Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum banner

1 - 20 of 54 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,725 Posts
... 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.

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,910 Posts
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 don’t think I’m actively braking in the middle very often. I’m usually watching for potholes that I may need to avoid. I feel like my SS requires more body input than any other bike I’ve owned which I think has caused my technique to change because I’m busy leaning over while in the curve itself.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
546 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,725 Posts
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.

:smile2:

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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,116 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,725 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Trail braking is a vitally important technique to learn if you are riding on a track, and proper use for street riding can help you ride safer. I'll talk about it from the perspective of a track rider first...

As others have said, smoothness and accuracy are the key. Not using the brakes at all while cornering is definitely instructors not wanting to recommend new riders try advanced techniques. You absolutely should use the brakes while cornering, but it takes care. I like to imagine that my lean angle and my braking force are on two sides of a scale: when one goes up, the other must go down (when entering a corner). The opposite holds true of acceleration: as soon as you are "done" making the corner, accelerating will help you stand the bike up faster, but you must add throttle gradually as you stand the bike up. That is what the "apex" of a corner is: the point you transition from turning (via lowering the throttle / braking), to accelerating.

SUPER important point: Never add throttle while also adding lean angle. This will make you "high side" (crash horrifically).

I would definitely urge you to find a local track organization, which should both have control riders and classroom instruction to help you practice these skills in a safe setting... of course you do need all the proper gear, and you might get hooked :laugh: but even if you are slow and gentle on the street, most track organizations have a beginner / slow pace group that rides pretty much at a casual street pace.

The important part isn't the speed, it is the accuracy, and consistency. Granted, at lower speeds, trail braking is less important, but you could still, for example, practice braking later into a turn, which even at low speeds would allow you to trail brake a bit, just to get a feel for it.

An exercise an instructor had a group of us do to help illustrate how grip works for a motorcycle was to have us lift a foot off the ground a bit, then place it gently on the ground and try rotating the foot, and keep rotating the foot as we apply more weight. If you try this, or even just imagine it, you will intuitively see that having more weight allows the material of your shoe (or in the case of a motorcycle, the tire) to grip.

When you slow a motorcycle down, weight moves to the front tire, which allows you to counter-steer to point the bike where you want to go. How you slow down depends on where you are: it could be just letting off a bit of throttle, it could be pulling the clutch in, it could be tapping the brakes, or it could be grabbing the brakes hard (and keep in mind, even a hard grab of the brakes should be done "gradually" even with ABS, grab 40% and slowly apply more force until you feel the tire is maximized) and then trailing off as you lean. All of this should be done with very little to no weight on the bars / clipons, which will allow your tire and suspension to provide maximum grip.

... now that's for track talk (edit: which I want to remind you is where we can safely maximize a motorcycle... not on the street, and also a lot of this advice applies specifically to the front brake. Rear brakes are useful for losing more speed faster but I do not like to trail the rear, it's already light under braking load and it could cause the rear to slip out)....

On the street, trail braking could save your life if you have to make an emergency rapid turn as you will be able to counter-steer harder and move the bike further. I hope this never happens to you, but trust me, it works!

edit: I saw the anecdote of catching a tractor trailer coming out of a blind corner as an example of where braking in a corner is useful, and I 100% agree. On the <street> you should never ride a bike harder than what you can see, so if a blind corner is coming up, you should be going slow enough where braking in that corner is a safe maneuver.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,065 Posts
Routinely braking while turning into a corner means you are likely wrestling with the bike. I don't recommend these high end racing techniques on the road. Traction is never optimal and the bike doesn't like turning with the brakes on.

The bike is much more stable with the throttle on and a technique I use a lot and can't recommend enough is the use of the rear brake mid corner to scrub speed and tighten your line while the throttle is open. Not wide open but enough to tighten the top of the chain. This mitigates the possibility of losing the rear due to too much brake, or the front, and will also compress the forks a tad and the bike is way more stable and controllable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Routinely braking while turning into a corner means you are likely wrestling with the bike. I don't recommend these high end racing techniques on the road. Traction is never optimal and the bike doesn't like turning with the brakes on.

The bike is much more stable with the throttle on and a technique I use a lot and can't recommend enough is the use of the rear brake mid corner to scrub speed and tighten your line while the throttle is open. Not wide open but enough to tighten the top of the chain. This mitigates the possibility of losing the rear due to too much brake, or the front, and will also compress the forks a tad and the bike is way more stable and controllable.
I agree that advanced racing techniques are generally not safe on the street: they're about maximizing speed (usually to very illegal levels on public roads) and using all of the available road (also not a great idea on a road you have to share).

I have to disagree that the bike is much more stable with the throttle on, though. I think a more accurate way to say it is that the bike wants to stand up when you are applying throttle. This can probably feel like stability, and if the road is not nice and smooth, it probably is more stable as you have more tire contact when the bike is upright. If it's a nice road, though, the bike is just as stable while leaning (unless your suspension sucks in which case get that fixed!)

I used to use the rear brake like Chuckracer mentions but it is easier to achieve the exact the same effect by just reducing the throttle a little bit. That said, at road speeds, it's totally safe to do, just a bit lazier than careful throttle management. Edit: I realized, of course, if you are on the street and not going very fast, you may be at basically maintenance throttle so taking more throttle off would cause the bike to dive in, so in this case using the rear to tighten the line is smart cookie thinkin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
my experience is that the bike does not want to stand up with throttle applied (not accelerating), but turns better. this is one of the things the code course does in level one. first drill from memory. amazed me how the bike turned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
my experience is that the bike does not want to stand up with throttle applied (not accelerating), but turns better. this is one of the things the code course does in level one. first drill from memory. amazed me how the bike turned.
Yes, this is something I didn't talk about in my previous post. When I am talking about throttle I am talking about adding throttle (accelerating). If the throttle is closed, the bike is decelerating, and it will counter-steer easier, but also because it can counter steer easier is inherently less stable. You are essentially destabilizing the bike to point it in a different direction, but once a steering input is made, keeping the throttle open ("maintenance throttle") will help the bike stay planted on that line. This is super important to note.

And on the street, it is unlikely that you would need to shut off the throttle to make that hard of a steering input. So, always a bit of maintenance throttle can help a rider feel more confident. The bike doesn't change direction as quickly.

Again it's a pretty stark difference between track and street riding, but the fundamental physics of motorcycle riding doesn't change, just the speed you're going is lower and the extra factors that require attention are much higher on the street.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,545 Posts
Trail braking is not about braking in the corner or even braking into the corner, it is about progressively getting off the front brake as you enter a corner, well before the apex.
Correct. The "Trail" part Trail Braking is about gently letting your pressure on the front brake (only) lever "trail off" (diminish) in a curve.

Some of the prior posts here seem to be talking about engaging or "getting on" the brake in a curve.

That is a good skill to practice for an emergency, but that's not what Trail Braking is.

At this fairly late stage in my riding career, I'm probably better off sticking with the simple Off the Brake/On the Throttle routine rather than trying to master a new, advanced technique that may (or may not) make me a fraction of second faster on the street.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
546 Posts
Trail braking is not about braking in the corner or even braking into the corner, it is about progressively getting of the front brake as you enter a corner, well before the apex.
Correct. The "Trail" part Trail Braking is about gently letting your pressure on the front brake (only) lever "trail off" (diminish) in a curve.

Some of the prior posts here seem to be talking about engaging or "getting on" the brake in a curve.
You are both correct but I thought that's what the question was - how trail braking can help you brake into the corner. You can't actually brake into the corner and then suddenly let off the brakes. That would mean a sudden unweighting of the front and an almost certain low side, ironically very similar to what happens if you suddenly add brake. The deeper into the corner you brake, the better you have to be at trail braking as the lean angle would be considerably greater. You have to be very gentle with the lever, especially when easing off the brake.

Everyone who has been to any of Nick Ienatsch's schools would have practiced both the engaging and gently disengaging of the brake for turns extensively, with the emphasis on corner grip and stability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
Many of the posts above address or hint at this truth for good, fast, safe, controlled, confident riding: Don't surprise the tire.

r-

Tom C.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
867 Posts
With modern tyre tech trail braking can not really be considered as advanced technique, yes, I suppose it's on par with "good, fast, safe, controlled, confident riding". Problem is most riders out there knows how to throttle hard but few know how to brake hard (and how to get of the brakes in smooth controllable fashion), the industry oblige with TC and ABS just feeding stupid with a false sense of expertise.
 
1 - 20 of 54 Posts
Top