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Braking During A Race


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Hi,i'm new here and i'm from Malaysia.Back here we've got this small little website going which caters to local racers and road going bikers who want to share their thoughts,views and cues etc.anyway recently a very interestig topic was posted on the forum and i thought i put it up here to get some tips and views from the GURUS here.This was posted by a Canadian lady racer who was/is in M'sia and witnessed 1 of the rounds of the local races here held in Sepang Intenational Circuit,K.Lumpur.This was her post-


So I was quickly browsing some of the posts and someone mentioned how the rear brake is usually never used on the track. how many of you use your back brake?

if no, why? if yes, why did you start?

i just started last year using it and found it's a wonderful thing! settles the suspension down with eliminating SOME of the front end dive under hard braking.

HOWEVER it's something that one needs to ease into since locking up your back wheel right before peeling it into a turn kinda sucks!

one evening I had the oportunity to sit and listen and ask questions to some of the top riders around! what I mainly learned is that there's many ways to get around a track quickly. not infinite, but many.

for example, some people when going into a turn where they need to say, drop 2 gear will brake first and start gearing down once the bike is already turned over, and make their last downshift JUST before apex. others use their gearing down to help with braking. either way, ALL of these men are insanely fast, and it's whatever your brain and body are comfortable doing, and it's which ever you can execute the fastest. i personally go for option one, since I don't mind gearing down while fully leaned over.

(Colin Edwards, Jason Pridmore, Josh Hayes, Rich Oliver, Richie Alexander, Mike Sullivan, Steve Dick, Mark Kruger were the panel that night)

before I start blabing on, I'd love to hear more opinions from you guys! also remember, I am NOT a super star at my track, but learning very quickly.


Here were some of the replies

ANONYMOUS 1:-At Superbike School, when asked when to use the rear brake, Steve Brouggy (also ex 250 GP rider, and the Chief Instructor) replied,


" When on a slope at the traffic lights, and I want to look cool by folding my arms, I use the rear brake to stop the bike from rolling."


This school of thought is that during heavy braking the brain is over-taxed enough and having something else to concentrate on will only detract from the primary objective.



Thinking about this post today I was wondering why using the rear brake would "stabilize the the rear" as some riders say and I think I know why.


With only the front applied, if the centre of gravity is not exactly behind the front contact patch, the bike will try to turn about the front wheel. Adding rear brake will "pull" the rear wheel inline.


Mind you with so many things going on during heavy braking, it's anybody's guess exactly what will happen.


Braking techniques are probably as plentiful as there are options to what to choose on menucard in a Chinese restaurant.


Jessica, you hit it spot on with your observation as to what the pro's are doing. Some use it and some don't.

I was at a coaching class with Kevin Schwantz in the US. He said that during his racing career he used the rear brake twice and each time he screwed up his entry, after that he didn't touch it at all. His colleague, if you like, Mike Doohan he commented that when he started racing again after his heavy crash in Assens his biggest problem was that he couldn't use the rear brake because his leg was functioning yet.

Despite these two very different approaches Schwantz was World Champion in 1993 and Doohan in 1994 and onwards.


As a beginner you have so many things to focus on, so a good suggestion is not to use the rear brake, your brain is anyway filled up with enough tasks going into a turn. I also recommend that you do your downshifting immediately after you start braking so you are in the gear you need to be in before entering the turn. This will give you a much smoother approach into the turn. Changing in the turn up to the apex upsets the bike. Later on when you have the basics under control you can start to play with the more advanced techniques and judge whether you benefit from it.


I never use the rear brake. I used it twice when the front brake failed going into turn 14, but it made no difference, it simply not able to slow it down.


I have stopped racing, as a consequence of my broken pelvis. I will focus on trackdays and coaching. I will be back on the track in September. Let me know if you would like to have some coaching on the track.


LADY RACER:-First, I hope your recovery is going as well as it can!

Second, I couldn't agree more with making racing techniques as simple as possible at the start so that the basics are engrained and eventually are done with much less attention focus.


Here's how one of my friends does it with an R6: PLEASE note this is NOT for a beginner to do on his or her (but i guess mainly his over there!) first few races.


first, his idle set at 6000 rpm. makes the shifting during lean angle not upsetting to the bike as long as you release the clutch smoothly. also, this idle setting will automatically increase mid-corner speed. using a small amount of rear brake for this set up works quite well since as you come off the brakes you are accelerating for the split second before you whack on the throttle.


personally I'm just starting with the back brake on my TZ125 and it's working out quite well. I started with just resting my foot on the pedal to get used to my foot having to be there. it took a few more practice sessions to make sure my foot was in the right place before I actually started to use it. i'm all about safety first, and trying things in baby steps!


except for mechanics on the bike! i had my gas tank and carb and body work off my TZ and the rest of it (wheels, chassis engine etc) in my living room all winter long ripping it apart, re-building the clutch etc... fun stuff!


and to answer the question that some of you may have... NO Not all Canadian women are like me and enjoy working on their race bikes. I'm a little different...


What do u guys think?any feedback,views and cues is much appreciated.


7ss B)

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What do u guys think?any feedback,views and cues is much appreciated.

I think the list of replies pretty much covers it.


Things like trail braking, rear braking, shifting to the apex, backing it in, etc are all pieces which can be used quite effectively, but the overwhelming majority of people aren't even close to mastering the simple basics of Throttle Control, Braking, Turning and body positioning, so this just screws them up.


People who try to master a very advanced technique (backing it in for example) before mastering the basics are just asking for trouble.


I've never used the rear brake on the track, and would only consider it if my front brake lever fell off or something. But that's just me...


The concept of settling the bike by use of the rear brake is a great one. Put a bike on the dyno, give it a handful of gas and watch the rear shock extend to topping out. Touch the rear brake and watch it suck back down. It's VERY interesting and a compelling reason to use the rear brake. However, for most people, it's just too large of a gamble.


I've got many more things to master before I move to the rear brake.

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  • 1 month later...

Wow this is a very interesting topic for me, It has never once occured to me to not use my rear brake, I almost always use both brakes when comming into a corner, trailbraking I usually don't use it much if at all however, but slowing down for a turn, yes definatly every time, 2 breaks will slow you down faster than one, just as long as your rear tire isn't off the ground heh! It helps to extend your arms and move as much weight to the back of the bike as possible...it's real easy to give that rear brake too much pressure though! I currently ride an NSR250 but my first bike was a 125cc yamaha flatracker from the 70's that had no front brake (wasn't designed for one).

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