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When you have to brake in corners/curves

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Zieta, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Hey, so been lurking on the thread for a while I'm an L plater and only recently started commuting on my bike (moving up from rides around the suburbs and super early morning rides with nobody around) and thought i'd actually ask a question.

    the other night (first time riding in the wet) and for those in sydney, I was on the western distributor heading north/east leading up to the harbour bridge going around the one of the curves there at about 60km/h, I was leaving a lot of space ahead as it's a pretty blind curve (I was in the left most lane curve was going left) and the car in front of me suddenly applies the breaks because turns out there is gridlock ahead due to an accident. I applied my back break gradually as I was afraid of skidding. I felt the back end of the bike tighten up and instead of following the curve I was on it started to straighten up and I was heading for a random car in the adjacent lane. Managed to keep in my lane not sure how (I was in slight panic steering mode) and brake without hitting anything but that split second of lack of control had me thinking pretty hard about what I should have done in that situation.

    So the question is, what is the correct technique for when you have to brake in the middle of a corner or curve due to a hazard? Does this change when dealing with wet conditions?

    My general cornering technique is to slow down before to go in at something comfortable to me and accelerate out, is this correct? Other instances of discomfort in cornering have been when starting from a stop or very low speeds and then having to stop halfway due to a hazard (or idiot pedestrian) and then I almost drop the bike.
  2. Can I suggest the Cornering techniques 101 threads..If you do a search there is alot of info availible.
  3. I am betting your eyes looked over there before your bike straitened up and wanted to head in that direction.
    Unless you have great, experienced feel for the front brake...don't touch it.
    You did the right thing with the rear. but did you keep the throttle on ??? a bit ???
    You can't lock a rear wheel when you leave a throttle on. It's also very hard to get a bike to accelerate against the pressure of a rear brake.
    Holding the throttle open a bit against the rear brake will keep the bike on the lean angle you have set it at.
    Perfecting this technique will save your life and a lot of $$$ in off's if you get it right.
    And practice is the only way to get it right. Feel it buddy.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Chicken78 - I read the cornering guides I found up to 104, my main issue was braking to a stop in traffic halfway through the curve, though my lines through the curves still need work.

    bretto - from memory i'm pretty sure I went throttle off, clutch in, ease on rear break and and gears down but i've had vision problems before so i think you're right about the eye movement. with the technique you mentioned is that applicable when having to brake to a complete stop? if so how would i incorporate that with my normal braking routine?
    thanks for the feedback :)
  5. best thing is to go do an inter. riding course (HART) a good one in vic. Am sure someone in nsw will offer something silimar, but basically you have 2 choices (stand the bike up and brake), and from there you can then tip in back in or whatever you need to do, or you play the % game of braking on the edge of the tyre, where you have you balance things like road condition, cornering, braking, weather, rider input. (the 2nd option is generally considered an advanced skill) and i won't recommend a learner trying.

    To my mind though if you could do 60km round a bend in the wet as a leaner I find it difficult to believe it was completely blind or your road position was inncorrect. It reads to me like you weren't looking far enough ahead, either way work on keeping your eyes up and looking through the turn.
  6. I'll risk being pulled up on this, but I think you pulled the clutch too soon. That's okay for an unobstructed corner or a straight stop, but when you need to get stopped quickly, I would be (perhaps banging it down one gear quickly and) leaving the clutch alone, and doing like Bretto said, balancing the braking against a tiny bit of throttle. Clutch in and downchange further when you've got speed well under control.

    Pretty advanced technique that you would need to practice to get right.
  7. Why did you use the rear? Most of us have much more feeling through our hands and can finesse the brakes much better using the front.
    As stewy said you either stand it up and brake hard or gentle progressive application while leant over. They teach both in intermediate and advanced courses.
  8. twistngo - used the rear coz that's mostly what they taught us at HART - start with rear, set up and squeeze front brake only at the end of the stop. They've advised me that any more courses they provide (intermediate/advanced) I should not attend until I have passed my P's

    stewy - road position plus dark/wet/newbie will probably account for the extra blindness I also find it a blind corner in the car from the feedback I think I'll approach slower in future due to lack of skill unfortunately it's a 70 zone and it's the only road through to work but I figure I have L plates for a reason :p. I have done a couple of rider courses up to pre-P's with HART we covered emergency breaking on straight (they still advised clutch in, back brake, gears down and hand brake only at the end) and we covered cornering and positions in a corner but not both at the same time.
  9. Well done Titus.
    Do not pull the clutch in if you are going for that rear brake. Never ever on a lean.
    If you have to stop and it's like shoite I have to stop. Stand it up and get on both brakes.
    Wash of speed till you can see a safe way to RIDE out of there. Or a softish place to fall at worst. Use your brakes and eyes !!!
    If you have the room to slow down and stop then yes still try and keep an idler throttle on and reduce speed with the rear and a very light finger on the front brake.
    or me with room to slow down and stop I would leave the idler throttle on and cut to the inside. So I could then stand the bike up and have room to brake hard and plenty of lane to use when doing so.
    If you need to tap down gears wait till it really need to and just tap down. Don't touch the clutch while still on a lean or you will be low sided for sure.
  10. Your a newbie, these things will happen and whilst your response could have been better at least you had the sense/presence of mind not to snatch a fist full of brakes.

    I'd focus on getting your vision up first and foremost, in terms of braking through a corner, best to go do some training, read some proper guides etc.
  11. Are you only using your front brake at the very end of a stop?

    This is wrong.
  12. In order of importance

    - Vision ahead and anticipate
    - Front brake gently
    - Rear brake to drag bike UP and wash off speed but be aware your corner radius will change

    Not in this order, actually above all....^^^What Luke said
  13. Thanks for all the advice, I think next week i'm gonna have to find a quiet road and just practice and practice with my front brake until I kick myself out of backbrake habits. I find it a little worrying that instructors have always told me to stay off my front brakes and I took their word coz I find so much conflicting stuff on the net. I'm glad you guys caught my bad habit before I ended up under a truck or something :S

    Thanks again all for advice.
  14. Hello Zieta, welcome.

    This is a problem, because opinions are like arseholes.

    More practice helps.

    A touch of throttle can maybe help not lock the rear, but I'd simply say don't pull the clutch in, under circumstances like that.

    It isn't all that hard to figure out how much braking can be done by which wheel. The trick is to work it out first and then get into that habit, because when you really need to stop there isn't time to take out your calculator.

    Much depends on the weight distribution of the bike, and what it's doing at the time, and how much grip there is. On a warm dry day, with good grip, there's enough power in the front brake and grip in the front tyre to lever the back of the bike off the ground. Ideally, you'd use almost all of that if you needed to stop hard. In that case, there's almost no weight on the rear wheel so you don't want to do anything with the rear brake, because you'll just lock it up.

    On a cold wet night, half way around a corner, the situation is a bit different. Much of the tyre grip is already in use for cornering, and if you add a heap more demand on it by applying the brakes hard, you'll fall over. I would suggest applying a small braking force to both wheels, smoothly, gently, and as the speed starts to come off you can stand the bike up more, which means you can brake harder, ... and so on.

    It sounds to me from your description of the event, as though you just had a very near miss. I think you were very lucky.

    This business about not using the front brake at first is wrong. Most of the time, most of your braking and stopping power will come from the front wheel. That is usually your primary means of slowing down, and the harder you need to slow down, the more the bike's weight will transfer to the front, and the more grip it will have. Do avoid grabbing it suddenly. Learn to get on it very quickly but smoothly, beginning with light pressure but rapidly building up to a firm squeeze. Don't just grab it with a thump.

    The amount of braking potential each wheel has is pretty directly proportional to the amount of weight on them, and the harder you're stopping, the more that changes toward the front. Braking in a corner, you can't brake as hard because the grip is already in use for turning, so the right balance of braking is more like 50:50. As you slow down, you don't need to lean as much, so you can brake harder, so the balance goes toward the front again.

    On the final thing, about awkward little stops because of unexpected things like idiot pedestrians - hey - if you ever figure that one out, let me know. You just muddle through as best you can. More experience and practice will help, but clumsy, awkward things happen. Sorry.
  15. The information you are getting is muddled because everyone is giving you advice at their level. Or just plain worng.
    I am an instructor with over a dozen years of doing it.
    And I like your instructor tell noods to stay away from the front brake in corners.
    You don't yet have the skills to cope with what will happen if you get it wrong. or what will just plain happen.
    You grab that front brake on a lean and the bike will sit up on you forcing you wide.
    Do you have the gumption to really push the bike down while the front is wanting to sit up and run wide ? Or worse wash out from under you.
    Loosing the front is one of the worst things that can happen on a bike.
    If I have a class of six noobs at the range and I am say sending them down the slalom course. They go through and come back then do a soft 180 to go back up the slalom.
    At least one of them wil try and stop before they have finished that soft 180. And they do it by grabbing the front. And yup they go down. Usually costing them a clutch or brake lever. And the class about ten minutes while I have to fit the new one.
    Your instructor is taught to teach. He has a cert four in it. He has to be able to ride technically very well.
    A lot of people on here like me are fossils. And we never had a chance to learn by professionals. We had to learn by trial and error and a lot of lost skin.
    As I always say there are plenty of ways to skin a cat in motorcycling. But some things are always the same.
    Learning to ride through the internet is not safe. How do you know you are doing what you think you were told to do ?? Or doing it right. You cant. Or even interpreting it right.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Thanks bretto for that last post...
    Been shaking my head with some of the comments thrown out here..
    Not because all of it is wrong but rather the wrong for the level of experience which is a progress that never ends..

    I particularly don't like it when I hear things like forgetting either front or rear brake..
    You have both on a bike and they have their purpose either together or used on their own so you need to learn and have it become second nature on when to use either or both.
    Just like to add, which brake(s) you use and when will change as you gain experience.
    This takes hours in the seat practicing, gaining experience riding in all conditiions and getting advice from experienced people who know what advice to give a perseon at what level they are in their riding.

    I haven't been on a moto too long but I have years of pushy experience involving hundreds of descents down mountains at over 80kph and many principles are the same.

    Braking while in a lean will always get the bike to straighten up so you need to be aware of that and as bretto said one of the worst things on two wheels is losing control of your front...
    Plenty to learn best gained from experienced instructors who know how to give correct advice aimed for the correct experienced level.

    My 2c..
  17. bretto61, some of the things noobs say they have been told by some instructors IS wrong. I think there can be a number of explanations for this.

    I think there are some instructors who may be giving out information which is dumbe down to a point which makes it easiest for some learners to get there learner's permit. I think that noobs may be overwhelmed by the amount of information given to them and mishear/misunderstand what is being told to them and I think that instructors are sometmes talking about specific situations which noobs take as applying generally.

    Zieta, if what the instructors said about mainly the rear brake is meant to be advice for braking in corners, then it is probably good advice for a new rider. Like twistngo said you can use your front but the risks of getting it wrong are potentially disasterous (as bretto said).

    However if the advice is meant for braking in general it is wrong. Generally your rear brake will not pull you up very fast and it can lock up fairly easy, especially if you are also a driver and used to stomping hard on the pedal.

    Your idea of practicing is very good. If you are in Sydney or Melbourne try to get along to the learner practice session and get some practice and advice.

    Finally there are a host of discussions about braking here, Try searching for e-braking
  18. Sorry if I missed it Zieta - what do you ride?
  19. pop the bike up and brake in a straight line and then pop it back down into the lean.
  20. Hey I ride a Honda vtr250, I think I'm gonna plan on going to some private lessons as well so I can ask instructors exact scenarios etc etc and ask specifically about front brake usage as well. Like I said the two main points instructors have hammered home in the 3/4 lessons I've had in groups is emergency breaks (straight) is back break, clutch in go down gears to 1 and then front brake at the end to complete stop and to never stop in a corner. I respect the instructors (wasnt trying to dis them at all and understand they have level/group/time restrictions) a lot Hence I have practiced that heaps but not with my front brake. This is my first foray into motorcycling so I'm always uber careful and build little bits of extra technique slowly and practice a lot each time. My sisters bf who visits from taz always shakes his head at me when he watches me practice coz he is also a front brake only kinda guy. other than that nobody I know really rides so I read a lot and ask my sisters bf or wait until I have another pre-learner lesson at HART.