Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Should I ditch my rear brake?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Seany, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Ok, so I'm still awake and will probably get into trouble for that later but,....I have a question. :)

    Having grown up riding trail bikes, I developed a habit of always covering my rear brake in corners so I could jam it on briefly enough to create a rear wheel slide before getting on the gas through a corner if I came in a bit warm. This is definately a bad apporach on the road and I'm aware of that (I never asked if it was good technique on the dirt but it seemed to work for me).

    However, I caught myself tonight on the spur, resting my foot on the lever into and through corners out of habit. It's not resting hard enough to wash off any speed (I mostly use engine braking anyway) and I keep the throttle on as I go through (although my brake light probably distracts anyone following) but I'm worried that if I shit myself on an unknown road I might intinctively lock up the rear. :shock:

    So now to my question. Is it a bad idea for me to remove my rear brake lever before going for a blat or many blats to remove this habit? My reasoning is, if I don't have a rear brake then I can't use this habit and it might go away. My worry is that I might just get better at riding familiar roads, but then go back to bad habits on unfamiliar territory. :)

    Should I take it off? :)

  2. I'd leave the brake lever on Seany - but then I'm not you :) Different riding history and different bikes as well - the virago doesn't mind a little bit of rear brake going through tight corners...not sure about bikes such as yours.

    Perhaps just do some practice blats where you consciously don't use the rear brake?
  3. Seany your rear brake is important DO NOT REMOVE IT and its not a bad idea to use it when required, like if you need to stop in a big hurry, I think what your doing with your cornering is a good thing and I always find it a good way of bringing your line in a bit tighter if you find your too hot into a corner and are running a bit wide, Im not suggesting you lock up your back wheel but applying a bit of rear brake will pull your line in tighter, give it a try, the back brake can be very useful if used correctly, I grew up on dirt bikes aswell and while the back brake is very useful on dirt so it is on the road just not to the same extreme, how many top riders do you see with no back brake? NONE, so keep it and learn to use it.
  4. When I had my Caponord, with soft front suspension (for dual sport), but great engine braking. I would often slightly ride the back brake just before a corner to bring the front of the bike up then power out of it.
  5. When you ride just be conscious where your foot is, if you put it on the brake while riding (and not needing it to be there) take your foot off, after awhile it'll all become natural to ride without your foot on the brake unless you need it to be there.

    Sorry for the saying the obvious.
  6. Thats a good point, actually when Im riding through the twisties I usually find I have the balls of my feet on the pegs and just move my feet as required to change gears and brake, why not try that?
  7. I feel I should clarrify. :)

    I know the rear brake is important, and I have also gotten reasonably good at trailing it into corners when needed to keep things tidy.

    My issue is phsychological. It's not being used to keep the corner tidy, or even being used at all. I'm simpley keeping it covered and I fear my subconsious may give it a quick flick if things turn really concerning (thus making the 'concerning' turn to 'nasty'). Also having it there as an easy option lead to me choosing a stand up and stop approach near Warragil on Friday when I should have leant harder (leaning is my normal responce so I'd love to know why I made a bad choice there).

    Removing the brake lever would be temporary. I'd take it off (out of town) to do the run and then put it back. Starting slowly, I'd like to train myself to do speeds I know are safe (sensibly on familiar roads) without having the rear brake pointlessly under my toes. I don't use it at the speed I'm doing anyway, so realistly I'm only keeping my foot there as a security blanket when I should be able to let it go. I figure by working without the security blanket a bit, my head will tell my foot to let go of it. :)
  8. I move my feet fairly constantly as I need to and when I'm aware of it, I can force it of the brake. I don't want to train my feet, I want to train my head into thinking that my right foot doesn't need to be where it is (if that makes sence). :)
  9. So could your time here as well

    I take it you haven't done any advanced rider training? The training there will set you up for better cornering techniques
  10. I'd still leave it on, just work on repositioning your foot.

    Wouldn't you just go back to having the rear brake covered all the time once you put it back on?
  11. That's something I'm wondering too. I wonder if I simply find that I might do Kinglake without an over readyness to touch the brake but would be resting back on it when I go somewhere new. :)
  12. Yeah, I know. I'd love to do the Superbike school and hopefully soon I'll be able to. :)

    I should add, that none of this has to go with going hard. I noticed the problem tonight doing a nice slow cruise down the spur (thus I had time to think about what I was doing) Had I been pushing it, I'd be trailing the rear anyway. :)
  13. I'll do you a straight swap, your rear brake for my front one, i rarely use it and i could do with beefier rear stoppers, i got the tools come over now, i will ply you with some alcohol so you wont freak out when i pry off all your rear braking system :LOL:
  14. Removing the brake lever would be temporary. I'd take it off (out of town) to do the run and then put it back. :)[/quote]

    No dont do it, like I said you might need it, especially in an emergency situation and you need to stop really quickly
  15. Seany, you know the answer already, but let me tell you a little story anyway.

    Back in the 70s I was helping in the growing careers of a few young men in road-racing, one in particular who had the colossal fortune to be being mentored by Jack Ahearn, one of Australia's great racers of the 50s.

    Ron had just got his new Yamaha TZ-350 race bike and was doing a private test day at Oran Park. After a couple of laps he came in and asked Jack words to the effect of what gear he should be using and what his approach should be to Suttons corner, the left-hander leading onto the back straight. Jacko asked what gear he was using and he said he was going back to the gear and powering through the corner. Jack suggested he go through the corner one gear up from that but trail the rear brake lightly right through the corner. The stopwatch and 'gut feeling' told the story; Ron was half a second quicker on the next few laps and said he felt much more in control using this technique....

    In summary, the rear brake is NOT just to be called into use for emergency stops; it is a vital tool in going fast, and smoothly....
  16. If you want to brake ( :LOL: ) habit of 'oh $hit, too hot - slam rear on', then instead of taking it off completely, perhaps just lowering the lever an inch or so. Should be able to break the habit and still have it there incase of an emergency.
  17. Seany,

    Rear brake or not rear brake is one of the most contentious issues going around.

    There are plenty of column inches on the topic in here, let alone the world over!!

    It's worth looking at the discussions on the forums at www.visordown.com or www.superbikeschool.com

    I'd say, Don't remove the lever! You'll need the rear brake if you accidentally go cross country!! But train yourself away from needing it for public road cornering bro.

    Using rear brake in cornering is frought with real problems!

    First up, rear brake became popular because older style bikes had sloppy suspension and needed help in tightening suspension and taking out drive lash. Some of those habits are hard to brake. (boom boom)

    Modern bikes shouldn't be suffering from those ailments. Good throttle control through a corner will leave the bike with the ideal weight picture, and take out any drive lash. So powering out of a corner will give you that nice planted stable squatting feeling.

    Second up, if you look at the physics of it, you wouldn't want to and shouldn't need to go anywhere near the rear in a corner.

    1. Any weight transfer forward in a corner loads the front using valuable traction. At typical highway speeds, modern tyres and roads have plenty of traction available so you most likely wont run out.

    2. Any weight transfer forward, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANOTHER FORCE, will cause the bike to go wide in a corner. According to the superbike school, most people who use rear to "tighten their line" are more than likely unconsciously counter steering harder in conjuction to applying rear, because the tightening line is the goal.... and the only way to change a line (a non slipping/spinning line) is WITH STEERING INPUT. Think about it.

    3. Any weight transfer forward will unload the rear. Hit a bump mid corner and accidentally lock the rear... you'll be in a world of trouble!

    4. Sometimes you need braking in a corner for emergeny reasons, and providing you have road left, stand it up and get on both brakes.

    5. A bike's cornering stability comes predominantly from the "right weight picture on the tyres (40/60 F/R) and a spinning rear. Lock up the rear and you're in a world of trouble.

    6. Most people will counter these kind of points by saying that racers use rear... Well...

    6.1 Not all racers use rear.
    6.2 If you're hanging off, applying rear is pretty tricky
    6.3 Racers that use rear tend to use the traction disadvantage as a tool to get the rear sliding (steps out the rear, turns the nose into the turn which tightens the lines by default cause they power out of the sideways attitude) OR to control wheel spin on the way out.
    6.4 I only just found this out, but most racer's mechanics tend to GREASE the rear disc, or somehow limit how much rear brake lever travel is available to AVOID locking the rear.
    6.5 Most racers will master the whole more important and preceding gammit of cornering skills - set up speed, vision, throttle control, body position etc etc etc and then with a highly developed set of skills start adding in rear braking skills in the pursuit of lap times... basically setting up crash situations but mastering them!

    Loz pointed out to me that going down hill through twisties, dragging rear isn't such a bad thing... part of me in inclined to believe him.

    ...ok off the soap box now.

    Cheers bro.
  18. Seany, I had that habit as well. I have overcome it by:

    1. Consciously berating myself every time I realised my foot was resting on the brake, (training brain and foot is in effect the same thing, really)

    2. Lowered the lever so that when riding twisty bits, I can have my foot in a "ready" position without actually resting or applying the brake.

    3. Did the Advanced and Cornering /Braking courses (by stay upright, only people in Tas at the time)

    The courses were the best thing. Note they aren't "racing technique" but riding skills in general.
  19. It is difficult when instinct takes over. The only way to stop this is to practice, practice practice. Practice e-stops from various speeds, and get to know how far you can stop in at those speeds. This will give you the knowledge of the distance needed, and therefore hopefully avoid the instictive (panic) reaction.

    Something that you might like to try. Don't remove the brake, but adjust it down a little. It will take a larger movement to bring it on , but you will still have the rear available when stopping at lights and starting off on hills.

    I was locking up the rear brake at a Roadsafe rider training day, and the instructors picked up that the brake pedal was too high. I actually had to lift my foot to put it on the brake pedal. After adjustment, it now sits under my boot, and around town, I'm riding comfortably with the brake pedal covered.

    Oh and StayUpright have an Advanced course at Broadford on Friday 16th Feb and a Cornering and Braking on Sat 17th. Marls will be at the Advanced and we both will be doing the C&B.

    Having done both, my assessment of the courses is that the Advanced is roadcraft, eg wide lines, road postion, the Cornering and Braking is introduction to race techniques, eg trail braking, race lines and apexing.

    The track is interesting, some corners with blind exits, the longer corners would probably be all slower than those at PI, so it's not too scarey for the first timer.

    If you (or anyone else) are interested in joining us or want more details, please PM me.

  20. Thanks guys, I might start by lowering the lever so it's a bit harder to reach and see what happens. :)

    Just so this is clear, this question had nothing to do with the pros and cons of using the rear brake in the corner. I'm only refering specifically when I'm not using (and have no intention of using) the brake. It's not applied but my foot will rest on the lever (just touching without pressing) when it could be better positioned out of the way. It seems like a better idea to have to move to the brake only when I need it, rather than risk accidental use. :)

    Thanks for the advice guys, I'll make some adjustments and see what my foot does without a easy to reach (but not too hard to reach) lever. :)