Brake pumping? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Brake pumping?

I took driver's ed waaaay back in 1968 and was taught that pumping your brakes when slowing is a good technique for two main reasons. First is that the brakes going on/off gets the attention of the driver in the rear and secondly, between pumps allows brake cooling. Made sense to me and I use the technique today. Being a biker, I am acutely aware of drivers behind me and want to alert them when I intend to slow so by pumping a brake lever in a random order, I get their attention. I have adjusted both levers to activate the brake light at the point where slack is met with actually braking so that I can use the technique effectively while still getting the maximum longevity of my pads. What do other riders do in this regard?

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post #2 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 01:05 AM
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I put skene p3 lights on to do the flashing for me. Prior to that, or when I'm driving a car instead of the bike, I will give a couple flashes of the brake lights when I know I'm going to slow faster than normal. However, when I really need to stop I stay on the brakes and am more worried about whatever it is that has caused the emergency stop situation than flashing my brake lights.
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post #3 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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I put skene p3 lights on to do the flashing for me. Prior to that, or when I'm driving a car instead of the bike, I will give a couple flashes of the brake lights when I know I'm going to slow faster than normal. However, when I really need to stop I stay on the brakes and am more worried about whatever it is that has caused the emergency stop situation than flashing my brake lights.
Yes, that's what works. Pumping the brakes is a technique used in a normal or relaxed driving circumstance. Hey, sometimes you just have to get hard on the brakes when sudden issues arise. You must adjust.

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post #4 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 01:29 AM
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The only time I've ever heard of pumping the brakes was a warning (threat) that if I did it while driving a truck the brakes would fail (run out of air) and the instructor's ghost would choke me, revive me, and then beat me to death. I've never heard it mentioned in the context of cars or bikes.

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post #5 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 10:05 AM
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Old car and truck brakes were crappy and pumping the brakes allowed you to get them to work no bettah. Working the pedal to make the brake lights go on is a good idea though. That's kinda why cars have a third light up high now...for visibility.
I've got an ancient Cyber Light that flashes for me when I stop. I like it.
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Boit4852 View Post
I took driver's ed waaaay back in 1968 and was taught that pumping your brakes when slowing is a good technique for two main reasons. First is that the brakes going on/off gets the attention of the driver in the rear and secondly, between pumps allows brake cooling. Made sense to me and I use the technique today. Being a biker, I am acutely aware of drivers behind me and want to alert them when I intend to slow so by pumping a brake lever in a random order, I get their attention. I have adjusted both levers to activate the brake light at the point where slack is met with actually braking so that I can use the technique effectively while still getting the maximum longevity of my pads. What do other riders do in this regard?
Cooling probably was more an issue with 60's vintage drum-brake equipped cars..

A lot of slowing down on bikes is done by letting off the gas and/or downshifting. When that happens we don't get a brake light and cars behind us are even less likely to notice we have slowed. It's a good habit to tap the brakes a bit to make the brake light work.

I suspect there is very little real-world wear going on if you gently apply the brakes. If I understand what you are saying your brakes will also apply slightly later after a squeeze of the brake lever. I don't think that I would want any extra time for the brakes to actually start engaging. It is a minor difference I am sure but in an emergency microseconds could help us avoid a crash. (Yes I am nitpicking!)

I often tap the brakes while sitting at a light when cars are approaching faster than i like. The closer they get the faster I tap.

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post #7 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 10:59 AM
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Flashing the brake light can be a very good idea. Pumping the brakes to slow better is a bad idea. If you need the brakes, stay on the brakes. Modern brakes do not overheat except on long steep downhill sections where the driver (car, truck, or bike) should have downshifted and used the engine to slow. I'm not sure old brakes would overheat in normal use, even normal hard use. HH grade brake pads are rated at 600C (1,112F) and continue working above that.

In a car, pumping non-ABS brakes when you're on a slippery surface might stop a skid. In a bike, releasing and re-applying the front brake if the front tire skids might keep you upright. If the rear skids, stay on the brake and ride the bike down. If the rear skids, gets sideways, you release the brake and the rear regains traction, it tosses you off into the weeds--a high side.

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post #8 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 12:15 PM
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[...]

In a car, pumping non-ABS brakes when you're on a slippery surface might stop a skid. In a bike, releasing and re-applying the front brake if the front tire skids might keep you upright. If the rear skids, stay on the brake and ride the bike down. If the rear skids, gets sideways, you release the brake and the rear regains traction, it tosses you off into the weeds--a high side.
If the brakes - for me, I locked both up during a panic stop when the pickup truck in front of me slammed his brakes - are released early enough, one can definitely recover. Wait too long, definitely hold the rear brake locked as mentioned by PTRider.


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post #9 of 24 Old 08-22-2013, 08:16 PM
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only time I ever pump brakes is slippery surface, snow, ice, each pump slows you but release before lockup

isn't that what ABS does for ya

oh, and if yer skidding the rear on ice/snow/wet grass, don't worry about highside, rear wheel won't gain that much traction, but it will let you get enuf traction to regain control



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post #10 of 24 Old 08-23-2013, 04:17 AM
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only time I ever pump brakes is slippery surface, snow, ice, each pump slows you but release before lockup

isn't that what ABS does for ya

oh, and if yer skidding the rear on ice/snow/wet grass, don't worry about highside, rear wheel won't gain that much traction, but it will let you get enuf traction to regain control
Almost, on nasty dirt hammering the brake hard and releasing again gets you more than just letting the ABS do it's thing.

Each hit tends to drive the front end down, which buys you a little more grip. Much easier on the nerves doing this WITH ABS

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