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Braking


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Greetings from the UK

 

One thing that puzzles me is the deliberate avoidance of braking techniques in the curriculum.

 

I realise there is a brake rig bike for off piste drills and whilst I have yet to have the pleasure, understand the purpose is to make the student begin to appreciate just how much he can brake.

 

I, however, have no issues with that and would rather understand the intricasies of advanced braking. e.g.

 

1. When the back end is snaking how to take advantage of that/avoid it/pros and cons to it etc

2. The fine art of trail braking's dos and don'ts

 

I'm guessing the reason for the avoidance is that the incidences of crashing is more likely?

 

Is it something that could be incorporated into Level 4? Or, as I suspect, if it were included in a Level 4 day, the personal experience of the liaison and on-track instructor would be the basis of the tuition and not the findings of The Guru.

 

Essentially, I am happy with my braking skills but am curious as to its ommittance especially as I am sure there are things I don't know that would prove useful and reading up on these skills never translates as well as being instructed on them.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Ben

Level 4 student

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  • 1 month later...

Honestly Ben,

 

I don't think it is personal, I think that most of the members reading your questions simply don't have the answers you seek. And those who might have a viewpoint to offer know that it isn't really the sort of thing one can apply a simple 1, 2, 3 set of rules or steps to, hence, advanced riding schools.

 

Then there are those like me who are ashamed to admit that they never gave a whole lot of thought to how they managed to find themselves still on the brakes in the middle of a last lap corner thanking god they hadn't crashed in yet another braking duel.

 

And I stopped using the rear brake for slowing down (except in slippery conditions) when I started road racing and have rarely raced a bike powerful enough to consider using the rear brake to modulate or control wheel spin under acceleration. Even most of the pro's who used the rear brake flat-track style "pre-slide" steering into the corner gave it up as a standard technique and it went out of fashion. That is not to say that nobody ever uses it, and it is dramatic and fun to watch, but, the place I would seek information on that is a flat track riding school. I suggest Danny Walker's American Supercamp here: http://www.americansupercamp.com/

 

There may be another flat track school closer to you, but, this is one whose owner I am familiar with and trust.

 

The rear end lifting and snaking under heavy braking is sort of a "so what?" for me. I consider it a normal fact of life. It doesn't really bother me and I don't pay much of my ten dollars worth of attention to it.

 

That said, much of what you seek has been discussed at length here and Keith himself has discussed some of the areas where you want advice here in the forum. I suggest using the search function to find some of his posts.

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Ben,

 

I had the same questions when I first read the two Twist books and then the Soft Science because it seemed they were so focused on everything but braking that I wondered if it was an intentional oversight. I still don't know why they are that way but I can offer my humble opinion; it is all about cornering.

 

Corner entry speed is such a cornerstone of the School's foundation that every Level I School and then every Level thereafter starts with the No Brakes drill. What I surmise from that is how you set your bike's corner entry speed isn't as important as how you determined what your corner entry speed should be. Keith writes about how a rider reacts when they conclude (always too late) that they could have carried in more speed into a particular corner and spends a considerable amount of time trying to help us realize how we can overcome the Survival Reactions that hold us back.

 

Attending Level IV (for the umpteenth time) at a track that I was very familiar with, I remember entering one corner that I had struggled with lap after lap as a novice racer but this day was different - this time I was a CSS Student determined to follow the drill as correctly as I could. Approaching at a pace that was uncomfortable for this drill, I thought "there's no freakin' way I can make this turn" but I resisted the SR's screaming in my head to grab that lever - I took a huge leap of faith in Keith's message and with a giant gulp I pushed the inside bar very hard and dropped it in. Well it took more lean angle and I used up all of the available track but now I knew - for the first time I knew just how much speed I could carry into that corner. Once the cirriculum began progressively allowing the use of the brakes, my braking marker would move but my turn point and my entry speed were programmed into my hard drive. I was one with the no brakes drill.

 

As for the art/science of braking, I believe it is far less precise than cornering and there are conflicting theories to ponder. Some believe trail braking is the only way to minimize lap times while others believe getting your braking done before turn in is the way. The are legions of people on this list who know far more then me but I can tell you that of the three most recent crashes I have suffered, all three were while cornering; two were on the brakes while cornering while the third was being too greedy with the throttle while cornering (too steep a lean angle). The throttle crash to me is the inverse of the other two but all three occurred when the majority of available traction was consumed by cornering forces and then I overwhelmed what was left by adding in the force of changing the tire's speed.

 

Anyway, to your second post's message, I agree with Racer; it wasn't a personal snub of your question, its just a hard one to answer.

 

...but thanks for pushing the discussion.

 

Kevin

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Hi Ben,

 

In the ranking of skills in cornering, it's not the highest, hence it doesn't get the most attention. We certainly will address it when asked, and on that point did you have a particular question? If you haven't looked at them, the Twist books have excellent data on braking.

 

Best,

Cobie

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Hi Cobie

 

I have the 3 books and must stress that I'm only interested in duffing my mates up on track on trackdays and am unlikely to race.

 

So, whilst a good pal of mine (ex-racer) always jokes that "brakes just slow you down" it seems to be the easiest way of overtaking people.

 

On a trackday it is the only way of making a safe and couteous pass; a block pass.

 

Sure, I try and practise the other skills I've been taught but picture the scene;

 

You set up a rider on a litre sportsbike coming out of a turn and get better drive but due to is superior horsepower I can not pass him

in fact he doesn't even know I'm on his shoulder.

 

The only way therefore to pass him is to block pass him into the next turn, hence the importance of it to me, especially if he's my buddy!

 

So, since braking is so crucial to passing people and therefore having a quick laptime, that is why I am so curious as to why in all the Levels, there is no modules on it or classroom sessions.

 

I would like to be coached on trail braking.

 

Reading it in a book is no substitute for being coached or else nobody would ever attend the Schools!

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