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Trail Braking Technique


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I know trail braking isn't an approved technique in TOTW, and I have no experience with, or knowledge of, it. If it's considered off-topic here, my apologies.

 

This video, of a fellow called Yellow Wolf running the Tail of the Dragon on a Goldwing, apparently shows pretty effective trail braking on this road.

 

 

The rider following and filming is also apparently trail braking, though he's not able to keep up the speed so easily.

 

Is there a standard-form technique?

 

Am I wrong in what I'm seeing?

 

 

thx.

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In a nutshell, trail braking is being on the brakes longer into the turn than you are supposed to, to scrub off speed.Imagine the turning sequence - Off the gas, brake, downshift, turn in, on the gas and exit.

 

If you entered too fast, you want to slow down or else will run wide.Then you don't go off the brakes before you turn in, but still apply some braking power on the front, rear, or both.Racers say trail braking is an important technique.You should learn it.It has helped me correct mistakes.However, if you understand cornering theory, you won't be making mistakes and won't need to trail the brake.Don't make mistakes on purpose and use the brakes to make up for them.It is one of the things you use to recover from errors.

 

As for the video, unless you see the brake light i doubt you can "see" him braking.

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I find it works much better for long wheelbase + lower COG bikes.

 

On my 125 with a shorter wheelbase and slightly higher COG, i only do that if i overspeed a corner and/or lean is <20 degrees in the dry; <15 in the wet

 

imho i rather let one or both wheels lose grip when straight up than either one in a turn ...

 

its a skill that... is in my emergency toolbox

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I very much prefer to trail brake. Quite deep, actually. I've spent almost 3 seasons trying to rid myself of this "bad" habit, but all the change have done is make me insecure. I'm used to reading the front tyre, and hard braking tells me how much grip there is to be expected, for instance. Getting a corner right with early throttle application is great, feeling the drive and seeing how much you can gain on those behind. But I find that in total, trail braking for me on the road gives me a safety advantage in the I know up front how much grip I can use, if there is something in the corner I must slow or stop for the front is already loaded and it simply feels right as I find it so much easier to understand what's going on with the front vs the rear.

 

Now, I am not saying my way is generally the best way. I think it's not. But even riding in snow and on ice, I've relied on the front brake to get stopped, so keeping front traction on the limit is a familiar feeling. If I had learned by an expert to ride from day one instead of teaching myself a lot of bad habits, I'd likely be riding differently and would have felt good with that and not so good with trail braking.

 

That said, I ride so slow these days I barely use the brakes at all :D

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In a nutshell, trail braking is being on the brakes longer into the turn than you are supposed to, to scrub off speed.Imagine the turning sequence - Off the gas, brake, downshift, turn in, on the gas and exit.

 

If you entered too fast, you want to slow down or else will run wide.Then you don't go off the brakes before you turn in, but still apply some braking power on the front, rear, or both.Racers say trail braking is an important technique.You should learn it.It has helped me correct mistakes.However, if you understand cornering theory, you won't be making mistakes and won't need to trail the brake.Don't make mistakes on purpose and use the brakes to make up for them.It is one of the things you use to recover from errors.

 

As for the video, unless you see the brake light i doubt you can "see" him braking.

 

 

 

Actually, trail braking is much more deeper than that...

 

 

 

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I know trail braking isn't an approved technique in TOTW, and I have no experience with, or knowledge of, it. If it's considered off-topic here, my apologies.

 

This video, of a fellow called Yellow Wolf running the Tail of the Dragon on a Goldwing, apparently shows pretty effective trail braking on this road.

 

 

The rider following and filming is also apparently trail braking, though he's not able to keep up the speed so easily.

 

Is there a standard-form technique?

 

Am I wrong in what I'm seeing?

 

 

thx.

 

There is essentially, IMO, NO standard form technique... It is like askinh which is better for self-defense? Karate or Kun-Fu?

 

Technique depends on several factors, ie., type of bike, rider skillset and experience, type of riding, rider personality and tendencies, time of the day/weather, riding environment, etc. Some schools teach it; while others do not... But it doesnt mean it is _absolutely_ wrong.

 

Personally, when in the twisties/canyons in Japan, or once in Southern California - I tend to trail brake. But when I did the 2-Day Camp in Las Vegas last February - no trail braking... Just a quick turn in, straighten the corner, then roll on the throttle...

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We have heard this, that we don't use/approve, etc. of this technique.

 

Not actually correct, we know (and train) riders in how to use the brakes. If it causes the rider to carry the brakes very far into the turn, delaying when he can stabilize the bike (getting back onto the throttle), then it is more a minus than a plus. But there are situations where it for sure has to be used (passing), long late apex turns, etc.

 

CF

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The discussion on trail braking seeems to come up on the forum about once every six months. If you do a search for trail braking you will find tons of results. Here are a couple, for example:

 

http://forums.superb...+trail +braking

 

http://forums.superb...king#entry25553

 

And here is something Keith wrote in response to a question about trail braking, it pretty much covers it all:

 

>>>

On trailing the brakes...the first thing you need to realize is that you should always be trailing off the brakes. Leaned over or straight up, your brake release is that moment where your entry speed is being set. Any abrupt release is going to be less accurate and usually slower than a well executed, tapered, gradual release.

 

As we watch world competitors we see brake trailing but not everywhere and not all the time. In addition, the idea of trailing the brakes 'to the apex' has almost completely been abandoned in favor of earlier and earlier releasing of the front brake lever. Why? So they can get back to gas. One of the reasons James Toseland couldn't cut it in MotoGP was that he was taking advantage of the ultra high tech handling, brakes and tires and trailing the brakes in late. Later than everyone else. At Laguna Seca, for example, he was on the brakes 2 to 3 meters longer than Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. That put him in about 15th place, from my observations. Just a tiny bit of time, really just hundredths of a second per turn, was enough to do it. His drives off the turn were as good as anyone elses.

 

The reality of the situation is that any bike will continue to slow even after the brake is released and the throttle is being opened up. Depending on the corner at Laguna Seca, between 12% and 37% throttle is needed to even begin to bring the speed upward. Here's another way of saying it: the bike is still slowing down after brake release and, in some turns, the speed doesn't begin to increase until up to 1/3 throttle. It is very interesting to see this from the data acquisition I have which was collected from the winning bike in Daytona Sportbike there this past year.

 

When I first described and showed trail braking in the original "A Twist of the Wrist" book back in 1983, it was the first time it had been photographed and graphed out for motorcyclists. It is a must-do technique for decreasing radius turns. Those are the kind of turns it makes the most sense to begin experimenting with it, for someone who is trying to get the feel for it.

 

What I find most interesting is that once the rider's feel for the bike is up to the point they are confident enough with all the other basics to begin to experiment with their riding, you don't have to even mention it, they begin to find the places to apply it quite naturally.

 

There is much, much more to the subject of brking. Many things happen with the bike and the rider depending on what kind of corner it is and whether they are finishing the braking straight up or leaned over.

 

There is a strange misperception in the world that we tell everyone to finish their braking while they are straight up and down. The truth is, in the 32 years of the school we've never said that in any of the briefings.

 

As a coach, if you are following someone and they are dragging the brake way down to the apex and you clearly see they could be on the gas much earlier, what should you do? Tell them to keep that up, or, ask them to release the brake earlier and get back to the gas?

 

On the other hand, if you see someone getting in too hot, you could suggest that they trail the brake in. You could. However, if you also see some other basic technical skill that is lacking, the smart coach would go after that instead. For example, if you see someone trailing the brake and slowly turning the bike causing him to run wide, what would you have him work on? trailing the brake more and continue to add lean angle, or, demonstrate for him that if he got the bike flicked in a little quicker he wouldn't have that run wide problem?

 

There is a balance to all of this. If the rider isn't comfortable getting the bike turned quickly, it influences many core-skill aspects of their riding in the negative. This is where we put our attention at CSS. Once the rider can genuinely turn the bike with no fear (because there is no reason to fear it) then we have a major hurdle overcome and we can move on to other techniques, if they will be a benefit.

 

We know of some very high quality riders who only trail the brakes into decreasing radius corners and not at all in other turns. They put their attention on getting the bike pointed towards exit and back to the gas as early as possible. They have lap records and championships. What does that prove? That it can be done with understanding and practice. Does that make it better than always trailing the brakes? No. It only means that it can be done and done to very good results.

 

Keith

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We have heard this, that we don't use/approve, etc. of this technique.

 

Not actually correct, we know (and train) riders in how to use the brakes. If it causes the rider to carry the brakes very far into the turn, delaying when he can stabilize the bike (getting back onto the throttle), then it is more a minus than a plus. But there are situations where it for sure has to be used (passing), long late apex turns, etc.

 

CF

 

Hhhmm.... Now that I jog my memory - I think Turn #10 CCW in LV could be taken trail braking, since it is coming from a fast back straight heading into a tight corner...

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The discussion on trail braking seeems to come up on the forum about once every six months. If you do a search for trail braking you will find tons of results. Here are a couple, for example:

 

http://forums.superb...+trail +braking

 

http://forums.superb...king#entry25553

 

And here is something Keith wrote in response to a question about trail braking, it pretty much covers it all:

 

>>>

....

 

 

Indeed, trail braking is much deeper than just braking in longer/later into the turn...

 

 

Hotfoot: Now that you mention that this topic comes once every six moths, and that Cobie is mentioning that there are also some misconceptions - wouldnt it be good to have Keith's summary up above PINNED to the Cornering Forum?

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The discussion on trail braking seeems to come up on the forum about once every six months. If you do a search for trail braking you will find tons of results. Here are a couple, for example:

 

http://forums.superb...+trail +braking

 

http://forums.superb...king#entry25553

 

And here is something Keith wrote in response to a question about trail braking, it pretty much covers it all:

 

>>>

On trailing the brakes...the first thing you need to realize is that you should always be trailing off the brakes. Leaned over or straight up, your brake release is that moment where your entry speed is being set. Any abrupt release is going to be less accurate and usually slower than a well executed, tapered, gradual release.

 

As we watch world competitors we see brake trailing but not everywhere and not all the time. In addition, the idea of trailing the brakes 'to the apex' has almost completely been abandoned in favor of earlier and earlier releasing of the front brake lever. Why? So they can get back to gas. One of the reasons James Toseland couldn't cut it in MotoGP was that he was taking advantage of the ultra high tech handling, brakes and tires and trailing the brakes in late. Later than everyone else. At Laguna Seca, for example, he was on the brakes 2 to 3 meters longer than Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. That put him in about 15th place, from my observations. Just a tiny bit of time, really just hundredths of a second per turn, was enough to do it. His drives off the turn were as good as anyone elses.

 

The reality of the situation is that any bike will continue to slow even after the brake is released and the throttle is being opened up. Depending on the corner at Laguna Seca, between 12% and 37% throttle is needed to even begin to bring the speed upward. Here's another way of saying it: the bike is still slowing down after brake release and, in some turns, the speed doesn't begin to increase until up to 1/3 throttle. It is very interesting to see this from the data acquisition I have which was collected from the winning bike in Daytona Sportbike there this past year.

 

When I first described and showed trail braking in the original "A Twist of the Wrist" book back in 1983, it was the first time it had been photographed and graphed out for motorcyclists. It is a must-do technique for decreasing radius turns. Those are the kind of turns it makes the most sense to begin experimenting with it, for someone who is trying to get the feel for it.

 

What I find most interesting is that once the rider's feel for the bike is up to the point they are confident enough with all the other basics to begin to experiment with their riding, you don't have to even mention it, they begin to find the places to apply it quite naturally.

 

There is much, much more to the subject of brking. Many things happen with the bike and the rider depending on what kind of corner it is and whether they are finishing the braking straight up or leaned over.

 

There is a strange misperception in the world that we tell everyone to finish their braking while they are straight up and down. The truth is, in the 32 years of the school we've never said that in any of the briefings.

 

As a coach, if you are following someone and they are dragging the brake way down to the apex and you clearly see they could be on the gas much earlier, what should you do? Tell them to keep that up, or, ask them to release the brake earlier and get back to the gas?

 

On the other hand, if you see someone getting in too hot, you could suggest that they trail the brake in. You could. However, if you also see some other basic technical skill that is lacking, the smart coach would go after that instead. For example, if you see someone trailing the brake and slowly turning the bike causing him to run wide, what would you have him work on? trailing the brake more and continue to add lean angle, or, demonstrate for him that if he got the bike flicked in a little quicker he wouldn't have that run wide problem?

 

There is a balance to all of this. If the rider isn't comfortable getting the bike turned quickly, it influences many core-skill aspects of their riding in the negative. This is where we put our attention at CSS. Once the rider can genuinely turn the bike with no fear (because there is no reason to fear it) then we have a major hurdle overcome and we can move on to other techniques, if they will be a benefit.

 

We know of some very high quality riders who only trail the brakes into decreasing radius corners and not at all in other turns. They put their attention on getting the bike pointed towards exit and back to the gas as early as possible. They have lap records and championships. What does that prove? That it can be done with understanding and practice. Does that make it better than always trailing the brakes? No. It only means that it can be done and done to very good results.

 

Keith

 

this should be sticked X2 imho...

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