trail braking - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 22 Old 11-12-2013, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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trail braking

repost of some info from Faster Safer. This is very timely as I have found the stiffer than I expected front forks on my new 2013 dl 650 trail brakes very well for me. Trail braking has given me much more latitude when entering corners.

How about some new rider info to start your week off....

NEW RIDERS AND THE BRAKES

AN ARTICLE INSPIRED BY THE OPINION THAT NEW RIDERS SHOULDN’T EVEN HEAR THE WORDS “TRAIL BRAKING”

BY NICK IENATSCH

Among the least-desired activities is an internet forum argument, yet that is what I risked last week when
I posted on my local Colorado sportbike forum after reading that new riders shouldn’t be taught trail
braking. Thankfully, the thoughts written below were well received; I had asked the members to read
them with an open mind, thinking only of motorcycle riding and industry health.

Here’s my train of thought:

-New riders ride the same bikes veteran riders do, and a new rider can buy a GSX-R 1000 the day after the graduate from a new-rider school.

-If a new rider buys a sport bike, that bike is designed by roadracers...if the new rider wants that bike to work correctly, he or she will trail the brakes past the tip-in because no good roadracer anywhere is off
the brakes before turn in while entering corners that need braking. The champions from last year design the new bikes for this year...and they all trail brake.

-If "instructors" feel new riders can't master trail braking, they may be underestimating their students.

--Here is a quick but incomplete list of dexterous activities that are more difficult than trail braking: Playing guitar, piano, harp, flute, banjo, drums. Flying a helicopter. Flying or driving an RC vehicle. Shooting a gun well. Typing well. Having neat handwriting. Playing video games. Using an adding machine. Texting quickly and legibly.

-If instructors believe students have no experience with trail braking, the instructors need to stand on the sidewalk by a freeway onramp that requires braking and watch Grandma in the Buick, soccer-mom in the mini-van and Joe the Plumber leave the brakes on past the turn in. That's trail braking. They are giving away brake pressure as they add steering-wheel angle. Everybody does it, everybody trail brakes their
cars...yet they go to a new-rider school and get told not to. But they want to...for all the reasons written about in The Pace 2.0.

A few years ago I would have said that any rider training is okay...but not anymore. Our sport is not growing, and what industry can grow if its new members are getting maimed and killed?

Getting all your braking done in a straight line is fine when you're cruising because nothing matters at low speeds and high grip. It's when you misjudge the turn, or are trying to set a lap record at the track, or it starts to sleet on the way home from work, or there's gravel in your favorite corner, or you're on your buddy's 1300 and you just twist the throttle too long, or the corner goes right at 20mph instead of left at 50...then everything counts. And any one of these scenarios (and many, many more) can and happen to any rider...even a new one.

Final Thought: Trailing the brakes (leaving the brake light on at turn-in) is fourth on my list of priorities with
a new rider...fourth!

First is getting those eyes moving and scanning. Second is concentrating on What's Next with relentless focus. Third is smoothness with brakes, throttle and steering. Then trail braking...

In search of the next Starbucks
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post #2 of 22 Old 11-12-2013, 01:32 PM
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I think the point is that new riders don't know what a safe cornering speed is so it's best that they scrub it all off before entry. instead of coming in with more than they can scrub off.

anyone who desires to learn the proper techniques is going to research and learn about trail breaking.

'13DL650-A
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post #3 of 22 Old 11-12-2013, 02:16 PM
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I've been riding for a 'ahem', few years now and never really thought about how I do things, until about a year or so ago (could be longer, but the way my brain is going it may have been yesterday). I ride a wee, I also ride a VZ 1600, about 330lbs heavier, and on both bikes I when I hit a round-about or sharp bend at I always 'drag' the rear brake, I guess that's what trail braking is, I find it allows me to keep some speed and turn-in quicker, and most importantly, stops me from flying into a field and upsetting the cows. I've ridden everything from hyper-sports to adventure type to cruisers and I seem to do it on all, I have no idea when I started doing but almost as far back as I could remember ( I know, that could have been yesterday).
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post #4 of 22 Old 11-12-2013, 02:49 PM
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Trail braking is turning and braking at the same time. It is usually with both front and rear brakes, with more effort on the front, because the front has more traction due to the weight transfer off the rear.

Here's a trail braking diagram. It is for a car where the size of the circle representing the car's wheels shows the force on that tire. The circle size can represent the cornering or power or braking force on the motorcycle's tires. I'd say that trail braking continues until a point between the E & F marks where power is rolled on, the turn radius increases, and speed begins to increase. (The diagram shows braking in box C)



Here's Kamm's Circle, or a Traction Circle or Friction Circle. A tire has a certain amount of grip. Let's say that a street tire has maybe 1.0 G of traction on clean, dry pavement. Maybe 0.8 G on clean wet pavement. Maybe 0.2 G on frost. Maybe a race tire has 1.2G. The rider can use all that traction to turn, or to brake, or to accelerate. Or the rider can use part to turn and part to brake, etc. If the vector sum of the forces exceeds the total traction (the radius of the circle on the diagram), the tire skids. If the sum of the traction is less than the circle, the rider isn't using all the traction available. Only skill determines what size the circle is on any day on any piece of road.

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post #5 of 22 Old 11-13-2013, 07:00 AM
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[QUOTE=PTRider;1740489]Trail braking is turning and braking at the same time. It is usually with both front and rear brakes, with more effort on the front, because the front has more traction due to the weight transfer off the rear.

excellent info
I often see guys at a place where many stop for a coffee or water on a Sunday ride. A few of them think they are pretty good on 2 wheels.
Recently we talked about trail braking. I mentioned doing it with the front brake. Holy tamoly, I was branded ignorant and a heretic-these hotshot riders never heard of that.
Hope many read your post and learn.
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post #6 of 22 Old 11-13-2013, 07:11 AM
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I do find fear of the front brake lever a little funny. But I remind myself that there was a time I wasn't so fond of that lever myself , until I resolved to be a better all around rider. Now I use the front brakes almost exclusively. That includes trail braking.
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post #7 of 22 Old 11-13-2013, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbsdave View Post
I often see guys at a place where many stop for a coffee or water on a Sunday ride. A few of them think they are pretty good on 2 wheels.
Recently we talked about trail braking. I mentioned doing it with the front brake. Holy tamoly, I was branded ignorant and a heretic-these hotshot riders never heard of that.
Hope many read your post and learn.
I have a client who is a teacher with a track day company at the track in Loudon NH, and just last week he was telling me about the benefits of trail braking. Like many, it's something I always tried to avoid, but did it if I was coming in to hot in a corner, but I'm starting to do it regularly. Anyhow, my client says when he's teaching trail braking it's met with resistance from the track students, like he's telling people the world is round in the 1400's.

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post #8 of 22 Old 11-13-2013, 09:20 AM
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Yo,
To me it's all about the timing of the brakes and throttle.
So let me get this straight, you begin at the turn point whilst still on the brakes, rolling off the throttle and counter steer. As lean increases brake pressure and throttle are reduced, yes?
At the "true" apex of this 90º turn, brakes off and maintenance throttle is opened and you are not at full lean angle for late apex.
When the exit point is seen, go for the late apex, open throttle while reducing lean angle.

I'm re reading Total control and Sport Riding Technique and trying to get my mind wrapped around the bike turning thing and the brake/throttle timing..

Mitch
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post #9 of 22 Old 11-13-2013, 10:00 AM
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Usually you'll use the front brake more for trail braking when you are going down hill curves and the rear when you are going through up hill curves.

I find that I always trail brake with the rear in everything from slow speed maneuvers to turns. In most situations, for me it is the safer one to use.

The thing to remember about trail braking is that you have only so much traction available at any given moment. So it is a fine balance between throttle & brakes in a turn. Too much or not enough of either and down you go.

I think you'll find that most who trail brake properly are on the gas and the brakes at the same time, so that tensions the bike and makes it sit up on its suspension allowing you to corner quicker. It takes skill & practice to do it properly.

It is a good skill to learn but having taught MSF to totally new riders, they have enough to deal with at that stage of the game. In actuality the students are doing a form of trail braking in their slow speed maneuvers, but we call it friction control ( clutch, rear brake & throttle ). I've found that the next level courses you can take is where they will get into trail braking and actually show you how to do it safely before you try it on the street.
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-13-2013, 10:13 AM
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Mitch, first think of a high performance turn as not-constant-radius. You start wide, go deep into the turn, slow as you enter (downshift as needed), begin to turn. At the deepest & widest point in the turn you are also at the slowest. Get off the brakes, dive into the turn, roll-on some throttle, look through the turn to pick the best exit route, straighten the turn as you accelerate. The closest point to the inside of the turn is about 2/3rds of the way around, subject to what you saw back at the turn-in point. Dragging a bit of rear while rolling-on helps stabilize the bike but isn't part of Trail Braking 101, more like post-graduate.

The book, The Upper Half of the Motorcycle: On the Unity of Rider and Machine, by Bernt Spiegel is great about riding and the physics of riding. It describes high performance safe turning very well. The first half of the book is a bit of a slog, but the second half of the book is excellent. Parks tells us how to ride. Spiegel tells us how to ride and why it works so well that way. I own and recommend both books.

The MSF beginner riding course is excellent in what it teaches in a short period of time. Much more needs to be taught, but that would take more time & money; few want to spend either.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

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Last edited by PTRider; 11-13-2013 at 10:16 AM.
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