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Using rear brake at the track
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Using rear brake at the track - August 28, 2013, 04:46 PM

I was reading the new member thread for one of the guys and he was being tested on his knowledge about riding, and the usage of brakes was being discussed. So I thought about how I was told when riding on a track, to not use my rear brake at all. Is this true? I've only done one track day and I used my rear brake a good amount. I'm really used to using my rear brake around slow corners and when initially coming to a stop (I'm in the process of eliminating this). What kind of advice can you guys give? And if that is true, do you guys apply that to street riding as well, and if not, does it mess with you when you're riding and you realize you're not on the track and keep having to remember to use your rear brake?

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August 28, 2013, 05:07 PM

If you are comfortable using it...use it.

I did 12 years of roadracing and barely used it. Mostly in low traction scenarios. (Rain, traversing a field, etc)

I only really learned how to use a rear brake by spending a lot of time dirt riding. In my opinion if you aren't comfortable drifting/sliding the rear, then it's more likely to hurt your riding than help it. The fine modulation of the rear brake and rear traction take time to learn. Too easy to stab it and highside yourself.

But like I said, to each their own preference.

Mud


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August 28, 2013, 06:20 PM

I find a bit of rear brake smooths out my downshifts.
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August 28, 2013, 06:26 PM

if you know how to use it, the rear brake is extremely useful. The rear brake is a tool... if it had no use, it wouldn't be there. Read, then read some more. Then practice, then practice moar.


Yes, ~80% of a sportbike's stopping power comes from the front brake... those that don't use the rear brake at all are leaving 20% on the table... that's a LOT.


I have tried using my front brake only when slowing down from high speeds... it made me uncomfortable. Felt like my rear tire was trying to still push me/ to come around the front... true? Iono... but the laws of kinetics support it. I went back to using both, and the bike definitely slows much faster.

I think people suggest that newbies don't use the rear brake to play to the lowest denominator... the jackass who's going to stomp his brake, feel it break loose, then release it once the bike is sideways and highside himself to the moon.


I practice locking up my rear tire on the regular.. going ~30-40mph coming up to a stoplight or summat on an empty road.. lock it up, then recover. This also teaches you what the threshold is before your tire locks up... depends on your brakes, your tire, pressures, road surface, etc.. And when I was first practicing this I started slow... and listened to what they teach at MSF- If your rear tire locks, keep it locked. That will save you from highsiding, but it is possible to recover from a rear lock. Practice slow.

I think a good amount of my comfort from a skidding rear comes from riding bicycles so much as a kid... I essentially lived on a bike for the first 18 years of my life. The rear brake is super useful when navigating traffic. Same goes for the bicycles with 900cc motors in them.


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August 28, 2013, 06:28 PM

I used it mainly in two situations; coming into a slower corner after a high speed straight, it helps squat the rear end with just a little pressure, prevents the rear from coming up under hard front braking. Also coming out of corners it helps to cover it and dab it to control the front end when it tries to come up


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August 28, 2013, 06:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudDawg View Post
If you are comfortable using it...use it.

I did 12 years of roadracing and barely used it. Mostly in low traction scenarios. (Rain, traversing a field, etc)

I only really learned how to use a rear brake by spending a lot of time dirt riding. In my opinion if you aren't comfortable drifting/sliding the rear, then it's more likely to hurt your riding than help it. The fine modulation of the rear brake and rear traction take time to learn. Too easy to stab it and highside yourself.

But like I said, to each their own preference.

Mud
+1.

I don't use it at all on the track and scoot around at the top of expert. I will however start to inteoduce it into my riding from now on but like anything will do so at a slower pace and work my way up. It has its applications at the highest levels of riders. For 99% of people it is not necessary.

The street however is a whole different animal and the rear brake is more than fine and useful to everyone as the speeds are way different.


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August 28, 2013, 06:45 PM

I don't use the rear brake at all unless I'm just dicking around and purposely trying to lock up the rear. I don't disagree that it provides 20% of the stopping power but I figure that if you're hard on the front to the point that there is very little weight on the rear wheel, it wouldn't take much to lock it up and for braking that doesn't require you to be so hard on the front, the front alone should be plenty to stop you. Rightly or wrongly, that's why I just stay away from it.


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August 28, 2013, 07:24 PM

Thanks for all the tips guys!

I've always used it on the street. I only use my front brakes excessively if I have to suddenly come to a stop or slow down from a high speed, but any other time I downshift and coast, and use my rear brake until I'm getting ready to stop completely then I'll finish it off with adding the front. I've never had a problem with this and actually have had better control of the bike coming to a stop. But about two weeks or so ago, I started to use front only. It was a bit harder for me at first, especially on a new bike because I didn't know the right amount of pressure for the brakes, and I kept hitting the front a little too much especially when coming to a complete stop and stopping too early almost losing control, or not fast enough, or even causing the former due to the latter. But I have it down pretty well now,

I guess I'll continue to do both and see which I feel more comfortable with, and the same with the track when, and if, next time I go.

Btw speaking of locking up the rear and not letting go till you come to a stop, I had to experience this the hard way on my R6. I had a situation where, turning left from 7 onto the NoVa Loudoun campus a car decided not to go last minute and braked suddenly and hard, and I had to lock up my rear and control the front. I barely stopped inches from his bumper, but my instinct made me stay on the rear and not let off, and kept skidding. But I realized that I was off the seat when I came to a stop. I think if I had used the front only, I probably would've fallen off the bike, haha.


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August 28, 2013, 07:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by w0bbles View Post
I was reading the new member thread for one of the guys and he was being tested on his knowledge about riding, and the usage of brakes was being discussed. So I thought about how I was told when riding on a track, to not use my rear brake at all. Is this true?
You will have enough going on as you progress. No need to toss the rear brake modulation in the mix. Stick to the front. As you apply the front brakes, the front dives and adds weight to the front tire. More weight on the tire means more braking force can be used. Conversely, the rear gets lighter and can sustain less braking force.
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I've only done one track day and I used my rear brake a good amount. I'm really used to using my rear brake around slow corners and when initially coming to a stop (I'm in the process of eliminating this).
Good. Stop the habit now.
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And if that is true, do you guys apply that to street riding as well, and if not, does it mess with you when you're riding and you realize you're not on the track and keep having to remember to use your rear brake?
For the most part I never use the rear except in a parking lot. I do , however, use them both at times. On the highway, to slow for merging traffic or whatever, I will sometimes just use the rear. If I ever have a moment when I "realize" I am on the street and not the track (or vice versa) then it might be the time to hang up the helmet for a bit.
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Your welcome! Good on ya for asking these questions!


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August 28, 2013, 09:20 PM

Only if you've been taught correctly by the right rider. I haven't therefore I haven't used my rear brake on either bike in as long as I remember. Hopefully, this will keep me from stomping on it in an emergency as bad things will happen.
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August 28, 2013, 09:34 PM

Don't give up on the rear brake. Just practice it a lot before using it in a panic situation. Practice, practice, practice.

Get an XR100, play on dirt roads, grass fields, etc. It can be a lot of fun.


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August 28, 2013, 09:34 PM

I avoided the rear brake like the plague when I was just street riding and when I first started going to the track. I did Cornerspin and a day at Allsports earlier this year and found the rear brake to not be the end of the world. I bought a TTR motard and started dicking around on asphalt and a self made flat track with it. I started to find some confidence in using the rear.

My last few track days I found the rear brake to be a useful tool when going for a pass on the brakes. Mostly when I was going really deep for my skill level. I will say it is sometimes too easy to lock the rear under hard braking. I ordered some organic brake pads to hopefully help get rid of the on-off switch that is the rear.

In general as most of said, you can go fast without touching the rear. Just depends on what else you are skilled with.



...but learn to use that shit for if you go all ADVrider at the track.


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August 29, 2013, 12:51 AM

i only us the rear brakes when i am in the grass or have a fat chic on the back. so yeah, pretty much, never.

a very skilled rider could make use of the rear in some situations, but the touch would have to be pretty gentle. one instance i can think of is in a long sweeper such as the long left at ncbike (layed over for about 8 seconds, 270 degree turn) if you catching someone who had a wider line, then he/she tightened it and took your line (causing a close call), rather than roll off which would initially stand the bike up a lil bit and cause you to initially run wide, you can apply light rear brake while staying on the gas to scrub a little speed without affecting trajectory.

that being said, i have been meaning to soften up my rear brake to lessen the bite and start slowly putting it to use.


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August 29, 2013, 12:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by w0bbles View Post
Thanks for all the tips guys!

I've always used it on the street. I only use my front brakes excessively if I have to suddenly come to a stop or slow down from a high speed, but any other time I downshift and coast, and use my rear brake until I'm getting ready to stop completely then I'll finish it off with adding the front. I've never had a problem with this and actually have had better control of the bike coming to a stop.
OP... Stop using the rear brakes on the street COMPLETELY!

Truth is that the rear brakes are very useful in many situations whether on track or street. But your problem is that you've made a habit of using the as your primary stopping source. While you may THINK that in an emergency situation you would know that the front is more important, at that moment your body first turns to habit and then to logic. By that time it can be too late.

Break that habit completely, I would even go as far as to disconnect it altogether, and learn to use the front brake only. THEN after you're fully comfortable 110% with the front alone, then you can reintroduce the rear brake as a tool to use when you consciously choose to rather than an automatic motor function.

Preventing bad habits like this is one of the reasons the MSF teaches to just never use it at all.

Disclaimer: I do use my rear brake regularly and consciously for many situations.

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August 29, 2013, 12:18 PM

As someone who started on dirt bikes and has been a pretty big rear brake abuser (I tend to replace rear pads about as frequently as front pads on the dirt bike) I don't really see any reason to shy away from rear brake usage.

Another idea for softening up the rear brake is to replace the relatively soft spring on the lever with a heavier one. I have gotten springs from different hardware stores, most recently home depot. Just take your current spring with you and find a heavier one of the same length. Works for me anyway.
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