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Technique for braking in traffic.

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Spork, May 16, 2007.

  1. Something that I've become aware of lately that I seem to do a lot almost subconsciously, is to use quite a lot of engine braking when I'm coming up to an intersection or a light thats already turned red. I find if I start downshifting a decent way back from the light I can almost pull up to a complete stop gently with barely any use of the brakes, which is a lot gentler than coming up to the lights at 60km/h and then applying solid brakes to pull up at the speed cars tend to do.

    Anyway, it occured to me the other day that this is probably dangerous, since cars seem to have enough trouble noticing me anyway, let alone when I'm slowing down in front of them without my brakelights coming on to warn them. The problem is that if I both brake and downshift I tend to slow down way too fast.. I know that sounds kind of dumb... but I've actually had occasions where I had to let go of the brake and apply a bit more throttle because i was going to come to a complete stop 20m before the lights :shock: I tried just shifting down but holding the clutch right in as I go, so im still in the right gear if i need to make a quick move, but It doesnt slow me too much... is this a good idea? How does everyone usually pull up to lights? I'm talking peak hour, Sydney traffic on Princess Highway, and CBD.

    Geez, i ramble on too much..

  2. No, clutch in isn't a good idea. You want to keep it out so you know you are at the right rpm and gear for the speed you're going, so you can move off when necessary - eg. didn't quite go far enough, light turns green etc.

    Alot of cars (mainly autos (often the worse drivers)) as you said, do wait until they're closer, then use harder brakes. The way I do it is slow down gradually (tapping back brake so the light comes on), using engine braking. That means if you dont go quite far enough you can just use a tiny bit of throttle to help kill the engine braking and move you on a bit. Using back brake to come to a final stop is handy in stopping the forward lurch.
  3. If i'm coasting up the red lights I normally just use brakes, and only down shifting so the engine is not sputtering ie 20km/h in 6th. Normally don't use much engine braking in these situations.

    maybe you just need a bit of practice with the getting a feel of using the brakes gently.
  4. I've never thoght about that, as the rider of a big v-twin I barely ever have to brake. I haven't thought about cars not being able to see me. I guess I thought they would be able to see the red traffic light.

    I have conciously used by brakes when going through the hills when riding with mates on smaller bikes / less experienced riders, to show them that I'm slowing down for the corner, and they should slow down. I fear that if they dont see me brakeing that they will take the corner too quit, not realising that I've actually washed of a lot of speed.
  5. If you press lightly enough on the rear brake you can turn the light on without a noticeable effect on braking. Engine brake as normal and give your rear brake a light tap or two so it flashes the brake light without assisting braking. :)
  6. You probably know this but to clarify for others - it's not about the car behind you seeing your break lights so they know there's stopped /slowing traffic ahead. It's about the car behind you being aware of the fact that there is in fact a bike infront of them. A lot of rear ends happen because the car does not account for the bike being there. Thus they see the traffic stopped, go to slow down, but don't get the gap right and end up rear ending the poor bugger. It's worst at night.

    I use the front brake a lot unless I have ample opportunity to slow down through engine braking - ie in normal traffic I won't downshift to above 6,000rpm. I would rather replace a set of brakes than a clutch or engine parts. I know it's extreme but still.
  7. I use quite abit of engine brake when there is no one behind me(I normally check). If theres trafic I tend to use alot more brake than engine brake but I still shift down with so the rpm is at a place I can accel of quickly but not as high as when im using just engine brakes.
  8. I learnt this technique called blipping the revs whilst braking. Finger tips on the front brakes, not actually pressing it hard. Inside part between the thumb and forefinger revs the engine as you slow down. Blipping the revs enables the engine revs to match the road speed.

    I found this technique very hard because I do not release the clutch in time with the blip (as we down change gears). The Ls' way is to hold in the clutch and apply the brakes. This is Ok because you want the brake lights on. I also use the engine torque to slow down the bike.

    Now I am trying this new method and I am finding it hard.

    PS: I finally reached my 100th post. It has taken me 9 months
  9. I gear down and just tap the rear brake so that cars behind me know that im braking. Just dont try that in peak hour traffic in brand new boots that you arent used to and lock the rear wheel up like i did last week :shock:
  10. I've only had heavy traffic experience for about 3 weeks on roads like the m4, king georges road and the princes hwy. Most of my braking is done by using a combination of my front brake (which is most of the stopping power) and the rear brake (used for slow speeds and coming to a stop).

    I only use engine braking when i'm coming up to a traffic light or stationary cars at a speed of around 50ks+ and given plenty of space between me and the next car behind me.

    Personally I wouldn't rely on engine braking to take me to an almost complete stop.. it would just take too long :p
  11. Anytime I'm around traffic and I change speed by 10km/hr or more - i.e. Ring Rd speeds go up and down or coming to a complete stop - I double tap the rear brake before I change speed. I find most drivers sit too close at the best of times so I like to give them plenty or warning abut what I'm doing. Coming to a complete stop I'll either engine brake and double tap rear brakes on down change or lightly use the front brakes whilst engine braking. I judge the speed I need to stop by what the conditions are infront of the car(s) infront of me are. For example there's no need to be hard on the anchors and then on the throttle when you could just roll off for a couple of seconds and be clear of the obsticle (car turning right from your lane).
  12. I gear down and apply the brakes very lightly constantly so the tail lights look as though they are flashing. I also do this when I have stopped and there is a car approaching. I people think would tend to see a flashing light rather than on that's just on.
    Ã dunno if it actually works but i haven't been rear ended yet.
  13. I use engine braking and rear brake to slow down. The rear brake shows that i am stoping to other road users but it's also stops the jerk when you come to a complete stop, as mentioned above.

    Also i'm to unco to use the front brakes and blip the throttle at the same time... i end up snapping on the brakes and bouncing on the front suspension like a retard with every blip.
  14. To you guys having trouble co-ordinating the throttle blip...keep practicing...this is an important control to master...especially in the wet weather where smooth action is a must.
  15. Its disturbing that some people haven't even heard of it.
  16. i have issues with this, most of the time it's a case of the good old forward jerk because i've got too many revs happening....so i tend to downshift like i used to on a car...leave it later, and then just slowly let the clutch up so the engine works it's way up from idle to the required revs....getting that horrid rocking thing.

    i won't put the clutch right in until i'm almost stopped.