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When to Use Rear Brake Only?

49418 Views 196 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  The_AirHawk
The heavier the bike and the lower teh center of gravity, the more rear brake can be used. Also, with a passenger, more rear brakes can be used for smoother stopping and less front end dive.

A good rule... the engineers aren't stupid, the size fo the brake is a good indicator of how hard it should be used. I beleive the rear brake surface area is less than 20% of the total braking surface.

When do I use only rear brake. At low speeds when trying to reduce the effects drivetrash lash at small throttle positions. I also mostly rear brake at low speed turns where the front brake can be grabby causing a loss of balance. Finally on loose surfaces I will favor the rear. For one reason, the rear tire is wider and therefore easier to control when sliding that the narrower front wheel.

For emergency stopping (I hate the term "panic stop". You never, ever panic on 2 wheels.) ... it's ALL front brake. Engine braking provides plenty of rear braking force... especailly on my BMW twin.
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It REALLY depends on the bike...

On the SV, its "front brake only", the thing will stoppie on the drop of a hat (even moreso now that I'm bedding in a set of HH pads. :) )

On the VFR, its "front brake lever only", the linked brakes will put most of the force to the front but some still to the rear, giving well balanced braking.

On the WeeStrom, its "use both, but mostly front", the rear locks up easily but does add something to max braking.
And I want a Connie 1400... :)

Just because everyone needs a >150hp tourer...

I did a demo on a GS bimmer on a wet day once and did a deliberate ABS test on a wet road from about 30 MPH.

My testicles were NOT happy with me, as my crotch slammed into the tank. I did NOT think the braking would have been that severe on a wet road. It was.

On clean, dry pavement an expert rider can threshhold brake well and outbreak an ABS system by 2-3% in controlled conditions.

Under the SAME controlled conditions, same bike, same rider, add wet asphault and the ABS system will outbrake the expert by 25-50% or more! Add in a patch of sand/grease/whatever, and the expert might very well crash while the ABS just stops the bike.

Actually, whats telling is that an expert human is 25-50% WORSE in controlled conditions when its wet!

Now get onto the street.
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