Before you start riding a motorcycle, be sure to understand how and when to use the front and rear brakes. Although beginners tend to get bogged down in techniques such as shifting and countercurrent steering, braking is the first skill to master. Once you understand the braking mechanisms of a motorcycle, you will be much less likely to make the most common mistakes that can lead to accidents and even death.
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Which brakes to use?
Balance is crucial to the dynamics of a motorcycle, and that’s why most motorcycles have individual front and rear brake controls. Most experts agree that about 70% of the braking effort should go to the front wheel, which uses the hand lever on the right handle, and 30% to the rear, which is Operated by the right pedal. Front brakes require this level of effort because the transfer of slow-down weight shifts the balance of the bike from the rear wheel to the front, allowing the front tire to withstand more load and not slip out of control. When there is less pressure on the rear tire, it becomes much easier to lock and slide this wheel, resulting in a loss of control.
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Braking according to your motorcycle
The braking ratio of 70/30 may vary slightly depending on the type of motorcycle you are driving. Cruisers and choppers can withstand more rear braking because they carry more weight on their rear wheel due to the rear seat position, while sports bikes can tolerate higher front braking effort because their forks are more vertical and wheelbases are shorter. Unused motorcycles rarely see the use of front brakes due to the nature of the loose terrain. In the hands of experienced drivers, biker or supermoto motorcycles can even be slowed down by sliding on the rear tire.
Difficult to brake
To keep control of your bike, it is essential to know the finest points of your motorcycle’s braking performance. Practice repeated stops in an abandoned parking lot, and you’ll begin to get an idea of the effort that triggers tire skating. Try to stop only with your fronts, your rear ones only, and then a combination of both. This way, you will know how much you can apply the brakes in case of an emergency.
Once you get acquainted with the brakes on your bike, the sensations of weight transfer will become more apparent. Stopping hard enough in the front can even lift the rear wheel and using the rear brakes strong enough can cause a skid. You’ll also find that you can get away by applying more pressure at higher speeds. Learn these limits, and you will be much better prepared for the unexpected.
The Lean Angle Issue
Tyres are more effective when upright, so you’ll need to consider them when you start leaning your bike. Suppose that 100% of the grip of a tire is available when it is completely upright and comes into contact with the road, at about 90 degrees. Once this angle begins to decrease, the ability of the tire to maintain its grip also decreases. Although grabbing the front brake does not release the tire when it is in vertical position, the same effort can cause a skid when the tire is bent. This loss of grip can instantly lead you to “fold” the tire under the tire, thus triggering a collapse. Some braking effort can be applied while a motorcycle is running, but the motorcycle will be much less tolerant of braking effort when increased tilt angles are involved. Be very careful when you apply the brakes while you turn, and try to perform most if not all of your brakes before turning.
Road condition and braking
Different road conditions require different braking techniques, and you will want to use your motorcycle’s front brakes carefully when traction is uncertain. Locking the front faces can easily make you lose control of your bike. Lock the rear is much more likely to be inconsequential when the road is wet or slippery.
Caution should be exercised when approaching areas with high oil spills, such as intersections and parking lots. Slide your rear brake where you suspect slippery surfaces, and you’ll have a backup plan in case you start feeling the tires before slipping. It takes quick reflexes, so stay on guard and remember that it is much easier to recover from a lock of the rear wheels than from a front slip.
These rules are taken at a different level when it comes to off-road driving, as off-road motorcycle driving almost never involves front brakes. If you intend to hit trails, get used to not to press the front brake lever, otherwise you may need to get used to taste dirt more often than you need.
Many scooters, touring motorcycles, cruisers and sports motorcycles are equipped with interconnected brakes, which are designed to operate the front and rear brakes by a single lever. Some systems are connected only from rear to front, while others work in both directions, but the lens is the same with both: Remove some of the guesswork involved in choosing between front and rear brakes. Although a majority of drivers cannot produce stopping distances as short as those created by interconnected braking systems, this feature is not always popular with some performance enthusiasts.
Systems anti-lock braking
Many motorcycles are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), which is designed to detect tire skid and “pulse” brakes so that they do not slip. The system allows the driver to fully press the brake or hand levers without worrying about tyres blocking, but ABS is not effective when a motorcycle is leaning forward.
Although it is difficult to match the stopping distance of a motorcycle equipped with ABS on wet or compromised traction, not all motorcyclists are excited about computerized brakes. Try some motorcycles with and without to see what yourefer.