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Discussion Starter #1
I was taught, "If you brake in a corner, you will immediately fall down and die! Never. Ever. Brake in a corner!"

Of course, I knew this was wrong but tried to ride that way because I figured that was the SAVE choice, the SMART choice,

HOWEVER ...

... lately, I've been trail braking on every corner that requires brakes and it feels WONDERFUl!

Comments?

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I watched a road race a while back and a rider had a camera mounted on the front of the bike, facing the rider. He was leaned way over in a very fast corner and grabbing what looked like a handful of front brake. No problem at all.

But I've seen at least three definitions of trail braking. Racer Freddie Spencer, among others, described it as applying front brake in the initial part of a corner to compress the front forks thereby reducing the "trail" which leads to quicker steering inputs.

A moto magazine described it has applying braking going into a corner and gradually "trailing" off the brakes through the corner.

Others describe it as dragging the rear brake throughout the corner.

Beats me. I use braking in some corners, front brakes, but I rarely if ever ride on the edge of performance. I always have lots of room for error.
 

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Goldwing has linked brakes, you can't just apply rear brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
?... I've seen at least three definitions of trail braking.

Racer Freddie Spencer, among others, described it as applying front brake in the initial part of a corner to compress the front forks thereby reducing the "trail" which leads to quicker steering inputs.

THIS IS CORRECT.

A moto magazine described it has applying braking going into a corner and gradually "trailing" off the brakes through the corner.

THIS IS ALSO CORRECT.

Others describe it as dragging the rear brake throughout the corner.

I'VE HEARD THIS ONE TOO, BUT IT IS WRONG.
Glad to hear you are using your brakes in some corners and it works fine.
 

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I've been doing it ever sense I've been riding. Just never knew it had a name.
 

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I use to lightly apply the rear brake pedal entering into blind corners until 3 weeks ago when I started to get a brake shudder. Now I have to use brake hand lever to prevent the vibrations.
 

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I watched a road race a while back and a rider had a camera mounted on the front of the bike, facing the rider. He was leaned way over in a very fast corner and grabbing what looked like a handful of front brake. No problem at all.

But I've seen at least three definitions of trail braking. Racer Freddie Spencer, among others, described it as applying front brake in the initial part of a corner to compress the front forks thereby reducing the "trail" which leads to quicker steering inputs.

A moto magazine described it has applying braking going into a corner and gradually "trailing" off the brakes through the corner.

Others describe it as dragging the rear brake throughout the corner.

Beats me. I use braking in some corners, front brakes, but I rarely if ever ride on the edge of performance. I always have lots of room for error.
The second definition is the one taught at all the racing tracks, although the first one is somewhat true, it doesn't stop there and you do trail off through the corner. It has NOTHING to do with the rear brake.

You brake hard while you are straight up and down which compresses the fork and widens the tire patch. This causes the bike to turn in easier and gives you more grip. You continue to brake and gradually "trail off" the brakes until just before the Apex where you should be able to start rolling on the throttle for your exit.

It's a bit tricky to do because if you don't trail off enough before you lean too hard, you could have too much brake for the lean angle and lose the front. If you trail off too fast after you are already in the turn, your fork can raise back up too quickly and you lose weight on the front tire and that could also cause it to wash out. It sounds harder than it is...you really just get a feel for how much to use it or not and to do it smoothly.

On the wing, it still works but the linked brakes bring in the rear brakes into the picture as well. Traditional trail braking doesn't use the rear brake at all.

I don't do a lot of trail braking on the road as trail braking is used when you are trying to ride at maximum speed. Considering I am riding with some level of safety cushion on the road, I shouldn't really need to be braking all the way to the apex. I typically just ease off the throttle or brake as needed to set my corner entry speed and then just roll the corner. If I need to use my brake mid corner, I've left enough cushion to be able to do so. (although you have to pull the lever gently / smoothly as you don't want to do anything sudden mid-corner.)

On the track I do it on just about every turn that requires hard braking, which is most of them considering you are trying to never coast but either be on the gas or brake the entire lap.
 

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You brake hard while you are straight up and down which compresses the fork and widens the tire patch.
Doesn't it also shift weight to the front allowing you to enter harder so your less likely to have a push ?
 

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Doesn't it also shift weight to the front allowing you to enter harder so your less likely to have a push ?
Yes. The weight shift is what widens the tire patch which gives you more grip in the corner (and for that matter, it's also what compresses the forks steepening the steering angle making it easier to turn in)
 

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I was taught, "If you brake in a corner, you will immediately fall down and die! Never. Ever. Brake in a corner!"

Of course, I knew this was wrong but tried to ride that way because I figured that was the SAVE choice, the SMART choice,

HOWEVER ...

... lately, I've been trail braking on every corner that requires brakes and it feels WONDERFUl!

Comments?

View attachment 68447
I've wondered for years what idiot came up with that saying! Granted, you have to be careful when turning and/or leaned; but I've saved my butt many times with judicious use of the brakes. Sometimes you realize you have misjudged the turn/ curve--so you need to take action to prevent leaving the pavement. I try to not make a habit of entering curves too fast, but sometimes it happens.
 

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I trail brake on occasion, it works but you need to keep the pressure light. You will loose ground clearance the more brake you use, so use moderation.
 

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I was a new rider on a VTX back in 06. There is a 90 degree, sharp left turn on HWY 28 headed South toward Franklin, NC. As I leaned, I caught metal (like a plowpoint) under the floorboard and lost the back tire. I had an asphalt rooster tail! Needless to say, I was heading straight for the guardrail. By hanging way off the bike and milking the front brake, I was able to eek by the rail with only a prayer between me and disaster. Lesson learned.
 

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Yes. The weight shift is what widens the tire patch which gives you more grip in the corner (and for that matter, it's also what compresses the forks steepening the steering angle making it easier to turn in)
I have never given it any thought about the tire patch widening and steering angle for racing bikes. :thumbup:

In circle track racing its a weight transfer. If vehicle is loose then that means no weight in rear and weight jacking is required to move to rear. Vice versa for a push. Strange how different forms of racing do the exact same thing for the same results but with different reasons. :D
 

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My personal preference is to set my speed prior to beginning the turn so that I can accelerate throughout the entire turn...that being said, there are times when a bit of rear brake is needed.
 

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My personal preference is to set my speed prior to beginning the turn so that I can accelerate throughout the entire turn...that being said, there are times when a bit of rear brake is needed.
+1 As Reg Pridmore taught us at his track days -slow in, fast out.
 

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Ask any member of a motorcycle drill team and he will tell you trail braking is used in slow speed control during maneuvers. As a member of the British Columbia Motorcycle Drill Team I've been using trail braking and friction zone clutch control for years. As for street riding I lightly use my rear brakes just before applying the front brakes in all braking applications as it sets up the the motorcycle suppension to give you maximum braking performance & tire contact while braking. The true danger in braking in a corner is not applying small amounts to slow you down but grabbing a handful in those emergency stopping situations. If this type of braking is needed in a corner you should utilize the," Straight, Square, Sqeeze" action, that is straighten the motorcycle, square the handlebars and Sqeeze the brakes, with gearing down and rear brake application. Better still, if you can, swerve around the situation, but don't apply any brakes while swerving. Using this method has saved my ass many a time. It will save your's too!
 
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