Slow Speed Maneuvering - "Drag" Rear Brake or no? - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-14-2017, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Slow Speed Maneuvering - "Drag" Rear Brake or no?

So as a new rider, I'm finding low/slow speed maneuvering intimidating. Even during the MSF course, I had the most trouble with sharp right turns from a full stop, and to a lesser extent u-turns in the box. One tip that the instructors provided was "dragging" the rear brake, which as I understand it means holding a constant small amount of throttle along with varying amounts of rear brake, the end result being that the bike tends to stay upright more easily... I am having trouble wrapping my mind around the physics of this, let alone use it in practice.

Many internet sources have also suggested this method, with the exception of one - Roadcraft Nottingham. He (Russ Stevenson) is a riding instructor in the UK and seems to have a good reputation , so I was surprised to see in one of his videos about low speed turning that he advocates strongly against dragging the rear brake, citing jerkiness and ease of losing control.

Assuming my other techniques are solid (eyes up, looking where I want to turn, body leaned to the outside of the turn, bars turned, using the clutch's friction zone), in your opinion is it necessary or even proper to drag the rear brake? Or should a rider be able to make u-turns and slow speed maneuvers solely through a combination of clutch and rear brake alone?

Al
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-14-2017, 05:57 PM
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I drag the rear brake all the time in stop and go traffic, I try to not put a foot down if I don't have to

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post #3 of 17 Old 02-14-2017, 09:04 PM
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i drag the rear brake when i'm slowly splitting through traffic. Just keep riding and you'll get better!

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post #4 of 17 Old 02-14-2017, 11:45 PM
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Me too. Helps get rid of a bit of speed in slow corners without the jerkiness of closing and opening the throttle. Good safety net when lane-splitting too, in case you get a no-look lane-change happening in front of you.

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post #5 of 17 Old 02-15-2017, 06:12 AM
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For motogymkhana riding, and getting around tight turns quickly, the most common technique is to use both throttle and drag the rear brake. This accomplishes a few things:

1. Helps slow you down and settle the chassis while minimizing front fork dive
2. Takes up driveline slack for more precise control
3. Frees up your throttle hand so that you're not trying to brake and use throttle with one hand

If you can master this, you don't even need to slip the clutch unless you want to come to a full stop.

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post #6 of 17 Old 02-15-2017, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback, folks. I'm going to try and build this into my practice this weekend.

Al
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-15-2017, 09:26 AM
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I second everything said here. I drag the brake in stop and go traffic, I use it to slow in for a turn (conditions depending), I use it in parking lots for tight turns...

While riding normally, I primarily use the front, but add rear in emergency situations and when I am coming to a stop at a light; just the last few feet.

Final thought of the day, get yourself into an empty parking lot as much as you can. Just practice. Practice and when you're done practicing, practice some more. I have been riding for years and still do this to maintain my skills without risk of getting hit by a car. Just like with everything else, when you master and continue to practice the fundamentals, the rest will fall into line. Ride safe

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post #8 of 17 Old 02-15-2017, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bartsitarski View Post
I second everything said here. I drag the brake in stop and go traffic, I use it to slow in for a turn (conditions depending), I use it in parking lots for tight turns...

While riding normally, I primarily use the front, but add rear in emergency situations and when I am coming to a stop at a light; just the last few feet.

Final thought of the day, get yourself into an empty parking lot as much as you can. Just practice. Practice and when you're done practicing, practice some more. I have been riding for years and still do this to maintain my skills without risk of getting hit by a car. Just like with everything else, when you master and continue to practice the fundamentals, the rest will fall into line. Ride safe
My gloves are limiting my practice time, of all things. I bought some Rev'It Striker 2's in size large (dimensions matched per the sizing chart), and they are so unbelievably uncomfortable. Granted I've only worn them for maybe 2 hours collectively, but they don't feel like they are breaking in at all and I refuse to take the bike out, even for going up and down the street, without all the gear I'd normally ride in.

61 degrees this Saturday though. Gloves be damned, I'm going to get in some good parking lot time.

Al
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-15-2017, 09:56 AM
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I could write a novella on the use of the rear brake in practical application on both the street and track, but time is short and I am busy as hell. Suffice it to say that while the rear brake absolutely has its place in motorcycle riding I firmly believe it is an advanced skillset.

My opinion is that you should stop using the rear brake and concentrate on being smooth and deliberate with your actions with the front brakes and your inputs, balance etc. Master those then work on integrating the rear brake later.

That being said I will be the first to concede that those that can master both at the same time will be ahead of the curve, but it's just not realistic to expect street riders to be so proficient with the rear brake that is only truly beneficial when used in in aggressive riding manner (racing, stunting etc). Just day to day riding, trackdays and even roadracing up to fairly high levels can be executed without any use of the rear brake whatsoever.

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post #10 of 17 Old 02-16-2017, 09:50 AM
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I have to agree with LDH on this one. The fundamental skills rest with throttle control and clutch. Between those two, I hardly use the brakes to control slow speed, I just don't need to.

As others have said, practice. And always keep practicing. Been riding 11 years and I still practice low speed control, emergency stops, etc.

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post #11 of 17 Old 02-23-2017, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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I do believe I'm getting better! Granted, it'd be hard for me to do any worse than when I first started but I'm much more confident making tighter and tighter u-turns, putting my foot down less. For what it's worth, I'm making a conscious effort not to use rear brake (or the front for that matter), and really just relying on the clutch to modulate speed once I'm committed to the turn, with the throttle 100% closed. I was definitely going too slow in the past, and letting the clutch out more has made huge improvements. I'm not counter-weighting and my foot position is all funky but that brings me to my next question.

I feel like my feet and hands are in awkward positions pretty much all the time.
Left Foot: Should it constantly be tucked underneath the clutch, other than when downshifting? What about when going straight, as I've read that proper positioning has you on the balls of your feet? I've tried that, but then when I have to shift up it feels awkward for me to slip my foot back into position. I assume it should be a mix of both - underneath the clutch when you are getting up to speed, and then onto the ball of the foot once you don't anticipate having to shift anytime soon. But then around town or in parking lots, wouldn't your foot always be under the clutch?

Right Foot: My ankle is killing me because I found myself always having heel on the peg, toes hovering over the front brake - leaving from a stop, turning, going straight, slowing down, whatever. And my boots just been digging into the upper ankle/shin area. I have to believe this is wrong, but always having the ball of my foot on the peg feels unsafe, because it'll take me that much longer to move into braking position in an emergency.

Left Hand: I lost count of how many times I hit the damn horn button today, going for the blinker. Grrrr. It feels like the entire assembly should be tilted back towards me another 15*. As it is, I don't feel 100% comfortable reaching for the clutch and hitting the blinkers. Can these positions be adjusted?

Right Hand: The MSF course taught us to keep our wrists high, but in this position when going for the brake it feels unnatural. What position is your wrist in most of the time? Slightly bent?

Al
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-23-2017, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahung12 View Post
I do believe I'm getting better! Granted, it'd be hard for me to do any worse than when I first started but I'm much more confident making tighter and tighter u-turns, putting my foot down less. For what it's worth, I'm making a conscious effort not to use rear brake (or the front for that matter), and really just relying on the clutch to modulate speed once I'm committed to the turn, with the throttle 100% closed. I was definitely going too slow in the past, and letting the clutch out more has made huge improvements. I'm not counter-weighting and my foot position is all funky but that brings me to my next question.

I feel like my feet and hands are in awkward positions pretty much all the time.
Left Foot: Should it constantly be tucked underneath the clutch, other than when downshifting? What about when going straight, as I've read that proper positioning has you on the balls of your feet? I've tried that, but then when I have to shift up it feels awkward for me to slip my foot back into position. I assume it should be a mix of both - underneath the clutch when you are getting up to speed, and then onto the ball of the foot once you don't anticipate having to shift anytime soon. But then around town or in parking lots, wouldn't your foot always be under the clutch?

Right Foot: My ankle is killing me because I found myself always having heel on the peg, toes hovering over the front brake - leaving from a stop, turning, going straight, slowing down, whatever. And my boots just been digging into the upper ankle/shin area. I have to believe this is wrong, but always having the ball of my foot on the peg feels unsafe, because it'll take me that much longer to move into braking position in an emergency.

Left Hand: I lost count of how many times I hit the damn horn button today, going for the blinker. Grrrr. It feels like the entire assembly should be tilted back towards me another 15*. As it is, I don't feel 100% comfortable reaching for the clutch and hitting the blinkers. Can these positions be adjusted?

Right Hand: The MSF course taught us to keep our wrists high, but in this position when going for the brake it feels unnatural. What position is your wrist in most of the time? Slightly bent?
I always keep my toes on the pegs. It's good for the twisties too. As for turn signal and horn i don't use them lol. I use hand signals and rev my bike to alert people

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post #13 of 17 Old 02-24-2017, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not 100% comfortable yet taking my hand off the bar to signal especially at lower speeds, I definitely need to work up to that.

Al
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-24-2017, 08:48 AM
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Shifter is on left foot and rear brake is on the right foot. At least on my bikes. Don't think I'm that crazy yet.


Try using your index and middle fingers for your front brake. That leaves you with more fingers to control the throttle and a more gentle touch on the front brake. you can adjust you front brake lever so that even fully compressed it still leaves a gap for you ring and pinky fingers to be on the throttle.


Get in a parking lot and go through 1st gear from slowest to its fastest with as small of wrist movements as you can manage. If you can get your wrist to be able to move slowly and smoothly you gitters will be reduced.


Finally make sure you levers are in the right spot. Get on youtube and find out how to adjust them and make them fit your style. Your left foot should be able to rest under the shift lever comfortably and if it cannot then you should adjust the lever to be higher. The rear brake lever should be just below where your foot sits comfortable and your levers should not be straight out they should be slightly down. Play with it and you will find your spot.


Good luck and If your in Colorado hit me up and I can help in person.

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post #15 of 17 Old 02-24-2017, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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I was not aware that the levers are adjustable - thank you! Going to give them some tweaks this weekend for sure.

Illinois here, though the wife and I definitely wish we were in CO.

Al
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post #16 of 17 Old 02-24-2017, 10:26 AM
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I would complain that the riding season is too short here but I have put 400 miles on this month and can only ride on the weekends. They are adjustable as far as how far they squeeze and how far up and down they are on the front of the bar. Again YouTube is your friend.

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post #17 of 17 Old 02-25-2017, 09:23 AM
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The clutch/brake pedals are also adjustable. As to the boots, you may need to consider buying more comfortable riding boots. If they're binding up on you, then the boots are the issue.

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