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Discussion Starter #1
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...
 

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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.
 

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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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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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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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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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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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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..
 

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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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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.
 

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Dragging a bit of rear while rolling-on helps stabilize the bike but isn't part of Trail Braking 101, more like post-graduate.

I had to do this with my ST1300 all the time. Bad fuel cut would send the chassis nuts. The only way I would stop the off/on shake was to apply a bit of rear brake while giving a bit of throttle and it went away..

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.

This book is very deep. I can only read a bit and then try to digest what I read…

It seems to me that in this bowl turn with a late apex, there are two turns. The initial turn at the turn point, wherever you pick that point to be. If you don't see the turn exit or turn exit point, you maintain this initial lean angle. When you see the exit point you then countersteer more to hit the late apex and use more throttle as you stand the bike up to exit.. Make sense??

When I ride the mountains (no, not the florida mountains) there are many times that I start a turn but can't see the apex, late apex or exit point. What I do is make the initial turn and maintain a path near or close to the dbbl yellow line for right turns and white line for left.
When the apex/late apex and exit point come clear I dive for the late apex, off the brake with a touch of throttle. When I hit the late apex I simultaneously start standing the bike up and give it proportional throttle..

What cha tink?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
if you do this for a while you will find using two fingers for the brake is the best. that will allow you to use maintenance throttle too. Remember any negative or positive throttle will reduce traction and that is not always good. I have found a tremendous amount of latitude when entering a corner now.
 

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On my break hand I only hold the throttle with my thumb and forefinger and tend to have two-three fingers on the brakes but my little finger might be floating in the air. This is also done to blip the throttle while downshifting. Downshifting is the one that really has be applying throttle while breaking but I also hang on the rear break through to the apex of the corner. I'll often turn in with the fronts on, I find if I'm on the fronts before lean in starts and hold them into the lean I don't notice them at all. I come off the fronts quite a bit before coming off the rear/

I use one or two fingers to clutch when in motion for the sake of building habits.
 

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track only

IMHO, exploring the limit of traction on the street is inviting disaster. One grease patch, one spot of gravel. and you're off the road, down, or sliding into oncoming traffic. Yeah, on track, the fast way around is to leave braking until the last possible instant, braking into the curve, then gradually reducing braking as cornering force builds to stay (barely) within the traction circle. I'm never in that much of a hurry on the street. If I misjudge a corner I may do a bit of braking midcorner but hopefully I'm so far from the edge of traction that it isn't a problem. Of course, I'm old enough that there's no such thing as a minor accident, so, hey, be my guest.
 

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When I ride the mountains (no, not the florida mountains) there are many times that I start a turn but can't see the apex, late apex or exit point.
You gott'a be able to stop or get to the side if there is a fool coming at you in your lane, or debris on the road, or any other hazard you cannot ride through. Riding fast in blind curves is for the track. It is fun on the road...until it isn't. Ride safe.
 

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I learned to trail brake on a track where it became a natural progression of getting faster. That said, it is a very useful tool for the street if you enter a turn a bit hot, or something unexpected happens. I use only the front brake since it transfers the weight to the front tire, and compresses the front suspension. When the forks compress, your effective turning radius is reduced making the bike actually turn in quicker. Yes, at apex the front brake has been released as a gradual process along with slowly tapering off the throttle. Once apex is achieved, the throttle is slowly applied and the bike lifted off lean out of the turn. All in slow steady increments!
 

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Yes, at apex the front brake has been released as a gradual process along with slowly tapering off the throttle.

Question: at the true apex or the late apex if you use that...
 

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If I understand your question, it would be the exact apex (the point that you are closest to the inside completion of your turn), generally as you can also see the exit. There are double apex turns also where two steering inputs are required. Sometimes you still may be at the apex and not see your exit point clearly (up a hill as an example), but you are still done with the brakes at that point.
The biggest deal to me is to be easing off the brakes and throttle together as you are increasing the tip in (lean) factor. Apex is max lean, off brake, maintenance throttle, and as it leaves the apex the gentle addition of throttle with the slow lifting of the lean angle. Hope that helped some. So much easier to actually see it done a few times then it makes sense. :beatnik:
 

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You gott'a be able to stop or get to the side if there is a fool coming at you in your lane, or debris on the road, or any other hazard you cannot ride through. Riding fast in blind curves is for the track. It is fun on the road...until it isn't. Ride safe.
That is if you expect to ride again tomorrow.
Let's hope they're listening. :yesnod:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I like to ride with a goal of using 50% of the traction available on the street. I then use trail braking in every turn. It gives me an extra level of control.
You do not have to ride at a track pace to use this.
I find myself much more relaxed and able to wick it up if needed. I had a camaro that was hot on my tail a few weeks ago entering the interstate. there is a turn to get on the freeway that is about 300 degrees (almost a full circle) so I decided to turn up the speed a little as I trail braked into the corner setting up the suspension and getting the tire pushed into the road. I went like I was on rails and the Camaro had to back off. I never felt that I was any where near the traction limit of the bike.
 
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