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Trail Braking---not That Fastest Way, But They All Do It


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So to say the least, I am a student of going fast. Furthermore I agree with the physical fact that one cannot go through a corner while on the brakes (even a tid bit) faster than one can go through a corner off the brakes. So! with this physical fact of traction known, why do all the top/winning AMA riders do it? constantly! --and not just for passing and block passing.

 

I have been studying the close ups and hand movements of certain top 5 riders and I can distincly see them trailing in to more than half the corners as Miller Motorsports Park. I am still a believer that off brakes and a quick turn is the fastest way, so I am confused on how the AMA top riders are pulling 1:50's at Miller by trailing. Furhtermore, I was examining the engine noise of Hayden's on-bike-camera during the Race at Miller, and its clear that he is off the gas and compression braking and/or trailing into nearly all the corners. On the gas late (post apex) and still running 1:51's. Thats FAST!

 

I was there for the first time myself last week, and I realize the dynamic of a corner may dictate several fast ways through it. And I also nowticed the long corners, and double apex, reducing radius corners at Miller may be condusive to trailing, but I'm just flat out confused....

 

help?

Cobie?

Keith?

Stu?

James?

Misty?

Josh?

ect?

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You can watch the same thing with motogp. When they show the throttle and brake applications of the riders on the telecast you can see them all trailing the brakes into the turn.

 

I suspect that you will hear that it is an advanced skill that only has a place in racing and not in all turns.

 

Last year the rebound damping in my forks when to hell. I don't like trail braking on the streets because of the way it wears my tires and the fact that it leaves you in a bad place if you run into gravel. To keep the front end from coming up and pulling me wide mid turn with my wonky forks, I would drift into the turn enough to keep the forks loaded and then make a quick turn from there. The people I was riding with couldn't figure out what I was doing and didn't understand how I could appear to be doing a lazy turn in and then quickly get to the apex. This is really a lite version of trail braking.

 

I've been a disciple of the Code method for many years, yet there are things that I don't quite understand. When I toss the bike in quickly, and off the brakes, there is always a split second where I'm really not in control. It is very brief and doesn't concern me much, but it doesn't feel right. I can also turn quickly enough to break the front tire loose. I suspect that is bad technique or bad road in some instances.

 

Also, I can turn and open the throttle at the same time. If I am really moving and do this, the bike will pull wide mid turn.

 

When you get to the top racers with the top tires and top traction, I suspect that the rules and the goals may be a little different.

 

One of the cycle magazines had an article on Ben Spies and his tuner said that he is at maximum functional fork compression at mid turn. He is on the brakes hard at turn entry.

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Thanks for the thoughts, however these things I am aware of. And BTW if spies' tuner mentioned full fork compression mid corner, that is because gforces due to sid-grip or side force in mid corner compresses a fork more than braking does. Its hard to believe, I know, but try it....do a no-brake drill and see how muck fork travel you use with a zip-tie on the fork leg. than compare with brakes...

 

anyways, Im still how the Physics doent seem to apply to guys like spies wit hregards to trail braking...

anyone else?

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Thanks for the thoughts, however these things I am aware of. And BTW if spies' tuner mentioned full fork compression mid corner, that is because gforces due to sid-grip or side force in mid corner compresses a fork more than braking does. Its hard to believe, I know, but try it....do a no-brake drill and see how muck fork travel you use with a zip-tie on the fork leg. than compare with brakes...

 

anyways, Im still how the Physics doent seem to apply to guys like spies wit hregards to trail braking...

anyone else?

 

 

If Rossi does it, it must be good.

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Hey guys,

 

If you check out "Twist of the Wrist" book one...there is a series of photos of Wayne Rainey (I think) as he modulates his braking during turn entry to maintain or control the fork compression so as not to experience up and down movement of the forks between off the brakes and on the gas. Perhaps it maintained a slightly steeper geometry, but, I think it was more about keeping the suspension settled.

 

This means trailbraking just enough to not have the front end pop up when letting off, and using just enough to accomplish that.

 

Thor's experience without rebound damping perfectly illustrates the point.

 

 

Although you may see racers like Rossi and Spies trailbraking, by definition, they are not "hard" on the brakes while trailbraking. Maximum braking is defined by available traction vs braking force or stress applied to the contact patch when vertical. When leaned over, the cornering forces add more stress. More lean equals less brake. Period. By definition, if the rider is at max braking approaching a turn, they MUST let off the brake proportional to the amount of cornering force or stress that they add to the tire contact patch or they will fall down.

 

And, if you keep the forks at full compression, you will not be able to navigate any washboard bumps dug up by cars or other imperfections that are found on all racetracks. Some better tracks are smoother than others. Like many of the ones that Rossi rides...for instance.

 

Anyway, it isn't really a spooky grey area ... max traction is max traction. Exceed it and slide. Period.

 

Which brings up another point...race rubber has WAY more traction and is more forgiving than street rubber. And slicks have more traction than DOT race tires. So, it's all relative, but, you can get away with, how can I say...more "pushing it", so to speak. Riding the front hard, I am sliding the front tire to some degree going into every corner. I can "scrub" speed by letting the front wheel "drift" into a sweeper to some degree. IN fact, on a 125, one pretty much starts to drift both ends when really in the groove. Bottom of the corkscrew at Laguna is a good spot for that.

 

Keep in mind also that GP bikes require a different style of riding to start with. It is more carving and flowing....and, most of the GP tracks are flowing fast corners or "sweepers" as well. Not so much a point and shoot situation like Superbikes on many typical American tracks. Not so much about getting it stopped to turn and squirt.

 

So, lighter bikes are able to carry more corner speed outright, hence, don't require so much heavy braking to begin with. And the GP tracks tend not to be straight, slow corner, straight, slow corner. They are more sweeping fast and flowing.

 

In any case, in my opinion, you don't want to use trailbraking as a standard technique to scrub speed to the apex, or really at all, until you KNOW how much traction you have and how much speed you can carry through the corner outright.

 

That's my two cents on that.

 

 

--------------------

 

 

Speaking for myself...yes, I trailbrake into some turns, however, choosing to do so is not always merely an intellectual decision for a certain type of corner. And, sometimes, I am so late and hard on the brakes (braking battle) that I have to completely let off the brakes and drop the rear wheel back to the pavement ASAP to make the corner at all because I am so far inside or already well past my optimum turn point for a nice smooth entry. It ain't pretty, but, sometimes you do what you gotta do...lol.

 

Honestly, I don't really think about all this very much anymore. I just do it, so forgive me if I'm not so clear with verbalization and thinking it through.

 

One time, in one spirited GT at Road Atlanta, as I was approaching the slow 90 degree turn onto the backstraight, a 125 guy smaller than me came past on the outside (rare thing on the inside much less the outside) ... and he was up ON TOP of the curb with the rear wheel in the air. He dropped the rear wheel as he came down off the curb and "accidentally" T-Boned the parked vintage 250 ahead of us to bump him off because he was holding us up in the turns and motoring away on the back straight causing us to lose touch with our 125 pack. Rider shall remain nameless ... but it was pretty much the most amazing thing I have ever seen on the brakes to this day. It also happened about three inches off my front tire while my own back wheel was in the air causing me to have to seriously re-evaluate my plan for that corner in about twelve thousandths of a second...lol!

 

And I guarantee you the only thing HE was thinking about was getting that fecking 250 out of our way! Don't try this at home folks.

 

 

racer

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Hey Brant,

 

I think it is important NOT to speak in general terms on this subject. I think trail braking is a specific skill that applies certain corners and certain situations. I really hate it when people try to generalize it and say that ALL the top riders do it in MOST corners and stuff like that. You would have to do an awful lot of research to really figure out which riders are trail braking in which corners. Even the stuff you see on TV can be misleading in that just because someone has their fingers on the front brake doesn’t mean there is any pressure on it.

 

Anyway, I feel that trail braking can be useful in corners where your slowest speed is somewhere past the point where you turn in. Double Apex corners, decreasing radius, things like that. Miller has a lot of these types of corners so maybe that is why it seems like the riders are trail braking everywhere on that track.

 

Trail braking is a subject you could write reams about I’m sure, but I’m not up for that. I’d be happy to talk with you about the subject though…

 

Stu

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Stu,

one thing you said mad crazy mad sence. "in corners whrere your slowest part is after your turn in point." I think this is mainly it. Surely this statment requires a little evaluation, but for the most part, I think you hit most of it on the head...

 

hmmm as I ponder and meditate this...hmmmm

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Anyway, I feel that trail braking can be useful in corners where your slowest speed is somewhere past the point where you turn in.

 

 

Precise, concise, hit the nail on the head ... in a word: utterly sublime.

 

Well ... that's two words, but ... I couldn't have said it better.

 

In fact, I had the chance to say it better and didn't. Actually, I'm kind of bummed I didn't say it ...

 

Seriously, it seems so obvious and straightforward, but, I don't think I ever put it together like that.

 

Thanks, Stu.

 

racer

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Anyway, I feel that trail braking can be useful in corners where your slowest speed is somewhere past the point where you turn in.

 

 

Precise, concise, hit the nail on the head ... in a word: utterly sublime.

 

Well ... that's two words, but ... I couldn't have said it better.

 

In fact, I had the chance to say it better and didn't. Actually, I'm kind of bummed I didn't say it ...

 

Seriously, it seems so obvious and straightforward, but, I don't think I ever put it together like that.

 

Thanks, Stu.

 

racer

 

One other thing to consider is the width of the tracks. On the really wide GP spec tracks like China and Sepang for example, you will see a lot more trailbraking than you do on narrower tracks. One other thing to consider is how much actual braking pressure is being applied. When you look at the braking graphs in GP it looks to me like the very end of it is very light on the lever, its not an on and off thing.

 

One other point that was brought up is how much of an "advanced" technique it is. Well, watch the GP guys and see what you see on the turn entires. My observation is that quite a few of them are bringing the front wheel to lock-up as they tilt the bikes in and then releasing from there. This usually happens at conservative lean angles. When it happens at steeper lean, they lose the front end and crash which, these days, is the most common top level rider error that results in a crash.

 

Keith

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  • 1 month later...

The bottom line is that every fast racer trailbrakes!!! Trailbraking IS the fastest way around the track period, otherwise the fastest racers wouldnt do it. Read some articles on this speciifc subject or talk to very fast racers, they all do it. Back in the day when tires didnt have the grip levels they do now it wasnt a technique used as liberally as it is these days. Trailing the brakes is exactly that... Keith points out it isnt an on off thing to brake in truns... Of course it isint, its called trailbraking because as you near the apex you are trailing off the brakes, in other words applying less and less braking force. Riders actually use trailbraking to apply additional load to the front tire to help it spread out and grip the track (See Interview with Collin Edwards in Road Racing world) for more on this. Not using this method is an old school way of riding and racing. Jason Curtis and I spoke in depth about this out at Willow not too long ago and he said that even racers that he has argued with about this trailbrake and they swear they don't. Then he actually watches them and there they are using the technique without even knowing it.

 

Keith also points out that the most common reason for top level crashes now is overuse of the front breaks while turning and I would agree with this. THis is because that is really where much of the flirting with disaster takes place these days. The rider is one the edge of lean angle and front braking pressure and really has to "feel" where the edge is. This is very very hard to do and is one reason why they need such great feel in their front ends these days as well.

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I have to agree with Jrock, i was in the same boat as Wisquared not too long ago, and while i generally agree with Keiths teachings on the usage of brakes i feel less experienced track riders who are still learning the ropes and havent quite come to terms with the 'feel' of traction yet are the ones to benefit most from it, in short its best to start off that way and grow into trail braking. I believe what you're riding matters a lot too, on a small underpowered bike you cant afford to let off speed and entry speeds are extremely important, trail braking is your friend there, on a big bike entry speed is lower and you make use of a better exit. Bottom line, currently racing at the Nationals i can tell you this, dicing it out with a bunch of competitors you're not gonna see that podium without trail braking and yes the lap times are faster too.

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The bottom line is that every fast racer trailbrakes!!! Trailbraking IS the fastest way around the track period, otherwise the fastest racers wouldnt do it. Read some articles on this speciifc subject or talk to very fast racers, they all do it...

 

and speaking of generalities. No one is questioning whether or not racers trail brake, most do in SOME corners. I think what Wisquared was asking is why does it seem like at some tracks they do it more frequently then others. Most will agree that it is not a technique that is used in every corner, the question was why do it in some corners or some tracks and not as much in others.

 

Also, Wisquared is not one to toot his own horn but understand he is not some noob asking for advice, Just FYI he is the current WSMC #1 plate holder.

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Also, Wisquared is not one to toot his own horn but understand he is not some noob asking for advice, Just FYI he is the current WSMC #1 plate holder.

 

 

True that. Brant is a VERY fast and competent rider.

 

Stu is the man when it comes to talking about trail braking. He DOES understand it and DOES use it. I've had lengthy discussions with him and he can definitly put it into perspective. IE when it is appropriate and when you are wasting time and slowing in the corner by doing it.

 

Ahhhh, the never ending arguement continues....To Trailbrake or to not trailbrake????

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The bottom line is that every fast racer trailbrakes!!! Trailbraking IS the fastest way around the track period, otherwise the fastest racers wouldnt do it. Read some articles on this speciifc subject or talk to very fast racers, they all do it...

 

and speaking of generalities. No one is questioning whether or not racers trail brake, most do in SOME corners. I think what Wisquared was asking is why does it seem like at some tracks they do it more frequently then others. Most will agree that it is not a technique that is used in every corner, the question was why do it in some corners or some tracks and not as much in others.

 

Also, Wisquared is not one to toot his own horn but understand he is not some noob asking for advice, Just FYI he is the current WSMC #1 plate holder.

 

 

I was making a generality for argument sakes and of course you are correct that not every corner requires trail braking to be fastest, but many do. It just seems that some on this forum will not come to grips with the importance of usign this technique to be competitive at any level, yes even WERA novice, which where I am. So the question is why in some corners and why not in others? Perhaps both you and Wisquared can help answer that question. List out some tracks and what braking methods you use at each turn. Once listed perhaps the reasons will become more apperant. Ill start even though im slow and a noob compared to you guys.

 

Take two tracks that I have rode a few times

 

 

Fontana... I have ridden this track probably 10 times and my best lap time is a high 1:37 (lol dont bag) Look here for a track map http://www.fastrackriders.com/tracks/cal-800.html

 

Corner #1 coming into the chicane of the front straight (left)

I usually trail brake this corner just until the point i have to start transitioning to the right hander #2

Corner #2 (right)

I am totally off the brakes here since I completed my trail braking in turn 1 during the transition into this corner as stated above

Corner #3 (left)

I trail brake very minimally here since I approach this turn very fast and since the turn is so sharp and coming off of such a fast straight that most of my braking is done after getting the bike upright after having the knee down and close to the infeild. If I was a better rider though I bet I would trailbrake deeper into this turn, im just not comy with that yet.

 

Corner #4 (right)

No trail braking here as this is a fast transition to the right aftter a slower corner so there would be no reason to be on the brakes, this corner is maintenance throttle or more

Corner #5 and 6 (double apex left)

This corner I trail brake heavily into all the way until the first apex or corner 5 then its onto maintenance throttle through until I accerate out of the second apex of corner 6

Corner 7 and 8 (left right chicane)

I trailbrake into this corner up until the point I have to start transitioning for turn 8

Corner 9 (right decreasing raduis)

I trailbrake deep into this corner all the way until apex

Corner 10 and 11

This isnt even really a chicane and itss full throttle straight thorugh

Corner 12

I trailbrake deep into this corner until apex

Corner 13

I lightly trailbrake into this corner as I am still going kind of slow from turn 12 and havent built much speed since that turn so its a very light and note deep trail brake

Corner 14 and 15

no braking since you are accelerating through these corners since 13 slowed you up so much

corner 16 (left)

Deep trailbraking into this corner until apex

corner 16, 17, 18,19,20

These are corners :)

Maybe just a slight bit of trailbraking into corner 19 but usually you can make one big sweeping left out of the corners and be on maintenance throttle or accelerating a bit.

 

 

 

Willow http://www.fastrackriders.com/tracks/willow-track.html

 

Turn 1 (left)

I trail brake deep into this corner almost until apex

Turn 2

I trail brake into this corner just until I reach a comfortable maintenance speed then is on to maintenance throttle since its such a long corner.

Turn 3

Deep trail braking until apex

Turn 4

A bit of trail braking but again its a long turn so once reach desired speed its on to maintenance

Turn 5

Super deep trail braking up until apex... I dont think you can afford not to trail brake this turn especially with the downhill aspect involved.

 

turn 6,7

No braking on gas

turn 8

Minimal trail braking since its such a fast long turn

Turn 9

Couple of downshifts and very minimal trailbraking

 

I would love to hear from the more experienced riders... thanks for the great discussion

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Willow Springs

Turn 5

Super deep trail braking up until apex... I dont think you can afford not to trail brake this turn especially with the downhill aspect involved.

 

This seems like a very bad idea to me. You need to get back on the gas early in 5 or risk tucking the front.

 

At Willow the only turns I intentionaly trail brake at all would be 3 and 5. In both cases I'm back on the gas well before the apex so I'm not trailing it in very deep. In five I'm releasing the brakes as I transition the bike from straight up and down to left, but by the time I reach my desired lean angle I'm off the brakes and back on the gas, so I mean VERY slight trail braking in 5.

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Anyway, I feel that trail braking can be useful in corners where your slowest speed is somewhere past the point where you turn in.

 

 

Precise, concise, hit the nail on the head ... in a word: utterly sublime.

 

Well ... that's two words, but ... I couldn't have said it better.

 

In fact, I had the chance to say it better and didn't. Actually, I'm kind of bummed I didn't say it ...

 

Seriously, it seems so obvious and straightforward, but, I don't think I ever put it together like that.

 

Thanks, Stu.

 

racer

 

 

One other thing to consider is the width of the tracks. On the really wide GP spec tracks like China and Sepang for example, you will see a lot more trailbraking than you do on narrower tracks. One other thing to consider is how much actual braking pressure is being applied. When you look at the braking graphs in GP it looks to me like the very end of it is very light on the lever, its not an on and off thing.

 

One other point that was brought up is how much of an "advanced" technique it is. Well, watch the GP guys and see what you see on the turn entires. My observation is that quite a few of them are bringing the front wheel to lock-up as they tilt the bikes in and then releasing from there. This usually happens at conservative lean angles. When it happens at steeper lean, they lose the front end and crash which, these days, is the most common top level rider error that results in a crash.

 

Keith

 

Keith, do you mind if I think aloud?

 

Sometimes in MotoGP coverage they have some cool on-screen displays showing what appears to telemetry, including braking effort, overlaid on the broadcast. The amount of mid corner braking astounds me, and it was very hard for me to rationalise what I was seeing with the whole quick-turn approach, even on corners where it would appear that in theory, based on my imperfect understanding of your of your oft explained and taught approach, you would want to turn late and square the corner off with a classic Twist of the Wrist style 'quickturn'.

 

The only thing I could think was that the latest generation of MotoGP front slicks have so much grip that even when the rider is at full lean and maximum rate of turn, there is still grip to spare for braking. If that were true, then the rider who utilised that extra grip wold be faster than the rider who didn't, at least on corner entry. And even if the rider who didn't use the extra grip was going to be quicker on corner exit, they would find the trail-braking rider sitting right in their way on corner exit and holding them up...

 

I've had the experience of riding a stock Triumph TT600 (not exactly a guided missile, and lots heavier than a MotoGP bike) on over-the-counter production road-legal Pirelli SuperCorsa race tyres, on hot dry grippy tarmac at Pembrey. I wasn't doing any trail-braking, but nevertheless I was simply stunned by the amount of grip available. I really felt like as long as I didn't make any ham-fisted inputs, run off the track or lever the tyres off the ground, it would really be completely impossible to crash on them. (welll, I did until they 'went off' due to too many heat cycles when.. err.. I did crash... :-o ). I cannot imagine how much grip the very best hand-made optimised-for-the-specific-track front slicks in the world would generate on the front of a lightweight MotoGP bike, running on the best suspension in the world...

 

Am I on the right track with that thought process, or am I looking the wrong way?

 

Cheers...

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Hi kwh,

 

If there is "extra grip" left over, wouldn't it be preferable to use it to carry more speed, rather than use it to slow down?

 

(Aside from say a decreasing radius turn, of course.)

 

 

 

Hey, can you post a clip of one of those on-screen telemetry readouts of mid-corner braking? That sounds really cool!

 

Erm...maybe not...copyrights, private use, etc. Maybe if there were a clip posted on youtube or somewhere that we could link to?

 

Perhaps you could simply cite a specific example from your own experience that we can refer to? Like this rider in this corner from this and such a race broadcast on this and such a date?

 

Cheers,

r

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Thanks for the thoughts stu, perhaps I am over doing it....

Looking over where you are trailbraking, I would have to agree you're over doing it. IE Fontana, the only two areas I trail brake are the double apex turns, although I'm on the gas way before the second apex. If that's you riding that nice R6, you shouldn't need to brake for turn one at Fontana at all. WFO to one down shift will slow you enough for a steering input. So would you want to quick turn the bike in turn one or turn it in slowly while on the brakes (at 130+ MPH during your steering input)?

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  • 2 weeks later...
The only thing I could think was that the latest generation of MotoGP front slicks have so much grip that even when the rider is at full lean and maximum rate of turn, there is still grip to spare for braking.

 

Think about it this way….

 

When cornering on a motorcycle, your front tire’s grip is divided by cornering force (generated by speed and lean angle) and braking force (if you’re on the brakes).

 

So if you use a large percentage of your front tire’s traction for cornering force, then there isn’t much left for braking.

 

If you use a large percentage of your tire’s traction for braking, then there isn’t much left for cornering.

 

This holds true no matter how much traction your front tire has.

 

So like was posted earlier, if you have all this available front traction because of the new front tires, wouldn’t you want to put that traction towards cornering force if your goal is to go faster?

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Let me throw in another variable into this discussion. But first a definition. Trail braking to me is trailing off (slowly releasing) the brakes. That said, let me try to make a point or two.

 

Increased downward pressure on the front tire increases available traction on that contact patch. A simple experiment will prove the point. Lightly stroke a pencil eraser over a smooth surface. Repeat that several times with increasing levels of downward pressure on the eraser. Which stroke provided the most traction--the light or heavy stroke? My point here is that by keeping some forward weight bias on the front contact patch with trail braking in a turn, you are actually gaining available traction on the front tire over what you will have with a rear bias when accelerating.

 

Now repeat the experiment but add lean angle. You should be able to observe that when lean angle is added, our downward pressure on the pencil is not as effective at increasing traction. When we add lean angle, our pressure is a combination of down and lateral pressure. That tells me that I need to be careful my expectations of what trail braking will do for my traction as I add lean angle.

 

How does this apply to braking on a motorcycle? For me it is that my heavy braking will occur while I have no or very little lean angle. As I increase lean angle, I will have to decrease brake pressure via trail braking. Why not just get all my braking done before turn-in? Mostly because the optimal slow point of a turn may not be the entrance and the bike steers better with weight on the front contact patch.

 

Of course there are limits to everything. Front suspension travel and lean angle come to mind in this instance. However, the rider with the ability to operate up to those limits does better than the rider who is unwilling to approach the limits or the one who exceeds the limits (wash-out). So, the rider who understands all the variables and hones their skills well enough to use them becomes a better rider than the one who wants hard and fast rules to govern their actions.

 

Does trail braking into a corner work? Yes (as someone pointed out, the top riders use it regularly). How well does it work? Depends on how well you employ it.

 

To me this is not about whether one should trail brake or not. I just see it as another skill I will have to master if I want to be the best rider I can be.

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Good points KOCook,

 

I'd like to add a point or two that may provide some hard data points from which to explore those limits.

 

The effect of "adding traction" (to gain speed) with trailbraking decreases proportionally with lean angle until the bike reaches 45° of lean angle. After that, more brake equals less traction, period. (No matter how fast you are going or how good you are.) Prior to that point, there will be a load line or characterisitc curve and crossover point of diminishing returns that will dictate a constantly decreasing amount of brake as the bike is leaned over. In other words, due to the lateral cornering forces, the effectiveness of more brake for more traction significantly decreases the moment the bike leaves 90° straight up and down until it reaches absolute zero at 45°.

 

So if 'x' amount of braking is the limit to add traction at 85°, then at 60°, that same pressure will be reducing traction, not adding it. More lean equals less brake. Period. I'd like to reiterate that the amount of brake being used in this circumstance is very small. Being off the gas combined with the addition of lean angle and the angular acceleration of traveling forward in a circle will do the vast majority of loading the front tire for usable traction in any situation. Using trailbraking to increase traction for more speed will only apply in certain types of corners on certain types of racetracks. It will not serve a rider in the type of corner where the bike needs to be "flicked" in quickly to max lean angle, ie. like most corners on most racetracks in the United States.

 

On the street, trailbraking serves no practical purpose outside of a decreasing radius turn or an emergency situation where a rider has overcooked a turn entry and is trying to scrub off enough speed to be able to get it turned in before the shoulder of the road. In any case, a street rider attempting to find the last 2 mph of speed through a decreasing radius corner by using trailbraking is a statistic waiting to happen. Explorations of the ragged edge or the limits of traction and how far they can be pushed belong in the controlled environment of a closed course racetrack for everyone's safety. Preferrably that exploration should begin with a CSS course where a trained professional instructor can offer you personalized attention and training that is custom tailored for your specific needs on the day. Yes, that is a shameless plug, and the minute I stop owing my life to the school, I'll stop offering it.

 

Cheers,

BH

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But first a definition. Trail braking to me is trailing off (slowly releasing) the brakes.

 

Does trail braking into a corner work? Yes (as someone pointed out, the top riders use it regularly). How well does it work? Depends on how well you employ it.

 

To me this is not about whether one should trail brake or not. I just see it as another skill I will have to master if I want to be the best rider I can be.

 

 

I'd like to add a little something to your definition for the sake of this discussion.

 

"Trail braking to me is trailing off (slowly releasing) the brakes" after the point at which you start to lean the bike into the corner.

 

Most people would not consider it trail braking if the bike is straight up and down.

 

Again this thread is about where and when to trail brake, not whether or not trail braking is an effective technique. This thread is all about whether one should trail brake or not, whether or not to do it in every corner or just some corners and if only some then which ones and why I think is really the point we are discussing.

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I'm still thinking it through, but, there may be more than a simple difference of perspective between trailbraking to "increase traction", so to speak....and simply spreading the braking out over a longer distance or compressing it into a later timeframe which is probably what most people are really doing (or perhaps think they are doing).

 

In other words, the level of riding at which trailbraking would become a tool to increase traction (over the amount of traction that would be available without trailbraking) to artificially create "virtual" percentage points of speed by "unnaturally" increasing the vertical component of stress on the compound would be, in my opinion, an extremely advanced level.

 

In other words, by definition, at that point...a rider is carrying too much speed at the turn in point to make the corner without trailbraking to increase traction to carry that extra speed, while simultaneously slowing enough to make the turn when they do let off the brake. In other words, the rider would wash the front if they didn't trailbrake.

 

Honestly, I've never approached it or thought about it from this angle before and I still do not feel quite clear about this aspect. Only that, in my opinion, that would be a level of skill that only the fastest and most gifted top level riders would be consciously or intentionally working with.

 

Or perhaps, it is merely a turned around way or reflection of the way I have always considered it (or just did it) until now.

 

Hmmm...

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