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Rear Brake and Cornering

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by khamil23, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Gday

    Ive a question regarding the use of the rear brake and cornering. When you guys are out for a bit of a fang, do you cover the rear brake whilst cornering? I tend to cover it in case a hazard appears unexpectedly or something similar(I know it wont wash off anywhere near as much speed as the front)
    But I have found it much more comfortable to rest my foot without covering it. Are there pros and cons as to cover or not to cover? If this has been asked a billion times before can you link me to the thread, cheers!

  2. use the 'search' button. Heaps of interesting discussions on it.
  3. :woot:
  4. Being able to change your line mid corner probably has more tactical advantage depending on the hazard.

    For example if you came across a large stick across your path, it is better to go around it, and if that is not possible power over it, braking on such debris could result in a lockup and loss of control

    If you are covering your brakes your fist instinct might be to brake which will make tightening your line far more difficult, or force you to run wide, if you haven't practiced braking in a curve it requires much more force on the bars just to hold your line while braking.

    Everyone is going to have a different answer, some may ride more defensively and cover the brakes, others more aggressively relying on their skill to change lines mid corner... you did say having a fang

    One con for me is if I am covering the rear on a right hander my toes drag on the ground, so if I am covering the brakes on a corner its with 1 or 2 fingers on the front.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Much as most the time iClint is 100% correct, this time he is 50/50. If you are in a corner braking gently with the rear you are slowing the rotational forces of the wheels (centripetal I believe) which is actually what is effecting the line, and you will tighten your line. It is better to change lines with steering input above all else, and if you are having to brake mid corner on the road perhaps there's problems with your setup and braking before you initially tip into the corner, or maybe your line selection is a little out
    • Like Like x 2
  6. RRdevil is right rear brake does tighten your turn.

    I think the subject of braking mid corner is more about when the unexpected happens and your riding a little faster than you can see, rather than setup for the corner.
  7. search for 'trail braking' it was discussed to death several years ago

    for the record, I saw it take seconds off a lap time at Oran Park on a racing bike way back when......
  8. It is much harder to change line in a corner is your applying additional brake due to an obstacle. I'm with iClint. Leave the brake alone and maneuver around it.
    If your going for a casual ride, brake is fine, but if your going for a fang as you stated, you are probably on your limit so applying sudden brake mid-corner will generally make matters worse rather than better.
    If its a branch, pothole or oil, push the bars a bit more, lean further and go inside it. If its a truck in your way - just go bush and hope for the best!
    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. ..
  10. Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated. That basically happens to me also, toes on the ground mid corner if covering. I will practice both methods a bit more. Will also do some more searching, cheers.
  11. I never use rear brake mid corner for the purpose of slowing down. I rather drag rear brake to stabilise the bike or in downhills so that I don't upset the bike rolling off the throttle.
    But if I'm worried about obstacles mid corner I adjust my entry appropriately and some times (this is controversial one) trail the front a bit into the corner (this keeps the front loaded if I'll need to brake harder). But basically I almost never use rear brake to really slow down.
    This is just me and I accept some people may not agree with it.
    But hope this helps.
    • Like Like x 3
  12. You need to think also about the rear brake, it is a powerful tool. Not as important as front brakes or clutch
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. The above theory is all good.

    In reality - I think if your traveling at a fair pace, enter a corner and suddenly come to a realization that there is something in your way you probably wont have enough time to think about any of the above. You'll be lucky to avoid target fixation on whatever your brain has decided is a problem in your path.

    My suggestion is to train your brain to just not look at the obstacle and target fixate yourself to another point in front of the obstacle that will give you a safe path of travel. If you can manage to do this one step in the split second you have, all should be fine and hopefully your mind and body will automatically handle the rest of the situation.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Bikes have brakes??
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. Lots of advice around the world says use rear brake in a corner to tighten your line... which basically boils down to a bike losing some speed with the same steering input so the physics automatically tightens the line. There might be some minor aid from the bike squatting a bit more, but if you're cornering properly, cornering forces should already have compressed the suspension. It's probably worth remembering that if you have enough reserve traction to brake and turn harder without losing the front or rear, you surely have enough traction just to turn harder!

    Another reason for the advice is that there is a lot of fear about the front brake and its application causing a nose dive unsettling the bike, or accidentally over applying it causing a low side. Rear brake is supposedly more forgiving... but it requires some deft to apply just a bit of rear brake when needed, especially when you're weightshifted ripping out a performance corner. (I'm on the balls of my feet - how the hell do you use rear brake when that is how you weight shift and help lock onto the bike???)

    A good reason NOT to contemplate rear brake is that if you lock up the rear wheel for any reason (panic stomp), you suddenly lose a massive amount of gyroscopic stability and you enter a skid... and you're now playing physics lotto as to whether you win a world of hurt.

    The reality is, that at legal highway speeds on good pavement with good traction, there's usually MORE traction available than being demanded by the cornering forces/loads, so there's usually (<--- weasel word warning!!) enough reserve traction available to allow some front braking - something which you should be able to do with more finesse than a booted foot.

    Another reason rear brake is suggested is that the suspensions of old tightened up when some rear was dragged making the bike feel more planted... and that advice still carries on, but that's not necessary these days with modern bikes. Suspension is sloppy.

    FWIW, my advice for real world riding, set your speed early, be off the brakes, enter the corner at a set speed, practice good throttle control, change line using steering input, if weight shifting FORGET about the rear brake entirely - focus on good peg position and using them to lock onto the bike (knee into tank, thigh into frame etc), and be ready to use fine hand motor skills to brake judisciously if needed.

    I started a thread years back about the rear brake being the most dangerous device on a motorcycle... might be worth a read.
  16. #16 dima, Mar 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
    That is true, BUT. The difference between good rider and average comes in where shit hits the fan. Every human being makes mistakes.
    And if you know how to and ready to handle that - than it will save you.

    But if you've never practiced, never tried braking, swerving mid corner then surely you won't have time to think.
    Those things need to be in rider's subconsciousness and the only way to get there is to keep doing it and practicing.

    I generally agree with what you've said but just want to highlight that we all sometimes misjudge the corners.
    And we need to work on how do deal with the outcomes of that, not only with the situations when it's a "perfect ride".
  17. I use the rear brake extensively.

    There are obvious benefits in slow speed manouvering, but at faster speeds I believe the rear brake is much underrated. Not so much when everything is flowing beautifully, but for example through particularly bumpy corners I find that some back brake helps a consistent smooth line through the corner. And if wanting to wash off just a little speed, the rear brake does not stand the bike up anywhere near as much as the front.

    That's my experience anyway.
  18. I get that you're talking from a learners perspective but even a motogp or wsbk rider uses the rear brake at times
  19. Rob, many years ago, a (supposedly) qualified riding instructor told me, along with others on the course, that using a small amount of rear brake will tighten your line and small amount of front brake will 'sit the bike up' and widen your line.

    He then got us to do an exercise going around a corner at using no brakes, back brake but maintaining speed, front brake but maintaining speed. And it certainly appeared to do as he had described.

    He also got us to do the same corner at the same speed but getting "our arses off the seat" showing us that doing that required less lean angle.

    You maybe surprised to know this was on the Probationary License training course, after we had successfully completed the MOST.
  20. Rear brake? What is this thing you're talking about?