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Trail braking.

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by mattizie, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Hi folks. Not quite sure where to put this, chucked it in the racing section cause I figured you folks would know. Mods feel free to move it if it doesn't belong.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to know a bit about trail breaking. Specifically, how is it done properly?

    I'm hesitant to even touch the front brake when the bike is leaning, ever since an off I had in the rain.

    Also if you could point me in a general direction for more info, that would be awesome. Just trying to improve my skills as a rider.


  2. #2 MadAzz300, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
  3. Ask the guys at CCS for their opinion on it, according to them it's a bad practice.

    I dont think it's a technique for the street, apart from sneaking around a blind corner. Go do a few trackdays and practice it there to get used to how much application is required and how your particular bike responds. You already know from past experience to be more careful with the fr. brake, that experience will serve you well with trail braking. At the limit of braking on dry conditions, it's more forgiving than in rain e.g. weight transfer and slide of the rr wheel, but the same control of modulation is required to get the most out of it. You basically extend the braking distance from the turn in point (e.g at CCS where they tell you to get off the brakes) to the apex, gives you another XXmetres of braking zone, with the amount of brake application constantly decreasing to zero up to the apex. It can be a bit dicey and encourage some mad undertaking, blown apexes and completely cooked corners off into the gravel, but overall is functional racecraft esp to block pass someone of a similar lap time to you. I was reading something about an endurance racer whose data showed overlap between them rolling on the gas while they are still braking. Next level.
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  4. @RichiB pretty much covered it all there. Just a technique that comes with experience. Understanding the bike and the track, so the amount of brake pressure you can apply with the grip level available. In the wet not really advisable, just get as much of your braking done in a straight line though sometimes I feather my front brake slightly when starting to tip in.
    Just got to practice, practice, practice.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  5. i will assume you are relatively new to riding, and trailbraking can be a very advanced skill (in a track situation).

    you can start on the skill at an beginner-intermediate level though, because you need to know how to stop properly!

    the best way to go about it is to focus on your front braking overall, in all situations. these are what you use to stop at any speed above jogging pace on the tar.

    get comfortable with proper braking and trailbraking will take care of itself as you find yourself braking into corners.

    be smooth, be firm, be strong. (with the lever)

    the closest thing is a firm handshake, you don't want to crush bone, but you want a really good firm grip on the front brake lever.

    (personally i recommend using all four fingers on the lever at all times, whatever you do, use more than one finger, unless you can do one finger endo's)
  6. as I think was said above, trail braking is an advanced braking technique. don't do it on the road as you shouldn't be putting yourself in the situation where you need to do it. Use it for track only.

    The way it was described to me, it's used so that you can brake right up to the apex of a corner, but the more lean you have the less brake you can use, and the pros do it all the way to the apex and are experienced enough to know just how much they can use.

    Unless you're knocking on the door of lap records mate don't bother with it. there are a lot more ways to get your lap times down before you need to work on trail braking and a lot more things you should be looking to do before you get to trail braking.
  7. not really

    in a racetrack sense, pushing it to the apex is fairly risky and advanced.
    on the road it is a legitimate skill for any rider. most correct braking in a corner is simply trailbraking, and you don't need to push the limits, you can be very gentle while doing it.

    i mean any braking where the bike is not entirely upright can be trailbraking.

    try not to use the rear brake in corners unless very gentle- rear will be a lot more likely to lose traction and highside.
  8. I think its pretty normal even with lower skills to keep pushing as far as you can to the apex on the track, esp chasing or being chased. The real skill is knowing how much braking you can get away with, and when to get off the brakes in a corner in order to get that balance of entry, midcorner and exit speed. But anyone can do it with varying degrees of skill.
  9. i know pushing it in an off camber corner certainly gets the blood flowing:eek:
  10. Well, I can only speak for myself here, but I don't see it as dangerous, or advanced. Considering I learnt to do it myself at about 15 or 16 years old, while riding dirt/trail bikes fitted with trials tyres, on the road.
    Figured it out so as to be able to ride a long travel suspension bike quickly and safely in the twisties. I still don't ride the latest super dooper sports bikes, and my bikes are set up more on the supple side, so still find it extremely useful riding on the road.
    Personally, I feel like I'm riding out of control, relying only on good luck if I don't use the technique. But I like riding different roads, a lot that I've never ridden before, or in quite some time anyway, every time I go riding.
    I certainly don't use the technique to push my braking point to the absolute limit, but more to be able to change line (tighten) mid corner, due to the geometry changes as the forks compress, as well as scrubbing off a bit of speed should I encounter something unexpected.
    In 30 years of road riding, I'm yet to loose the front under braking, so I would hardly classify it as dangerous.
    Bear in mind that I'm not talking about suddenly grabbing a big handful of brakes mid corner, where the front end will dive and you end up with a great big weight transfer situation that will completely unsettle the bike. More just smoothly and gently modulating brake pressure to adjust your line as required. Achieved by not completely releasing all brake pressure as I tip into a corner.
    But that's just me, and how I feel comfortable, while spirited road riding.
  11. ^ what roarin said
    thats how i learned to do it, trailbike with road legal dirt tyres. easy peasy japanesee.

    regular riding on the road trailbraking is a skill every rider should practise, and is easy, and doesn't ask too much of your tyres and skill.

    (even washing out a road/dirt tyre is pretty hard work, they hold on pretty good)

    trailbraking on the track or when riding faster , the more you push it, you are coming into corners hot with most of the bikes weight, steering and braking force on the front tyre. (makes the bike turn sharper)

    the tyre can get very stressed and there is a lot of force on the tyre, this is when things get a bit dicey if you push it too far.

    keep in mind if you get to this point, you will know what you are doing already.

    here is some work from the sharp end of the knife: