Trail braking


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Corkster52
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Trail braking

Post by Corkster52 » Sun May 26, 2019 2:53 pm



I have been reading, and reviewing videos, about many riders singing the praises of trail braking in turns. They are going into turns with light pressure on the front brake that slowly increases until the apex of a turn and then backing off the brake while rolling on the throttle to come out of the turn. The purported benefit of doing so is to shift the force to the front while loading up the front shocks and increasing the contact surface area of the front tire and therefore not having to lean the bike over as much to make a tight turn. I respect a lot of guys on this board and curious of your opinions. Thanks!



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Re: Trail braking

Post by hondapotamus » Sun May 26, 2019 7:02 pm

My understanding of trail braking is using your back brake when going around corners slowly. Using the back brake tends to stretch the bike out and make it want to stand up straight rather than fall into the corner.

I've never heard the term in relationship to using the front brake. "trail" would tend to mean "dragging".

Using the front brake going to into corners (or curves) is tricky - too much and you have the bike either wanting to fall inward or have the front tire lose traction and slip out from under you.

Not saying that the term is being used improperly - just not my experience with the term. Please set me straight if I've got it wrong.
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Re: Trail braking

Post by tfdeputydawg » Sun May 26, 2019 7:30 pm

In applying this technique, motorcycle riders approach turns applying front brakes to reduce speed. As they enter the turn, they slowly ease off the brakes, gradually decreasing or trailing off the brakes as motorcycle lean increases.

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Re: Trail braking

Post by hondapotamus » Sun May 26, 2019 9:54 pm

Well, alright. I watched one of the videos and see what you are talking about. I would rather set my speed before I hit the corner rather than try to adjust down midstream. If it's blind, well, I adjust lower to provide for unexpected things that are out of my line of sight.

As an Instructor we trained students to not use the front brake when leaned over in a turn. Use a light back brake to keep the bike wanting to be upright and you manage the lean with push steering. Any sand or other junk on the road along with front brake - very risky Most of all we emphasized "Set your speed before the curve".

If you know the condition of the road, trail braking, in this sense (trailing off the brake) rather than "trailing the brake (using the trailing (i.e., back) brake to influence the bike to stand up) is certainly something that would make you turn quicker because it would be trying to make the bike lean over in addition to the physics of the push steering input from the handlebar, so agreed it would have some benefit for getting back up to speed after the curve because you can turn in faster and accelerate sooner.
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Re: Trail braking

Post by Viking » Mon May 27, 2019 6:40 am

I use this all the time when riding the twisties. It makes the whole procedure a lot more fun, as it feels like bike and rider are one, carving through those tight curves. Counter steering comes heavily into play as well. Man, what a rush. Love it. I search for roads that I can ride this way (such as, all the dragon roads). We have several up here near where I live. They are just being desanded at this time of year, so next month they will be fair game.
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Corkster52
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Re: Trail braking

Post by Corkster52 » Mon May 27, 2019 4:06 pm

Viking wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 6:40 am
I use this all the time when riding the twisties. It makes the whole procedure a lot more fun, as it feels like bike and rider are one, carving through those tight curves. Counter steering comes heavily into play as well.
I'd definitely like to learn more about it and try it out in nothing other than safe conditions. Yesterday I downloaded the Kindle version of the book "Cornering Confidence: The Formula for 100% Control in Curves" to see what it has to say.

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Re: Trail braking

Post by Viking » Tue May 28, 2019 6:49 am

It is all about practice, practice, practice. The more I ride the better I get at riding. Every year, I start out with PLP (parking lot practice) to get my slow speed maneuvers up to par, and then I hit the road to where I can find some twisties, as that is my favorite riding on this motorcycle. It is amazing to me how such a large bike can be so smooth and maneuverable. I have a couple of other goldwing riders who go with me on these adventures, and they ride as well as I do. What we do is probably not always safe, but we know where we are in reference to each other. We chase each other through the twisties to see if one of us can run away from the other two. So far, it does not matter who is leading, the other two can keep up more easily than the frontrunner can pull away. It really hones the skills. Luv it. Then the ride home 70 miles up a straight major highway - boring to the max, LMAO.

Once we have done all the practice, it is time for the road trips. I did eleven last year, and hope to match or beat that this year.
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Re: Trail braking

Post by minimac » Tue May 28, 2019 7:58 am

It all depends on what you're trying to do. If your looking to maximize speed through the corners, the axiom is slow in, fast out- slowing before entering and powering through the turn. IMHO, I think it is a very poor practice to use the front brake while in the turn on public roads. There's too much "stuff" on roads that can lead to severe puckering of a certain body part.

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Re: Trail braking

Post by Corkster52 » Tue May 28, 2019 9:42 am

Thanks for the input guys. I really appreciate it.

I finished reading the book and while not earth-shattering I came away with a few things to try. First off I should mention, the author NEVER supports braking hard in turns with the front brake. It is more about, like I mentioned before, transitioning a higher percentage of the overall weight of the bike and ride to the front wheel by doing a 2-finger pull on the front brake lever while rolling off the throttle with the other 2 fingers when basically at the slowest point of the turn. In turn, when confident with the curve, roll off the brake and onto the throttle. The best way to explain it is shown in the YouTube video below





The author also talks about body positioning a bit and I will try it too. We all know that the bike will go where you look, but he also mentions a "kiss the mirror" approach by rotating your upper body some and leaning (probably not the right word) towards it as well.

I'm not planning on doing anything drastically different with my riding, but I am always looking for ways to improve my riding skills. Yes, I love twisties but they are not always tons of fun for me because of the constant pressure I put on myself while executing them.

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Re: Trail braking

Post by Happytrails » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:41 pm

I'm a believer, it took me awhile to get my head around it but the light bulb finally went off. It took a lot of watching videos explaining what it was, how to do it and the advantages. Makes a lot of sense now and something I've been practicing. Teachin and old dog new tricks :)
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Re: Trail braking

Post by Corkster52 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:34 pm

I'm an expert at nothing, but I am very slowly, the more that I study different things motorcycle, going from a I don't know what I don't know status all the time, to an I do know what I don't know and then I work on it.

There are TWO types of trail braking; one with the front brake and one with the rear brake.

I have been working for 30 minutes or so for the past few revving the bike to 2000 rpm or so, partially disengaging the clutch (thereby keeping it in the friction zone) and trailing the rear brake to maintain a normal walking pace speed while keeping my eye focused (and my front tire) on a straight line in an empty parking lot. Doing this for 30 minutes of back and forth sure tires out my left hand.

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Re: Trail braking

Post by eklimek » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:13 pm

Approach the entry with a downshift and use compression braking limiting maximum front brake use preventing rear wheel skip. The rear wheel adds little to entry deceleration with largely compression engine braking. (This is where the slipper clutch helps.)

Entering the corner. Keep the front brake on, increasing the load and traction on the front wheel with braking deep into the corner. Compressing the front forks to reduce the trail (caster) .

Gentle modulation of the front brake allows more turn in. The best motogp riders make it seem easy as the angle approaches maximum 60 degrees lean and they are off the saddle to use the knee (or elbows) as a tripod and keep the bike from sliding. Gradually, at the apex, Let go of the front brake and let the bike stand up with gradual power application as weight comes off the front.

Grab too much front brake, the tire washes out and whoops... Too much power and the rear wheel slides out. Not a technique to be used with linked brakes.

All good fun, best used on the track where you know the tarmac and nothing jumps out in front of you.

Love to see you do this with a 900 lb Goldwing, at speed, on the brakes, off the saddle and at the edge of control. Take pictures. I will take up a collection and send you a get well card.

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Re: Trail braking

Post by eklimek » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:18 pm

One finger on the front brake.



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Re: Trail braking

Post by minimac » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:16 pm

They hang off the side to get the beasts to turn, not to avoid slipping.The front wheel rarely,if ever, points anywhere but straight. Don't try that on the street-I guarantee it will end poorly!

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Re: Trail braking

Post by dingdong » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:55 am

I have been doing this for ever. I didn't know it was called trail breaking.
Watch for this riders brake lights. Don't know if front or back but he is braking into the curves.






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Re: Trail braking

Post by eklimek » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:23 am

As I said.

"best used on the track where you know the tarmac and nothing jumps out in front of you."

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Re: Trail braking

Post by Corkster52 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:32 pm

Post by dingdong » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:55 am

Don't know if front or back but he is braking into the curves
Wow, that is some riding! Not sure if I will ever get anywhere near that good!



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