Oct 14, 2006

Braking: How to use the front disc effectively

Yamaha YZF-R1A colleague who just started riding motorcycles recently had another crash. So what else is new? But, this time, he came and asked for help. His exact words were, 'every time I brake, I skid. I fall. Help!' I assume that there are more people out there who're having a struggle with disc brakes. For those who don't, kindly skip. This is a long post, so I'm splittin' it up.

What are they?
To start from the basics. Disc brakes are usually mounted on a light carrier with a steel rotor (MotoGP bikes use carbon fibre in the dry only). A calliper, hydraulically operated, presses a set of abrasive pads against the rotor when you pull the lever in towards the handlebar grip. This burns off kinetic energy by converting into heat and slows the bike down. As of today, disc brakes form one of the most common forms of motorcycle retardation systems. Other popular systems include helmet-less riding (a self-curing problem).

Disc brakes, while extremely effective, do have flaws. Problems include sharp bite and grabbiness at low speed which tend to frighten and/or crash beginners. The trick is to operate the front brake with the conscious knowledge that it is by far the most powerful feature of the motorcycle. Your engine cannot even come close to the levels of power that lever can generate. All in a few mm of movement.

There is, of course, only one way to learn how to use the brake: practice. And here's what I practiced until I felt happy with my braking distances.

I'll separate the exercise into two or three simple exercises for erm, simplicity.

Other sites on this subject:

Other posts on this subject:


The BATFAN said...

Hi rearset,

Not sure if this is applicable here, but it is definitely related to breaking. Well , as you know it's been quite a downpour here in Chennai and I managed to take my first bad fall from a bike. I was coming down a flyover and skidded going towards the left of the road as I had to stop (And STOP I did :(. Reduced the gears and spped by applying brakes as soon as I realized I have lost control. Well nothing serious happened. The single Crash Bar (Knee Guard) got bent and the front headlight fairing got a small scratch along with the loss of a RVM. Well got the RVM and crash guard fixed the next day as am not conmfortable driving without a proper rear view. Only wanted to know do such kinds of accident have any bad effect on the engine. Though I dont think it took a major shock as my leg was still caught between the bike and the road along with the bent knee guard. Uh ... I know its ugly for you but sorry I am just learning ... Oh and I learnt one thing ... Always wear shoes along with the helmet while riding. The minor scratches I got on my right foot still feel hell. Do let me know if this would do any wrong to my Gladiator. And guess what I was just bringing it back from the first service that day and it shiny and bright ...

rearset said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rearset said...

Anything that pertains to motorcycles is applicable on the blog. So don't worry about it. In fact, I'm re-posting your question and my reply as a proper post.