10 STEPS TO BRAKING LIKE A BSB CHAMP
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.