whoa! that was usefull... really good article...but i have a few questions:
-when you talk about locking the front wheel do you mean when braking while banking, or on a loose/slippery road?? When I hit thought brakes hard.. i go harsh up to the point when the rear begins feeling very light or slightly lift..then ease off..is it common for your front to lock up in upright position on good pavement? i thought the main concern was stoppieing..
-isn't shortest possible stopping distance done by using both brakes (slightly more upfront)?
1. When I talk about locking up the front wheel I mean while straight up and down, not while leaned over. It's never a good idea to get on the front brake hard while leaned over, if you need to brake mid corner then you should be bringing the bike upright at the same time.
It is common for the front to lock up if you squeeze the front lever hard enough, even on good pavement. Good emergency braking is when you can get on the brakes as hard as possible just before the point of lock up.
The shortest possible stopping distance can be achieved on most modern day sportbikes by using the front only as mentioned in my article. I said,(after we tested many riders with front brake only.... "To the surprise of many of the riders, the stopping distance and execution was better when they used the front brake only. I’m not saying that you have to do this, or that you shouldn’t use the rear brake at all, only that it is possible and can possibly
provide better results. Try it."
Peeps, don't offer advice if you know not what you are talking about... Get somebody killed. These posts should be deleted... Help mods!
your front brake is only about 70% of your braking power... Hmmmm, so where's the rest of it?
In an emergency situation, you need to be using both brakes. You need to practice quick stops so that you are well prepared or conditioned to do it correctly when that unexpected emergency arises. It's easy to lock up the brakes, which you never want to do on a motorcycle. When you lock the brakes up, you lose traction for whichever tire is locked up.
If you do lock up the front brake, ease of the front brake till it starts rolling again then reapply as necessary.
If you lock up the rear tire, then DO NOT RELEASE THE REAR BRAKE. When you lock up the rear, your bike will almost always start "fish tailing". if your wheels aren't lined up, then when you release the rear the bike will automatically try to correct itself and the rear will kick back in line with the front wheel. This will throw you off the bike. Also known as a high side.
It's very important to practice in a controlled environment so that when the time comes, you give yourself a greater chance of successfully avoiding an accident.
And, yes, you should also be downshifting in the process. As someone said earlier, if you did manage to stop in time, nothing's says the guy behind you will. And you can't skip out of there quickly if you are in 4th gear. You want to be in first when you come to a stop. This is for routine stops as well.
If you are talking about me as being the person that "doesn't know what I'm talking about and that might get somebody killed," I'll give you my credentials:
I've been riding for 12 years, coaching at the California Superbike School as a level III coach for 8 years, been a private coach for many young racers including the late Peter Lenz, I've raced at Club level (and won the season championship), I've raced at the Canadian National Level and I raced for Two years in AMA supersport and FX, along with that I have a monthly column in Motorcycle Mojo Magazine and have been published in no less than 6 other National and US magazines.
With that being said, on modern sportbikes you can get 100% of your braking done with the front brake only. As I mentioned above we have seen great success with riders deciding to use the front brake only (on sportbikes), this is mostly due to the fact that the rear is easy to lock up so braking errors (like locking the rear and fishtailing) are made. By all means if you practice your emergency braking and are comfortable with using both brakes safely and your stopping distances are better with both (and for many they are) then do so.
If you lock up the front then you DON'T want to release and re-apply but release just enough to get the front to STOP being locked. Releasing and reapplying takes more time then releasing enough to stop the lock, every micro second counts.
Same goes with the rear brake, if you lock it up then you don't want to release it quickly but you don't want to keep it locked either. Anytime you lock the brakes you want to gently come out of the brakes until it is no longer locked.
The one thing I do agree with you on is that you should practice in a controlled environment so that you know what to expect and are more likely to do it correctly when an emergency situation comes around.
Here is a small paragraph from Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist II on this very topic, "Learn to totally rely on the front brake for quick, clean stopping; then, if you still have a use for the rear, go ahead and use it. But, realize that the rear brake is the source of a huge number of crashes both on and off the track."