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scooter braking technique

Discussion in 'Scooters' at netrider.net.au started by oldmick, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. As a newbie, I'm reading up on all I can find on riding technique, particularly the Tips threads here. Safety-wise, braking technique seems to be pivotal (der...)

    My question: are there any significant differences between good braking technique on a scoot compared to a bike? I'll mostly be riding in commuter traffic, with a little bit of highway fun after she (and I) are run in.

    For what it's worth, I'll soon be riding a Vespa GT200, with the following specs:
    Front Tyre: 120/10 x 12
    Rear Tyre: 130/70 x 12
    Front Suspension: Single sided fork with hydraulic shock absorber and coil spring
    Rear Suspension: Twin dual action shock absorber with adjustable preload
    Front Brakes: 220mm disc brake
    Rear Brakes: 220mm disc brake
    Dry Weight: 138Kg
  2. You can't downshift with a scooter, so think ahead. 80% front, 20% back and in corners only the back brake..
    And try , try , try emergency braking...
  3. Also brace your feet solidly on the foot panel to help take the load
    off your arms. If you lock up your arms trying to hold up your body,
    the front wheel will not be able to follow the road nor grip as well.
    You should aim to have your elbows slightly bent and arms relaxed.
  4. More details please.. esp for newbies. I have tried to take all my braking technique info from geared MC tips.. but its not the same so I just dont use brakes in corners much, I try to get the speed correct before the corner, if I am wrong I lean more! I am using all the tyre. My tyres have 3 inch walls but i notice that sports bikes have something like only 1 inch walls, can I get tyres like that for a Skoot?
    I will be doing some work on braking next weekend coz I just dont use them even when doing sweepers at 110kms.. so much to learn.. sigh.
  5. Find yourself a go-kart track or supermoto track (I know there is one near both of you) and ride the wheels off it. Get out there, try it, and ask the guys and girls that race them what works for them. They embarrass the odd 50hp motard and CBR250, and that's all through corner speed and trail braking.
  6. Are you kidding me devo? They would laugh me off the track and out of existence. I go to track meets to watch my guy on his suzi gsxr 1000, I KNOW they wont let a skoot on the track. I have thought of sussing out a go-kart track and seeing if you can hire it for an hour or so and divide the cost tween many.. no one rides skoots on the track or race them either, sad really. that's why I am asking you guys.. and.. whats trail braking??
  7. Mate, the track you're after is one where anything bigger than 250cc is banned. Pocket bikes, pit bikes, mini-motard, motard, and scooters all have a pretty big following, and whilst I'm not sure on contact details, I know there is a track in Lonny.

    I've seen the Brisbane guys and girls improve out of sight on their scoots. Be worth looking into is all I'm saying.
  8. I hear you Devo and I like what I hear but i have not found the track you mention or anyone who knows of it?? But on your recommendation I will leave no stone unturned. It would be great to get practice like that.
  9. 2troo is spot on - always (if possible) do your braking BEFORE the corner. 80% front/20% rear is a good guide for motorcycles. I would suggest sticking to those figures on your scoots, especially while learning, so that you develop good habits. However, it is possible to increase the amount of rear brake on scoots.

    On motorcycles, the rear is literally only used as a support mechanism, the vast majority of stopping power comes from the front. If you try too much rear on a motorcycle, it will lock up and skid. When you skid, you have lost all control of the bike. Thats not good! The problem is that as you slow down, the weight transfers to the front and the rear is almost lifted off the ground so it has very little stopping power. On a scoot, due to their layout, there is more weight on the rear so you can get away with using more rear than you would on a bike. But this is probably not an ideal habit to get into, your much better off relying on the front brake.
  10. I finally took abit of time the other night just seeing what some hard braking would feel like. It was late, streets deserted, wide roads.

    I come from a bit of cycling over the years but you notice straight away how much more rubber on the road there is. You really can stop quickly if need to. It was good to try out. Having front disc breaks I think helps too (Bolwell vs 125)

    Its definitely worth doing. But make sure your prepped to take the weight in your arms.

    Next to try in the wet. Cornering is another one I need to try but, too be honest, I'm never going that fast around corners in inner sydney.
  11. Scooters usually have a rearward weight bias so the rear brakes work a lot better on them than, say, a sportsbike. I found that best braking on the scooters that I've had is achieved by applying the back brake first - this will move the weight forwards and on some will make the front and rear suspension squat. When the suspension is squatting, apply the front brake as the pitching forwards/downwards puts more weight onto that front wheel so it won't lock/skid so easily. I'm talking fractions of a second here, apply back brake, as soon as the slack is taken up in the lever, apply the fronts. You brace yourself with your arms and legs/feet. If you wedge your knees in you might find that the front might flex a bit (on a small 50cc) and squash your kneecaps.
  12. Duffman.. I am thinking that with the extra weight on the back... motor-on-the-swing-arm type skoots, it may be more 50/50 back and front brake. My T-max has motor more mid-bike and in normal riding conditions I do about 50/50. Next weekend I will def get out and do some hard breaking, see what gives. I know on my little VS I have managed to lock up the back but it is a drum brake. So there may be big dif with the t-max disks front and back.
  13. Yeah as I said, with scoots you can certainly use more rear stopper than you would on a motorbike, but it really shouldnt be as much as 50/50.

    Regardless of the weight distribution, the issue is that when you slow down, the weight is transferred to the front. The idea is that the front end is now being pushed harder into the road. This causes the front tyre to bulge out, increasing the tyre footprint on the road. This allows you to make use of this extra footprint (and hence extra grip) by using more front brake. Conversely, now the rear will have a very small contact patch (compared to a non braking situation) with the road, so it will lose traction easier.

    This is why larger bikes (and even larger scoots) have twin front discs and only one rear. Exactly the same reason many scoots have a more powerful disc up front but just a little drum at the rear.

    Practising your emergency stops is always a good idea. If I were you, i'd be aiming for something like a 70/30 split.
  14. ok, i understand, it seems then that i have not really been using the brakes correctly... what then happens when you do stop suddenly and the back locks? what happens to the front that is still braking? does the front slide too or will a stoppie thing happen? What happens if i only use the front brake hard i wonder?
  15. I find ratios and percentages ridiculous. On a bike, you're operating one with your foot and one with your hand, they've both got completely different leverage ratios, mastercylinder piston diameters, pad areas, disc sizes (or even disc on front, drum on back), tyre sizes. Just how does one aim for "30%"??? On a scoot it's no different, save for the fact the controls are on the bars.

    The general idea is to setup (roll off the throttle, briskly not abruptly), squeeze on some rear and front progressively, increase front and modulate either based on keeping the rear wheel on terra firma or on the verge of lockup, modulate rear brake on the verge of lockup (will require easing off as more load goes to the front). If the rear locks up, ease off it a little, if the front locks up ease off but quickly, a sliding front doesnt do much for staying upright.

    Traction at the front and rear wheels during braking are independent save for weight distribution.
  16. Hmmmmm the plot thickens and it gets rather complicated..
  17. Which bit is complicated?
  18. I dont think quoting ratios is stupid at all.

    I think if a n00bie is taught 70/30 front/back, then it simply cements in their mind the notion that the vast majority of stopping power comes from the front.

    i think telling people that is better than telling them your method of "just try it out and modify as your going" which although technically correct, would be hard for a n00b.

    2troo - re your last question....keep in mind that if any wheel loses traction, you have lost control of your vehicle. Maximum braking power would obviously be right at the point before you skid.

    The truth is that with 50cc scoots, you will tend to be travelling at such a speed where it wont be a huge drama because you can stop fairly quickly anyway. But I say learn the best technique right from the start.
  19. thank you all and i will continue to consider all that has been said... I guess its a bit of a concern to me coz my skoot is a 500cc not a 50cc so I do get speed with that power and i need to know how to stop well.