Throttle and break when trail breaking

Forums ChampU ChampU General Discussion Throttle and break when trail breaking

  • This topic has 26 replies, 13 voices, and was last updated 1 day ago by Susan Lazor.
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    Alex Farbman

    I am going through the breaking module and I am getting a bit confused… In the core modules when discussing radius and trail breaking it sounded like you use both the throttle and break together. In the breaking module instructor says to first close the throttle before breaking because the bike gets confused. So which is it?

    Nick Ienatsch

    Hello Alex…we will double-check the wording we used because we want to be very clear: Riders shouldn’t use the front brake and the throttle simultaneously. We want to close the throttle completely before we initiate front brake, release the front brake completely before initiating throttle. This is a major point and we’re glad you asked for clarification…Nick I.

    Alex Farbman

    its possible I misunderstood what was being said in the module. just wanted to double check. In my case for BMW K1600 my breaks are linked, and my understanding that for slow speed maneuvering its ok to use clutch, breaks, and throttle at the same time, correct?

    Gray Olson

    > my understanding that for slow speed maneuvering its ok to use clutch, breaks, and throttle at the same time, correct?

    Two answers to this. One, as YCRS instructors say, is that, when going slow/far from the limit, “nothing really matters.” For general slow speed maneuvering in a parking lot or gas station or whatever, this is basically true. You can overlap them if you find it helpful to you to do so. Dragging rear brake against throttle can be effective in some cases in these situations. And, in my view, the reality is that at slow speed, you are essentially *using the clutch as your replacement throttle*, because just using the throttle on many bikes would result in too much jerky on-off jumping even when operated by the user perfectly smoothly.

    That said, there is a discipline for “going as fast as you can in parking lots” (basically), popularized in Japan, called motogymkhana. If you want to get *really* good at that sort of riding, you should look at what the best MGK riders in the world do (as YCRS does road racers for higher speed road riding!). The fundamentals stay the same: we’re always trying to manage grip, and using our controls to move the *load* of the bike to the correct tire to give ourselves the optimal grip at any given time. Load the tire smoothly (with essentially the same ways, i.e. brake to load the front, gas to load the rear, and R=MPH stays exactly the same). However, there are some differences in technique to accomplish these core concepts most effectively when trying to go *as fast as possible* in these environments compared to the “at speed” type of riding that YCRS/ChampU focuses on.

    John Wiles

    Hello Nick,
    Are there situations where it is OK to use maintenance throttle while trail braking?

    Avishek Das

    I had the same confusion, I was also thinking I need to keep the throttle on and then apply 5% brake, because for me the speed at which I ride the public roads, if I let go of the throttle and use brakes I will be slowing down too soon. In my day to day rides, before I enter the turn I shift down, release the trottle a bit enter then acelerate exit and shift up, never feel like fast enough to release the trottle or use brakes, specially on the MT-09 releasing the throttle almost immediately slows down the bike and I have to always stay on the trottle to keep it going even for a few seconds, miss cruise control to strech my hand because of this reason.

    I think the instructions should clearly tell what happens to all 3 controls at a turn brakes, gear and throttle. I think the shifting situation is missing all together

    John Wiles

    I’ve trail braked using maintenance throttle, but at low speeds. My bike didn’t seem to mind.

    Alex Hatfield

    One of the very few black and white rules we follow, as Nick mentions: we don’t overlap an open throttle and the front brake.
    We occasionally use a little rear brake for traction control or wheelie control, but that’s about it.

    Parking lot speed practice can develop some dangerous habits because frankly, not much matters when we’re going that slow. The bike may not mind overlapping at 10mph, but as we either add speed or reduce grip, everything matters.

    John Wiles

    Sounds like I need to up my speed going into the corner, and/or use less brake in the corner.
    Thanks Alex

    Alex Hatfield

    Not necessarily speed up, but carry your speed longer. We want to think “lighter, longer” braking. That being said, if we over-slow, we’re not hurt 🙂

    John Wiles

    Thanks Alex, will work on that.

    Michał Wójcik

    During trail breaking sometimes i use a little of throotle to stabilize suspension – it keeps tension on the chain. Of course you need to be gentle and smooth with this the same way as with brakes. Is it wrong?

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Michał Wójcik.
    Nick Ienatsch

    Yes, that is wrong. Some thoughts:
    -We say “wrong” because riding techniques that don’t work “at the limit” will eventually prove wrong very painfully. You’re near the limit when the pace comes up or the grip comes down. Adding throttle during braking on a wet steel bridge, a gravel road, a lap record will hurt. Our outlook is this: Don’t practice incorrect techniques, even though they might work going slow on perfect days and warm tires.
    -We want to slow the bike into a corner that is slower than the preceding straight. That can be deceleration (engine braking), or deceleration plus braking, all depending upon the amount of speed that needs to be shed. Adding throttle while braking will not allow the bike to slow as well. One day that inability to slow efficiently for the corner will bite.
    -We transfer weight forward while using the front brake. We transfer weight rearward while accelerating. Braking and accelerating simultaneously will eventually unload one tire or the other to the point of crashing. It’s usually the front tire.
    -When would we use the front brake and throttle simultaneously? 1-While rev-matching on downshifts, but the clutch is engaged. 2-While doing a burnout.
    -“Keeping tension in the chain” is not in the top 1000 priorities of top riders. You can ignore that thought in favor of tire loading and speed reduction to match corner radius. Kenny Roberts Senior wrote about being smooth on initial throttle to take the slack out of the chain…but that World Champion closed his throttle prior to braking and left it close until he released the brake lever.
    -We also hear “initiate throttle while braking to balance the chassis”…not a priority in the top 1000.
    -We also hear that “trail-braking is using the brakes with the throttle open”. Wrong. Trail-braking is trailing brake pressure into the corner (throttle completely shut) or trailing off brake pressure as you add lean angle…again with the throttle completely shut.
    -Riders who combine braking and accelerating will continue to struggle with simply making corners because Radius=MPH, and bikes steer best with weight forward.
    -As Alex Hatfield mentioned, we can use throttle and rear brake simultaneously for TC or wheelie control…but not the front brake
    -Motorcycles are designed with the front brake and the throttle on the right hand-grip for a reason: So that we separate those two actions. Anyone trying to use the front brake and the throttle simultaneously is attempting something insanely difficult, edgy, complicated and potentially catastrophic.

    It’s amazing that this “simultaneous brake and throttle” idea is out there. Hope this helps, thanks for supporting Champ U.
    -Nick I.

    John Wiles

    Nick, thanks for the in-depth comments.

    Michał Wójcik

    Thank you Nick for clarification.
    Now i understand that we should concantrate on top habits to avoid problems.
    Something may work until you are not on a limit but we should avoid this to avoid problems in future.
    Today during back from work i trained trail braking and it gives a lot w satisfaction and safety on public roads 🙂
    I am going to work harder on this with more lean angle on small track in future.

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