Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Not too long ago I was riding along and I hit a yellow light. My natural instincts in a car would be to slow down, so I did it on the bike as well. However, I overestimated how much pressure I put on my rear brake and I locked the rear wheel. Luckily I was able to come out of it by letting go of the brake and letting the bike straighten out on its own. I probably got lucky since for some reason, I remember reading that if you lock your back wheel, it should stay locked until you stop (is that right?).

Anyway, my biggest fear is that I'll squeeze the front brake too much and I'll end up in front of my bike. The rear brake pedal also seems so easy to press down that it'll lock without much thought. Obviously you can't just grip the brakes as hard as you can, but is there a way to know how much brake is too much brake? Is it just by feel and experience? Would you guys just run through a yellow?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
722 Posts
use light pressure on the rear and medium pressure on the front, then heavier. really shouldn't use the rear too much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
633 Posts
Try riding your bike in an empty parking lot at around 10 mph and slam on the rear brake (definatly don't let it go) this will give you an idea of how hard you have to press to get it to lock, then practice stopping using the rear brake only without locking it up.

The reason you don't let go of the rear brake is that the bike will self correct itself, and the rear has the ditinct possibility of flipping you off the bike, sounds like you got a bit lucky on that one.

Depending on the light i would probably have run it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,526 Posts
The key on the front brake is to be progressive. don't be too hard at first contact, like Jason said medium and increment it. With time, you'll be able to feel depending on the street conditions how much is too much

With practice (a lot of it) peoples can get so much braking that the rear wheel can get off the ground. I'm not there yet ;)

The lighter the rear wheel get, the easier it gets locked though.

Be careful :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
It sounds like the MSF course might be beneficial for you. This is one of the things they stress a lot during the course.

The MSF guidelines (for tarmac) are along the lines of:

Always apply the rear and the front at the same time - and always use both.
Apply the front gradually - as the bike's weight shifts forward the front tire gains more traction and you can brake harder without locking.
If the rear brake locks, keep it locked. This will sound awful, but won't really hurt.
If the front brake locks, release enough to unlock. Skidding front gives you no control.

Definitely practice in a parking lot. The rear tire locking sounds horrible, but doesn't really mean that much loss of control compared to the front. If you're worried about braking the front too hard, practice, practice, practice! I'd much rather find out I can't stop before an arbitrary white line on the ground than find out I can't stop before a very real car in front of me...

Braking is an art that takes a lot of practice, just like in the car. Challenge yourself constantly, and you'll improve. :) As for running the yellow, it'd depend on the circumstances - but I'm always going to favor my own safety over the potential ticket. Just remember the drivers waiting for the perpendicular green probably don't even see you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
Use all your fingers on the front brake. Don't get into the BAD habit of using one or two fingers. Using all you fingers makes it easier to be progressive on the brake.
With a bit of practice you will be able to haul on the front brake till lockup then back off just a touch, called threshold braking. You might want to practice in a car without ABS.
It is OK to lock the rear wheel in a panic stop, you lose minimal braking power, but it keeps the rear wheel behind you where it is supposed to be.

Practice, practice practice. Try to get on a dirt bike, they don't mind falling down as much, and practice on a loose surface (gravel, sand, etc etc).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
My private instructor, who has over a millions miles under his belt and who rode in three different continents, including Africa and South Ameerica, told us to let "our body determine the amount of pressure the rear brake needs." For that, simply place your foot on the rear brake (No pressing or anything) just tip a little.
If you want to slow down/stop, squeeze your front brake, never grab but gradually, and you will notice, by default, your body moves forward and simultaneously you'll be applying enough brake on the rear without locking it. If you lock it, no big deal, keep it LOCKED if the front tire isn't STREIGHT otherwise if you let it go or unlock it, the bike will go one direction while you fly the other away.
======================================
Here is my signature breaking though: slight front brake while I simulatenously squeeze the glutch and down shift to the second gear....then gradually let go of the glutch (OMG, i stop real fast regardless of how fast I go.) BTW, is this considered bad breaking? Is it bad for the clutch?
 
F

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
I was taught to use all fingers as well. With all fingers on the lever, begin applying pressure in a sort of "wave" beginning with the pinkey finger side. That way it give tiem for the weight to transfer to the front wheel before you apply harder pressure.....I don't know if I explained that very clearly :S
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,526 Posts
nasfaw said:
BTW, is this considered bad breaking? Is it bad for the clutch?
The clutch can take it, the tranny is taking the blow though :-\

At some point it will develop the habit of falling in neutral.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Typically using all you fingers on the brake is bad. It makes people far more likely to grab a handful. 2 fingers is plenty. You can easily lock it up like that. It also aids in the progression as you can't squeeze as hard and as quickly like that. As for the rear, I typically cover it whenever braking but only put pressure on it when stopped to keep the bike from moving and at the same time light up the rear end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
bhd1223 said:
Typically using all you fingers on the brake is bad. It makes people far more likely to grab a handful. 2 fingers is plenty. You can easily lock it up like that. It also aids in the progression as you can't squeeze as hard and as quickly like that. As for the rear, I typically cover it whenever braking but only put pressure on it when stopped to keep the bike from moving and at the same time light up the rear end.
I grew up riding dirt bikes. On a dirt bike you cover both the clutch and the brake with at least one finger. That is how you ride a dirt bike.
I rode like that on the street and track for years...works great.
On the road race track I started using all my fingers on the brake, after some tutering by a famous road racer. Works BETTER.

Road race schools are teaching using all your fingers on the brake...and something else...they teach NOT to cover the brake. If you are not on the brake...wrap your fingers around the bar. When you want brake, reach out with ALL your fingers and grabs some. It is too easy to drag the brake while covering it.
I find using all my fingers on the brake make it MUCH EASIER to brake progressively. It takes some practice but I think I am a better braker because of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,165 Posts
I think when it comes to brakes it really boils down to what feels right to you so you can make stops as quickly and safely as possible. I know many road racers tell you not to use your rear brake, but nearly as many say they use it all the time. Does this mean one way is better then the other? What ever method you use, practice is the key to being good at it.

Old school riders say to use all your fingers, newer riders say you should only use two or one. I don't think it makes a difference as long as your practice it to get the most out of your brakes. Some people say to cover, some people say not to cover? I street ride, I cover with two fingers on the brakes always. ALWAYS! On a track you can see brake zones far enough away, and the risk of something going bad in a sport where you don't need brakes isn't large enough to require you to cover. On the street sure you may see that car pulling out of the driveway and position yourself to be rady to make a fast stop, but there are just as many unseen dangers that can happen in a split second. I like to think that exta fraction of a second of reaction time I get from covering will maybe mean the difference between hitting that object, car, deer, cat, old lady with a walker, and stopping just short of hitting them.

The key to brakes is practice no matter what technique, how many fingers, front or rear. Here is a good drill. Take a few empty two liter bottles, fill them with water or something to keep them from falling over if a gust of wind hits them. Find an empty parking lot with some room. Place a bottle out to mark where you begin your braking. Keep you speed constant, say 30mph. Use the next bottle to mark where you stopped. The next time through try to stop before your mark. Keep working at it and see how short of a distance you can stop in. When you skill starts to improve pick up the speed 5 mph. You will be suprised how fast you can stop and how hard it is to lock up the front as long as you transition the weight of the bike correctly.

btw the slang term for lifting the rear wheel of the ground while braking is called "a stoppie" If you shift your weight back as far as you can on the bike you should not have to worry about this. If you shift your weight forward as you brake you can create them at lower speeds with less braking effort. They are not the best thing for your bike, so I wouldn't go around dong stoppies everywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
I grew up with bikes that you HAD to use all 4 fingers to stop, so that's what I'm used to.

I typically use front and rear about equally with moderate pressure for normal stops, with less rear and more front the faster I have to stop. I always put my weight back as far as I can under braking. I've practiced a few max-effort stops on dry pavement, and for those, I pretty much gave up on the rear with this bike. No matter how lightly I apply it, it would lock up as the weight transfers to the front and the bike gives that feel of impending front lockup. Guess I'm getting close to stoppie territory. Never had a bike before that could do that.

I'm planning to put fork and shock springs on that are more apropriate to my 245Lb weight, and maybe that will help, but I know that this bike stops better than anything else I've ridden, as is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
thanks guys for the great advice ;D i definitely need to get a better feel of the stopping power of the front brake.

in terms of covering the brake, i was taught to use all four fingers when using the brake, not just to use two. The reason for this would be for those out of the blue situations when you need to quickly grip the brake rather hard. If you're using just two fingers and apply a considerable amount of force to the lever (assuming you don't lock the brake) you could end up straining your wrist and then letting go of the brake prematurely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Not really what I was taught, as I did it the stupid way and taught myself,(ouch!) but what I always do is cover the brake if I have the slightest suspicion I'll have to use it. If I see that I need to make a panic stop, I grab a moderate amount very quickly, and then progressively add in until I'm near lock-up.

I had a superb teaching aid in my first bike though, 20 years ago. It was an '82 Suzuki GN250, which had a double-leading edge drum front brake. If you grabbed a lot of brake on that thing, it would put you on you a$$ instantly. The initial grab was very strong, almost instantly trailing off to normal levels, and a max-effort stop from 80 would have the brakes faded to near useless. I simply did not use it if it were cold and wet out, because there was no amount of initial pressure that would not lock up the front under that circumstance.

I have a lot more appreciation than most, for front disk brakes...
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top