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 Post subject: Quick Stopping Technique
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Feb 23, 2009
Motorcycle: Rebel 250 plus a few others
Rebel: 250
Country: Canada
State/Province: NB
City: Fredericton
One of the most valuable lessons a new rider will learn in the MSF course is how to execute a quick (or emergency) stop in the shortest possible time and distance. That's why I urge all newbies to take the course if its at all possible. not only will you get the instruction, but you will get a chance to practice in a safe environment and improve while getting some individual coaching . Many new (and not so new) riders come to grief when a true emergency arises and its necessary to stop or at least get slowed down as much as possible before impact. Even if you can't stop, slowing down as much as possible is still worthwhile to reduce damage and injury. This procedure is the last ditch effort to avoid an accident. If you need to do this, all your efforts to stay out of trouble have failed and you are now looking at an accident. You should very seldom need to do this, but you should be ready to do it well all the time you are riding.

This post is aimed at newer riders and is not intended to substitute for taking the course, but if you have not or cannot for whatever reason, every rider should know this and have practiced it, so I'm going to outline the blow by blow technique to stop your bike quickly and safely in an emergency on pavement. You must be able to do this procedure reflexively using your motor memory from having practiced it a LOT. When the time comes you need to do it for real, it will be far too late to learn how, and you are guaranteed to do poorly if you haven't practiced this method. The following is how we teach it in Canada. I have had MANY former students over the years come up and tell me that they used this for real on the street and it saved their bacon.

a safe quick stop starts with your normal riding position. Both hands on the bars, eyes up and scanning ahead and your wrists held low and flat rather than cocked higher than your hand on the throttle as dirt bikers often do. the high wrist will result in rolling on throttle when you reach suddenly for the front brake lever. your hand rolls down on the throttle and the bike revs up.. Not what you want when you need to be stopped. Hold your wrists comfortably low so your hand will roll the throttle off when you reach for the front brake.

As soon as you have decided you must stop quickly, you need to instantly pull both the brake and clutch levers, and make sure the bike is travelling straight ahead. If the bike is turning even a little, you cannot apply maximum braking or a skid and crash will result. The throttle will be rolled off as you reach for the front brake. the clutch lever will come all the way to the handlebar, but you will just pull the slack out of the front brake lever instantly, you will not be "hitting" or "jamming on" the brake. Do not even use those words to describe hard braking. That's what causes the untrained and unskilled to "lay 'er down" instead of stopping quickly with the bike on the rubber.

Meanwhile you will be applying a controlled moderate pressure to the rear brake pedal instantly. Resist the urge to "put your foot through the floor" as you may be used to doing in your car. It won't help, and it will do some harm.

Once you are applying a light pressure to the front brake lever you will immediately begin to squeeze the lever progressively harder like squeezing a rubber ball. The pressure on the brake will build quickly taking perhaps a second or more to develop maximum effort. As you squeeze on the brake lever you will notice the front forks compressing as the weight shifts forward onto the front wheel. The more weight on the wheel, the more braking force it can develop without locking and skidding. This is why you must wait for the weight transfer to occur before you can develop maximum braking effort.. It takes a short time, but you will safely develop more braking power than if you applied the front brake all at once.

The gradual buildup of braking pressure also allows time for your front tire to give you some feedback on the road condition and how much traction you have left. If the tire locks up, you must of course release the brake immediately to get the front wheel turning or you will be "layin' er down" .

As you squeeze harder you will feel and hear the front tire complaining. It will squirm and chirp and threaten to lock up when you are near the limit of traction. Learn what this feels like. It means you are stopping at maximum effort, don't squeeze any harder, just hold that pressure and make your tire squirm.
Not only can you brake harder by squeezing gradually, but you are allowing for tire feedback to guide you as to how hard you can brake.

Meanwhile, you should be lightening up on the rear brake or it will lock the back wheel. Just as the weight transfers forward to the front, it is coming off the back wheel as you squeeze the front brake. On some bikes, the back wheel can actually leave the ground in a "stoppie" and 100% of your braking is being done by the front wheel. All bikes get very little benefit from the back brake in the quick stop. it is only really effective in the first half second or so before weight transfer to the front gets started and you still have half the weight of the bike on the rear wheel. So after that first moderate application ease up on the rear brake so it doesn't lock the back wheel and cause a skid.

Once you have the forks compressed under hard braking, they should not come up again until the bike is stopped. Never "pump" brakes in an emergency stop. Not only will that will extend your stop, but more importantly will cause your front end to "pogo" up and down and lose the traction you built up with the weight transfer.

Once the front tire is working hard to get you stopped, you have nothing to do for a few seconds other than to downshift several times with your left foot to shift the transmission into first gear by the time you stop. If you do manage to stop safely and miss your emergency hazard, there may be someone behind you who will not be able to stop, and you run the risk of becoming the meat in a sandwich. You need to be ready to get out of the way immediately after your stop if need be. As soon as the bike is under control at a stop, you should check behind you and if necessary move away in first gear immediately if there is traffic that may not have seen your emergency. Do not let the clutch out between shifts. Just go down,down,down, down with the left foot until you feel the end of shifter travel and know you are in first gear. The clutch stays pulled all the way to the stop and you should be in first gear ready to go.

So that's all there is to it. Start off easy in an empty parking lot from 25 mph or so from a cruising position with both hands on the grips and the bike at steady throttle. Practice building your skill gradually. The beauty of the correct procedure is that you can safely pull harder and harder on the front brake as you gain experience on your bike and learn to read the feedback your bike will give you.
Remember you must simulate an emergency which starts from a cruise speed with no anticipatory roll off of throttle and gradual movement of the hands.. Everything moves quickly and all at once.
Don't call it a "panic" stop.. It is the opposite of panic. It is a trained reflexive skill that you can call on at any time you need it without stopping to think about it. You do the thinking while learning and practicing.
In an emergency you just do it.

Any questions?

2004 Honda Rebel 250
2003 BMW K1200GT
2004 BMW R1200GS
1996 Ducati 900SS
1973 Norton 850 Interstate

 Post subject: Re: Quick Stopping Technique
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:58 pm 

Joined: Mar 19, 2015
Motorcycle: Rebel 250
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: FL
City: Pompano
I always encourage people to learn to brake with both brakes, even if it doesn't seem necessary.
I used to brake only with the front brake, but noticed that in a case of emergency, my mind doesn't think, and auto reverts to what it's accustomed doing (front braking); and totally forgot to add rear brake.
Now, I just brake enough with the rear, to trigger the brake light switch, sometimes to just drag the brakes.
When I need more braking power than I'm comfortable with on the front brake, I'll add the rear (gradually, not stomping it).

On a Rebel you can't really go fast enough to recover from a rear wheel lockup. At higher speeds, a rear wheel lockup could be fatal when the bike recovers, and pushes the rider upward as the rear wheel gains traction and centers behind the front wheel again.

But on a Rebel I've never experienced anything like this, and rear wheel lockups just remind me of my childhood, how we used to practice this on bicycles (and make the rubber chirp). :-)

A rear wheel lockup on a rebel is definitely safer than a front wheel lockup, but if you ever want to grow to larger bikes (especially racing bikes), one can definitely benefit, from learning the correct technique.

Always apply BOTH brakes, even whenone brake seems to do just fine!

Since the Rebel's rear brake is a drum brake, and front brake is a disc brake,
and changing disc brakes is easier than drum brakes,
and front brake brakes harder than a rear brake,
I make it a custom to brake mostly with the front brake (usually upto what I think is 80% of the front brake's capabilities), and add the rest with the rear.
When I brake slow, I barely press the right brake pedal in, while braking whatever I need with the front brake.

Additionally to this, I sometimes also engine brake.
It's quite the job, to start engine braking and do the other 2 manouvers at almost the same time.
I stop engine braking once the engine goes below 2k RPM, and either downshift, and continue engine braking, or just engage the clutch, and bring the gearbox in neutral.

There are pros and cons on being in neutral at a red light. Some people want to be in 1st gear, some in neutral. I am that second type of person...

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