Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

using front brake

Recommended Posts

Being a street rider first, I'm a little confused on off road front brake use. My guess is use it sparingly , only when going straight. Is this correct?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have the traction, honk on it - just be careful if the wheel is turned. Anytime the wheel is turned, careful, one finger use of the front brake will slow the bike without dropping you on your face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being a street rider first, I'm a little confused on off road front brake use. My guess is use it sparingly , only when going straight. Is this correct?

geez, do you ride like that on the street? front brake use on a dirt bike is pretty much the same. gentle and progressive use of the front brake entering a corner will start to compress the forks and transfer weight to the front of the bike. this makes the front tire stick better, and steepens the steering angle, making the turn-in quicker. proper front brake use is one of the most critical components of going fast safely, just like on a street bike. fwiw, most casual street riders are either not aware of this, or just not good riders. lots of them are afraid of the front brake, so they run into stuff when they lock up the rear wheel and fail to stop in a panic situation.

one major difference between dirt and street is that when the front wheel starts to slide on a dirt bike, even a moderately skilled rider can ease off and let the bike hook back up again. sometimes this requires a foot dab, sometimes not. on a street bike, i believe the average rider would simply lowside and bounce on the ground once the front wheel started sliding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'll agree on the bit about using the rear brake incorrectly. It is not meant to be used to stop the bike quickly. The front brake can be used to stop very quickly provided it is maintained in good condition. When I first got my TTR125L I approached more than one corner and realized I was goign about 250% too fast and locked up the rear brake and then realized I only needed a little front brake to stop. It basically does nothing compared to what a little front brake does. As long as you arent riding where there is a little weight on the front the effect of the front brake increases very quickly because traction increases as decceleration increases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tell new riders that the front brake stops you, the rear brake turns you. If riding with a group of mixed A, B, C and beginner riders; you can classify the riders by the heat in the front disc rotor. When I do this with a group of riders after a tight woods section; the A rider's disc is still too hot to touch when the slower riders arrive. The B riders will have a little heat in the front disc, the C riders will usually have a cold disc. (The AA rider's rotors are cold, they don't use any brakes!)Try this sometime.

One of the keys to riding is the ability and confidence to use the front brake effectly.

velosapiens description is a perfect example of trail braking into the apex of a corner; whether road racing cars, motorcycles, or dirt bikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a former street guy and used my front brake almost exclusively. The back was dabbed a few times here or there for hard breaking and getting the front tire to stay on the ground. I almost never used my back brake on any street bike I have ever rode from Harley to rice.

In Motto I'm slowly learning when and how much front brake is allowed in different situations. I agree 100% the back brake in motto should be used more for turning and have noticed I get around the trail faster the more I use the front brake cuz I can go deeper into the corners.

This motto stuff is harder than it looks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being a street rider first, I'm a little confused on off road front brake use. My guess is use it sparingly , only when going straight. Is this correct?

Use front brake for slowing down and stopping. Use rear brake for control and steering.

Cher'o,

Dwight :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the best things that ever happened to me was to own a xr250 it had a front disc and a rear drum the disc worked 10 times better than the rear brake so thats what I used about 10 times more. I used the back brake but to keep it in line and help slow down even today when Im on it hard at a slow a enduro pace I use the front for probally 80% of my braking I use it heavy into turns and through turns to compress stick and shorten the radius it never wips out on me. Keep your wieght forward and crank it it will hold unless you have balonga skins

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, on the street I barely use the back brake. So your saying use the same basic tech off road, even into the turn. Great, I appreciat the advice. Do you teach small kids the same? I picturen them wiping out like crazy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, on the street I barely use the back brake. So your saying use the same basic tech off road, even into the turn. Great, I appreciat the advice. Do you teach small kids the same? I picturen them wiping out like crazy?

haha, i guess if you don't use the brakes correctly on the street, then it wouldn't apply to the dirt. most of us don't really worry too much about it on the street, because we're not trying to go as fast as possible, because that's not very safe in an uncontrolled environment.

on the street, if you need to slow down fast, you need to use alot of both brakes. more front, less rear, but the fastest way to slow down is to have both brakes modulated to just before the lock up. slowing down on dirt is the same.

for cornering, gentle progressive use of the front brake will help, whether you're a kid or not. i haven't actually taught any kids, but i've worked with several beginners, and i try to get them started on the front brake in corners right away. the key (i hope i mentioned it before) is to be gentle and progressive. once the front end starts to rebound, if you are still cornering hard and on the brakes, you are pretty much toast. if you just clamp on the front brake hard while cornering, you are toast.

beginners wipe out like crazy no matter what. better to do it while learning to use the front brake than to go off the hillside with the rear wheel skidding because they never learned how to trail-brake into a corner.

mw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this topic, as I really suck at using the front brake. Ever since I had the front drum brake on an 1972 Can-Am 250 Qualifier lock up on me just after a full straight line blast down a gravel road. I slid a long way, and have been "front brake shy" ever since, but that was way back then, and now I'm getting better at it.

Flynall told me that going in a straight line and holding the front brake to stop teaches you control(in a controlled environment).

The using the rear brake to pitch the bike into a corner, also includes position on the bike as well, which I'm also trying to learn.

Keep 'em coming, and I'll keep reading! :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up in Missouri and the surface there is hard clay,great for using the front brake, I moved to Michigan and I had to unlearn using the front brake as much, as michigan is all sand. the trerrain has alot to do with whether you use your front brake or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read all the responses and found some great tips. I have a question of my own though.

Before the question, here is a bit of background on my braking woes:

I use my front brake 95% of the time. My rear brake is either too grabby or it's that I don't have mastery over how sparingly I apply it. It seems like if I barely touch it, my rear tire locks up. We adjusted my brake lever downward a bit and that seemed to help. (When it was a bit higher than my footpeg, I was having to lift my foot to depress it and I think that was causing me to depress it too hard/too much). Anyway, now that it's lower than my peg, I can just shift to my instep on the peg and use my toes to more-gently apply the rear brake.

The other weekend, I was cruising a trail in 3rd gear, standing up and forward on the bike (my head was over the front plate...thank you Gary Bailey class). I came around a corner, realized the corner was sharper than I thought (and blowing off the trail was NOT a good option) so I instinctively grabbed a bit of front brake.

Well, I was on the ground (with a broken wrist) faster than John Kerry changes his opinion. :cry: Front end washed out.

Should I have used my rear brake instead??? Since I was already in the process of cornering and had the bike leaned over, I felt the rear brake would just cause me to slide out. Obviously the front brake caused me to do this.

What should I have done? It was a bit sandy/loose in the corner but I didn't realize it at the time. :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Using the front brake requires a delicate hand. It has the ability to stop you on a dime, or wash you out even quicker.

As stated earlier, when you hoark on the front brake, and you feel it begin to slide, you can release some of the pressure, and the wheel will begin to turn again, and it will track better.

What you found yourself in was an instinctual reaction, one that has not been honed enough.

Just like when you are driving in your car (pre-ABS) and a dog ran out in front of you. The initial reaction may be to stand on the brakes, but modulating them, and not locking up the wheels, will stop you much faster.

I'd say you were out-riding your skills at the time. That is what makes us faster, but also what gives emergency rooms business.

You also said that going off the trail was no option, so your mind may have done a quick analysis of "Off the trail Vs. Washing out the front wheel" and it may have made the right decision.

:cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Using the front brake requires a delicate hand. It has the ability to stop you on a dime, or wash you out even quicker.

As stated earlier, when you hoark on the front brake, and you feel it begin to slide, you can release some of the pressure, and the wheel will begin to turn again, and it will track better.

What you found yourself in was an instinctual reaction, one that has not been honed enough.

Just like when you are driving in your car (pre-ABS) and a dog ran out in front of you. The initial reaction may be to stand on the brakes, but modulating them, and not locking up the wheels, will stop you much faster.

I'd say you were out-riding your skills at the time. That is what makes us faster, but also what gives emergency rooms business.

You also said that going off the trail was no option, so your mind may have done a quick analysis of "Off the trail Vs. Washing out the front wheel" and it may have made the right decision.

:cry:

Yeah, my "oh [@#$%&*!]" light was on for sure. I recently made a big step forward in my riding ability after hitting a proverbial wall for a while. I'm riding much faster and better than I used to. I just don't have the experence yet going faster to deal with this kind of situation. Had I experienced it before, I may have known what to do. When you are in panic-mode, you resort to what you know how to do.

Should I have used my rear brake or just used my front brake less? I need to know so I can practice it and then develope muscle-memory.

At the time, I didn't have time to let off my front brake. I went down like a Muslim at noon before I knew what happened.

Thank you for the help! I really appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Should I have used my rear brake or just used my front brake less? I need to know so I can practice it and then develope muscle-memory.

Absolutely! As stated earlier, your front brake is capable of providing about 75% of your stopping power. No good reason to neglect the other 25%! :cry:

When I get in a situation like that, I may lock up the rear wheel, and begin a slide. Then, I will begin *modulating* the front wheel, coaxing the maximum braking that I can get out of it. I'll try to get as close to locking up the front, without doing so, as I can, and coming off and on the rear brake to control where I am going.

Riding over our heads is part of the fun, but the unexpected can hurt so much more!

Good luck, and keep on havin' fun.

:cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may need to think this crash back a little farther than you are. The problem isn't which brake you should have used, but the fact that you read the terrain wrong and were in the corner too hot. It's very possible that at the point when you realized you were in too hot, neither brake could have helped. Not trying to be an azz, just trying to lend another perspective..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to use just one finger on the front brake to keep from locking it up. I use the engine braking, some rear (too much will kill the motor) and mostly front. If its soft I pulse it or be very light, if hard pack good traction I'll use it harder.

Gary bailey has a good trail riding video as well, you should try to find that.

Good luck,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×