Nail­ing your brak­ing won’t just make you a faster rider, but a safer one too. We hooked up with BSB’s Josh Brookes to get some tips…


In the BSB pad­dock, ex-champ Brookes is known for his de­mon late brak­ing, and, if you ex­cuse that lit­tle known skit­tling in­ci­dent from many moons ago at Mal­lory Park, he’s highly re­garded for be­ing one of the smoothest an­chor­men on the scene, be­ing able to not just slow a bike rapidly, but get it on its ear and into a bend with epic smooth­ness too. Cosied up for a chin­wag with the Aussie su­per­star af­ter he’d just bro­ken the BSB lap record at Oul­ton Park, and taken the top spot in the tim­ing sheets, I was gag­ging to know what made him the ma­chine he is when it comes to per­for­mance brak­ing. He kindly went through his tech­nique, one step at a time.

1 Prep for per­for­mance

The bike setup is ab­so­lutely piv­otal. It all starts with the tyre; you need a grippy tyre with the cor­rect pres­sure so it doesn’t de­form eas­ily; al­though a tyre is de­signed to flat­ten for a larger con­tact patch, it can only take so much be­fore the en­ergy wants to re­sist like a spring, giv­ing you a walk­ing feel­ing ex­ac­er­bated by a heavy set-up and heavy brak­ing. There’s so much de­tail setup-wise that can make a dif­fer­ence from the re­bound on the back to the geom­e­try of the bike (if the thing’s sit­ting on its nose the rear will be loose) but essen­tially when the setup is softer, the en­ergy trans­fers through the sus­pen­sion more, work­ing it how it should. The trick is to not be too hard!

2 Body lan­guage

It’s al­ways best to po­si­tion your­self be­fore get­ting into the brak­ing zone if pos­si­ble; it sta­bilises the bike and keeps the process smooth as there’s al­ready so much pres­sure on the bike. Get your ass over early to suit which­ever di­rec­tion is needed for the up­com­ing cor­ner. Lock your­self in and brace your arms in ad­vance, as this will help you to ap­ply more pres­sure and keep the process smoother.

3 Think dis­tances

If you’re rid­ing on track it’s vi­tal to have brak­ing mark­ers (and they’re a good idea on the road if it’s one you ride of­ten), so you can be ac­cu­rate with your brak­ing ap­pli­ca­tion ev­ery sin­gle lap, and so that you have a gauge to work with – to avoid brak­ing too early or over­shoot­ing cor­ners. This makes the whole process eas­ier and smoother and will help out no end when push­ing bound­aries. No mat­ter where you are there should al­ways be a brak­ing marker: a patch of tar­mac, bit of grass, sig­nage… just don’t use a shadow.

4 Find the bit­ing point

This is vi­tal, es­pe­cially in the wet. Break­ing the ac­tion down into mil­lisec­onds, it’s al­ways best to ap­ply pres­sure in or­der to load the front end be­fore re­ally grab­bing on the an­chors, which keeps the rear set­tled, as you trans­fer the bike’s weight al­most en­tirely onto the front end. This tech­nique ap­plies to

Brookes is an epic late braker.

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