Front brakes saved my life: but question.

steelhead

Registered
Based on the information contained here and shared with fellow members, I have been practicing how to use my front brakes from normal to rapid stops (and not touching the rear). Thank you.

Question:
Well, it happenned today. A motorcycle going west met me going south. Near collision.

As I have been using front brakes, I naturally only used the front brakes in the emergency - by instinct.

I still naturally squeezed the front brakes too hard (didn't touch the rear brakes), but I think because I have been practicing, I didn't totally lock up the front brakes. What occurred was that the motorcycle rapidly decelerated, but I could tell I was losing balance. I actually could feel the rear fishtail a little (even though there was no rear brake action), so I wasn't stopping in a straight line but doing some of that BMX action when we were kids where the rear wheel kinda swivels outwards.

So the bike slightly leaned to the right side and I could feel myself getting close to wipe out. But my speed had decreased sufficiently, so I then released the front brake (out on instinct?) and I was able to regain full control.

Can anyone explain what happenned (common scenario)? Could I have improved my stopping based on what I wrote?

Thanks
SteelHead
 

DaCol.

D' Colonel
Donating Member
Yea, if you had gently taped you rear brake it would have stayed in line with the front. That's what both brakes are for, stopping ! The dynamic forces at your speed will twist the bike (or spin) around the front wheel if it is rapidly stopping but the rear is continuning to rotate at it's highly spinning speed. Simply put, the front of the bike is stopping while the rear is still accelerating which will cause a monentary twisting action, generally to the right ! That's why you use BOTH brakes, not just the front for a Panic Stop. You just use 1/4 as much pressure on the rear which will stabilize the rotating mass (called the rear wheel)
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fasttoys1

Donating Member
Registered
Alot of riders swear to never touch the rear brake, you'll high-side. Practice and a properly adj. rear brake pedal should ease the fear. DaCol. is right correct, use of the rear brake will help stablize the bike. I have my pedal adj. down so I can scuf-off speed if I chose to. I would have to really try to lock it up the way it's adj. but still holds ok at hills. Not a popular tech. but I've been using it and practicing it for 20-25 yrs. I don't use it alot but enough to stay comfortable. might work for you to. Just be very careful, practice is the key I think. Just one guy's thoughts. Either way glad you are ok, how's those shorts??
 

gsferrari

Registered
When you hit the front brakes - HARD - the deceleration force slowed down the front wheel FASTER than the rear wheel. The rear wheel is still moving forward at a high rate of speed relative to the front. The rear needs to find a way to maintain that speed (in the absence of any sort of decelerating force) and it finds a minor misalignment in the chassis that allows it to move the bike's mass one way...releasing it's pent up energy.

Hence the "weave"

Use the rear brake...needs a healthy shove to get it working if you havent used it in a long time. I highly recommend practicing with the rear brake because you will not be able to use it properly if you dont know how...and havent practiced.
 

gsferrari

Registered
In addition - the lean to the right side is simple. When you hit the front brake - you were in a rush and just grabbed the lever. What do you use as leverage for your fingers? your palm...pushing against the right side grip. This causes the bike to lean to the right.

Apply brakes progressively and make sure your bar is straight and level.
 

Mr. Anderson

Donating Member
Registered
also a part of rear braking when done right will make the whole bike "squat" right and not just the front end dive thus adding to the rear end "looseness"
 

Projekt

Registered
You will not acheive maximum braking performance without the rear. Make sure you lube the pedal pivot on a regular basis because it will tend to dry and bind, thus, not providing good performance. Always engage the rear brake first (enough to feel the front susp' drop) a millisecond before you hit the fronts. You will see that the bike plants itself and hunkers down, compressing the suspension at both ends. You will then be able to maximize both of your front and rear brakes (due to the larger contact patch generated by the planting action) and come to a controlled panic stop in a much shorter distance than just using the front. Trust me, forget the jokers that say only use the front, it will get your plastics fugged when you end up perpendicular to your intended path of travel and you'll probably break your collarbone when you smack the ground as well as your lower right leg and ankle.
ALWAYS use both brakes just as I described, it will save you money and pain.
However when taking a curve only gently use your rear brake (trail braking) if in a panic and you forget to lean harder.
Jose
 

busa_bill

Life - tastes like chicken!
Donating Member
Registered
agree with the above posts...
you should ride with your rear brake

I've gone to the highside a few times without incident. Even experimented with engine braking and rear brake application combined to begin the motion.
This is just another area of riding where you should investigate and understand your limitations. Knowledge is power!!!
 

Professor

Hayabusa Immortal
Staff member
Administrator
Registered
<span style='font-size:15pt;line-height:100%'></span>1) Use both brakes all the time. It provides the most stopping power and it will create a good habit. By using the best method each time, you will train yourself . In an emergency/panic you will do whatever you have taught yourself by reflex.  

2) The front brake on a Hayabusa provides about 90-95% of the stopping power.

3) Initially applying both brakes, will allow the rear to stabilize the suspension a bit better.

4) You must use a progressive application of the front brake. You initially apply the brake lever, the weight will transfer to the front tire. As the weight is moving forward you are continuing to add pressure to the lever. This progressive application continues until you are completely stopped.

5) Grabbing the front brake can cause a front wheel lockup because the weight has not been transferred yet.

6) The initial application of the rear is likely all that will be needed. It will remain consistent through the stop as the weight will be transferring off of the rear tire.

7) Many accidents are caused by too much application of the rear brake. The rider see the hazard, locks up the rear. The rear kicks out. If he keeps it locked up it usually results in a low side fall where the bike falls inside to the skid. The rider falls from a distance of 30-40 inches. The usually point of impact is the leg and hip. If he releases the rear brake while the rear is stepped out there is a good chance he will “high sideâ€￾ the bike. The rear wheel regains traction and the tries to straighten up. The quick snap changes the lean of the bike from one side to the other. This usually throws the rider forward. Over the front of the bike. The rider then falls from 60-80inches in height. A bigger fall but worse than that they tend to land on their head and shoulders. The upper body is not near as strong as the lower.  If a rear lockup occurs, it is actually recommended to hold it until stopped. You can actually release it as is steps back into line with the front and it sometimes will be moving back and forth (if you are still somewhat in control). It is also usually safe to release it on less than ideal surfaces, rain, sand on the road, dirt road, etc.


Practice, practice and more practice. The Progressive front application is the key to stopping in the shortest distance possible. Think of it as a wet sponge you are wringing the water from. You don’t grab it and spray water everywhere. You squeeze it firmly and progressively and continue to keep applying more pressure until all the water is expelled. Work up to keep practicing stops until you can just feel the rear wheel try to lift at the very end of the stop (last couple of feet). That is when you are starting to see maximum braking power.

<span style='font-size:17pt;line-height:100%'><marquee>Practice and get it right, it may save your life </marquee></span>
 

WWJD

Donating Member
Registered
so... we tell him to use just or mostly the front brake, now we say, "oh add some rear break also"? poor guy! since I was championing ONLY use front break earlier I will step up and take my lashes. Yes, I only use my front break, and no, that is not always true. The ONE time I recall tapping the rear break at the track was in the similar feeling you mentioned above.... it was a long highspeed strait into a sharp right. I got on the front break hard, VERY hard, so hard the back tire was skitching and it FELT like the front was skitching too. I had enough time during that incident to reason out, "Okay... I need to add some SLIGHT rear break to calm this pony down" I did and it worked and I made the corner like a God.

I'm taking about track/race riding, not general street cruising. Sounds like you were tearing it up a bit, to which I still say learn to manage the front for most everything, but there is a time and place to use a little rear. I still say don't train yourself to use rear cuz in an emergency, you'll hammer it down and lock it up. flame away

obviously thru sand, grass, ice [ice?], apply some rear for the anchor drag affect but you better not be riding sporty like thru that anyway.


my 3 cents
 

Wag

Evil Demon Busa Rider
Donating Member
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Using the rear brake only adds to your stopping power. Why not practice and learn to get it right and use it potentially save your life?

+1 on everything above that supports the use of the rear brake.

--Wag--
 

DAB

Registered
so... we tell him to use just or mostly the front brake, now we say, "oh add some rear break also"?  poor guy!  since I was championing ONLY use front break earlier I will step up and take my lashes.  Yes, I only use my front break, and no, that is not always true.  The ONE time I recall tapping the rear break at the track was in the similar feeling you mentioned above.... it was a long highspeed strait into a sharp right.  I got on the front break hard, VERY hard, so hard the back tire was skitching and it FELT like the front was skitching too.  I had enough time during that incident to reason out, "Okay... I need to add some SLIGHT rear break to calm this pony down"  I did and it worked and I made the corner like a God.

I'm taking about track/race riding, not general street cruising.  Sounds like you were tearing it up a bit, to which I still say learn to manage the front for most everything, but there is a time and place to use a little rear.  I still say don't train yourself to use rear cuz in an emergency, you'll hammer it down and lock it up.  flame away

obviously thru sand, grass, ice [ice?], apply some rear for the anchor drag affect but you better not be riding sporty like thru that anyway.


my 3 cents
+1 on that

I only use rear brake for:

Holding the bike on a hill, clutch in, so I can take my right hand off the bars if needed.

Loose/slippery/off-road surfaces negotiated at low speeds, downhill gradients with gravel etc.

Controlling bike when making tight, low-speed turns at full lock.

Biggest problem with the rear brake is that you can't finesse it to the same extent you can the front - especially in emergency situations, when you tend to stomp on it, resulting in rear-wheel lockup - which is usually a bad thing...

I also ride around town with my index finger covering the front brake, it gives me a faster reaction time when the cagers decide to wander.
 

Wag

Evil Demon Busa Rider
Donating Member
Registered
Biggest problem with the rear brake is that you can't finesse it to the same extent you can the front - especially in emergency situations, when you tend to stomp on it, resulting in rear-wheel lockup - which is usually a bad thing...
Takes time and practice. Drills out in a big parking lot once in a while can teach you a lot about it and will keep your brake toe "tuned up" even for emergencies.

--Wag--
 

Charlesbusa

Used to be a SoCal Busa
Donating Member
Registered
I'll step up with WWJD  
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I also agree front brake only.  But I have a rational explanation  
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Yes, using both brakes will stop you quicker, IF done correctly.  Iniatially you can use a lot of rear brake.  But as the weight is transferred to the front, you have to release more and more of the rear brake.  Otherwise it'll lock-up, because there isn't enough weight over the rear anymore, and you'll have less control then it if it never locked-up.  And you have to keep it locked-up to a stop or you'll be launched into the atmosphere if the bike isn't straight when you release the brake.  Which means, no last minute swerves.  

With continuious practice, say an hour a month, I'd advise using both brakes.  But if you don't practice often, then you're setting yourself up for failure.  It takes a lot more skill and training to use both brakes correctly in a panic situation than just the front alone.

That's why I support the front brake only.
Con- Not 100% braking power.
Pro- 95% of braking power.
Pro- Takes less training and skill to learn and keep current with.
Pro- More forgiving, easier to recover from mistakes.

Leaving Wag and Nanwag out of it, those 2 practice emergency braking for half a day in a parking lot (kudos to them
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) every month, the average motorcyclists doesn't practice emergency braking.  Its like Busa for your first bike.  With proper disciplne and practice, the busa can be a great first bike.  But almost everyone on the board realizes that the average rider doesn't have the qualities.  So in order to help them out, we generally tell them to start on a 600cc.  Same thing here with brakes.

my couple cents  
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FLAME SUIT ON!!    zzzzooorrrrppppp    
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TruWrecks

Banned
Okay. (Please correct any of my info if it's not accurate)

 From the suggestions here, and I'll thow in some personal experience and knowledge (groomed from Kieth Code, Twist of the Wrist), it is better to use both brakes in a straight line.  Now that you've experienced extreme front braking, add as much rear brake as you can without locking the rear wheel up.  You'll stop about 15-20% faster with both brakes, and your bike will stay in a straight line.  This will help by lowering the CG (Center of Gravity) according to the pivot (front axle), and allow you to apply more pressure while helping to prevent you from doing an un-intentional "stoppie".

As far as corners, use mainly the front brake.  As you start to turn the bike the suspension compresses while the cornering Gs increase.  The effect of using the rear brake to hunch the bike down is already done by the cornering forces.  Using the rear brake in the corner will also make it easier to wash out the rear.  If your bike feels unstable in the corner you can carefully apply pressure to the rear brake.  Keep increasing pressure until the bike settles down, then maintain that pressure (or slightly less) until you pass the apex, and begin your acceleration.  Then gently release the rear brake as the bike begins to straighten for the exit point.  If you apply too much rear brake and cause the rear to begin sliding, then releasing the rear brake too quickly can cause the rear suspension to unload weight, and grab traction.  This sudden "grab" will act just like someone tied a rope to your rear wheel and pulled.  The bike will want to standup and unload the front suspension too.  That's when you can become airborne.  You feel like someone just kicked you in the a$$, and sent you flying over the bars (Did it on a dirt bike a few years back, and it really didn't feel good, but I laughed my butt off when I knew I didn't break any bones).

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I don't fully agree with Charles and WWJD, but I do agree with most of it.

Emergency braking is the first thing I practice when I get on an unfamiliar bike. It doesn't matter how fast you can accelerate, if you can't stop safely enough to do it again!

Words of wisdom, as others have spoken here:  PRACTICE!  You can NEVER get enough!
 

WWJD

Donating Member
Registered
tell ya wut... getting the suspension setup RIGHT, made HUGE differences in my front breaking ability. the nose no longer dipped and the rear no longer tilted all the weight up to the front. night and day. it felt like I just got new pads, and bleed job! Wonderful. sumpin else to factor in here

nudder thot... I use rear a LOT when carriying a passenger, just to make it a more pleasant ride for them. I do more rear [since extra weight back there is keeping the contact great] and less front, so they dont get that "pitched forward" thing. I feel more in control without them BANGING into me also
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DaCol.

D' Colonel
Donating Member
Ok guys, lets face it, riding and braking on the street and riding and braking on the track is totally different
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. Using the brakes on the track is to set up the bike for an entrance to a turn and braking on the street is used TO STOP YOU ! If your racing on the street and need track techniques to make it through the turn -- YOUR GOING WAAAAAAAAAAY TOO FAST
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Charlesbusa

Used to be a SoCal Busa
Donating Member
Registered
Another thought,

When braking hard you still need to look ahead, where you want to go. Keep the eyes up.
 

WWJD

Donating Member
Registered
another thing, and not to be a butt head, but what was it that caused you to find your self in a circumstance where another bike was coming at you from the left? was it an intersection? bad judgement on thier part? did you run a yellow? was he/she not looking or running a light? I think part of "Bike Zen" is knowing how to and looking to avoid a circumstance like that in the first place. I am NOT saying you messed up, just asking what the situation was
 
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