Trail braking

Forums ChampSchool General Event Discussion Trail braking

  • This topic has 11 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by Colin Lester.
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  • #514996
    Heather Grasby
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    Hi, I’m new to trail braking and have really only tried it a few times, recently I got new reduced reach clutch and brake levers so I could reach them better…. I still find it difficult to simultaneously hold the front brake and the throttle. I will practice in the garage as I saw in the video. Also when trail braking do you this for EVERY corner? Even the long sweeping corners, that you can see right around?
    One day I will go down south and take a course, would love to!!!!! I wish there were schools closer to me… do you supply bikes if a person was to fly down? Sincerely Heather

    #515009
    Nick Ienatsch
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    Hello Heather…so glad you wrote because there is a fundamental mistake in your practice that can be cleared up quickly and will make trail-braking a much simpler job: We never use the front brake and accelerating throttle at the same time! Major deal.

    Throttle is rolled completely shut as we sneak on the front brake, the front brake is eased completely off as we initiate throttle. What a relief, right? Trying to manipulate throttle and front brake at the same time would be enormously difficult. I must note that there is a group out there teaching “front brake and accelerating throttle together”, but extremely poor and wrong advice like that was a big motivator for Champ U.

    The one time we will have front brake and throttle on together is during rev-matching during a downshift. But in that case, the clutch lever is in, so the throttle “blip” (short rev) doesn’t accelerate the bike, it simply bring the rpm up to match the lower gear.

    The overall idea: We mustn’t attempt to drive the rear tire while slowing the front tire. It’s a confusing message and our experience shows that eventually the front tire will tuck because the accelerating forces unload the front tire, locking it into a crash.

    Good? Thanks for your support of Champ U. -NI

    #515030
    Heather Grasby
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    Well I’m glad you cleared that up, we are having an amazing fall here in NW Ontario and went for a ride today and I couldn’t even feel me right hand (went numb)trying to manipulate the front brake lever and the throttle…now that said, doesn’t the rolling off the throttle then braking slow the bike down way too much when entering a corner… I need a real good video to watch …can you recommend one… I’m a visual learner

    I really want/need to come for a class or a weekend

    Heather

    #515102
    Nick Ienatsch
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    Hi Heather…Great to hear the weather is staying good…it’s good all winter at our home track southeast of Tucson, AZ!!! (See how I worked a sales pitch in there…??)

    Thoughts:
    -We say “brake when nervous…use your brakes until you’re happy with your speed and direction”. So don’t feel you “must brake” for every corner. Sometimes, and often-times, deceleration is enough “braking” to make you not nervous for the approaching corner.

    -The faster you go…100km per hour approaching a 20km corner, for instance…the more braking you will need. Earlier roll-off to the brakes, more overall brake pressure, longer braking. 100km per hour toward a 95km corner, just a roll-off will do it. 50km per hour toward that same corner might require a roll-off and light braking.

    -Main point: you always roll the throttle shut with your braking fingers extending onto the brake lever “just in case”.

    Not sure of an exact video on this subject, but there’s a lot of fun stuff to watch on our youtube channel and website. It’s a great subject so we’ll put some vids together soon…thanks, Nick

    #515103
    Heather Grasby
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    Thanks Nick, I’m slowly getting it now, best explaination. by the way, I grunted today to relax my throttle hand today….it really worked lol what a concept…Grunt throttling lol

    #515270
    Colin Lester
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    Hi. I just started the Champ U course. Liking it! I’m currently riding an ’18 Road Glide and have done cornering courses on it on a track too. Also have had a number of sportbikes over the years currently rent a Ducati Streetfighter for track days. You’re not supposed to use throttle and light brake but often if I go off the throttle (on my Road Glide) in a number of the corners around here, I really slow down and I find a bit of trail brake and some throttle – took me while to learn that – seems to ‘set’ the bike nicely in the corner. Will pay attention to your statement about not trail braking with throttle, but your thoughts and comments? Thanks, CL

    #515289
    Heather Grasby
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    The part I have trouble with is being able to hold neutral throttle, I get the concept, I have a 14 Streetglide and it’s hard not to “chop” the throttle, and still gently squeeze the brakes into the corner…it almost feels like physically I can’t do it ….frustrating …our weather here has now changed and it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get back on the bike till spring…bummer…Heather

    #515294
    Colin Lester
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    Yes, It does take a bit to get it but is achievable! I don’t know what the school says but I use my index and middle fingers for the brake and my thumb and last 2 fingers still on the handgrip (you of course are probably doing this too). And yes, not getting to the bike till the spring is disappointing! I’m on southern Vancouver Island so as long as it is at least 6° I can get out there. Maybe practice/visualize the process in the garage, make varroom sounds and talk out loud what you are doing as you go through an imaginary corner!

    #515330
    Heather Grasby
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    Lol yes… I actually imagine I’m riding the mc when I’m driving my car

    #515449
    Colin Lester
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    😀👍

    #515626
    Nick Ienatsch
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    Hello Colin…thanks for chiming in.

    To your question of throttle and front brake together: We have a saying at YCRS, “When you’re going slow, nothing much matters”. There are a wide variety of ways to ride when the pace is down and the grip is up.

    If the bike is leaned over at 20 points of lean angle on hot tires and dry, clean pavement, then there are 80 points left for braking or throttle. You could be quite abrupt with the brakes or throttle in that scenario, even squeeze on some brakes as you used the throttle. No problem because you are far from the edge of grip.

    Now take that same lean angle on a gravel road. Suddenly you are at 90 points of lean angle, 90 percent of what the tire can handle, and you go to an old habit and squeeze on some front brake with the throttle open and bam, you’re down. You can blame the gravel or the tires, but in fact the blame goes to a technique that only works in a relatively narrow window.

    I go into this explanation to describe our school to you. We could tell new riders they are doing fine if they’re not trail-braking, not being smooth, using front brake and throttle together…heck, they’re making it around the track, and gosh, isn’t this fun? But that will never happen at YCRS because we know that the student’s next ride could be in sleeting rain on the way home from work…traversing a steel bridge on a rainy day…popping over a hill to find a freshly-graveled road and stopped traffic…pick the problem that requires exact and expert-level technique.

    So, yes, you can use front brake and throttle together when the pace is low and the grip is high. But at the pointy end, when it really counts…whether at the lap record on the track or in the sleet on a fast street bike…we do not want to attempt to slow the front tire and drive the rear tire. Hope that helps, thanks for supporting Champ U. -NI

    #515627
    Colin Lester
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    Hi Nick, thanks for replying. Ahh, “do not want to slow the front and drive the rear” – yes, got it – that point stands out for me. And, that one can develop a habit with that if you do it often and then as it is a habit, you could do it at the wrong time. I’m definitely learning in the course – thanks! – Colin

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