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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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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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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.

..Tom
 

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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 600°C (1,112°F) 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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[...]

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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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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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 ;)

Pete
 

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This was a technique for cars in the 1960's. I have taken most of the MSF courses and none of them have said to do this. As others noted, it was for the crappy brakes and huge heavy cars of the era.
 

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That's a technique from long ago that thankfully has died. My mother used to do it on her '72 T-Bird. The porpoising and wallowing that resulted would make you vomit not to mention the lack of control. I guess it was originally used in panic stops so you wouldn't keep your brakes locked and give you a little control between lockup pulses.
 

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I'm starting to think there's two different techniques being discussed here under the one term. One being to apply and then completely release the brakes (which would make me puke as a passenger in a floaty yank-tank, better to just use your gears), the other to apply and then SLIGHTLY release the brakes. The first being the one that would allow the brake drums to cool slightly between applications, the second being useful on dirt to break through the fluff on top and then grip the firm substrate, or to pitch the bike's weight forward and then back off slightly to reduce slip kind of like imitating what ABS equipped brakes will do.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm starting to think there's two different techniques being discussed here under the one term. One being to apply and then completely release the brakes (which would make me puke as a passenger in a floaty yank-tank, better to just use your gears), the other to apply and then SLIGHTLY release the brakes. The first being the one that would allow the brake drums to cool slightly between applications, the second being useful on dirt to break through the fluff on top and then grip the firm substrate, or to pitch the bike's weight forward and then back off slightly to reduce slip kind of like imitating what ABS equipped brakes will do.
Yep. You get it. Braking is not always about coming to a quick stop. As many have described here, braking while checking what is going on behind you is related. We as motorcyclists understand that we are at a distinct disadvantage on the road when it comes to our own lives and safety. For me personally with the Wee, the strong engine braking is an effective tool in the braking process along with the front and rear brakes. What I mean by 'pumping my brakes', is that I have carefully adjusted the point at which the brake lights come on and use that as a defensive mechanism. It appears that this works well as I check my mirrors as soon as I begin the random pumping while observing the vehicle behind me. The random nature of the lights seems to get them to back off. And you are right about tapping the brake quickly to get someone to stop tailgating, although some jerks do it on purpose and get even closer if they know you are trying to get them to back off.
 

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Yep. You get it. Braking is not always about coming to a quick stop. As many have described here, braking while checking what is going on behind you is related. We as motorcyclists understand that we are at a distinct disadvantage on the road when it comes to our own lives and safety. For me personally with the Wee, the strong engine braking is an effective tool in the braking process along with the front and rear brakes. What I mean by 'pumping my brakes', is that I have carefully adjusted the point at which the brake lights come on and use that as a defensive mechanism. It appears that this works well as I check my mirrors as soon as I begin the random pumping while observing the vehicle behind me. The random nature of the lights seems to get them to back off. And you are right about tapping the brake quickly to get someone to stop tailgating, although some jerks do it on purpose and get even closer if they know you are trying to get them to back off.
I've heard of people doing a "brake check" (suddenly slowing infront of another vehicle then accelerating away) to scare off tailgaters ... now while I consider tailgaters to be festering slime, I caution against this tactic since if they are close and DON'T slow down, you're under their bumper and being "in the right" legally is cold comfort when they have to extract your cocyx from you cranium. I like to set my rear brake switch so I can flash the light WITHOUT slowing ... which is what I think you mean ... so I can flash the light a few times and get them to back off (usually but not always, some just lurv ass too much to back off) without going under their grill. Of course, if in doubt bullbars have right of way.

(Not my vehicle, only used for illustration. Those things corner like crap so accelerating away in the twisty stuff is effective)
 

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if you have ABS
Oh, I used to do it without ABS as well, if you have to slow down in a hurry on a snotty dirt road it's effective even without ABS, but the bike would buck like a rodeo bull.

The whole process just got a lot less scary with ABS.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My '06 has no ABS, plus it still has the stone-stock front suspension that dives horribly even under mild braking, so I've learned to try my best to plan my slowing/braking ahead of needing to stop quickly. Of course, this is not always possible, but to avoid heat warpage of my rotors, this is what I do. I have plans(and parts) to make improvement to the forks this Fall.
 

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I've never heard of rotor warpage being an issue with these bikes and quick searching didn't bring up a single result. It takes some pretty hard work to warp a stock modern rotor, as in race conditions hard.
Sure, change to wave/petal rotors if it makes you feel better, it's your bike and you need to trust it, but unless you abuse the hell out of the brakes you're not going to warp the stock rotors.
 
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