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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The front brake is a very powerful tool, so powerful that you can lift the rear wheel right off the ground, we have been able to do this for years. Recently brakes have made big improvements in their feel and this seems to have brought about a trend towards trail braking. When I say trail braking I’m talking about carrying the brakes into a corner well past the point where you turn the bike and releasing them as you approach the apex, NOT braking in the middle of a turn or releasing the brakes and turning the bike simultaneously (to keep the front suspension loaded). To me trail braking means carrying the brakes past the point where the bike’s lean angle is set.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of trail braking? Are there certain types of corners that are best suited for this technique?
 

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Stuman said:
The front brake is a very powerful tool, so powerful that you can lift the rear wheel right off the ground, we have been able to do this for years. Recently brakes have made big improvements in their feel and this seems to have brought about a trend towards trail braking. When I say trail braking I’m talking about carrying the brakes into a corner well past the point where you turn the bike and releasing them as you approach the apex, NOT braking in the middle of a turn or releasing the brakes and turning the bike simultaneously (to keep the front suspension loaded). To me trail braking means carrying the brakes past the point where the bike’s lean angle is set.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of trail braking? Are there certain types of corners that are best suited for this technique?
Advantages, it allows you to carry a higher entry speed which is good for passing, also helps with turn in because the front forks compress. Dissadvantages, it's not the fastest way through the turn. I usually trail brake on sharp hairpins and on chicanes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Swarol said:
Why make a new thread about this? Posting in the other one wasn't good enough??

1) Because I'm not asking what it is, I defined it in my post. I'm asking what the advantages/disadvantages are, different topic.

2) The other thread kind of went off topic with posts about backing it in. That is not what I'm talking about and I thought maybe if I made that clear it would narrow the discussion some.
 

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Advantage is that you don't have to slow down for the slowest point in the turn as early, you can get there more gradually and make time. Disadvantage is that getting that first crack of the throttle while leaned over can get hairy.
 

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Stuman said:
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of trail braking? Are there certain types of corners that are best suited for this technique?
If my memory serves me correctly you teach at the California Superbike School...so I can only assume you are asking to test our knowledge and apply it to your tutoring. In which case I would ask that once you receive significant answers that you in turn provide us with your thoughts on this matter! Come on...I can't afford CSS right now so how about some quid pro quo.

Ok, as far as my opinion of trail braking...I don't think I am quite there yet. The few times I have used my brakes into a corner was at the track and I felt out of control. And it got to the point where I felt that my suspension was compressed too much and letting off on the brakes would throw the bike off balance too much. I am wondering if this might be saying something about how hard I was braking or about the lacking of my suspension. At this point I have more questions than answers about trail braking and too me it seems like a more advanced skill.
 

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I think it can be quite helpfull if one has gone into tight a corner to hot which is about the only time I use it.I do think it to be a disadvantage to an inexpiereanced rider to use this as it requries finess to controll it.

Teach us something Stu,tell us what you think.
 

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Stuman said:
1) Because I'm not asking what it is, I defined it in my post. I'm asking what the advantages/disadvantages are, different topic.

2) The other thread kind of went off topic with posts about backing it in. That is not what I'm talking about and I thought maybe if I made that clear it would narrow the discussion some.
Ah, I misunderstood, my apologies. As someone else said, it allows for higher entrance speeds which is beneficial for passing. It can also be useful for a decreasing radius turn. Being fairly new at track riding, that's about all I can think of.
 

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1) Higher entry speed (but isn't in slow out fast better in most cases?)
2) It can help bail you out if you are in to hot (although it seems like if you are in too hot, it would be better to keep the bike straight up and down a little longer so you can brake harder)
3) Makes it easier to 'not upset' the suspension (?)
 

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hmm...i hadn't realized trail braking was something new. i think i've been doing it for close to 13 years now.

on the street there is no real advantage. you are using up a lot more traction than you really need to if you are braking and turning on the street. you might want to think about braking earlier while upright and carrying less entrance speed while on the street.

trail braking has its advantage on the race track when you are passing or protecting your line from being passed. in my opinion. typically you'l find someone carrying less entrance speed but they have taken the point and it is time that can be made up later. another advantage is the compression of the front suspension helps the bike turn in faster at some loss of stability.
 

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I was by no means suggesting it was new...I was amused by the different takes on what it is by the guys around me. I wanted to see if it was just my demographics or the community in general. :) :eek:nfloor
Besides, Malik, we all know you kick ass on a bike!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
redcbrla said:
If my memory serves me correctly you teach at the California Superbike School...so I can only assume you are asking to test our knowledge and apply it to your tutoring. In which case I would ask that once you receive significant answers that you in turn provide us with your thoughts on this matter! Come on...I can't afford CSS right now so how about some quid pro quo.
I'm not testing your knowledge, I just want to hear your opinions.

For me trail braking can be a powerful tool. But like any power tool, if you miss use it you might loose a digit, or worse.

Trail braking can extend your braking zone deep into a corner allowing you to brake later.

Trail braking gives you better front feel as it loads the front tire more.

Trail braking can help keep the suspension compressed going into a corner, as opposed to letting it extend if you release the brakes before you turn.

The downside is you are asking a lot of your front tire and if you ask too much…

Another downside is it only benefits you in specific corners. In most corners the slowest part is right where you turn the bike. If you’re braking past this point you’re slowing down when you could be in the gas, you come out of the corner slower.
 

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so based on everyone's response, including Stuman's...it seems to me that trail braking is a more advanced skill that should be added to one's repitoire later in the game. How do the rest of you feel? I think that as a newer rider on the track you should initially focus on a fast and controlled entry speed so you can focus on the turn itself and accelerating out of it...rather then flying into the corner and having to scrub off speed for a longer time. It just seems like there are many other things to work on improving before trail braking.

I would also think that late braking is something that should be performed more at the track than on the street.
 

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redcbrla said:
so based on everyone's response, including Stuman's...it seems to me that trail braking is a more advanced skill that should be added to one's repitoire later in the game. How do the rest of you feel? I think that as a newer rider on the track you should initially focus on a fast and controlled entry speed so you can focus on the turn itself and accelerating out of it...rather then flying into the corner and having to scrub off speed for a longer time. It just seems like there are many other things to work on improving before trail braking.

I would also think that late braking is something that should be performed more at the track than on the street.
i would agree with that especially the last paragraph. it should be used on the track. there are too many variables on the street to use trail braking. cornering+braking+oil/sand/anti-freeze/parked car/dedris/gravel/water/leaves/???=in the ditch picking weeds out of your ass.

you can go plenty fast on the track just doing the basics, doing nothing heroic, provided you are doing the basics correctly. you'd be surprised at how fast you can go just using engine braking and 1 gear.
 

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malik ross said:
i would agree with that especially the last paragraph. it should be used on the track. there are too many variables on the street to use trail braking. cornering+braking+oil/sand/anti-freeze/parked car/dedris/gravel/water/leaves/???=in the ditch picking weeds out of your ass.

you can go plenty fast on the track just doing the basics, doing nothing heroic, provided you are doing the basics correctly. you'd be surprised at how fast you can go just using engine braking and 1 gear.
I completely agree that it's nothing you should intentionally do on the street. However, it's something you should do at the track if for no other reason than to be ABLE to do on the street if absolutely necessary. Sooner or later, you'll find yourself braking in a turn on the street, and it's nice to have already figured out how the bike reacts in a relatively safe environment.
 

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malik ross said:
i would agree with that especially the last paragraph. it should be used on the track. there are too many variables on the street to use trail braking. cornering+braking+oil/sand/anti-freeze/parked car/dedris/gravel/water/leaves/???=in the ditch picking weeds out of your ass.

you can go plenty fast on the track just doing the basics, doing nothing heroic, provided you are doing the basics correctly. you'd be surprised at how fast you can go just using engine braking and 1 gear.
Trail braking on the street:
 

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I trail brake every corner I use the brakes on. To me it's a matter of being smooth and not upsetting the front. I usually don't trail it to the apex though 'cause I'm usually not going that fast and hard. To my mind it's no different than blipping the throttle on downshifts. It's just something I think you should do. Kind of like rolling on the gas... you don't just yank it on and off (well, some of you hotshots may). Ditto the brake. Easy on till the backs hopping and easy off as you're tipping in and the turn loads the forks.

Qualifyer - My intellectual riding skills far exceed my real world abilities. :banana
 
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