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BalancePoint

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Don't control your speed with the front brake. DAMHIK, and I won't complain too much about my twisted ankle and scraped up cylinder guard.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Ouch; sorry about your body and bike. Your 1100R has traditional unlinked brakes, but I know a number of folks with linked (especially the linked AND servo-assisted) brakes who have tapped the pedal while parking and suddenly found themselves on the pavement. Hurts no matter how it happens. :(

 

As observed trials riders aptly demonstrate, the front brake can be used during tight/slow maneuvers, but only along with the expectation of what will happen when doing so. Knowing that the bike will tend to be thrown toward the inside of the turn when you apply the front brake, you can let the bike initially fall to the outside of the turn, then apply the front brake to interrupt that fall and bring it back to a vertical orientation.

 

With enough practice, you can remove steering from the equation - leave the bars all the way to full-lock - and just use brake and throttle to keep the bike at the desired lean angle:

 

1. bike falling to inside of turn? Use throttle to pick it up.

 

2. bike falling to ouside of turn? Use front brake to throw it over toward the inside.

 

Years ago I got really good at this sort of thing on a bicycle, to the point where I could trackstand without any roadway slope at all, using the pedals and the front brake to idle back and forth within the space of a few inches; that visceral understanding of what the front brake can do now serves me well on a motorcycle.

 

Once your ankle heals, it may be worthwhile finding an empty parking lot and practicing and playing with these techniques.

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I did that once on a honda, I was more embaressed than hurt but I learned real quick that turn does not like front brakes. That's why I like my RTP it has semi linked brakes, the foot pedal ONLY applies the rear brake, and the handlebay lever does both the front and rear. Never touch the front lever when making slow tight turns.

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Better yet, don't use any brakes in low speed, full lock turns. Use the gray area of the clutch and throttle to keep the bike from falling. Head and eyes up too, do not look at the ground. Look at the horizon in the direction you are turning.

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The scratch marks on my fairing will attest to the fact that under 10 mph and the handle bars turned, the front brake will take you to the ground, just like a magnet.

David

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An intriguing post (ironically) from BalancePoint, as that term seems key to answering the topical Q. I tend to do what I've done for 35+ years of moto riding, unless consciously (and physically) striving to un-do bad habits. A member of my local riding club circulated his Motorman Palladino's "Ride Like a Pro" DVD which I've watched twice (but not yet taken the West Coast class). Although the Motorman can't (and doesn't) take credit for proven LEO training regimen, I find myself practicing the mantra... "head and eyes (where you want to go), don't look down and apply trailing rear brake". Many of us "oldtimers" have much to learn from the Pros - if we let them...

 

Jeff

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Never touch the front lever when making slow tight turns.

I do this regularly, and I haven't burst into flames yet.

 

 

 

Better yet, don't use any brakes in low speed, full lock turns. Use the gray area of the clutch and throttle to keep the bike from falling.

What do you do when the bike starts falling to the outside of the turn? Or when it's time to come to a dead stop?

 

 

 

under 10 mph and the handle bars turned, the front brake will take you to the ground, just like a magnet.

My experience suggests otherwise.

 

It's been about six years since I took the MSF course, so I can't recall: is "never touch the front brake in slow/tight turns" something they espouse? It seems to be a widely accepted rule, sort of like "never touch the brakes while leaned over" - and, in my experience, an unnecessary restriction. In parking lot maneuvers, the front brake can provide useful, graceful control inputs - provided you have practiced with it, know what to expect from it, and know how to compensate for its effects.

 

Example:

In a parking lot, you are in a tight (bars to lock) slow left-hand turn. The bike begins to fall to the outside of the turn (i.e. to the right). Under most circumstances you would recover your desired lean angle by turning the bars a bit to the right to open up your turn a bit, but on this particular occasion you will hit a curb if you don't maintain your tight turning radius. Instead, you squeeze the front brake a bit, leaning the bike back toward the inside of the turn without ever moving your handlebars.

 

My advice? Practice it, play with it, tinker with it, understand it, turn it into something useful instead of simply calling it "The Forbidden Zone."

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Better yet, don't use any brakes in low speed, full lock turns. Use the gray area of the clutch and throttle to keep the bike from falling. Head and eyes up too, do not look at the ground. Look at the horizon in the direction you are turning.

 

I find I have to drag the back brake just a little even in those situations, that seems to help. It was recommended by the MSF instructors but I can't remember why! Roger that on the head and eyes, makes all the difference in the world.

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"...In parking lot maneuvers, the front brake can provide useful, graceful control inputs - provided you have practiced with it, know what to expect from it, and know how to compensate for its effects..."

 

And watch out for sand or pea gravel......the voice of experience..... :grin: I just never use the front brake in those situations. The back brake seems to work fine when I'm moving very slowly and maneuvering.

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I think the bottom line is that you use whatever technique works best for you, and it can vary bike to bike. I typically coast through a slow, tight turn and feather (not drag) the clutch.

 

I don't really have a problem using the front brake mid-turn either, I just don't typically do it. What tends to dump bikes is braking to a stop with the front when the bars are turned.

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Dave_zoom_zoom

 

 

 

 

My experience suggests otherwise.

 

 

Example:

In a parking lot, you are in a tight (bars to lock) slow left-hand turn. The bike begins to fall to the outside of the turn (i.e. to the right). Under most circumstances you would recover your desired lean angle by turning the bars a bit to the right to open up your turn a bit, but on this particular occasion you will hit a curb if you don't maintain your tight turning radius. Instead, you squeeze the front brake a bit, leaning the bike back toward the inside of the turn without ever moving your handlebars.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Hey Joe---

 

Are you sure?

You are such a bright guy, whom I very much respect,that I truly hate to question you. BUT-------

 

My experience has shown that-----------

If you are in a slow left turn, and the bike wants to fall to the outside (the right) applying the frount brake will only hasten the bike going over center and falling to the outside. (the right)

 

I think the proper correction is to apply a bit of rear brake only to bring the bike back to the inside (the left).

 

Am I wrong???????????

 

Dave

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Am I wrong???????????

 

I'll admit to not having suffered this experience on a motorcycle. So at this point I'd encourage further input from participants in this thread whose bikes have gone down at low speed due to front brake use:

 

Did your bike fall to the inside of the turn, or the outside?

 

My strong suspicion: bike falls to inside of turn when front brake is applied. This refers only to cases in which a sudden application of the brake led instantly to a tipover; I do not count cases in which bobbling and stomping and overcorrection may interfere with the outcome.

 

Although this hasn't happened to me (yet) on a motorcycle, I have a lot of experience with slow-speed (and no-speed) bicycle handling, and I'm very familiar with how it (the bicycle) responds to front brake input at slow speeds with the bars turned sharply. Take it to the extreme - turn the bars almost 90 degrees - and the rear brake becomes virtually useless, and the front brake functions perfectly as I've described.

 

And I've found that those same techniques translate well to motorcycle handling. The vehicle-to-rider mass ratio is much higher, and the bars don't turn as far, but the same basic phenomena do exist.

 

I think the proper correction is to apply a bit of rear brake only to bring the bike back to the inside (the left).

 

Rear brake will indeed decrease forward speed, allowing the bike to fall further to the inside of the turn again without any handlebar input. However, this will only work if the bike is still leaned somewhere left of true-vertical. If things have gone so far awry that the bike is actually leaned right of vertical while the bars are still turned left, the rear brake can't save you - but the front brake still can. Just as the bike wants to go over the top of the front wheel when you brake in a straight line, it will also want to go over the top of the front wheel when the bars are turned - and that means the bike will want to lean further toward the inside of the turn, since that's where the front wheel is pointed.

 

I'd suggest some parking lot experiments at very slow speed. In fact, leave the engine off and point your bike downhill on your driveway:

 

1. start at a dead stop, feet on the ground.

 

2. crank bars full left.

 

3. set front brake, pull clutch in. Keep your feet on the ground.

 

4. release brake for half a second or so, then grab it again; observe which way bike wants to lean.

 

If you're feeling bolder, you can take the hill out of the experiment. Get the bike on the flat, and use the engine to build up about 0.5-1 MPH of speed before grabbing the front brake. Start with very low speeds and very gentle front-brake squeezes to keep things safe, and work your way up to higher speeds and harsher brake-grabs. Keep your feet out, down, and ready on the ground, since you shouldn't be moving more than a few inches during these maneuvers.

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Am I wrong???????????

 

 

Yes.

 

Rear brake application sets the suspension & chassis, but does not change the attitude of the bike.

 

Mitch is correct in that during a tight turn, front brake application causes the front end to drop, therefore causing the bike to fall to the inside.

 

You certainly can use the front brake in a tight turn, but you'd better know the hows & whys of it. Like Mitch said, practice, practice, practice.

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How does a bike, if the handle bars are turned to the left, fall to the outside??? Confused???

 

We never touch the front in tight turns. All rear brake, and never, never drag or are in the gray area. We burp the thottle feathering the clutch. We find the proper entry speed for the turn, rear brake, clutch in, as we turn and start to fall into the turn, let the clutch into the friction zone, to pull the bike up and around the turn. Too fast, pull in the clutch in slighty to slow.

 

The is not an arguement, heck we may be talking about the same thing, you engineers just use a lot of words. I just got a GED. :grin:

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How does a bike, if the handle bars are turned to the left, fall to the outside??? Confused???

 

We never touch the front in tight turns. All rear brake, and never, never drag or are in the gray area. We burp the thottle feathering the clutch. We find the proper entry speed for the turn, rear brake, clutch in, as we turn and start to fall into the turn, let the clutch into the friction zone, to pull the bike up and around the turn. Too fast, pull in the clutch in slighty to slow.

 

The is not an arguement, heck we may be talking about the same thing, you engineers just use a lot of words. I just got a GED. :grin:

 

 

John, I was thinking the same thing.. If it is in a TIGHT L/H turn the bike is leaning left.. If it isn’t leaning then it isn’t a tight turn..

 

Twisty

 

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Joe Frickin' Friday
How does a bike, if the handle bars are turned to the left, fall to the outside??? Confused???

 

A bike can fall on either side; it just depends on how the rider screws up. :grin:

 

To answer your question: keep the bars cranked all the way to the left, and get on the gas a bit, and I guarantee the bike will fall over on its right side.

 

For a given turn radius and speed, there is exactly one stable lean angle. Minor perturbations will cause the bike to deviate slightly from this lean angle, requiring corrective inputs from the rider:

 

-if the bike begins to lean too much to the left, it will fall toward the inside of the turn, unless the rider speeds up or turns the bars in tighter (or both).

 

-if the bike begins to lean too little to the left, it will fall toward the outside of the turn, unless the rider slows down, straightens the bars, or hits the brakes (or all three).

 

John, I was thinking the same thing.. If it is in a TIGHT L/H turn the bike is leaning left.. If it isn’t leaning then it isn’t a tight turn..

 

For any path other than a straight line, the bike (by which I mean the combined center-of-mass of the rider and the motorcycle) will be leaned over to some degree. As the forward speed approaches zero, the appropriate lean angle comes quite close to vertical, even in the tightest possible (i.e. bars at full-lock) turn.

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Mitch, everyday (well most days anyhow) when I commute to work I get there early enough that the parking lot is usually very empty.. So I usually do 3 L/H & 3 R/H full-on-the-lock tight turns before parking the bike (not always the same bike).. To get the full lock turn circle below 16’ I must also lean the bike in the direction of the turn.. To get down below 15’ it must be a pretty tight inward lean & on the steering lock & usually some rear brake.. Never once in many years has the bike wanted to tip to the outside of the turn.. Have had plenty of close calls with it wanting to fall farther into the turn though usually takes a pretty good throttle apply & some rear brake to keep from falling inward..

 

As you mention probably the only time the bike could fall outward is at 0 mph or very close to it & that wouldn’t leave much energy for the front brake to have much effect on lean angle..

 

I have 2 friends that teach motorcycle safety classes so will ask them if they have ever had a student bike fall to the outside in a tight turn while still moving..

 

Twisty

 

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Mitch, everyday (well most days anyhow) when I commute to work I get there early enough that the parking lot is usually very empty.. So I usually do 3 L/H & 3 R/H full-on-the-lock tight turns before parking the bike (not always the same bike).. To get the full lock turn circle below 16 I must also lean the bike in the direction of the turn.. To get down below 15 it must be a pretty tight inward lean & on the steering lock & usually some rear brake.. Never once in many years has the bike wanted to tip to the outside of the turn.. Have had plenty of close calls with it wanting to fall farther into the turn though usually takes a pretty good throttle apply & some rear brake to keep from falling inward..

 

Two points here.

 

First, you are confusing the lean angle of the motorcycle with the lean angle of the combined center-of-mass of the rider and motorcycle. The former is affected by body english, i.e. the bike itself can be made to lean over even when traveling in a straight line; the latter is dictated entirely by turn radius and speed, and it is the latter which I have been talking about throughout this thread.

 

Second, your bike has never felt like it was falling to the outside because you are applying subtle corrections, either

 

A) dragging the rear brake, which makes the bike decel and lean in as soon as you ease up on the gas, or

 

B) straightening the handlebars.

 

The straightening of the bars may go unnoticed if you're not looking for it; in fact, it may be an automatic consequence of the steering geometry. I'd be very curious to see what happens if you keep the bars jammed to full lock - thus eliminating steering corrections altogether - and stay off of the brakes. You will have the mechanism to correct for excessive inward lean (the throttle), but no mechanism (steering/brakes) for correcting excessive outward lean. (and again, I'm talking about the combined rider+bike center of mass, not just a counterbalanced bike).

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Mitch, I do stay on the steering lock throughout as much as possible as that is part of my very tight turn practice.. Mostly I do stay on the lock with just an occasional off the lock if I goof up or am not looking through the turn correctly or keeping my head up far enough (happens more when wearing a full face helmet & heavy coat).. I can’t say the same about the rear brake as I do stab that to help hold a very tight turn-in radius.. Throttle/rear brake control is a big part of keeping a large bike to a 15’ circle or less..

 

(speed) That is a good point as at one time I was practicing higher speed full lock turns as a form of improving my tight turn in’s,, was even getting to a point of front tire howl on the turn in.. Somehow I have gotten away from that the last year or so & slowed down (much easier to do so I must be getting lazy)

 

I will have to pay more attention to the lean angle but can’t remember ever having to correct for an outside lean.. I do weight the outside foot peg & if possible slide my butt to the outside slightly.. I really do lean the bike quite extreme to the inside of the turn as I drag the exhaust & center stand on my Honda & drag the floorboard on my Harley.. Don’t seem to drag much on the BMW or Ducati though.. The GoldWing is the best as the handle bars flop over & stay tight to the steering lock on their own but do take a bit of manual force to straighten out after the circle turn.. The Ducati is the hardest as that takes lots of force to hold on the steering lock..

 

Interesting comments here as it makes a person re-evaluate things they have been doing semi consciously for years.. Now I must start paying attention to what I am doing (I will probably fall over the first time I try to think while turning)

 

Twisty

 

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Years ago I got really good at this sort of thing on a bicycle, to the point where I could trackstand without any roadway slope at all, using the pedals and the front brake to idle back and forth within the space of a few inches; that visceral understanding of what the front brake can do now serves me well on a motorcycle.

 

I can manage that on a bicycle, but haven't converted the muscle memory of using the right wrist the same way as the pedals on the bicycle. Of course it's easy to practice on a 20lb bicycle that doesn't mind being dropped.... vs. a 500lb machine that snaps off parts when you screw-up. It's the same reason I can do a descent wheelie on y MTB, but not my RT. Pinwheeling the MTB is actually kind of fun and makes you laugh at yourself. Pinwheeling the RT, would result in a trip to the ER.

 

When I dropped my RT this summer, it could have been avoided if I had just punched the throttle when I felt that I was starting to go over. Much easier said than done of course.

 

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Am I wrong???????????

 

I'll admit to not having suffered this experience on a motorcycle. So at this point I'd encourage further input from participants in this thread whose bikes have gone down at low speed due to front brake use:

 

Did your bike fall to the inside of the turn, or the outside?

 

My strong suspicion: bike falls to inside of turn when front brake is applied. This refers only to cases in which a sudden application of the brake led instantly to a tipover; I do not count cases in which bobbling and stomping and overcorrection may interfere with the outcome.

 

Although this hasn't happened to me (yet) on a motorcycle, I have a lot of experience with slow-speed (and no-speed) bicycle handling, and I'm very familiar with how it (the bicycle) responds to front brake input at slow speeds with the bars turned sharply. Take it to the extreme - turn the bars almost 90 degrees - and the rear brake becomes virtually useless, and the front brake functions perfectly as I've described.

 

And I've found that those same techniques translate well to motorcycle handling. The vehicle-to-rider mass ratio is much higher, and the bars don't turn as far, but the same basic phenomenon do exist.

 

I think the proper correction is to apply a bit of rear brake only to bring the bike back to the inside (the left).

 

Rear brake will indeed decrease forward speed, allowing the bike to fall further to the inside of the turn again without any handlebar input. However, this will only work if the bike is still leaned somewhere left of true-vertical. If things have gone so far awry that the bike is actually leaned right of vertical while the bars are still turned left, the rear brake can't save you - but the front brake still can. Just as the bike wants to go over the top of the front wheel when you brake in a straight line, it will also want to go over the top of the front wheel when the bars are turned - and that means the bike will want to lean further toward the inside of the turn, since that's where the front wheel is pointed.

 

I'd suggest some parking lot experiments at very slow speed. In fact, leave the engine off and point your bike downhill on your driveway:

 

1. start at a dead stop, feet on the ground.

 

2. crank bars full left.

 

3. set front brake, pull clutch in. Keep your feet on the ground.

 

4. release brake for half a second or so, then grab it again; observe which way bike wants to lean.

 

If you're feeling bolder, you can take the hill out of the experiment. Get the bike on the flat, and use the engine to build up about 0.5-1 MPH of speed before grabbing the front brake. Start with very low speeds and very gentle front-brake squeezes to keep things safe, and work your way up to higher speeds and harsher brake-grabs. Keep your feet out, down, and ready on the ground, since you shouldn't be moving more than a few inches during these maneuvers.

 

Had a feeling we were talking about the same thing. In motors we call that straighting it out. You are in tight left turn lean, and you give it gas or best as you put it "screwed it up" the bikes straights or goes to the right. So same thing different way of saying it and I understand were u are coming from.

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Twisty and motorman587 have got it right in my experience, although correcting a full-lock slow minimum radius turn with front bake, well, I'm just not that co-ordinated. It was all much easier when 13 years old on my bicycle!

 

These kinds of turns are much easier for me to the left. In right turns my throttle hand has no finesse. The instructor has noted I drop my right shoulder.

 

Like Twisty I find keeping eyes and head up easier with less than my usual riding wardrobe.

 

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  • 1 month later...
Better yet, don't use any brakes in low speed, full lock turns. Use the gray area of the clutch and throttle to keep the bike from falling. Head and eyes up too, do not look at the ground. Look at the horizon in the direction you are turning.

 

This is really good advice, but then the real world rears its ugly head. The last time I dropped a bike in a tight low speed turn, I was moving about 1 mph in a Costco parking lot. I had both feet on the ground and was turning to get out of a tight space. A shopper stepped in front of me. It was either hit the shopper or go down. I chose the latter.

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We're probably all talking about the same thing, but Mitch has a most eloquent and methodical way of explaining it. He has it nailed, plain and simple. If you disagree, try some of his experiments (at low speed of course). It's just plain, simple physics. :thumbsup:

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John, Northeast Florida

Interesting how this thread starts every now and then. And the replies are most interesting.

 

A technique that may be spurned by motorman587 (how're the twins John?)but seems to have tightened my U-turns a lot is NOT LOOKING OVER YOUR SHOULDER AT THE HORIZON but picking a specific spot where you want the bike to go (as tight as you want) about 20 or so feet behind you. I discovered this as a result of never having a problem doing a very tight U-turn at a traffic light where I knew exactly where I was going as opposed to the somewhat random act of parking lot U-turns and/or cones/1/2 tennis balls.

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russell_bynum
Ouch; sorry about your body and bike. Your 1100R has traditional unlinked brakes, but I know a number of folks with linked (especially the linked AND servo-assisted) brakes who have tapped the pedal while parking and suddenly found themselves on the pavement. Hurts no matter how it happens. :(

 

As observed trials riders aptly demonstrate, the front brake can be used during tight/slow maneuvers, but only along with the expectation of what will happen when doing so. Knowing that the bike will tend to be thrown toward the inside of the turn when you apply the front brake, you can let the bike initially fall to the outside of the turn, then apply the front brake to interrupt that fall and bring it back to a vertical orientation.

 

With enough practice, you can remove steering from the equation - leave the bars all the way to full-lock - and just use brake and throttle to keep the bike at the desired lean angle:

 

1. bike falling to inside of turn? Use throttle to pick it up.

 

2. bike falling to ouside of turn? Use front brake to throw it over toward the inside.

 

Years ago I got really good at this sort of thing on a bicycle, to the point where I could trackstand without any roadway slope at all, using the pedals and the front brake to idle back and forth within the space of a few inches; that visceral understanding of what the front brake can do now serves me well on a motorcycle.

 

Once your ankle heals, it may be worthwhile finding an empty parking lot and practicing and playing with these techniques.

 

+1

 

The rear brake on my Tuono doesn't work most of the time, so I've gotten in the habit of just not using it. With a little bit of practice, front brake, clutch, and throttle are all I need to do a full-lock u-turn in either direction.

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The rear brake on my Tuono doesn't work most of the time,...

 

 

For the rear brake to work on a motorcycle, the rear wheel has to be in contact with the ground.

 

Generally speaking, of course. :grin:

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russell_bynum

The rear brake on my Tuono doesn't work most of the time,...

 

 

For the rear brake to work on a motorcycle, the rear wheel has to be in contact with the ground.

 

Generally speaking, of course. :grin:

 

I don't care who you are, that's funny right there!

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The rear brake on my Tuono doesn't work most of the time,...

 

 

For the rear brake to work on a motorcycle, the rear wheel has to be in contact with the ground.

 

Generally speaking, of course. :grin:

 

I don't care who you are, that's funny right there!

...and Russell,

Don't forget that having the front off the ground doesn't help your braking either...

and as you have been known to do, having both front and rear off the ground at the same time makes your braking downright lousy..... :dopeslap::wave:

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Dave_zoom_zoom

WELLLLLL-

 

I thank you all for your input!

 

As soon as the snow lets up, I will be out there to do some experimenting.

 

I may well have gotten it wrong. (I do find it hard to believe that you could have gotten it wrong Mitch.)

 

Thank you all for making me take another look at this!

 

THANKS!!!!

 

Dave

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We never touch the front in tight turns. All rear brake, and never, never drag or are in the gray area. We burp the thottle feathering the clutch. We find the proper entry speed for the turn, rear brake, clutch in, as we turn and start to fall into the turn, let the clutch into the friction zone, to pull the bike up and around the turn. Too fast, pull in the clutch in slightly to slow.

I'm with John. A friend who teaches motorcycle safety courses uses the mantra, "Front brake for power; rear brake for control." In very slow speed situations, I primarily use the clutch/throttle and the rear brake; front only when I'm totally or nearly totally stopped, and straightened up. An empty parking lot is a great place to practice these skills, as is a "slow race" -- set up an obstacle course with cones, and try for the longest possible time from start to finish, without ever putting a foot down. Buying a small, light rat bike to learn skills is probably cheaper than repairs to a big touring bike with acres of plastic.

 

My wife has been trying to learn to ride for about 8 years; it's a difficult art to pick up later in life. Her main issues have been clutch/throttle control, and dumping the bike at low speeds due to grabbing the front brake.

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John, Northeast Florida

Try some of these techniques on an HP2Sport, which I facetiously say has a wheel cut of <10 degrees . The only way to narrow up the U-turn is to lean the sucker over so far and hope that the sand/gravel doesn't bite you in the butt.

 

Merry Christmas All!

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