If you are a newbie, you can learn effective motorcycle braking by practicing it thoroughly in safe, free roads – before you go full monty…
When we think of vehicles, we think of mileage, power and top speed but we never give consideration to one important aspect of any vehicle – braking. Many riders don’t know about proper and safe braking techniques. There is an old saying, power is nothing without control. Controlling the vehicle at any circumstances is sort of an art.
As we may all know bike stuntmen strive to master this very art. For them too, brakes are an integral part of almost all common moves – wheelies, stoppies and burnouts all require proper brake manipulation in order for the rider to be on the safe side. Most stunt accidents occur due to improper braking techniques.
In city riding conditions, one of the most common types of braking errors is the application of front brake on loose or wet surfaces. This locks up the front wheels and in turn leads to slides and crashes. All vehicles are manufactured with appropriate braking systems in place which today are really reliable.
In effect, a geared vehicle would have three forms of brakes. You might be wondering how, its simple.. If you are a rider with a decent amount of experience, you would have noticed how the bike slows down when you change to a lower gear from a relatively high RPM. All racing drivers in almost all forms of racing, be it car or moto, use this very technique for a more powerful braking force. CVT, or automatic geared vehicles wouldn’t have this form of braking because the rider cannot control the gearshift.
Ideally, braking should be applied in variable ratios depending on how fast you are going. A general rule would be to apply more front brakes at higher speeds especially if your bike sports a disc brake as it offers much more power in terms of stopping when compared to the usual drum brakes.
Nowadays most motorcycles come with disc brakes. Usage of disc brakes is very effective but also very dangerous in inexperienced hands; by using both the brakes simultaneously accidents can be avoided. Rider can learn how to use all the brakes by practicing. The judgment of braking can be learned by practicing on short, empty roads.(Please do not practice in public or in heavy traffic, not near hospitals or schools, that may disturb or harm others. It is also recommended to use proper gear while riding the bike). It is very necessary to learn when to apply the brakes. Gentle braking should be applied at the time of turns. Traction is generally less at the time of turn because the bike is leaning. And if during this moment you apply hard brakes, the consequence can be unpredictable.
Speed is the most important criteria which a rider should keep in his mind. At high speed the vehicles actual weight increases by some amount due to something known as downforce, which is created due to the wind.
We don’t have specific tool to measure the braking pattern. But on judgment and practice we can identify the braking ratio of our motorcycle. The first thing we would recommend you is to learn the brake limits – try to understand what force would make the wheels lock on an empty ground at low speeds – then try it on muddy ground too at really low speeds with riding gear and learn how to recover from this lock up. This would teach you what would be an optimum braking force at all times of riding.
The wheels locking up, especially the front ones, are something that should be avoided at all costs, even if in an emergency always maintain control over the force you apply on the brakes. This would require a little practice but would eventually help you a lot. Even if the front wheels lock up, don’t panic, simply release the brakes the moment you notice the lock up and this would restore control…
They say practice makes perfect.. practice your braking skills on an open ground and on different surfaces while remembering to do it really slow with your safety gear on because, the only thing you would use in an emergency would be your brakes and proper use within limits would save you for sure.
– Chinmay Dangre