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Front brakes question

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Leif, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Hi!

    I just got my second bike ever the other day. Returning to my L's after letting them lapse about 15 years ago!

    I bought a CB400 super four to get me going. Nice little bike, not too OTT and feels a good size to start out on.

    I used to ride a 250 road trail and also road one on my L's course recently.

    My question is, should my front brake on my new bike be really sensitive?
    They seem to bite very quickly and will lock after just a little squeeze of the lever. Just seems a bit dangerous to me thats all.

    On the road trail I did the L's course on I could really yank hard on the brake lever and get a quick stop without locking.

    Is it due to the CB400 having twin discs or do they just need to be adjusted?
    Also I notice that the forks are a bit noisy under braking too, does this mean I should have them looked at or serviced?

  2. The brakes are awesome on newer machines. Mine (GSX650FU) seemed a little too sharp when new, but after a few months of riding I got used to it.

    By all means mention stuff like this to your mechanic/dealer, obviously if they're out of spec they need to be looked at, and it can't hurt to check.
  3. You'll get used to it. Also the front end set-up under braking is going to be quite different with a road bike.

    It also raises an interesting point. If you are not spending a great deal of time above 120km/hr do you really need mega brakes, or just brakes you can feel all the way up to the lock up point?
  4. Yeah thanks guys. I guess end of the day its no big deal, I guess its just the fear of hitting them too hard in an emergency stop and locking them. But even after hitting them a couple of times I have gotten used to just applying very lightly.

    Also still coming to terms with being able to brake so late with down shifting compared to driving an auto car! ha ha

    I think I must have really been winging it as a teenaged L plater!
    Its amazing what 18 years of road use does to your attention to detail and safety concerns :)
  5. Set up and squeeze is the answer.

    Some bikes have great initial bite - which COULD play havoc with your confidence at low speeds. It should be fine at high speed though, just set up and squeeze.
  6. A lot of modern bikes have adjustable levers like the pictures. Turning the dial ( usually numbered detents ) alters where the brakes come on during the lever travel. This can be used to 'soften' the feel of the lever

    Attached Files:

  7. baking the compression damping off may also assist in the feel of the brakes and help prevent lock up. I've jumped on peoples bikes that run high compression damping settings and have thought the front feels it could lock much more easily.
  8. I don't think the CB400 has the adjustable damping in its suspension...
    Only preload adjust front & rear.

    Although that said, if the front preload is set too hard.....
  9. This certainly won't help. Backing off pre-load will load up the front a bit more and help prevent lock up.
  10. The front forks feel pretty soft (if thats what you guys are talking about)

    From just walking with it it will close to bottom out when the front brake on.

    Anyway, i just bought it so i would like to have a mechanic give it the once over and explain a few things as I am a noob :)
  11. You have a serious problem with either your tyres/suspension or your technique if, on a sports bike, you are locking up your front on a flat dry straight piece of road. If you set up and squeeze you should be able to float the rear tyre with very little difficulty, if you can't then practice again and again until you can. I think you are probably just braking too hard too early, you are coming off a dirt squirt after all.
  12. I only really noticed it when practicing some emergency stops in a vacant carpark and such, have only been gently squeezing it along with some rear when setting up for corners.

    Also noticed it when wheeling the bike around to manoeuvre it into the garage etc, seemed to really grab so much that the forks make a squeeking noise as they compress.

    It's just suprised me a bit as the brakes kick in very quickly and violently within the first cm of lever give - only comparing it to the bike at the course where I could squeeze it ast least half way in and didnt even get close to a lock up.
  13. Maybe my forks are shot, they feel pretty soft but I dont really have anything to compare it to.

    Think I will take her on down to get a once over from the mechanic.

    Thanks for all your help everyone too! What a great community :)
  14. On both my current road bikes grabbing 1cm of finger travel, after take up, would send the bike pivoting around the front axle at 40km/hr. On my yz (dirt bike) that would hardly start to slow the bike down at 40km/hr. Sports bikes have aggressive front brakes, they are at the opposite end of the spectrum to dirt bikes, they have very forgiving front brakes. I still think you are just snatching at them too hard too early.
  15. Getting a mechanical once over is never a bad thing though.
  16. Awesome. Thats good then. I will get the bike looked at anyway so that I can set my mind at ease and know my bike is operating as it should.

    That sounds about right then bluezx14, completely different feel to the road trail. I will take it on and continue to learn. Thanks alot for your help.
  17. A little bit OT, but it sounds like you should think about increasing your front preload. Running out of fork travel under brakes isn't the best experience.
  18. I came from a dirt / dual purpose bike background, took a 26 year break, then got onto my current Ducati Multistrada. I had to relearn how to ride, not because I had forgotten, but because riding a road bike is completely different.

    One of the very different things is the front brakes. Awesome aren't they!

    The next and extremely important thing you need to learn or relearn is Countersteering. Steering on a road bike is just completely different to a dirt bike, and Countersteering is the reason why. You will notice folks around here are sick of talking about it, but there are lots of threads and good information on it.

    Read up about it, as the information could save your butt, and/or your bike.


    PS: I don't think there is anything major wrong with your bike, and I doubt you need to change suspension settings yet, although once you get to know the bike better you may want to. Either that, or get a professional to set up the suspension for your size and weight, and it can be adjusted to your riding style later, when you work out what that is!