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Compression/engine braking

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Zerby, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    I guess there is always a balance between engine braking and friction braking (depending on if you are braking heavily or just slowing down) but is there a right balance or does it really depend on how quickly you need to drop your speed? I'm curious to know how much other riders use it because I think I rely on it a little to much.

    If I'm just slowing down for traffic or a red light in the distance on a cruisy day I tend to not even use my brakes and just use compression all the way down to 1st which I think is ok. There have been a few occasions though braking for a tight corner where I've changed down early and locked up for a split second which has made me realise I probably rely on it a little too much. Anyone else do this?

    • Like Like x 1
  2. I do a lot of city riding during my commute to work, lots of traffic lights, I use compression braking down through the gears rather than use the brake. Depends on the situation though, and if its a faster stop needed then I use the brakes, often coming to a stop in second gear. Don't know if this is the right way to do it, am also interested in what others do.
  3. Locking it up does not mean you rely on it too much, it just means you are releasing the clutch lever too quickly/harshly. Do it slower. Also look up one of the many "throttle blipping" threads here or elsewhere.

    The problem with not touching your brakes at all when slowing down is that other vehicles behind you may not realise you are slowing down, that is why putting just enough pressure on the rear brake lever to have the light switch on is a good idea.

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  4. Sometimes with a quicker stop going right down into first just doesn't happen fast enough, so if the need for a faster brake is there, then I'll stop in 2nd. No idea if this is the right way to go about it, just the way it happens for me. Am always keen to change my ways if needed.
  5. Just remember that if you're slowing without using your brakes you're also not triggering your brake light. A few taps to give the dolt behind you one less excuse to run into you will help. And hold the brake on while stopped for the same reason.
  6. I use engine braking a lot. Pretty much all my routine speed adjustment in fact.

    Whether this is good or bad, I won't comment, but it's an old habit developed because I cut my riding teeth on bikes where squeezing the lever and pressing the pedal were just something to do to pass the time before you hit the looming obstacle :shock:.
  7. +1 to the comments about triggering your rear brake light. That is importnat, no point in pulling up in time or slowing down if the car behind you doesn't notice you and collects you.

    Being a newbie myself, I am trying to lightly tap the rear or front brake to activate my rear brake light and am trying to do this as habit.

    Also, back to the OP, I try and do a combination of both or either - engine braking and/or friction braking, just whatver is smoother and safer at the time. I am using engine braking to get in the right gear for that moment, and if it means a touch of front brake at the same time then great. But what I am working on is if I am using engine braking to slow me down, to blip the throttle as Deadsy mentioned. It is far smoother and a more efficient way to slow down.

    If I'm coming to a complete stop, I am trying to do this is 2nd gear always, regardless if I use engine braking with friction braking. That way, quick tap and I am right to go, or even better if I don't need to come to a complete stop then I am good to throttle on and keep moving preventing the car behind me to come up my rear.

    Like I said, I'm a complete newbie myself, so don't just take myword for it. Ken to hear some of the more experienced people on here and what they have to say.
  8. Cheers for the advice everyone.

    I must be doing it all right because I do all of the things mentioned; blipping, using brake lever for lights etc. I was just curious to hear other thoughts and see how much others use it.
  9. Sounds like you are slow riding everywhere. Relying on engine compression to slow, is not necessarily a bad thing. Everyone uses it, but in concert with regular braking.

    The main issue I see, is that you are getting no experience using your brakes. That's a serious flaw in your riding. I'd be worried about that if I was you. You MUST be very good with your brakes, and there is no way around it.

    As has been said...you are gonna get rear-ended because your brake light will not be activating, and by using engine braking alone, you are likely to be slowing down well ahead of time, and the poor driver behind you could easily not notice this. He certainly won't be expecting it.

    I use engine braking to assist my pressure braking, not the other way around. I'd say we all use it every time we slow or need a mild speed adjustment when negotiating the open road.

    You need to do a course ASAP!
  10. Thanks, raven. You might have misinterpreted my post a little bit. I still practice and use normal braking (commuting, weekend twisties, "hooning" etc) so I'm not concerned that I'm not getting and braking experience.

    I guess the real question I was asking is if/how/who actively uses compression braking in their riding technique rather than as a side effect of downshifting.
  11. I'm a super newbie and I try to use the gears to slow as much as possible in conjunction with the breaks, however if I have to do a quicker stop i usually use just breaks (clutch in down to first) to practice emergency breaking. The break light comments are really useful, definitely something I'll have to keep in mind! Good thread Zerby!

    I recently had a mate tell me that it's better for the bike to rev up to the right RPMs before letting the clutch out smooth when slowing down with gears, is this right or is it ok to just smoothly let the clutch out and have the speed "pull" the revs up???
  12. I use the engine compression cause I have a V4...sounds filth
    A rear brake will stop you faster than engine braking.
    Engine braking will cause you to loose the feeling of the rear brake. And if it's wooden to begin.....
    So an easy brake...take your pick. I like engine braking cause it sounds filth. But I stop on the rear brake cause forks dipping at the stop looks kooky
    If I have to pull it up then I am clutch in, both brakes and changing down to match my speed retardation.
    And my eyes are looking for a way to RIDE out
  13. Great thread, I face the same issue as a noob.

    So say you're going at 70kmh in 5th and a 20kmh (2nd gear) corner is coming up. Is it correct to hold the clutch while braking and shifting down to second, then just as you're about to turn in release the clutch gradually (having it fully released before beginning the actual turn)?

    This way there won't be any engine braking, so am wondering should I be disengaging the clutch between gear shifts instead?
  14. not correct.
    bad technique.
    could be fun though.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. I'm sure Deadsy also realised but forgot to mention:
    If you stop in 2nd and then spot a car bearing down on you in your mirror, you're gonna bog it down as you try to make a quick start again.
    The gear you're in as you slow down, should be the same gear that will allow you to let go of the brakes and GTFO in a hurry...
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Hell no! Go down one or two gears at a time but don't coast with the clutch in.

    On my R1 it's got too much engine braking, rolling off the throttle is like applying the rear brake, I find myself hardly using the brakes. I still apply them at normal times but with hardly any force. It's going to unlearn my braking skills, I was starting to get good at braking really hard.
  17. This is the rule I use when cornering and in traffic; it's better to be able to power out of there than to be stuck with no juice and needing to change down.

    I think you should always be engaging the clutch through each downshift, there is no benefit of just clutching and changing down multiple times all at once.
    • Like Like x 2
  18. My bike seems to have enough engine braking that if I'm riding the Old Road and a slower pace my discs are cool to the touch at the end.. No need to brake. Different story if I'm going a bit quicker :D
    I still practice it a lot and it has saved my ass more than once. A good set of tyres, good brakes and most importantly, the skill to use them to their full potential are essential for any road rider. It simply can't be practiced enough. You can never become 'too good' at braking, especially on bikes which don't have ABS (i.e. nearly all).
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Ha ha bad boy bubby
    I prob should have said HAVE TO STOP! didn't want to go near EBing.
    When entering a corner you want the bike to be as settled as it can be.
    To be that..... you have to have done everything that is needed for that bike to smoothly take the corner before the corner. Braking, gears, and line.
    If you pull your clutch in around a corner the bike will feel like it wants to fall. So u just might.
  20. Depending on the situation I will use both together or seperately.

    Going downhill when I tow my trailer a one gear downward shift keeps my speed to the posted limit with the occaisional braking should I go over limit.

    Relying on your brakes alone can cause you grief as well. They can get hot to the point that they can fail because of over use. Todays braking is probably a lot better now but wasn't to long ago we were taught to use both gears and brakes.

    Around town you should be able to control your speed with just your throttle. Whenever I go to the city I all ways see the odd car or two with brake lights on then off and repeating like that just to keep at 60kph. Gets annoying and then you start to ignore those lights (but I either hang back or pass them when I can) and end up in a bad situation. 70 percent of my braking in towns is using brakes alone and rest both togther like pulling up at lights etc.

    In the end it comes down to experience and what works for you and your bike.