As a motorcyclist, you already know that braking is one of the most critical aspects of safe riding. But do you know how to brake correctly? Do you have the right braking technique? And if not, do you know how to improve it?
In this article, we will discuss the importance of knowing your motorcycle braking technique and how to determine if it’s right or if you need to improve.
Before we dive into the importance of proper braking technique, let’s first discuss the basics. Motorcycle braking systems have two separate brakes – the front and the rear. The front brake is responsible for about 70% of the stopping power, while the rear brake provides the remaining 30%.
It’s important to use both brakes together, applying pressure to each simultaneously. This technique is known as “progressive braking” and helps prevent the bike from skidding or losing control. To achieve optimal stopping power, apply both brakes evenly and smoothly, avoiding any jerky movements.
Another important aspect of motorcycle braking technique is understanding the relationship between braking distance and stopping power. The faster you are travelling, the longer your stopping distance will be, and the more time you will need to come to a complete stop.
Braking power is also affected by the road surface, weather conditions, and the condition of your brakes. Therefore, it’s essential to adjust your braking technique based on these variables to ensure safe stopping.
Now that you understand the basics of braking, how do you know if your technique is correct or if it needs improvement? Here are a few signs that your braking technique may be inadequate:
- Skidding: If your motorcycle’s tyres lock up or slide, you are skidding, which means you are not applying the brakes correctly. Skidding can result in loss of control, so it’s essential to avoid it at all costs.
- Long Stopping Distance: If you find that it takes you longer than expected to come to a complete stop, it could be an indication that you need to improve your braking technique. This is especially true if you are riding at a high speed.
- Uneven Braking: If you are primarily using your rear brake or your front brake, it’s a sign that you are not applying both brakes evenly. This can lead to instability and a lack of control while braking.
If you notice any of these signs while braking, it’s essential to recognise and correct them to improve your technique and ensure safe riding.
Now that you’ve identified areas for improvement let’s look at some ways to improve your braking technique:
- Practise Progressive Braking: As mentioned earlier, progressive braking is the best way to ensure safe and effective stopping. To practise this technique, find an empty parking lot or a quiet road and practice braking while applying both brakes evenly and smoothly.
- Use Your Front Brake More: Your front brake provides the majority of your stopping power, so it’s essential to learn how to use it correctly. Practice squeezing the front brake lever gradually to avoid jerking and sudden stops.
- Don’t Stomp on the Rear Brake: Applying the rear brake suddenly and forcefully can cause the bike’s rear wheel to lock up and skid. Instead, use the rear brake in conjunction with the front brake to achieve progressive braking.
- Adjust Your Braking Technique for Road Conditions: Different road surfaces, weather conditions, and other variables can affect your braking technique. Adjust your technique to account for these variables to ensure safe and effective stopping.
- Take a Braking Course: Enrol in a braking course to learn advanced techniques from an expert instructor. These courses can teach you how to handle emergency braking situations, improve your reaction time, and more.
Knowing and improving your motorcycle braking technique is crucial for safe and effective riding. Remember that braking technique is not a one-time skill to learn but rather an ongoing process of improvement. Always be open to learning new techniques, practising your skills, and adjusting your technique based on road conditions to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
With the right braking technique, you can ride with confidence and enjoy the freedom and exhilaration that comes with motorcycle riding.