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Trailing front brakes in turns ?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by VCM, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. :evil: Damn search function still returning a 404 error, this has probabaly been asked before :roll:
    I seem to have acquired the habit of applying the front brake in turns.
    Let me explain .. I approach a turn ( slow speed into a side street ), front brake applied to slow to desired speed, then pressure on lever decreased but brake still applied ( 2 fingers), turn initiated.. then as throttle is opened ( using palm & little fingers, brake is released . Much like clutch/throttle control where one is released slowly at the same time the other is increased.
    No doubt I may have read this somewhere and have now subconciously been doing it.
    I have found it removes any jerkyness mid turn and makes the turn 'feel' smoother. My questions are:
    1 - Am I correct in doing this? Good Habit or BAD?
    2 - Is it asking for trouble? ( ie front tyre washout )
    3 - I RARELY ever touch the rear brake under normal riding .. is this STILL the 'norm' ?

  2. I would break that habit, you are in for a world of pain some day.
    Speed should be set BEFORE teh turn.
    Use the rear brake (but not a lot in turns please), it will not bite (contrary to popular belief on these forums).

    Regards, Andrew.
  3. Vinnie, what's this jerkiness you speak of?

    Usually that's a throttle control issue - not holding throttle cracked open around turns and accelerating out (gently for street stuff) usually means that a bike gets snatchy during a turn when you get back on the gas.

    Funny how typhoon makes a world of pain deal about being on the front, when it's more likely to occur if you're on the rear inappropriately... meh.
    Not using the rear brake at all is probably the pendulum swinging too far the other way. It WILL bight if used inappropriately, say, an over reaction stomp on the rear mid turn to wash off speed... but contrary to apparent opinion, I actually think the rear brake serves a lot of useful purposes.

    Flux wrote up a brilliant little spiel on trail braking - I think buried in the middle of a falcon lord thread about the same topic. It explains why he uses it and what advantages it gives him and how he manages weight transfer and suspension via trail braking.

    I personally wouldn't be bothering with front trailbraking at suburban speeds and road conditions - it's not really a suburban speed technique - there's no advantage to braking deep and late in an around a street intersection. Having said that though, I often turn with the front setup when feeling extra cautious in streets I'm not familiar with or expecting dogs or kids to leap out.
  4. Vinnie...
    Yes, it's a very bad habit, and No...don't do that!. Pleeease, mate. :)

    Firstly....covering the front brake to ease the transition between off and on the power is wrong, mate...
    As Typhoon pointed out...you should have your braking done with, by the time you are turning and actually be on the ower throughout the turn

    If you hit a decent bump while dragging the front brake, the front-end could slip out on you if the bars jump....or an SR could kick in if you goose it up and can more easily have you pulling harder on the front brake, tossing you down the road.

    There has been alot of talk over time about use of the front brake while cornering, but THAT has all specifically been with reference to open road cornering...not suburbia.

    ...and "Trail-Braking" is not used for the pruposes of transitional stability.

    It is a reasonably advanced technique that you CAN incorporate into your open road riding...but it comes AFTER you master your throttle control and other general cornering techniques. It is only through having mastered those first, that you are able to hit a corner with the kind of commitment that might require some "trail braking" with the front.
    If it's happening before you get to that stage in your riding developement, then it is only because you are stuffing up the corners...And because it's not the right reason to be using it....it will lead to the wrong results, eventually.

    You are developing a bad habit, Vinnie. Front brake is not a tool to be considered for tansitional stability, mate.

    Brake for your corner...have the right gear selected, then crack the throttle open so that the bike is under power as you go through the turn.
    THAT (the bike being under power) is where your stability is found.
    And you have no weight transfer, or drivetrain slackness to worry about, because you have attended to that at or just after the "turn-in" point.

    Make sense, Vinnie?

  5. Well not exactly jerky, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I find it a much smoother transition from steady on the gas to 'on' gas mid turn.
    I must stress I am talking about the slow left/right turn into a suburban street.
    I'm not sure WHY or HOW I begun this habit, whether I read it or not.
    I'm aware of the 60/40 weight transfer on cornering, and the golden rule for most inexperienced riders ( like me ) : 'Don't go near brakes mid-corner'.

    I may need to improve in that area, I seem to neglect to keep it open, then on accelerating it's not exactly 'smooth'.

    That rear brake is not my friend .. YET :oops:

    I knew there was a good discussion on it here ... but alas 'search' is dead ATM :cry:

    I guess that's one BAD habit I gotta work on getting out of.
    Sure does John .. Ya know it may have been something I read, but as You stated it's something of an advanced technique .. and I gotta master how to walk 'correctly' before I can attempt to 'sprint'.

    Thanks Guys ... You lot come through for me once again, nothing worse than NOT asking stupid questions only to find myself making a HUGE mistake later.

    Again, I tip my hat off to you all
  6. Depends on a lot of things but if you brake for a corner then let go when you are at the correct speed, your front end lifts. It has to, your no longer transferring weight to it.

    Idealy in a perfect world you would brake and release as you have described and the forks would stay at the same, or close to compression level througout the turn (or at least gradually extending).

    If you brake hard, off brakes, turn in. You are compressing, releasing, then compressing your forks again with weight transferring from front to back.
    This means less traction.

    What you are doing is technically fine, or at least i beleive it is.
    Practical? Maybe, maybe not. If your not on the limit as it is, i dont see an issue with it.
    If your right on the limit and doing this on the street, then yeah you could hit a bump or some gravel or oil or something and lose it. But what the hell were you doing riding like that in the first place?

    If its working for you and your confident, keep doing it. Doesnt apply to everything, but i dont think that your putting yourself in harms way.
  7. Dammit..
  8. and again
  9. The rear brake is my best friend, I don't know why people are so shit scared of it. All controls should be used with "control". I reckon I use the rear alot more than the front especially at low speeds. My front pads still wear quicker than the rears because the fronts get applied alot harder.
  10. Most corners (track) I do the same, release the front just slightly before apex and slightly after I begin to roll on the throttle. The only downside is getting startled and by sheer reaction grabbing too much (running up on someones rear wheel is the usual culprit). So yes, potential to bite you especially on the street where there's even more things that will provoke a reflex grab on the front if you're already gently squeezing it.

    As for going tits up, I don't think so. You can go tits up doing anything, I think there's enough pros to match the cons for trail braking, but I'm sure that's been covered in another thread.
  11. Im with the advice of the more experienced riders and say that front braking in a corner will only end in tears.

    Its a bad habit DONT DO IT !

    The effect of the front brake in a corner is that it tends to make the bike stand up in a corner and run wide. the tendancy would be for you to fight this with more countersteer or more lean to get you around the corner. You fighting the bike doing what it needs to do will result in less grip on the road and will increase your chances of loosing the front end and remodelling your bikes fairing should you hit a bump bit of gravel etc in a turn.

    The use of the back brake on the other hand will make the bike seem to 'squat' a little bit and tighten your line.

    This is good

    The absolute ideal however is to not use the brake in a corner at all. If you arrive at the corner at the right speed and if your positioning on the road is good, you should be able to go round the corner without any brake input.

    Doing this will result and you riding smoother, safer and will add to your overall enjoyment of your riding.

    dont worry about speed, Learn to corner the right way first off and speed will come later grasshopper :)


  12. Getting a broader picture now .. I guess it's a technique best used on the track. I went out last night conciously avoiding it. I found I was still doing it in a straight-line ( ie accelerating whilst progressively releasing the brake ). I figure thats ok, and it feels natural. I also appear to keep slight pressure on the front brake ( 2 fingers) whilst slightly blipping the throttle & changing down. I also figure that's correct too ?
    Good points brought up here especially about the hazards of bumps midturn & SR's will be keeping me OFF that front brake just before the turn. I just gotta get in the habit of taking my fingers OFF the lever completely when turning ... that's gonna be the hard part.
  13. I'm always in two minds about trying to give advice to learners. On one hand there are things that I do all the time and are actually quite key to riding quickly, and then again, those things can get you into trouble if you don't know what you're doing, but if you don't practise them, then how are you going to learn to do it properly? ie. When do you know that you're ready?

    Suddenly grabbing the front brakes mid-corner at lean will make the bike want to stand up and run wide, and/or cause a wash-out, but this is only due to the sudden weight transfer that occurs. The front wheel goes from having half of the bike+rider weight on it, to having three-quarters (or more) very suddenly, and worse still the suspension isn't compressed to start with, and so it dives hard and adds futhers downwards (sidewards when at lean) momentum without allowing the tyre enough time to deal with what's going on.

    Trailing the front brakes into the corner will do no such thing. The bike will tip into the corner more quickly due to the steeper steering angle from the compressed forks and the reduced wheelbase from that. The weight of the bike is already mostly over the front wheel. The front tyre and suspension has already settled with respect to soaking up the weight. In essense it's not really different to what the front tyre would need to deal with if it were on a 300kg bike that was turning a corner normally. Sure, the loads are higher, but friction of the tyre against the road surface is proportional to the normal of the weight against the tyre, so the two effects cancel each other out. As far as the front tyre itself is concerned it just behaves like it's attached to a heavy bike with a short wheelbase and steep steering angle. There's no weight transfer or suspension dive to suddenly upset the front wheel.

    To the contrary to what some people are saying above about "Its a bad habit DONT DO IT!", I say that's quite misleading. I personally argue that trailing the front brake into a corner is a far safer position to be in should you see something unexpected. It's a snap to increase braking pressure further (since the bike is already slowing down under the pressure of braking and cornering) and you can pull up mid corner extremely quickly.

    I've rounded a corner in the country at 100kph, cranked over at about 2/3'ds lean, trailing the front brake in since I could not fully see around the corner, and then mid-corner, about 35-40m in front of me, was a herd of cattle from a stock movement. Squeeze the front brakes very firmly (no hand movement reaction time, just purely mental) and standing the bike up as it slows, squeezing harder and harder as the bike gets more upright and I go from 100kph to a standstill, midcorner, with the cows still about 5m away from me.

    Now what's the alternative to that scenario if you entered into the corner off the brakes with the front hand off the braking lever? Reckon it's easier to do all of the following? Manage the recognition -> reaction time (0.3s), move the hand to the brakes (0.3s), then remembering to squeeze gently (even though you're borderling panicking if not outright panicking) (0.1s), waiting for the suspension dive to complete its stroke and settle (about 1 second, or 25m distance at 80kph), and NOW we can start to brake hard. 1.7s have passed by this point in time. At 80kph, we've travelled 37m. All of the above reaction/settling times left us with just 0m distance now to scrub off whatever remaining speed you had after the suspension settles. You're about to have an intimate 1 on 1 with a cow, and yet you were only travelling at 80kph initially off the brakes, and not 100kph trailing the brakes.

    For the above, I could construct it for dry to wet, a car stopped on the road, gravel mid-corner, and so on. So long as you're looking out for what's coming up, if you're trailing the front brakes into the corner you can stop mid-corner almost as quickly as you can stop in a straight line.

    So to VCM, I say keep practising what you're doing. You're doing the right thing. I will say this. DO realise when you're doing it excessively. DO be aware of the times that you're trail braking. DO try to do the no-braking cornering drills because they WILL make you better at cornering (ie. be off the brakes before the corner).

    Trail-braking is one of the many tools in a road rider's arsenal to mitigate the hazards of riding the roads. Yes, it CAN be abused, but it is not the demon that some make it out to be. It is actually an extremely powerful and useful road riding tool.
  14. Erm Fluxy...you advocate dragging the front brake for the purposes of transitional stability (when getting on or off the throttles)...in suburban corners?

    If so...then I have to disagree with ya, mate. :p

  15. +1 to Raven. VCM is talking about having the front brake on AND accelerating at the same time and then gradually releasing the brake as the throttle is rolled on. That is not the same as or even close to 'trail braking'.
  16. :? It's still trail braking regardless of a transitional overlap with the throttle (that sounded very wanky, but anyway...). I do it all the time on sharp corners, and have had this technique confirmed by instructors. Whether or not to do it on the street, I would, but each to their own.
  17. Practise where you can I say. Better than not doing it all, getting into the countryside and snatching at the front brakes and going down due to no practise.

    Get out in the country enough, learn to turn, brake and corner at a higher level, and THEN when you get to suburbia you'll find that it's not something you need to bother yourself with.

    This gets back to my opening statement. Where does the learner start? I say that they start with what they're comfortable with, and morph over time.
  18. mmm...not sure Dev...(but not trying to contradict you)...I refer to trail braking as a means of washing off speed during the entry phase and through to the apex of a corner...where you are trailing the brake during the turn to get into the turn a bit deeper and later than the competition. (or if I screw up with my entry and need to wash off some additional speed, while I'm getting into the turn)
    I use my rear brake during the exit for stability under power if needed. Sometimes if I am in reeeeally deep, I WILL be using the fronts during the transition after the apex and partially through the exit, but that's only because I am that late on the brakes during my set up.
    More suited to the track than general riding, methinks.

    I quite regularly trail-brake these days - largely due to my getting in hot more often than not - something that I am forever trying to sort out - groan) It's not a bad thing...only that it is not happening for the right reason.

    But I'd nerver advocate this kind of riding for noobs around suburban corners, even though it is ok for practice for experienced riders. Not Noobs.

    I know where you are coming from Stew...no probs for experienced riders....but I can't agree that this is something that noobs should be trying around suburban corners, mate. Sorry.

  19. weeell...I advocate that they get their basic cornering techniques well sorted first(?) - then move on to such things as "trail-braking"...When that happens depends on the individual's progress.

    Are you and Dev overlooking the fact that we are talking about "Learners" here?...I'm confused and surpised...