer it dives through the initial part of the stroke very quickly. But even so - I use the braking technique I mention while riding this bike and in practice it's just the same as if I am riding it, a sportbike, or a scooter. Yes, on the XR there is comparatively quite a lot of fork dive, but by focusing my attention in the correct area I can still brake smoothly and efficiently regardless of fork travel.

 

I thought CSS did not teach trail braking? Or are you talking about another school? Come to think of it I can't recall any school/coaching that has claimed to teach trail braking...? But I would say it's one of those things that can't actually be "taught", there are just techniques and a method to follow - the rest depends upon the student and how well they can execute the technique, their willingness to push themselves and their feel for traction.

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On many bikes, my main focus have been to pull on the front brake lever as hard as I can because there wasn't enough power to lock the wheel :unsure: But when there was enough power (to lock the wheel) the thought have never occurred to me that there were anything else to focus on than grip and control.

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But when there was enough power (to lock the wheel) the thought have never occurred to me that there were anything else to focus on than grip and control.

 

Okay, so what do you find yourself focusing on? The grip and control over the brake lever? Or the grip and control of the front tyre on the road? wink.gif

 

If you have the most focus on the brake lever, do you think that could cause problems if the road surface/traction level changes suddenly?

 

 

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I'm going to address a bunch of things one by one, not to be combative, just because I'm procrastinating with my work. :)

utahphunk - I think you've misread my post or misunderstood what I'm trying to say...

Although we do both agree about not spending attention where it's not needed! smile.gif

 

The point I was making is that you can save attention by spending it mostly on the one place that really matters - front tyre traction.

 

That last sentence is what I disagree with unless you mean "spend your 'braking' attention on the front tire traction instead of brake lever pressure and fork travel." If you actually mean that a rider should have a large percentage of their total attention on their front tire traction, then I completely disagree. Two of your paragraphs begin in a way that makes it seem like you think a rider should be using a lot of their total attention on front tire traction while braking:

 

By turning all your focus onto the front tyre,

 

I think if you work on tuning into the front tyre and getting good at "listening" to it,

 

Those also make it sound like you think there's a high probability of sliding the front tire while braking. That's why I said heavy braking will stoppie a bike, not lock up the front tire. In summary, if correctly executed heavy braking won't cause the front tire to lose traction, then I see no reason for all the "turning all our focus" and "tuning into it" and "listening to it."

 

I thought CSS did not teach trail braking? Or are you talking about another school? Come to think of it I can't recall any school/coaching that has claimed to teach trail braking...? But I would say it's one of those things that can't actually be "taught", there are just techniques and a method to follow - the rest depends upon the student and how well they can execute the technique,

 

I don't know if the higher CSS levels or CODErace courses teach trail-braking, but I would be shocked if CODErace doesn't. I wasn't talking about any school in particular, but tons of high-performance riding schools teach trail-braking. I don't understand why you think trail-braking "can't be taught." It's a well understood technique that's well suited to all sportbikes. If trail-braking is "just techniques and a method to follow" then isn't that exactly what riding schools teach us? What do you think is special about trail-braking that makes it unteachable?

 

OK, back to work for me!

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But when there was enough power (to lock the wheel) the thought have never occurred to me that there were anything else to focus on than grip and control.

 

Okay, so what do you find yourself focusing on? The grip and control over the brake lever? Or the grip and control of the front tyre on the road? wink.gif

 

If you have the most focus on the brake lever, do you think that could cause problems if the road surface/traction level changes suddenly?

 

 

 

The hand simply acts. I cannot explain it any better. If the tyre tells me it can take more retardation, I squeeze harder. If it is on the verge of lockup, I retain constant pressure. If it's locked already, I release. I do not think much of my hand, it just operates upon the messages received by my brain about what the wheel is doing.

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I thought CSS did not teach trail braking? Or are you talking about another school? Come to think of it I can't recall any school/coaching that has claimed to teach trail braking...? But I would say it's one of those things that can't actually be "taught", there are just techniques and a method to follow - the rest depends upon the student and how well they can execute the technique,

 

I don't know if the higher CSS levels or CODErace courses teach trail-braking, but I would be shocked if CODErace doesn't.

 

 

CSS covers trail braking in Level 3 and also in CodeRace. Here is a thread with a great post from Keith about it:

 

http://forums.superbikeschool.com/index.php?showtopic=3208&st=0&p=25553&hl=+trail%20+braking&fromsearch=1entry25553

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Cheers for that link Hotfoot, I'll check it out! Somehow I didn't realise that trail braking was covered in Level 3, more reasons to get back to CSS (like I needed more reasons anyway!)

 

Eirik - that's a great explanation, exactly the type of thing I'm thinking about!

 

To expand on that a bit and hopefully explain myself a bit better, this is how I see braking:

 

Spending attention on brake lever pressure to produce a smooth braking action

Focus on brake lever > Observe fork compression > Check if tyre traction is okay. Then it's an even more lengthy process if you do need to reduce brake pressure. Observe tyre close to limit > Release brake lever pressure > Notice fork travel > Check tyre traction. Most likely the brake pressure has been reduced too much, so the process keeps going. Increase brake lever pressure > Observe fork travel > Check tyre traction.

 

By putting a lot of attention to the brake lever pressure, it tends to focus more of your attention around that and you have a heightened awareness of the brake lever and fork travel.

 

Spending attention on front tyre traction to produce a smooth braking action

Focus on tyre traction > ... and that is it! It's just like Eirik said, your attention is on the front tyre - and so your hand automatically reacts to what the tyre is doing. This way you don't need to spend attention so much on noticing fork travel or monitoring brake pressure because it's like you have a direct link with the tyre. You don't have to go through the chain of Brake Level > Fork Travel > Front Tyre.

 

You still produce smooth braking by focusing on progressively increasing the load on the front tyre.

 

IMO this allows a quicker reaction to changes in traction, and also allows more consistent braking regardless of the road/track surface or lack of grip whether that be caused by dirt, water, sand, etc.

 

A simple experiment you can do to demonstrate this: Take a screwdriver in your hand and run the tip over a tiled surface. As you move from tile to tile, what do you feel? You can feel the actual gaps in the tiles, right? Notice that you're not feeling the screwdriver handle and shaft so much - but you're actually feeling the tile surface itself! This is because you have a high level of integration with the screwdriver, and this type of integration is exactly what's needed to ride a motorcycle at a high level. It's just that a motorcycle is a much more complicated tool, so it's not quite as easy to achieve that high level of integration. But feeling the tile surface with the screwdriver is the equivalent of feeling the road surface with the tyres (especially front tyre) on a bike.

 

All of that is just what I've found in my own experience... Putting my attention to the front tyre rather than worrying so much about fork travel or monitoring brake lever pressure has made a big improvement to my braking and confidence riding in different conditions.

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Great explanations, mugget - and after reading it I can now tell - and understand - that I have never, ever been bothered about fork dive. Well, I notice if it dives a lot and so on, and of course I can sense if it's bottomed out. But only because the front tyre loses traction and starts skipping. So when it comes to stopping, I only pay attention to the traction and I'm too simple to ever have imagined I should focus on anything else :unsure:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cheers for that link Hotfoot, I'll check it out! Somehow I didn't realise that trail braking was covered in Level 3, more reasons to get back to CSS (like I needed more reasons anyway!)

 

Eirik - that's a great explanation, exactly the type of thing I'm thinking about!

 

To expand on that a bit and hopefully explain myself a bit better, this is how I see braking:

 

Spending attention on brake lever pressure to produce a smooth braking action

Focus on brake lever > Observe fork compression > Check if tyre traction is okay. Then it's an even more lengthy process if you do need to reduce brake pressure. Observe tyre close to limit > Release brake lever pressure > Notice fork travel > Check tyre traction. Most likely the brake pressure has been reduced too much, so the process keeps going. Increase brake lever pressure > Observe fork travel > Check tyre traction.

 

By putting a lot of attention to the brake lever pressure, it tends to focus more of your attention around that and you have a heightened awareness of the brake lever and fork travel.

 

Spending attention on front tyre traction to produce a smooth braking action

Focus on tyre traction > ... and that is it! It's just like Eirik said, your attention is on the front tyre - and so your hand automatically reacts to what the tyre is doing. This way you don't need to spend attention so much on noticing fork travel or monitoring brake pressure because it's like you have a direct link with the tyre. You don't have to go through the chain of Brake Level > Fork Travel > Front Tyre.

 

You still produce smooth braking by focusing on progressively increasing the load on the front tyre.

 

IMO this allows a quicker reaction to changes in traction, and also allows more consistent braking regardless of the road/track surface or lack of grip whether that be caused by dirt, water, sand, etc.

 

A simple experiment you can do to demonstrate this: Take a screwdriver in your hand and run the tip over a tiled surface. As you move from tile to tile, what do you feel? You can feel the actual gaps in the tiles, right? Notice that you're not feeling the screwdriver handle and shaft so much - but you're actually feeling the tile surface itself! This is because you have a high level of integration with the screwdriver, and this type of integration is exactly what's needed to ride a motorcycle at a high level. It's just that a motorcycle is a much more complicated tool, so it's not quite as easy to achieve that high level of integration. But feeling the tile surface with the screwdriver is the equivalent of feeling the road surface with the tyres (especially front tyre) on a bike.

 

All of that is just what I've found in my own experience... Putting my attention to the front tyre rather than worrying so much about fork travel or monitoring brake lever pressure has made a big improvement to my braking and confidence riding in different conditions.

 

wow, thats the feeling i got after 21000KM on my bike...(very very recently) rider and bike as one? Is that a skill level up? :D

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CSS covers trail braking in Level 3 and also in CodeRace. Here is a thread with a great post from Keith about it:

 

http://forums.superb...h=1

That's interesting, as I've done Level 3 and there was no mention of trail braking. All five CSS days I've done have been "brake-free" unless we felt like using them in later sessions; even then there was no specific drill on braking.

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  • 4 weeks later...

wow, thats the feeling i got after 21000KM on my bike...(very very recently) rider and bike as one? Is that a skill level up? :D

 

Yep, I'd say that's definitely a level up! Nice job!

 

Rishi - I seem or recall some discussion around trail braking not being directly included in the curriculum, but being something that you can ask your coach about. But reading at the link Hotfoot posted it should be covered in the Attack Angles drill?

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wow, thats the feeling i got after 21000KM on my bike...(very very recently) rider and bike as one? Is that a skill level up? :D

 

Yep, I'd say that's definitely a level up! Nice job!

 

Rishi - I seem or recall some discussion around trail braking not being directly included in the curriculum, but being something that you can ask your coach about. But reading at the link Hotfoot posted it should be covered in the Attack Angles drill?

 

I still have some physical limitations to sort out before a track day. Seems like the doc deemed me slightly unfit during the last checkup. yikes!! :blink:

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