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Old 11-01-2019, 02:54 PM   #1
sportsluvr
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Smooth stopping tricks?

I have been riding off and on for a while. One skill that I need to improve is being able to stop the bike very smoothly, like police officers. How do they do that? Smooth braking? Being relaxed? Looking far ahead? What else?
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:00 PM   #2
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Lightly drag the back brake can help with a smooth stop..
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:16 PM   #3
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Squeeze those knees.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:34 PM   #4
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Less fingers! Varying braking systems permitted, most modern braking systems can give more than enough input with 3 fingers and optimally two. The less piggies you squeeze with, the less ham-fisted your stops.

Most good riders I know opt for 2 finger braking and I'm the odd one and have always liked 1-finger sensitivity so I tend to tune my brakes, pads, fluids, rotors to get me more reaction. I just realized this may be a holdover from BMX days LOL. The other benefit, more fingers on the bars/grips and more input where you need it.

Oh one other thing that is key... plan ahead! I know it may sound fantastical but learning to ride with shitty cars and motorcycles sure taught me how to plan for stopping and escape plans at a young age. I'm sure there are plenty of the older crew here who had old VWs you had to pump the crusty drum brakes a bunch and then start praying?
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:50 PM   #5
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It's in controlling the force you apply and perceiving the feedback.

When practicing, try to squeeze the lever to gently compress the forks. When learning the skill, don't try for quick application; you're developing a touch to control the rate of compression. As you master it, apply more quickly but equally smoothly.

Also work on smooth release to gently decompress as you come to a stop.

The best lesson I ever had in smooth brake application was riding on the back of Reg Pridmore's K100RS at Sears Point (I think that was 30 years ago ).
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Old 11-01-2019, 04:42 PM   #6
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1 finger braking
Smooth pressure on, smooth release
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Old 11-01-2019, 04:55 PM   #7
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just like in a car, aim to stop a bit before actual 'line' and unload the brakes of the full force of the stop before vehicle actually stops. what i mean is let off the brakes a bit before you stop.
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Old 11-01-2019, 05:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by phil turdwater View Post
just like in a car, aim to stop a bit before actual 'line' and unload the brakes of the full force of the stop before vehicle actually stops. what i mean is let off the brakes a bit before you stop.
Yea ditto. Part of the "hard stop" is simply the bike unloading when it is, indeed, stopped. Slowing down the actual "stop" part at the ends smooths out the entire thing.

Regarding the whole fingers thing, honestly I've always used four. I've never been comfortable with fewer. I'm sure there are other advantages that I'm simply not missing, but I don't find it difficult to control the force of four fingers vs less.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:45 AM   #9
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Yep, like this.
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Practice, practice, practice.
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Old 11-01-2019, 05:56 PM   #10
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How are you stopping the bike now? Front only? Rear only? Both? What is the bike doing now when you stop?
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Originally Posted by sportsluvr View Post
I have been riding off and on for a while. One skill that I need to improve is being able to stop the bike very smoothly, like police officers. How do they do that? Smooth braking? Being relaxed? Looking far ahead? What else?
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Old 11-01-2019, 06:05 PM   #11
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How about braking at different (x) speeds, using both brakes and then the front only and the rear only, and observing how your front end reacts to each method at x speed? That might teach you what it takes to brake smoothly at speed.

So no tricks. Just practice and observation.
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:41 PM   #12
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How are you stopping the bike now? Front only? Rear only? Both? What is the bike doing now when you stop?
Front only. I mostly tend to engage front brakes too suddenly, leading to a jerky stop. Sometimes, it works well, meaning that I come to a gentle stop, which is what I want to see happen all the time.
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Old 11-03-2019, 04:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sportsluvr View Post
Front only. I mostly tend to engage front brakes too suddenly, leading to a jerky stop. Sometimes, it works well, meaning that I come to a gentle stop, which is what I want to see happen all the time.
As with anything that you want to get good at, you need to practice being firm yet gentle in your brake application.

The problem with only using the front brake in a panic situation is you might squeeze too hard and then wash out the front end. That's why paying attention to the front end on braking at different speeds and distances is important. The less up-and-down motion as you brake firmer and harder at longer distances or shorter times, the better your control of the bike.

And do add and practice with the rear brake. If both brakes are disc brakes, the stopping power will be evenly distributed fore and aft, and with practice you ought not to panic in a panic-inducing situation. As your reaction will be practiced, using mindful control.

Remember that even CHP motos and local agency motos, the conscientious ones anyway, practice their moto skills.
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Old 11-03-2019, 04:59 PM   #14
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In non-emergency hi speed braking I tend to apply rear first, to stabilize the bike. Add front brake for power. Use gear downshifts if appropriate. Eyes up, scanning, and forward.
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:41 PM   #15
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The one thing that'll make you a smooth braker is ... anticipate what the asshole beside you, in front of you, and behind you will do.

So scan your mirrors. Be aware. And practice using your brakes every day. Because one day, being able to brake smoothly, quickly and hurriedly may save your life.

And when you have to make an emergency brake in traffic, do what cyclists do: shift your butt as far back on your seat as you brake front and rear.

Okay. My last two cents!
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