Thoughts on Trail braking? - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on Trail braking?

Previously, I'd been taught to do all braking before the corner. However, after talking to some people about Freddie Spencer's school and trail braking, I've been experimenting with it a little bit at the last coupla trackdays. Seems to help some on turn in, though I'm worried about tucking the front tire.

Does anyone else use trail braking? Or would it be better to take the Code approach and be completely off the brakes when initiating the turn? I'd love to hear what the fast guys/racers have to say on the issue. Is it a valid technique? Is there a proper way to do it?

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post #2 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 09:32 PM
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I trail brake in all hard braking corners. To be honest with you, that's the only way I know how. I brake hardest early into the braking zone and then taper off and hold it all the way till the apex and get back on the throttle the same time I release the brake lever. At Autobahn South, I trail brake really hard almost past the apex in the tight chicane parts. I haven't lowsided or tucked a front end since 1994 so it works for me. It could have more to do with the bike I'm riding but I did the same thing in the early 90's on a 91 ZX7R as well. I also think that it's just a matter of preference as Larry Denning does not trail brake at all and we all know he's a pretty fast guy.
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post #3 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 10:03 PM
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I never *rotate* ( turn-in ) the motorcyle with out just a touch of brake on.

An unloaded tire has no grip.


THink of the small throttle opening we tend to call "maintenance throttle"

Now think "Maintenance brakes".


All you are accomlishing is weight transfer for traction and compression
of the forks to improve trail and help the bike turn.


This is a LOT different than blazing in s&*t-ass hot and holding
the brake on trying to eliminate enough speed to turn the bike.


Freddie also says that one of the number one causes of crashing
is rusing the entrance to a corner..... don't confuse the two.

You can trail brake when you are not rusing the corner.


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post #4 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 11:38 PM
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The only school that teaches no brakes while turning is Code.

All other schools, in one way or another, use trail braking. I've been introduced ways to start looking at it, but not done it. NESBA beginner coaches don't advocate it, but I'm willing to bet the I and A control riders do it. Talk to knowledable CRs about it, they'll give you tips on how to begin to trail brake. It's all about feel, so odds are, while learning it, your lap times will increase (braking too much). But as you get the feel for it, performance will improve.

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post #5 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:20 PM
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Try and do this Rob. You are braking hard coming into the corner and start to turn in, but you are still using the front brake to scrub off speed while you're leaned over, but while your trail braking and leaned over you still want your suspension to be happy so you need to be on maintenance throttle just a little bit.

Trail braking can be dangerous, grab the front brake just a little bit too hard while you're leaned over and yes the front will wash out. I've been fully cranked over in races before trying to stuff someone on the inside and they hold their line and I've had to grab a lot of front brake leaned over and have been able to save it, scary, but it's racing.

Just play with it, start carrying more and more corner speed and you will naturally start trail braking in the corners. Stay on the gas longer and get on the brakes later. If you are going fast you are never coasting. When I say coasting I mean never off the gas or never off the brakes. Your either on the gas or on the brakes, if you are coasting you're not going fast enough.

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post #6 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper
Try and do this Rob. You are braking hard coming into the corner and start to turn in, but you are still using the front brake to scrub off speed while you're leaned over, but while your trail braking and leaned over you still want your suspension to be happy so you need to be on maintenance throttle just a little bit.

Trail braking can be dangerous, grab the front brake just a little bit too hard while you're leaned over and yes the front will wash out. I've been fully cranked over in races before trying to stuff someone on the inside and they hold their line and I've had to grab a lot of front brake leaned over and have been able to save it, scary, but it's racing.

Just play with it, start carrying more and more corner speed and you will naturally start trail braking in the corners. Stay on the gas longer and get on the brakes later. If you are going fast you are never coasting. When I say coasting I mean never off the gas or never off the brakes. Your either on the gas or on the brakes, if you are coasting you're not going fast enough.
Quote:
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Grasshopper again.

Just for clarification, you're saying while trial braking, I should be feathering the front brake and applying maintenance throttle?
Good point about coasting. I'm doing that, and I know I shouldn't.

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post #7 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c5367

Just for clarification, you're saying while trial braking, I should be feathering the front brake and applying maintenance throttle?
Good point about coasting. I'm doing that, and I know I shouldn't.
Is the suspension happy on the motorcycle when you aren't on the gas leaned over Rob?

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post #8 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper
Is the suspension happy on the motorcycle when you aren't on the gas leaned over Rob?
Well, not entirely. The forks have been working through some self-image issues, and the shock is lonely after the breakup with her ex-spring. The new one is just a rebound relationship (bad pun alert!!), so she isn't particularly happy either

Seriously, I see what you're saying. Makes total sense. Just wanted to be sure. leaned over on the gas is good, but wasn't sure if adding front brake into the equation would change things.

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post #9 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c5367
Well, not entirely. The forks have been working through some self-image issues, and the shock is lonely after the breakup with her ex-spring. The new one is just a rebound relationship (bad pun alert!!), so she isn't particularly happy either

Seriously, I see what you're saying. Makes total sense. Just wanted to be sure. leaned over on the gas is good, but wasn't sure if adding front brake into the equation would change things.
The way I look at it, you want to keep Ms. Suspension Happy and scrub off speed in the corner as well.

You can also use this on the gas and front brake technique to keep a bouncy front end planted.

It also works good for doing rolling burnouts or doughnut circles.

Are you blipping the throttle and grabbing front brake at the same time when you are setting up for a turn?

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post #10 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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The 749 has a slipper, so I don't really blip on downshifts unless I'm going 2-1, since the jump is so big. I've been grabbing downshifts prior to getting outta the seat, but squeezing brake throughout.

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post #11 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:53 PM
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I wouldn't rely on the slipper too much, you need to keep the revs up when you're on the binders, the slipper clutch will help if you miss a blip.

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post #12 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper
I wouldn't rely on the slipper too much, you need to keep the revs up when you're on the binders, the slipper clutch will help if you miss a blip.

Are you coming to Mid Ohio with us?!?!
As soon as I get confirmation the 749 will be back in time, I'm on it like a fat kid on a cupcake. Twist my arm why dontcha'? After watchin the vid you posted, I've been wanting to ride that one.

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post #13 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLARNEY
I never *rotate* ( turn-in ) the motorcyle with out just a touch of brake on.

An unloaded tire has no grip.

Tom
Never really thought of it that way but it makes sense. Have found that when I go into a really right turn too hot I scrub off some speed with the brake and then pull in the clutch to kinda coast in and then throttle on the other 90% of the turn. Man it is really ass backwards now that I thought it out. Brake or throttle, shit or get off the pot as I say....

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post #14 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 08:10 AM
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I personally have used trail braking on many occasions, but it was never the front brake. I use rear brakes and have had a good deal of succsses with it.

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post #15 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 10:39 AM
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I took FF course years ago. Trail braking till you approach max lean is very useful. FF teaches the 100 points of traction concept. All tires have a maximum amount of traction before they slip. That is the 100 points. You can do 3 things with those points; brake, accelerate or turn. Obviously you are not accelerating with the front wheel, leaving braking and turning. Simply put, until you are at max turning (lean) you still have the ability to use some of the brake. The more you points you burn by turning the less less you have for braking. Conversely, the more points you burn by braking the less you have for turning. It is surprising how much braking can still be done while in the early part of a turn.

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post #16 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar8000
I personally have used trail braking on many occasions, but it was never the front brake. I use rear brakes and have had a good deal of succsses with it.

I wouldn't do that. As you get faster you'll either have a rear wheel that hops or you'll lose traction on the rear and highside. True, the pros may use a little, but they are the pros, and I bet they primarily rely on the front brake.

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post #17 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:58 PM
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The rear brake is for when you go out in the grass and you're hopping along.

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post #18 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper
The rear brake is for when you go out in the grass and you're hopping along.
I was wondering where your screenname came from

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post #19 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emoor
I wouldn't do that. As you get faster you'll either have a rear wheel that hops or you'll lose traction on the rear and highside. True, the pros may use a little, but they are the pros, and I bet they primarily rely on the front brake.
I hear what you are saying and maybe you are correct. As I have stated it worked well for me for now and considering that I practice my rear brake action every time I ride I think I might be ok for a while. I will keep in mind what you said about the front. Thanks.

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post #20 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c5367
I was wondering where your screenname came from
No, actually this grasshopper was on my bike one day out in the garage. Thats where it came from.

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post #21 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 07:49 PM
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Trail braking is a must have skill in my opinion.

If you come to any NESBA events this year, hook up with me and we'll go over the finer points and then we can go out and work on it if you want.

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post #22 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 07:56 PM
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I trail brake up to the apex, but don't do it all the time, only if I'm carrying to much speed.

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post #23 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronhix
Trail braking is a must have skill in my opinion.

If you come to any NESBA events this year, hook up with me and we'll go over the finer points and then we can go out and work on it if you want.
I will definitely have to take you up on that. Not so many dates nearby for July....maybe BHF or make the trek down to Road Atlanta

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post #24 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 09:49 AM
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Trail braking is a great rideing tool once you get over the fear of useing your brakes at any kind of lean. The key is to be smooth in the process

First pull the front brake in softly just a bit to load the front forks...
then continue to pull the front brake smoothly as needed till you've scrubbed off enough speed then smoothly release the front brake and get on the gas
it's easy to type but hard to do.
I heard this somewhere "consider the brake and throttle as a dimmer switch not an on off switch"
Hope this helps once you get it down you'll love it!
Hix might now a thing or 2 about trail braking just don't follow his lines ;-) Hook up with him at the next Nesba event.
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post #25 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 10:32 AM
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Any of the Freddie Spencer alums can help you with trail braking as that is what Freddie teaches. The key as Smiley says, is to initiate the brake softly to "Load" the front tire. Once initiated and still straight up and down, you can go to maximum braking (less than flipping over the front), and then let the brakes out smoothly as you initiate the turn in, all the way down to your 3% or so at the apex. When you initiate the throttle, once again, "Load" the rear tire with initial throttle opening just a tiny bit, as the throttle loads the rear tire, take away lean angle (stand the bike up), and accelerate as track, lean angle and turn allow.

You can brake up to the apex when necessary. Remember, trail braking is NOT braking. It is typically anywhere from 1-5% of braking pressure. I n other words, a VERY soft touch on the front brake lever. This pressure keeps the forks compressed a little bit. The compression of the forks shortens the wheel base and the rake thus allowing the bike to literally turn in sharper than it can with out the trail braking. Freddie typically calls it 1-3% pressure.

Remember, that when you come off the brakes from a maximum baking maneuver, Freddie teaches that the front end should not bounce up when you come to a stop. Transalation, you have to EASE off the brakes at the very end. Practice stopping your car and NOT having the front end bounce up when you come to a full stop.

Remember, trail braking is not the same as braking as most people know it. It is just adding (keeping) a little drag on the brake lever. When properly executed, your front tire should actually be pointed AT the apex. In other words, you have to open the throttle to drive your bike outside the apex. Hard to type, but easy to explain in person.

People at the NESBA events that I know are Freddie alums and can all explain this to you are Tom & Carol Larson, Ron Hix, Paul Murphy, Marshall Skloss, Smiley, Blarney (Tom Tracy - T2) and myself (prob a few others I don't know about). I am sure that any of us would be happy to help you better understand this.

If you like to read, the best book that covers this is written by Freddie Spencer lead instructor Nick Ienatsch, and called Sport Riding Techniques (avail from Amazon).

Most, if not all of the Freddie alums mentioned above are at every NESBA event (Marshall is at a few less since he is crushing everyone at CCS weekends in points).

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Last edited by Wink; 06-29-2006 at 12:04 PM.
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post #26 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 10:54 AM
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Super Dave is also really big on trail braking in his school. The amount of braking force you have while leaned over is actually pretty high. I believe the numbers he said was that at 1/2 of full lean angle, you still have almost 30% of braking force available to use before you tuck the front.

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post #27 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 11:06 AM
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I have been experimenting with it a little...so far I can get all my braking done before I turn it in, but I always do seem to leave 3% or less pressure on the lever until the apex, it does help turn in but should not be used for aggressive speed reduction, but I'm slow so what do I know?

NESBA does not teach this to beginners due to the high level of risk and low level of skill (no offense). beginners need to learn smooth throttle, smooth brake, turn in points, reference markers, body position, lean angle awareness, etc...etc...With all this to learn most CR's wait until the I group to explain this skill to riders since they have gotten some track time and are more aware of the bike and the track.
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post #28 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 11:08 AM
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Agreed on that... as they say the best way to learn trail braking is with a lot of practice and a good set of leathers...

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post #29 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 11:12 AM
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I'm a freddy Spencer Alum too Wink you big hater.....
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post #30 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 12:02 PM
Slow Old Guy.
 
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: SS Barrington
Posts: 17,258
Location: SS Barrington
Sportbike: Inline Two Wheeled
Years Riding: Since the beginning of time
How you found us: Dan Ortega sent me
           
Couldn't tell...










Just kiddin' man...

===========
Great Quote - One would think that the Secret Service was smart enough to get serviced secretly.

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