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Could you help a newbie understand, please? Braking & turning

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

Could you help a newbie understand, please? Braking & turning

  #1  
Old 11-01-2010, 11:42 PM
MZ5
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Default Could you help a newbie understand, please? Braking & turning

I'm new to street bikes. Mine is a '00 F4, and it seems to be a good bike. I ride my bike to work and back, and that's about it. I'm in my late 30s and have a family, if that helps slightly with some perspective as to where I'm coming from. I rode dirt bikes a lot when I was younger, but mostly just for fun (not actual racing, most of the time). I also used to autocross a fair amount, and when I was very small, Dad was a road racer (cars, not bikes).

What I'm struggling with a little is braking and turning. The IdahoSTAR class taught us to completely finish braking before even starting to turn. Then, roll on the throttle and then start to lean/turn. I understand the theory there; it's a very safe way to do it. I'm having a bit of trouble, though, making myself actually do it. I'm a trail-braker because of my autocrossing and dirt biking background. I don't trail-brake the street bike much, but I do do it and I'm fairly sure it's because the way they taught us to ride the bikes is the S-L-O-W way to drive a car around a track.

Again, I'm a commuter, and I DON'T push this bike anywhere remotely close to its probable limits. I'm in town, and we have quite a few patches of gravel on the streets in many intersections for most of the year. That saps any confidence I might otherwise gain, but even at that I find myself trail-braking sort of by default.

Any tips or tricks (mental games or something?) to help me remember to let go of the brake before leaning? Or can I just practice trail-braking lightly and for only a short portion of the entry? Thanks for any advice or input.
 

Last edited by MZ5; 11-02-2010 at 10:53 AM.
  #2  
Old 11-02-2010, 12:08 AM
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I don't know about mental tricks, but I go to big parking lots to practice when I am trying to break or make a habit. I do the drill over and over to make it second nature.

on a side note, where in Idaho are you?
 
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:27 AM
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Thanks!

Southeastern part. General Idaho Falls area.
 
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:49 AM
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It occurs to me that I didn't directly ask an additional question that's on my mind:

Do you guys actually, genuinely, 100% cease all braking before beginning your turns? And are you actually, truly on the throttle (accelerating) starting before you lean/turn? That's really hard for me to grasp, not to mention make myself do.
 
  #5  
Old 11-02-2010, 11:46 AM
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Well first off, you can trail brake on the streets. It's an advance technique that new riders shouldn't try till they've got miles under their bel. And its best learned and practiced on a track.

Next maybe im misunderstanding things here but whoever told you to cut the throttle and accelerate before leaning needs to be smacked. HARD. I'm on my cell so ill keep it quick and come back later. You want to set your entry speed before becoming the turn. While learning your braking should be done before turning in. Then you use maintenance throttle thru the turn to keep max traction. The throttle shouldn't be closed nor really open. Just enough to maintain about a 40 / 60 front to rear weight ratio. You accelerate out of the turn. You want to do that after the apex because opening the throttle will make the bike want to stand up, which will straighten you out.

That's very basic, cellphone version. I'd also recommend you at the very least pick up a couple books on the subject. I'll give some links later when I get home. Best recommendation tho is go take the MSF Basic Rider Course.
 
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:12 PM
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Thanks, Kuroshio. What you're describing is pretty much what makes sense to me, and is also what I've experienced (i.e. bike wants to stand up under power). The IdahoSTAR class I took is Idaho's version of the MSF class you mention. I found it to be a good class overall, though I thought perhaps they were being a bit dogmatic in some places. Maybe I just mistook what they were trying to convey to us? I did well in the class, according to the instructors, and I felt confident about most of what they were teaching, with the possible exception of them thinking I could swivel my head around backwards like an owl.

If you get a chance later and wish to elaborate on your thoughts, I'm all ears.
 
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:45 PM
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To answer follow up, I try to be done with braking as that can have adverse effects while in a turn on a sandy/gravelly road that may cause traction loss. That is my understanding, but could be wrong. I remember as a kid dragging a brake and foot to get a cool skid on my bike, not so cool on my CBR.

I used to live in Iona and Shelly. I love Idaho, me and the wife want to move there one of these days.
 
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:23 PM
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I work in Agriculture, and at work we spend a lot of time near Shelley!
 
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:17 PM
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What Kuroshio said is what we teach to new riders on the track. I don't trail brake much on the street simply because of the uncertainty of the road conditions.

For newer riders, we teach braking and body position set before entering the turn, maintenance throttle to the apex, then smooth acceleration out of the turn.
 
  #10  
Old 11-02-2010, 07:22 PM
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Three books on riding that are highly recommended
All three books are excellent books on both street and track riding techniques. Keith Code's is almost considered the street bike riding handbook and also comes on DVD. I found it pretty good though it dumbed things too far down like with basic definitions. Nick Ienatsch's book is by far my favorite.

As I said, you can trail brake a street bike. But it's really a track technique. The street is too variable for learning and practicing. And it's really unnecessary for riding on the street (there's no clock or racer behind you to beat). And a new rider needs to know how to turn first. They can work on turning fast after they can stay in their lane and not have their butt pucker every other turn The reason I said you should smack somebody for that advice is because going thru a turn the way you described is prolly the most unstable way I can think of taking a turn... Short of trying to eat a Big Mac in the middle of a turn.
 

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