RideBellChain.com Blog


Tip of the week: Braking

12/14/2009 2:14:09 PM

I was reading a few forums this weekend, and someone asked about proper technique for stopping - something that I never even think about while riding.  In reading through the conversation, I realized that I'm doing things correctly for a change, with my own little "twist", so I thought it might be helpful to post.

1. Do NOT stop "short".  Don't ever assume that the car behind you can stop faster because they're on 4 wheels.  In 95% of the cases, they can't.  

2. To aid in stopping more smoothly, downshift through the gears as you approach the stop.

3. I like to flash my brakes a few times before committing to stopping if there's cars close by behind me.

4. Use BOTH brakes. It's very easy to start a skid just using the rear brake - and your front brake provides 75-80% of the stopping power anyway.

5. When you come to a complete stop, put BOTH FEET DOWN.  You'll know why I'm saying this the first time you put your one foot down and trust the weight of your bike on it, just to realize your foot is on a water/oil mix, or sugar-sand.  Both act like a lubricant, and takes away all your foot traction. With both feet down, you won't be leaning the bike over, and less chance of slipping.

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6. Keep it in first gear!  You never know when you may have to make a quick "getaway".  I will take it out of gear if I'm at a long light and there's at least 2 vehicles stopped behind me.

7. Find your emergency outlet.  While waiting for the light to change, decide where you will go if you hear shrieking tires behind you.  See #6.

8. If for whatever reason, you've locked up the rear wheel: Stay on it - ride the skid out UNTIL YOU STOP. If you let off too soon, it will throw you over the top when the wheel regains traction.

9. If for whatever reason, you've locked up your front wheel: Immediately RELEASE THE FRONT BRAKE! You have zero control of the bike if the front tire is not rolling.  The proper procedure is to quickly let off the brake, then re-grab the front just a little software to prevent another lockup.

I hope this little tip of the week is helpful for you.  Whether you've been riding all your life, or just getting started, these common-sense "pointers" are good to read and practice.  Please pass this on to other friends that ride!

Ride Safe, and Have Fun!
Mark Turkel
SCRC #456 West Palm Beach, FL



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