Using your brakes

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by ThaiTed, May 7, 2010.

  1. ThaiTed

    ThaiTed Banned

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    Could the Forum please shed some light on how you are supposed to think when distributing break power between your front and back breaks! I have heard all sorts of comments and percentages...
    I personally try to use only the front break unless I really have to come to a quick stop.
    Comments?

    Teddy
     
  2. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    That's a habit that will get you into trouble. As long as the bike is going straight and upright, you can apply both front & rear hard. Never apply a firm front break when bike is in a turn or leaning. Use Only Rear brake during slow speed maneuvering.
    Multiple everything by a factor of 5 if the pavement is wet !
     
  3. ThaiTed

    ThaiTed Banned

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    Thanks for your advice!
    Wet roads really scare me! Living in Phuket, we get the Monsunes and then you can really talk about wet roads, more like flooded...
    I am aware of that using your front breaks when turning can be dangerous, but I also have experienced that my bike starts skidding if I use my back breaks. I have been lucky sofar, no accidents... touch wood...
     
  4. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    You almost have to use calculus to answer your question because the more the bike is leaning, the less front brake you can get away with. When approaching a turn, apply front brake before entering turn, then release front brake while in turn. If the front wheel ever starts to skid, even while bike is upright you must release it immediately.
     
  5. ThaiTed

    ThaiTed Banned

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    Thanks again!
    On top of it all, Phuket pavements most likely have a different mix of the asfalt, due to the hot temps, but as a side effect, the pavements soon becomes "polished" and a little rain on top of that and you got a surface that remindes me of the winter roads of good old Sweden!
     
  6. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Wow. The next time your picking out a new ride at the dealership, maybe select one with ABS. :p
     
  7. Safehaven

    Safehaven Active Member

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    If you can, always break while being upright. Make sure you enter a turn with the correct speed so that when something happens you are still able to respond to it.

    What I find the most effective braking technique is the following:

    When braking hard, the first 0.5 to 1 second progressively squeeze the brake lever so that the suspension can compress smoothly. After the suspension has settled you can continue to increase the power of the front brake as much as you like until you are just short of a sliding tire. You MUST practice, practice, practice to know how an impeding skid feels like, the front becomes "mushy" you'll know it when you go out to practice. Never overstep your boundaries while practicing this though, it hurts :) Hammering the front brake without letting the suspension settle first will slide your tire right away as suspension might bottom out and "knock" the tire out of it's available grip..

    Depending on the bike you are riding, there might still be some rear braking power left that you can use to shorten your stopping distance still.. If you ride a sports bike and are pulling a stoppie (rear wheel in the air) then there is 0% rear braking power left to use.. On our harley's stoppies are rare :D, and most of the time the rear brake can and should! be used.

    same story here, be smooth when you apply the rear brake! In a hard stop most of the weight of the bike is loaded on the front tire so it does not take that much effort to slide your rear tire form under you. (Watch some Superbike crashes on youtube to see what I mean..)

    If you do slide the rear tire and the bike is still traveling in a straight line, release the rear brake immediately and recover, before applying it again. If you feel the bike going sideways as the rear is sliding, DON'T release it unless you ride on the race circuit on a weekly basis as there is a good chance the rear tire will instantaneously snap back and throw you off.. Try to ride it out with your foot on the rear brake if this happens..

    So, use both brakes! That's what they are there for.

    Interesting topic this.

    Ride safe!
     
  8. Iceman24

    Iceman24 Well-Known Member

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    During "straight" start/stop riding I always apply the front brake by using the "two finger" squeeze (pointer & middle). This way I'm only applying enough pressure to assist the stop. Of course if I'm in a situation where I need to to an emergency stop - squeeze enough to the "skid point" where the front tire is just about to cease rotation.

    How do I know this - many years of riding, trying, practice & patience. Crashed my 1st street bike back in 75 with a "front brake panic grab" and never want a repeat. Also, if you haven't attend a ERC - recommend you do b/c they teach the art of braking. Cheers!
     
  9. Porter

    Porter Junior Member

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    I agree with Iceman and Safehaven.

    Practice is key!

    The only point I will add is that I used to use only two fingers on the front brake and have switched to using my whole hand. It was brought up to me in a safety class. I tried and tried but I could always stop 3-6 feet shorter with using my whole hand. I am not saying it two fingers can't/doesn't work. Just doesn't work as well for me. Something to think about as you start to form habits.:D

    I don't have ABS but I have rented a few bikes with it and I like it and would recommend it. Definitley something I would pay for.
     
  10. bwalsh22

    bwalsh22 Junior Member

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    I tend to use rear brakes more and only apply the fronts when closer to the end of the stop or in a quick stop position. In general, my hand is always ready to apply, but when coming to a slop stop I usually will apply rear and front but let off the front first.

    Sounds like you just need some practice not applying the rear so hard. the more you get used to using both the less you'll end up skidding the back tire and as you know in a back tire skid, just keep the pressure on.