Rear brakes aren’t a sizzling subject in at the moment’s motoverse, nor are they essentially among the many most sought-after motorbike suggestions. Actually, they’re form of boring when the entrance binders on trendy bikes present a lot stopping energy, usually with a single finger on the lever, however they’re nonetheless essential.
In line with the Motorbike Security Basis, entrance brakes present roughly 70% of a bike’s maximal stopping energy, leaving round 30% to the only rear brake. However many elements have an effect on this ratio, akin to pace, tire grip, highway floor, highway gradient, and kind of bike. Cruisers and touring bikes with lengthy wheelbases profit from rear braking to a higher diploma than short-wheelbase bikes like sportbikes.
Arduous braking on the entrance can lighten the rear finish a lot that it may be arduous to benefit from no matter proportion of braking is out there again there. That’s a lesson I hadn’t realized but when my ’83 Suzuki GS750ES, which had some severe stoppers, was new.
When used accurately, the rear brake improves management and stopping distance and likewise helps negotiate U-turns rapidly and safely.
My enlightenment got here later with my ’87 Kawasaki KLR650, a venerable dual-sport notable for its massive fuel tank and weak single-disc stoppers at each ends. Having to make use of each binders to impact a brief cease was a (not fairly) crash course in rear brake use. Solely then did I notice that doing so additionally attenuated dive and recoil from the KLR’s long-travel entrance suspension, holding the bike nearer to stage all through the cease.
This “Aha!” second was a breakthrough in each stopping and general management. Driving my Honda VFR750F at CLASS, Reg Pridmore’s track-based security course, solely strengthened that lesson. I wasn’t the quickest or the smoothest pupil rider, however when it got here to the braking train – which required utilizing each brakes – 19 years aboard KLRs had me stopping like a professional.
To show the worth of the rear brake to your self, apply emergency stops (full braking energy however with out locking both wheel or partaking the ABS) with solely the entrance brake, after which with each. When each brakes are utilized, the bike ought to squat, pitching much less on the entrance. The longer your entrance suspension journey, the larger distinction it makes. (On Telelever-equipped BMWs and different bikes with suspension techniques that reduce front-end dive, the change in chassis pitch will likely be much less noticeable.) The identical approach however with a lighter contact on each brakes gives you safer stops on free or slippery surfaces.
Flip It Round
We’ve all missed a turnoff, forcing us to make a U-turn to get again on target. Performing one with out placing a foot down – or worse, having to cease, again up, and take one other stab at it – is a ability we should always all grasp. I realized higher approach doing take a look at bike photoshoots for Rider, which require quite a few U-turns, usually on slender roads, to get the fitting shot.
The secret’s to use gentle stress to the rear brake by way of the flip. The advantages are two-fold: shortening your bike’s turning radius and damping any unintended throttle inputs.
Observe in a parking zone, regularly lowering the variety of parking areas it takes to show round. Simply keep in mind that it’s a light-weight contact on the rear stopper; an excessive amount of and also you threat a fall. Preserve your eyes up and look the place you need to go, and hold the clutch within the friction zone for delicate energy management. Additionally, holding your ft on the pegs and weighting the surface peg yields the perfect outcomes.
With apply, utilizing the rear brake at sluggish speeds makes your U-turns steadier, sooner, and safer.
You’re pulling out of a driveway, entrance wheel cocked, when a automobile seems from behind parked automobiles. Whereas nonetheless on the driveway apron, you faucet the entrance brake, which instantly pitches the bike within the route of the flip. Fast pondering and a robust leg might hold it upright.
Subsequent time, attempt utilizing the rear brake as you attain the driveway apron. If you need to cease, use solely the rear brake, which gained’t make the bike pitch sideways for the reason that rear wheel doesn’t have an effect on steering or steadiness. The most secure technique to show this to your self is on a bicycle, the place errors have milder penalties. Transfer as much as a bike while you’re assured with the approach.
Through the use of the following pointers, the again brake might turn into your new greatest buddy.