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Brakes or no brakes = smooth?


GelStra

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I was taking with a friend's brother who has ridden for 30+ years. I got bragging about the folks at Gunny and mentioned Paul (Old Fart) and the comment by Fernando that he is probably the smoothest rider he has ever seen.

He mentions a guy that he started riding with and the guy's incredible smoothness as well. He said that the guy never hit the brakes through the curves. That he always entered the curve at the right speed through correct throttle and engine braking, etc. and that the guy was so smooth and, subsequently, very fast through the twisties.

Do you agree with this technique? I would love to improve my curve riding. I do find that I only rarely hit the brakes but felt that I was simply coming in to the curves too cautiously and possibly not as fast as I could be. I know Moto GP racers are HARD on the brakes before a corner.

Input appreciated.

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From a public-road smooth-riding perspective, I agree with the no brakes assessment. And having watched Paul ride myself, I would have to agree that he is one of the smoothest riders on two wheels.

 

From a racing perspective, though, braking into turns is essential.

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ShovelStrokeEd

I wrestled with this myself for a long time and just finally figured out that it is the way I ride.

 

I rarely am still on the brakes at the point I turn in. I prefer to set my speed into a corner much earlier so as to be in the right gear and at least at neutral throttle at the turn in point.

 

The advantage to this method is that if you have misjudged in your favor, you have only to wind on the throttle a bit harder as you complete the turn. If, as you get deeper into the corner and can see that you are a bit fast, you already have the front brake available and can brake a bit, delaying your turn in to deal with the tighter than you thought radius.

 

That usually only bites me if I haven't looked as deep into the turn as I could or badly misjudged the road based on previous turns.

 

I know this makes me kinda slow sometimes and I used to worry about it. Not any more. I have accepted the fact that I won't get every turn right and try, on the street at any rate, to make sure I get where I am going in one piece. After the ride, I'll review the places where I could have done better and try to figure out the reasons why. Almost all the time, it is cause I was lazy in my evaluation of the corner and didn't get my body position or my eyes in the right spot.

 

Another factor in this is the way I turn the bike. When things are right, I make one move to set my arc, relaxing on the bars as soon as I have done so and let the bike do the work for me. When they are wrong, it is usually because I have not hit the proper lean angle and have to make a midcorner correction, usually tighter in my case as I can get lazy about rolling the bike over as well. I really need to get back onto a track to work on this stuff some more. The Blackbird has made me lazy as, if there is any straight at all, I have lots of reserve to get too hot into the next corner. eek.gif

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One of the best bits of advice my dad gave me about driving and riding was 'if you want to be fast, first learn how to be smooth. Then you are not unsettling the vehicle and can concentrate on postioning and technique to be fast.'

 

I am not fast on a bike but I am a lot quicker through the twistys than some. I am fast in a car.

As for the brakes, in a car I can transition smoothly from brake to throttle. On a bike I am smooth enough to be able to use brakes mid-corner if I dont like the scenery that is unfolding in front of me.

 

Andy

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Brakes are just the anti-throttle, and they aren't good or bad. If your goal is to not accelerate, you can meet it by not doing so. If your goal is to not use the brakes, that's also possible. It doesn't really mean anything outside of a certain context.

 

However, there is no such confusion about proper corner entry speed in that it's always appropriate. That's what you want to concentrate on. You might do that with or without brakes--there's nothing inherently better about either method. In fact, on the same corner and same speed, an inline-four would require the use of brakes to hit that perfect corner entry speed.

 

What is the proper corner entry speed? One that allows you to never drop below neutral throttle through the exit of the corner.

 

And how do you slow to that speed? Braking is one option, but remember that the extra friction on the contact patches slows the bike as you lean it. And engine braking is magnified as you begin to roll on the edge of the tire, which has a lesser circumference than the center. All this to say that many times novices brake when they don't need to.

 

Even "braking in a corner" needs a lot more precision as a concept. Front brake? Rear? Both? With power or in place of power?

 

What you witnessed with Paul is someone who is intentional about riding and chooses a pace without any abrupt peaks/valleys on the graph. He's thinking ahead, entering corners so that he can accelerate all the way through--but not at all terrified of braking in a corner if it's necessary. If he wanted to go a lot faster, like he used to when he raced, he would likely have been braking in a corner. That's not inherently bad.

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ShovelStrokeEd

What is the proper corner entry speed? One that allows you to never drop below neutral throttle through the exit of the corner.

 

Perfect description and a goal I constantly seek, albeit with limited success. grin.gif

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Ed,

I remember you talking about no brakes in a course you took. Once I tried it made a lot of sense. Although I am by no means perfect I have found I am much better in the corners now because my entery speed controls the corner and my position in it. I am still practicing and learning. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

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I approach a left curve on the right side of my lane, slow the bike if need be, look through - lean - roll on the throttle and exit the curve somewhat on the left side of my lane. I'm slowly improving my speed and smoothness through curves, which is nice, but am wondering if I'm doing it all wrong. When riding with a much faster rider I was told I was all over the lane and I should wait and "flop" the bike to the left after I had entered the curve. I've tried this and don't seem as comfortable or smooth. I've watched other riders and have seen both methods but am now wondering if there are any advantages to one over the other if practiced if th "flop" would help me improve more. I don't mean to hi-jack this thread so if this isn't appropriate just ignore it. blush.gif

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Brakes are the most overused, misused, and underutilized control on a motorcycle.

 

Maximum absolute speed, for an accomplished rider, requires heavy use of brakes. That's why racers use them all the time. The problem is it's LOTS harder to ride at pace that way because of all the bad things it does to the suspension and chassis. Frankly, very, very few riders are capable of riding well consistently using that technique. Which is fine, because a WFO-brakes-WFO technique makes little sense outside of a racetrack. Street riders, including those who wish to ride "faster", would be well-served to do exactly what Paul does: be in the right gear (which is often much lower than many would expect), carry plenty of revs, stay off the brakes as much as possible, and rely on rolling in and out of the throttle to manage entry speed. If you do that and still feel like you're too slow through the corners, then you're not carrying enough lean angle (and concomitantly, speed).

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be in the right gear (which is often much lower than many would expect), carry plenty of revs, stay off the brakes as much as possible, and rely on rolling in and out of the throttle to manage entry speed.

Good point. I've heard the phrase "steering by throttle" and am far more comfortable adjusting by engine braking, which is also trailing braking.

you're not carrying enough lean angle

On a closed, clean course, I love lean angle. But I am paranoid, maybe overly so, of gravel etc showing up in the curve on the street. Too many tales of washing out here.

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Ed,

 

Actually from David Hough’s definition, the entry speed set should be the one that allows you to keep the engine pulling (no matter how slightly) all through the curve as that allows for maximum control of the bike. Which excludes neutral throttle from the way I understand it.

 

Why your success should be limited, I don’t know because all it takes is going in slow enough. Of course it’s frustrating to go in too slow, to know that you could’ve gone faster, but that’s mostly experience (and skill obviously) and you have lots. Also I think it’s one of the most fun things to practice when riding.

 

At the same time Hough suggests to do get on the brakes (however little) before each and every curve just in case you’ll find something in your lane going round and then from having the habit of being on the brakes, you stand a better chance of stopping/slowing in time.

 

My preference when in the twisties is having two fingers on the brake lever and setting the entry speeds slow enough to keep the bike pulling. I love how it affords me to open the throttle early and just fly out. I’m really beginning to get the feel of the GS a bit and my cornering has never been smoother than on this bike. Not that I’m satisfied yet, smoothness is my biggest ambition and the one I get the biggest high from when it happens.

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russell_bynum

Of course it’s frustrating to go in too slow, to know that you could’ve gone faster,

 

Not really...it just means you get to apply more throttle exiting the corner. thumbsup.gif The only place that technique breaks down is very high-speed sweepers where (on an oilhead) WFO just isn't enough.

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"Actually from David Hough’s definition, the entry speed set should be the one that allows you to keep the engine pulling (no matter how slightly) all through the curve as that allows for maximum control of the bike. Which excludes neutral throttle from the way I understand it."

 

I find myself preferring David's definition of correct entry speed when riding roads that I am not familiar with and when riding familiar roads with traffic. Of course, it probably depends on what we mean by "neutral". To me, it means enough throttle to maintain current speed and since leaning produces braking that means the motor is pulling.

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ShovelStrokeEd

The only place that technique breaks down is very high-speed sweepers where (on an oilhead) WFO just isn't enough.

 

I suffer from no such problems. grin.gifgrin.gif

 

 

As stated above, maintaining speed through the corner will result in requiring more throttle as the bike leans further and the radius of the rear wheel changes. You are then left with a number of options, the best of which, for me, is to wind on yet more throttle. If I'm just putzing around, I'm usually a gear high for the corner and can get to full throttle pretty early. If I'm serious, that can result in a black stripe chasing me out of the turn. Much fun.

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I tend to agree that braking or no braking isn't the real issue in being a “smooth rider.” No braking does eliminate one of the forces one must transition into and out of. So, through elimination of the number of forces dealt with, one could feel one has "smoothed out riding." I suppose that is right so far as it goes, but one has NOT necessarily become a "smooth rider," because of the force elimination. One has simply made the cornering or riding process easier to deal with through minimizing the number of forces to transition into and out of.

 

It is the quality of rheostat like force transitioning, combined with highly accurate judgment, and exemplary timing, that makes a "smooth rider," at least to me, not how many forces he includes or eliminates in the process.

 

One could also eliminate acceleration, eliminate medium to high load cornering forces, eliminating the need for any degree of lean angle, and then claim to be a very smooth rider indeed, due to a number of transitional force eliminations. Why then you’d never have the need to slow, or speed up, anywhere in the twisties, you just ride around at a completely “smooth” 5mph regardless of turn radius. Indeed it would be a smooth “style” ride. (exaggeration to clarify the point)

 

Whether one uses few or many forces, of small or large degree, to me it is in the way one finesses the forces and transitions used, combined with outstanding judgment for proper positioning, degree of force application (such as speed, machine CG placement through throttle use, degree of lean etc. etc.), AND expert timing in managing those forces, that makes a true smooth rider.

 

That true smooth rider can choose to eliminate possible forces such as braking from the equation, or include them all. The true smooth rider will still exhibit generally superior traction and machine handling regardless of the situation at hand.

 

It seems to me that there are very smooth (often professional) riders operating at very high "forces" levels (including brakes).

 

On the flip side there certainly are riders who, even though they eliminate one or more cornering sequence forces (such as braking), they still are NOT smooth riders and they exhibit poor transitioning in the forces left, as well as poor timing and judgment.

 

In summary I believe braking or no braking is a riding style decision. No braking offering a reduced number of forces to deal with can make it easier to learn to be a smooth rider, but riding style choice is not the measure of a smooth rider, it is instead a riding style choice. A smooth rider is capable of being smooth in either full or partial styles (though it will be easier to become smooth at a "reduced force number style" at first).

 

This is just my personal take on it. I am writing in sweeping generalities here and decidedly NOT speaking of any individual rider(s) known to anyone.

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On the degree of acceleration issue, I have adopted this idea. My personal experience tends to agree with K. Codes idea, that with modern tires and sizes (in general), today’s bikes are most stable and generate the most cornering traction when the Center of Gravity is 60% rear, 40% front. That’s with bikes sporting tires of a type that most generally do today. They have a bit smaller contact patch up front than in the rear.

 

With that in mind if you have a bike that is set up with 50% / 50% weight distribution when the rider is aboard in it’s cornering position (many of today’s bikes), you then need to apply enough throttle to shift 10% of the weight to the rear throughout the relatively constant radius (or SLIGHTLY opening radius) portion of your turn (which amounts to a gentle slow roll on). Keeping that slight acceleration that shifts 10% of the weight to the rear gives you maximum cornering traction available out of each contact patch. That 10% shift from mild acceleration gets you to 60%R / 40% front weight distribution.

 

Now what if you have a bike that is already 60%R / 40%F in weight distribution for whatever reason (some luggage, whatever). Then it would seem to me that maintenance throttle (only enough throttle to maintain speed) would be the order of the day until your line started opening up for the exit. I’m saying you shoot for a throttle controlled weight distribution in the turn that matches the contact patches of the tires your bike has on F/R

 

I have a steep downhill tight turn, close to here, with a blacktop patch all the way across the middle of the turn. The patch has raised edges and a sunken mid portion 90 degrees to the direction of travel. It is in a spot in the middle of the turn, where the road just levels out from the downhill entry and so adds down force to the bikes wheels individually as it goes through there.

 

I’ve tried that turn with various throttle settings for play, and the “10% rear CG shift, roll on” makes the bike most solid through it (though one would need a certain belief to do it the first time if you haven’t played with throttle management much previously). In fact on that particular turn I’ll turn in on neutral throttle, since there is so much weight already transferred up front due to it's odd configuration.

 

In general to manage that 10% weight shift, slow roll on, through the bulk of a turn (throttle in general cracked as soon as lean is set so long as conditions permit), one has to enter the turn slowly enough to work that. However the bike feels like it loves it when you are riding a 50/50 bike to start with, and it is not really all that slowly that you need to enter. The slow in, can be made up for on exit with good lines also.

 

Again a 10% weight shift is not an aggressive roll on at all but instead a slow and gentle pull.

 

Even if you are in pretty hot (not so hot you need trail braking) and the turn is rough, my bikes are most stable with that degree of roll on.

 

That’s just my own adopted ideas on the mid turn throttle subject. I have tried it numerous ways and like that one the most. It adds both stability and fun for me.

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Thanks Carl for the fascinating explaination. I have been doing what you are talking about for years. Now I have a better idea of why the bike likes the roll-on of throttle as you progress through the turn. I appreciate you sharing your findings in such a clear manner. thumbsup.gif

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Another good article. I have always strived for the late apex line within my lane in both riding and driving. If I have to use brakes while in the turn I entered poorly and strive not to let that happen. I like the concept of the pace and I grade myself on every shift and turn. One can be pretty tough when grading himself cool.gif

Very few people are great riders, but that is good that most of us are reasonably good riders always striving to be better. All part of the fun and challenge of ridinig for me. After each ride I ask myself was I riding well and what new things did I learn about myself and the bike I was riding.

 

Good Discussion

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I was simply coming in to the curves too cautiously and possibly not as fast as I could be.
Lots of good ideas voiced so far, but this particular statement of yours hits a discourse that worries me. Remember your goal is not to enter a curve as fast as possible, but to complete it as fast (and as safe) as possible. The age-old adage applies, slow in, fast out. Proper entry speed sets up the execution of the enter curve. Fast speed in is often contradictory to a fast completion of it, because it sets you up for mid-curve corrections (in speed and line) that compromises your total speed (and safety).

 

Rather, concentrate on an entry speed that is cautionary enough to assess and execute the entire curve, but ambitious enough to be effective. Remember the fastest total time, and not coincidentally the smoothest, is because of fast out, not fast in. If your fast in derails your ability to execute a fast out, ultimately you are slow.

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Lots of good ideas voiced so far, but this particular statement of yours hits a discourse that worries me. Remember your goal is not to enter a curve as fast as possible, but to complete it as fast (and as safe) as possible. The age-old adage applies, slow in, fast out. Proper entry speed sets up the execution of the enter curve. Fast speed in is often contradictory to a fast completion of it, because it sets you up for mid-curve corrections (in speed and line) that compromises your total speed (and safety).

 

Rather, concentrate on an entry speed that is cautionary enough to assess and execute the entire curve, but ambitious enough to be effective. Remember the fastest total time, and not coincidentally the smoothest, is because of fast out, not fast in. If your fast in derails your ability to execute a fast out, ultimately you are slow.

 

 

I totally agree with that paragraph.

I have a question, what about strange roads that you have never been on? I can almost all the time come into a corner allot faster if I know the corner (the correct apex to take, the radiuses.) then if I don't know the corner.

My default riding style is to look how far through the corner I can see then based on that, slow accordingly.

Opinions? Comments?

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Using no brakes is the quickest way I know of to improve your sense of speed.

 

Quite a few other things seem to fall in line once a rider is confident in his ability to judge corner entry speeds.

 

Oddly enough, that ability, once improved, transfers to corners anywhere in the world under any circumstances. That doesn't mean you can't make a mistake. It means you don't loose sight of your turn entry speed because you've come to grips with your sense of speed. Does that compute?

 

Another way to say it is: to the degree that riders don't turst themselves on turn entry speed (by relying too much on the brake as sort of a crutch) the greater the potential for error in the speed going into turns.

 

I wrote an article on this and since I was cruising forums and saw this I thought maybe some of you would be interested in what it addresses.

 

Keith

 

http://www.superbikeschool.com/bbs/index.php?showtopic=310

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Another way to say it is: to the degree that riders don't turst themselves on turn entry speed (by relying too much on the brake as sort of a crutch) the greater the potential for error in the speed going into turns.

Keith

 

This squares nicely with what Dick Shipley told me in 1970 as I learned to ride from him. More or less, "Brakes are what you use to try to recover from a mistake."

 

I've believed it ever since. I just can't live it as well as I'd like.

blush.gif

 

Pilgrim

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Welcome, Keith! smile.gif

 

Absolutely! clap.gif

 

And thanks for an excellent article, too, although I am disappointed to hear that clubbing a female isn't going to work. I was counting on that.

 

Am looking forward to doing more "no brakes" work on my next ride and track day.

 

In Keith's article, it's implied, but I don't think stated explicitly, that if you are going to use brakes to set up your turn entry speed, the manner in which the brakes are applied and released is really important to maintain proper weight distribution and suspension compliance. I learned that first from Larry Grodsky, and then REALLY learned it at Keith's school.

 

So with sloppy/abrupt brake usage, it's possible, as I understand it, to arrive at the right spot at the right speed, but to have the bike so unstable as to be unable to take advantage of that result!

 

If that's true, then smoothness and control don't necessarily derive from WHETHER brakes are used so much as HOW they are used, when we do use them.

 

Of course getting a very good sense of entry speed has to be accomplished before worrying about either how or whether to use the brakes, which it seems to me, is where Keith's no brakes drill comes in.

 

This is also in considerable part another way of saying what Carl T said very well earlier about adding or subtracting forces to complicate the ride, or make it more sophisticated, depending on how you look at it, no?

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Mr. Code, your first post here and it's to my question. I am seriously honored. Thanks for joining and thanks for the tip. bowdown.gif

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russell_bynum

Welcome Keith, it's great to have you on board!

 

So with sloppy/abrupt brake usage, it's possible, as I understand it, to arrive at the right spot at the right speed, but to have the bike so unstable as to be unable to take advantage of that result!

 

If that's true, then smoothness and control don't necessarily derive from WHETHER brakes are used so much as HOW they are used, when we do use them.

 

I would definitely agree with that. I really haven't done much braking at track days because I've been working on more important things like setting corner entry speed, getting the bike turned, body position, etc. But...at our last track day (Pahrump), I was feeling pretty comfortable with that other stuff, and Turn 3 seemed to be tailor-made for braking practice since the runoff was a concrete connector to another part of the track. (So, if you screw up, you just run off onto the connector, and are no worse for the wear.) Now, I've worked a fair amount at braking on the street, but that's been either to slow before the turn (with the brakes released several seconds before turn-in), slowing in a turn to deal with my own mistakes (failure to read the road correctly, failure to see obstacles in the road, etc), and straight-line stopping. I hadn't ever worked on braking right up to the turn-in point.

 

It was very educational. If I turned the bike with too much brakes still on, the front would push. If I released the brakes too early (or too fast), the suspension would pogo. If I really nailed it, I would be rolling the bike over into the turn at the same time I was releasing the brakes. And because I was removing braking force (which compresses the front end) at the same rate that I was adding cornering force (which compresses the front end), the suspension never moved..it never came unsettled. I didn't get it right very often dopeslap.gif but when I did it felt awesome!

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Keith’s writing is where I first came across the 40%/60% explanation, so he is where I pirated the explanation from to start with. I was instinctively using similar throttle action most times before reading about the weight distribution/tire contact patch thing, but reading the concept and playing with it, made little small things even better. It added pleasure to the ride as it feels right too.

 

I enjoyed the coasting article Keith, and so I, and my wife will have a new toy to play with from time to time, to hone entry speed sense with, makes sense to me. Thanks for posting it up.

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Whether one uses their brakes or not has a lot to do with your level of speed.

 

You cannot ride a typical windy road at anything above say 6/10's without needing your brakes to assist in slowing down.

 

If you do not ride 'briskly'; never need to actually 'stop' sometimes; never have to slow for a turn at the bottom of a steep hill; don't mind reving your engine near its rev limit to provide sufficient retardation; then you too can show how 'smoothly' you are able to ride without using your brakes.

 

Real world riding means you sometimes do have you use your brakes.

 

While I agree a good rider should be able to see far enough ahead so that engine braking does most of the slowing for the bike, I certainly wouldn't get too hung up over having to sometimes use your brakes, without worrying that you are not 'smooth' enough......

 

Wayne

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I do not agree that the No Brakes for Corners technique is superior. I see it as only one "game" to play about Riding. I do not see that it possesses any great intrinsic value.

 

A value I do find in it is to enhance the ability to do that in circumstances where braking is chancy because of slippery surfaces. However, if one has become accustomed to using low gears to get large amounts of engine braking, that braking can bring about the very slides one would be after avoiding on slippery surfaces. Most of all, the nature of engine braking is that it is inexact and not as greatly under the Rider's control as wheel braking. Overall, on slippery surfaces, I've found it better to use higher gears the don't promote as much engine braking, to declutch the bike most of the time (not available with Automatic Shift system like the '06 FJR1300AE that doesn't have a clutch control), use the rear brake only, and to use that only sparingly and gently.

 

I do find intrinsic value to braking on approach to corners. The most obvious one is it promotes understanding of, and skill about doing that. Ultimately a rider is going to be faced with the imperative of needing to brake for or within a corner. The better they know how to do that, and the more recent familiarity they have with that, the better the result from that we might expect them to produce.

 

Braking up to corners allows us to set an exact entry speed. Experience at doing that provides us with Predictability: When I enter a corner at what looks like "that" speed (A subjective Relative Speed)... I get "this" result of how the bike feels, the kind and level of control of it I'm experiencing, and the actual dynamics, motion, of the bike at that Relative Speed. Having one "baseline" of "do that; get this", one can add other "do that's", different Relative Speeds of entry. That will build a database of Cause-Effect sets. Then, for a given desire, or reason, one can exactly create a desired effect because one is practiced at producing that cause: Wheel Braking gets the exact Cause or entry speed much more reliably than Engine Braking.

 

As well, one is also now skilled in using the Wheel Braking for dynamic speed change, and can do so at rates and in manners that are wholly unavailable with Engine Braking - one has been building a huge familiarity with what brakes do to that bike on approach, and very hopefully, also while within corners. If one begins to brake into the corner first letting off the front brake in a smooth manner that equally trades wheel compression from braking for G-load compression, then carrying some rear brake deeper into the time the bike is actually leaned and turning in that same "equal trade-off, Trail Braking, one is building a sense of those dynamics of action-response, cause-effect. When "the unexpected" finally appears in a corner, as it will, one is much better prepared to rapidly and exactly control speed, and still maintain full control of the bike, to bring about any chosen maneuver to Save One's Own Bacon.

 

I'd much prefer constantly practicing a Survival Skill like Wheel Braking, that is just as much fun as Engine Braking... which is almost only "just fun", a made up Game.

 

And where does the thought come from that Wheel Braking cannot also "be smooth"? It should be. One of its purposes is to insert the bike into the cornering environment "With the chassis settled": No bobbles that make for unwanted line changes. It is also a faster way to get a bike into a corner and settled because it can be used to exactly pre-set the compression of either and/or both wheels. That's something Engine braking cannot.

 

 

Both Engine Braking and Wheel Braking are "Exploratory Games": Ways to have fun and grow in knowledge, understanding and skill. I chose to play the Game of Wheel Braking, much as I would choose to play video games that involved building successful interpersonal relationships, rather than ones that focused on shooting, killing, and blowing up so many human effigies. I choose to play games that serve the kind of Life I'm wanting to lead.

 

 

Best wishes.

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Dick - I'd be interested to see your take on the article Keith posted, about the cruising "game" that attempts to not use "wheel" braking, but eliminates the possibility of engine braking due to the fact that the engine is off - do you see any value in that exercise? It fits more closely into my perspective of not using brakes, because when I ride sans brakes I am also not using high engine revs to slow down the bike in lower gears, I'm riding in a way that causes me to arrive at the corner at a speed that does not require engine or wheel braking.

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I have found that most times I don't need to brake into corners (except downhill etc) as I naturally try and set my speed so my entry matches the perceived traction level/lean I want.

 

I was still braking unnecessarily though on too many occasions, so I have a technique where I leave two fingers on top of the front brake lever and I'll press down on the lever (sometimes bloody hard!), not activating the brakes, which alleviates/satisfies that instinctive braking action that comes every now and again. I find I rarely have to brake in corners now, only when I really stuff it up. Its enabled me to be much smoother and work much closer to what the bike can achieve in a given corner.

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Mr. Code, your first post here and it's to my question. I am seriously honored. Thanks for joining and thanks for the tip. bowdown.gif

 

grin.gifthumbsup.gif

 

+1

 

I recently discovered on the Gunnison UnRally trip that I rarely use the brakes when riding fast in the twisties. I had not really given it a lot of thought until one of the riders in the group commented that he'd noticed he didn't see my brake lights coming on very often as we rode..... I think Emeritus David said it - if I were on an in-line four I'd be on the brakes more, but the boxer twin has such fantastic engine braking I don't find them necessary very often (and I think the engineers who give us a 7000+ useable rpm range had this in mind when they designed the engine). Until MarkoPolo's comment I didn't realize I was riding that way, I was just doing it. I think this technique may be a product of my early and long history of dirt riding (motocross, enduro, trials, dualsport) where uncertain traction demands that you've got to be very careful of corner entry speeds or you get a physics lesson.

 

POINT OF SAFETY: If you are following a rider who doesn't use his brakes very often, it can lead you astray! I would suggest increasing your following distance so as not to be distracted or misled by the brake-free rider in front of you. If you are guilty of gauging your entry speed based on the lead rider's apparent actions, you could cook in a little hot and get in trouble. Conversely, nothing is more frustrating to me than following someone who rides the brake constantly, whether in a car or on a bike. I can't tell what the heck they're up to! I followed a sport bike down Monarch Pass once, the guy had a gizmo that flashed his brake lights every time he rolled off the throttle and it just about drove me nuts! Had to pass him.... grin.gif

 

It's been said many times in this post - there is a difference between how you ride on public roads and how an experienced rider can ride on a track. Ride fast but be careful, people, and live to ride some more!

 

Doug

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russell_bynum

POINT OF SAFETY: If you are following a rider who doesn't use his brakes very often, it can lead you astray! I would suggest increasing your following distance so as not to be distracted or misled by the brake-free rider in front of you.

 

A related note: When I'm leading a ride with rider's I'm unfamiliar with, I will tap the rear brake a few times coming into corners to wake the trailing riders up. I'm not applying it enough to actually slow down...just enough to trigger the brake light.

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  • 1 month later...
POINT OF SAFETY: If you are following a rider who doesn't use his brakes very often, it can lead you astray! I would suggest increasing your following distance so as not to be distracted or misled by the brake-free rider in front of you.

 

I've been on tour for the past 7 weeks and I see the the thread has dropped off but there is so much interesting stuff that was brought up about braking.

 

I agree on not "sucking" other riders in and if you are riding with ones that are inexperienced and might use you as a guage (brake when you do) it would be good to tap them and show a light.

 

I have to go and watch the GP, I'll be back.

 

Keith

 

A related note: When I'm leading a ride with rider's I'm unfamiliar with, I will tap the rear brake a few times coming into corners to wake the trailing riders up. I'm not applying it enough to actually slow down...just enough to trigger the brake light.

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Good thread.

 

Brakes or no brakes riders must still make the final decision on their turn entry speed. The brakes only follow our command.

Using the no-brakes mode is a training aid to bring a rider's confidence up in this area of riding. It isn't a method of riding or a philosophy of riding.

 

Learning to turst yourself with the brakes is a valuable skill, especially mid corner braking. Best place I have found to do that is in medium speed double apex decreasing radius turns, mostly found on race tracks.

 

What a boost when you finally trust your fingers to gently pull on the lever mid corner. I like to do this on twisty roads as well, just to refresh myself on the feel of the bike in situations where I might have to use brakes mid turn.

 

Another point brought up was the transition from slowing to in corner that sometimes makes the bike pogo a bit.

 

I've found that it isn't any more difficult to quick flick a bike into turn using no brakes and riding in higher gears than it is to make the transition from braking to turn entry and do it very smoothly.

 

It does require good timing of the turn in and a quick yet gentle application of throttle and above all the rider must observe the basics of rider input by pressing and then releasing pressure on the bars as the bike sets into the turn. In fact, no matter how quick the bike is flicked into a turn it will not pogo if done as above.

 

Brakes sometimes seem like an end unto themselves but even in racing you can see that they are not. For example, for a rider who can run at or near record lap times at a track like Willow Springs, the difference between really hard braking and good firm braking is about 1/2 second. Not much gain for all the worry.

 

Similarly, running one gear and no brakes at that track by the same competent rider, he was able to run only 6 seconds off race times using only one gear (6th) and no brakes.

 

It appears that having a terrific sense of speed is a great benefit in accuracy for track riding but why should it be any different for the street?

 

Keith

 

Riding really is an art

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