Street Skills Information to keep you from rashing your bike or yourself. Safe riding techniques only please.

Braking & Swerving

  #1  
Old 06-13-2010, 01:54 PM
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Default Braking & Swerving

You're riding down the street, minding your own business. And suddenly there's a minivan with a distracted soccer mom in your lane... What do you do?

Lotta guys grab a handful of front brake and pray. I was one of those guys last year. But I've since worked the rear brake into almost every braking situation. The handful of times I've had to stop RIGHT NOW, I've come out ok (other than discovering engine chatter when I don't hold in the clutch). I start with firm rear brake while beginning to apply front brake. Squeeze the front, applying more front brake but not grabbing it. And I start letting up off the rear as I apply more front because as the front loads up, the rear is going to lift. When that happens, you'll lose traction at the rear and increase the chances of locking it more. BUT... braking shouldn't be your only option. Eventually, you're gonna get into a situation where all the brake in the world just means you'll soften the impact. Also despite the fact you may stop in time, the car behind you may not.

I do come to a point where I have to decide whether to fully stop. Or take another action: swerve. I think a lot of guys are forgetting the possibility of swerving after they've scrubbed off speed. As your speed drops, the easier the bike will fall into a swerve. If escape routes to the left or right of the vehicle are open, I'll take them. A quick counter steer (or direct steer if I've scrubbed a lot of speed) in the direction the obstacle came from, off the front brake and maintenance throttle. Perhaps adding rear brake and clutch in the friction zone to make a tight swerve. I go where the car came from because their momentum will help clear the path quicker. If you swerve where they're going, you're increasing the chance off a collision by lengthening the amount of time you're in the danger zone.

It's something that you have to practice, someplace safe. But it can be a life saver so definitely find the parking lot and setup the cones. In an emergency, the body will do what it remembers to do. Practice builds up muscle memory. Just setup a gate for where you need to start braking and a line of cones some distance in front of that to simulate an obstacle. When you pass thru the gate, brake and then swerve around the line. As you get better, close the distance between the gate and the "obstacle". Using the rear brake, friction zone of the clutch and throttle you can make an incredibly tight cut. The three combined will make the bike want to stand up. But don't jam the rear brake. Just enough where the engine is pushing against and thru it.
 
  #2  
Old 06-14-2010, 01:00 PM
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Its kind of weird, but everytime I've had a panic type situation like that, I've always swerved and found openings to avoid hitting someone, one time even bumping my knee off the car. I've never locked on the brakes. And I usually go by them with my horn on and lots of gestures afterwards. I've never locked on the brakes. Maybe dodging all those potholes in the road helps me mentally prepare to look for holes.... I dunno.

Practice does help, and you bring up a lot of good points and good advice. but I think a lot also comes down to what the individual does in a panic, and saddly, most of us won't know how we are going to react until the situation happens. We can prepare all we want, but its that split second that our fear takes over our body and we just react, without thinking. The more often your in those situations, the calmer you are and the better you handle them.

Having said that, I don't ride in anywhere near the crap you do. My city driving isnt exactly a city, and you could probably take a nap riding through it compared to your area. Sure there a lot of cars, but its nothing like the chaos you see.

good advice though...
 
  #3  
Old 06-18-2010, 12:54 AM
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i was laughing through the first paragraph... the first time i was on my brothers bike and he was on mine he wanted me up beside him so i sped up, started to pass him, then grabbed the front brake (about went over the handle bars) you should have seen his face, lol... since then i always apply the rear break first, hope i have a little more time to learn before i have to panic stop...
 
  #4  
Old 08-11-2010, 09:22 PM
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god i have the exact opposite reaction :/ it sucks. my instinct is to go for the rear (too much time on dirt bikes) i'm just starting out on a real bike and i live in the middle of the country...tons of open empty roads... so my braking ability blows due to the lack of actually having to ever brake... just...long long open roads.. im scared to go into town because of that very fact. i usually downshift a good bit to help reduce speed under normal circumstances...not sure how great that is for the trans. need more practice! keep in mind tomorrow is day 3 lol.. i discovered that i might get motion sickness from riding...not sure why... really not happy about that cause i love riding this bike :/ wwas fine yesterday and this morning but rode 20 miles and came home...felt pretty dizzy... not a good sign.
 
  #5  
Old 08-11-2010, 09:50 PM
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Hmm... Sounds like you have a couple different issues Sean.

You have what I have to go search for: a great place to practice braking. Long open stretches with very little traffic is where you need to practice and find the limits of your brakes. Get your tires warmed up before practicing anything. No major speed necessary. Just get her up to about 20 - 35 mph and slowly squeeze the front brake with steady, increasing pressure. You'll discover 2 things quick:
  1. The front brake alone will stop you far quicker than the rear brake + downshifting
  2. If you slowly squeeze the front brake instead of just grabbing it, like pulling a trigger, you can apply an obscene amount of pressure on the brake without locking the tire

This will give you a hint of what the brakes are capable of. Practice it a bit till you're comfortable applying real pressure to the front brake. When you're comfortable with it, start playing a braking game. Find a marker and get on the brake when you cross the marker. See where you stop. Then go back and try to beat where you stopped. Keep doing this until you think you've found the absolute limit of the front brake without locking the tire. I say 'think' because worries about self-preservation will kick in before you actually do When you have, add the rear brake into the routine. Warning: you will stop alot faster and rear brake cannot take the amount of pressure you're used to putting on it.

With the weight transferring forward, the rear will be very light and prone to locking under heavy front braking. If the rear locks, don't panic. Either ride it out or release it while it's in line with the front.

Your motion sickness could be speed perception related. Where are your eyes focusing while you're riding? The further towards the horizon you look, the less speed and motion you'll 'perceive'. If you're looking just forward of your front tire, the world in your peripheral vision will be flying by. Which might cause motion sickness. Could also be you're too tight on the bars so a lot of the road is getting transferred through your body and upsetting your inner ear. How is she riding? Smooth? If she's not smooth (and you haven't gone feral and hit the woods with a street bike) this could also be a sign of being too tight. Relax your arms if so. The more your elbows are bent while riding, the looser you tend to be on the bars. Straight arms = bad.

Hope some of this helps
 
  #6  
Old 08-12-2010, 12:29 AM
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^^ +1

Also, were you hydrated enough? Dehydration can start getting some dizzy symptoms, down here in Texas is gets obscenely hot right now.

I must have missed this thread originally, but we should have seen the van and we should all have anticipated that mini-van was going to pull in front of us, so all the "emergency" braking discussions are moot. We smoothly went around her because we already had a plan of action in mind. However, if you were distracted too, your hours of braking practice will kick in and muscle memory will allow a nice, smooth stop or swerve.
 
  #7  
Old 08-12-2010, 04:55 AM
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yeah you pretty much hit most of that straight on the head. i'm not looking far enough ahead... and my arms are pretty much in the straight and locked position. i was thinking my helmet might cause it a little too due to not seeing stuff actually pass by.... so my sense of forward motion is limited to just what i see ahead of me. so ill definately try to be less stiff and look further ahead next time. i definately do need to work on the braking though.. i fear locking the front up....thats my big issue.. i should have started all this 10 years ago when the sense of preservation wasnt as great lol. but i love the bike so much....i dont want to get rid of it due to motion sickness... just might need to go 5-10 miles a day until i get used to the feeling... last night was the lonest ride and then the motion sickness kicked in (20 miles) also.. that motion sickness might stem from the 200 yard solid SAND driveway i have to travel down to get to the road..like dry...beach sand....deep too.....and the bike just pretty much floats on the sand going wherever it pleases... FYI....that makes going to ride NO fun... i almost dump the bike every time i try to make it down that *drive way*. my neighbors look at me like Wtf? you need a dirt bike lmao.
 
  #8  
Old 08-12-2010, 05:02 AM
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2010, 09:01 AM
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man - that is going to suck for 2 things - a) NEVER get hard on the throttle within half a mile of pulling out of your driveway. b) You're going to need to check/clean your chain constantly if that's what you drive through every day

Get a truckload or 2 of SB-2 gravel as you next big upgrade, then have the neighbors wonder why you only put it down half the driveway :-) I've heard you can get gravel deleivered for about $450 for 12-15 tons - which would prolly help you out there.
 
  #10  
Old 08-12-2010, 09:11 AM
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yeah that chian just...... ugh. shoulda just got a dual sport or something.. when i lived in the city i had dirt bikes....moved out here....oh yeah lets get a street bike ... :/
 

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