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Definition Of Trail Braking?


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It seems like alot has been said about trail braking and some of it is a somantic problem. I thought I would try and get some agreement on defintions of what it is.

 

1. Letting off the brakes slowly, as opposed to letting go of the lever.

 

2. Letting off the brakes slowly as you turn.

 

3. Using the brakes in a turn to adjust speed and line.

 

Will

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I was watching one of the MotoGP races this year(or last year 2003), and they had a camera mounted so as to view the riders throttle hand. I can't remember the rider, but it showed a sequence where the bike was coming into a turn and the rider was leaning the bike over, and it looked like the guy was braking way into the the turn and progressively easing off the brakes. Thats what I thought trail braking was. It almost seemed as though the rider had a proportional relationship in his head between lean angle and brake application. I was surprised at how far into the turn that he finally let off the brakes.

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I vote for number 2.

 

Some time after I started the first thread regarding trail braking I tried coming off the brakes at different points in the turn. What I found was I really, really like the feeling of coming off the brakes just as I was flicking the bike. I think this was the feeling of the suspension remaining relatively settled (instead of bouncing up from release of brake and down again from compression due to cornering forces). When you time it just right, it is an amazing feeling.

 

I intend to continue experimenting but for now I think the key is to time coming off the brakes with flicking the bike so that there is very little movement in the suspension.

 

I have used my rear brake to settle the bike but it is a pretty delicate operation.

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  • 2 years later...

Hey all,

 

 

I've come across some questions about braking into corners and/or trail braking here today and yesterday and I noticed someone else reading here, too.

 

So, I've decided to bump this thread and say that I like Steve M's answer as the best goal of proper braking, IMO.

 

IF for whatever reason one finds oneself still on the brakes past the turn in point, then IMO one needs to progressively let off or "trail" the brake off into the corner. First, because as you lean over you have less contact patch and traction left over for braking forces. Second, to keep the suspension settled like Steve said again. And, for me, in that trail braking situation, I think I start to add throttle at the same time I am letting off the last of the brake.

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