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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 11:09 am Thread Starter
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Trail Braking

OK , I just read about the use of the front brake when going into corners. I have never done this , never touched the brakes in a corner, but apparently it can give more control and therefore more speed once the technique is mastered.
The theory is that using the brake depresses the forks, shortening the wheelbase which tightens the cornering. It also spreads the front tyre more onto the road so there's more traction.
Makes perfect sense. Who rides this way please? Probably everyone, I'm usually the last to know about most things.
But I'd like some discussion of this technique before I start trying it out.

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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 11:11 am
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I do.

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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 11:52 am
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Keith Code in his school said that braking destabilizes a bike whereas throttle stabilizes a bike and so I tend not to brake through a corner. I may trail brake with a dab of the rear going in after I finish front braking, but never all the way through a corner. I still feel that it is better to get all your braking done before the corner or slightly into it, rather than trying to wrestle a bike under braking all the way through. Better for me to get it done and get back on the throttle ASAP once the line through is established.

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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 12:10 pm
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... braking while cornering is something that takes a while to learn how to do. As in many many repetitions over many miles. The main thing to keep at the front of your mind is do nothing abruptly ... whether that be application of throttle or application of brakes ... or both simultaneously. Do everything in small increments and do them smoothly. You have to have a keen sense of communication with your specific motorcycle. The bike will talk to you, so it comes down to the ability to listen to what it's saying. That can take some folks years to learn the language the bike is speaking, and how to properly translate what it's saying into the appropriate responses and control inputs.

Take baby steps.


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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 6:02 pm
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i did a few levels of the superbike school and as casor says, they teach to brake then turn and use throttle to make the bike turn. i would never touch the brakes in a turn, and certainly never use the rear at all. unless i panic for some reason, then i go the rear and it's all over. like off the road over. it's quite surprising how quickly i go from control to shit.

in a consistant environment i can see that it would be fine, but i always worry about the inconsistancy of the road. confidence would also be a big factor.

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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 6:15 pm
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A Ducati was the first bike I owned that I felt required that technique, brake going in, then back on power through the turn. Though sometimes I keep my fingers on the lever I donít think Iím actively braking in the middle very often. Iím usually watching for potholes that I may need to avoid. I feel like my SS requires more body input than any other bike Iíve owned which I think has caused my technique to change because Iím busy leaning over while in the curve itself.

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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 6:44 pm
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I brake well into the turn, usually right up to the point where I am happy with both speed and direction (anyone know that phrase?) and then balance the bike with the throttle until I can start putting down the power properly to accelerate out of the turn.

The physics of contact patch size dictates that braking into the turn is one of the best ways to achieve correct cornering speed, balance, and direction. As others have said, the key is doing it gently. Doing anything like that abruptly in the turn is going to end badly.

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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 7:39 pm
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The "brake before entering turn then on the throttle in the corner" can be tricky if not done properly. Adding power in the turn, especially after the apex, can take weight off of the front tire and cause a front wash out if care isn't taken. You see it happen all the time in televised race events.

And not using your rear brake at all, you're missing out on at least 10% of your braking power. Think about that ... without that extra 10% (or more) means you have to begin braking earlier.

I think some of these "schools" espouse that notion because they don't want new riders over braking with the rear end and creating a problem (over correcting when the rear wheel steps out a little bit, causing a high side). The rear brake is your friend. As I said already it adds at least 10% more stopping force. For example, if you're able to stop within (let's say) 100 feet from 60mph without the rear brake, you're stopping distance can go down to 90 feet from 60 mph with the added 10% of braking force. Those are hypothetical numbers to make a point.

Apply that idea to cornering and you see the point. I grew up on dirt bikes, motocross, and flat track, using the rear brake with front brake is natural to me (street, dirt, everwhat, no matter) and I use both brakes all the time. But if you're unfamiliar with the practise it takes time to learn. And as I mentioned previously, learn in increments. Do nothing abruptly, that goes for applying throttle mid-corner as much as it goes for pre-apex mid-corner braking.

Full Disclosure: I'm one of those nutjobs that prefers my bikes to have no ABS, no traction control, no slipper clutch. Take that into consideration when taking my advice.



EDIT: The idea of "I never brake in the middle of a turn" can get you killed if you're not willing to practice it. So you come off of a freeway and head down the off ramp. The off ramp kinks into a tight right hand turn with a "25mph" sign just before it. It's a blind turn. As you round the corner traffic is backed up to the point that there is a semi truck at a dead stop just out of sight around the blind corner. You're still leaned over, attempting to stop as the semi truck takes you by surprise. You'll be FORCED to brake in the corner ... or hit the rear of the stopped semi truck. If you do not practice this technique you'll not know how to get the bike hauled down before hitting the rear of the truck, or end up going down because your panic took over.

I watched a man die before my eyes in 1991 because he did not know how to use the brakes in a turn. He ended up in three separate pieces when the situation I described above actually happened. His torso split open as if he was in the Alien movie. Firestone exit of off the southbound 710 freeway in Los Angeles.

It's true.
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Last edited by Rex Coil 7; Jun 9th, 2019 at 8:00 pm. Reason: corrected the 210 to 710 ... duh.
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 7:56 pm
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There's a lot of video on YouTube covering trailbraking , with varying opinions. Some of the guys here have already mentioned the Keith Code school of thought on trailbraking, I like the Nick Ienatch/Champions riding school take on it. It's a great tool to have in your riding repertoire.(especially if you find yourself to hot in a turn, sudden debris, surprise animal crossing...)
Ienatch also has a book , Sport Riding Techniques, that is well written and explains many aspects of riding in an easy to understand format.
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 2019, 8:04 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynnmon View Post
There's a lot of video on YouTube covering trailbraking , with varying opinions. Some of the guys here have already mentioned the Keith Code school of thought on trailbraking, I like the Nick Ienatch/Champions riding school take on it. It's a great tool to have in your riding repertoire.(especially if you find yourself to hot in a turn, sudden debris, surprise animal crossing...)
Ienatch also has a book , Sport Riding Techniques, that is well written and explains many aspects of riding in an easy to understand format.
Absolutely. We're confronted with surprise situations all the time on public roads (just as Member *flynnmon pointed out). Learning braking while cornering can prevent tore-up bike, tore-up ass, or tore-up other person. Neglecting the technique is less than optimal.
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