Brake bet­ter Suss out your stop­pers


Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents - Learn­ing expert Ru­pert Paul Ed­i­tor of MCN Sport Au­thor of Pass the bike test( and be a greatrid­er­too!). Avail­able on Ama­zon.

For some peo­ple, the an­swer to this ques­tion is: “Not very.”

See if you can be­lieve this. I was at a track train­ing day a few years ago, and the chief in­struc­tor ex­plained in a class­room ses­sion that the next track out­ing would fo­cus on us­ing the brakes hard. On hear­ing this, two peo­ple who had in­tro­duced them­selves as ROSPA trained and IAM ob­servers went into a hud­dle, and then an­nounced: “We’re not happy about this.”

It turned out that they had been taught not to brake, on the ba­sis that they should al­ways ride in such a way that stop­ping quickly would be un­nec­es­sary. But that wasn’t the half of it. They’d also been taught that brak­ing hard was dan­ger­ous! In the awk­ward silence that fol­lowed I sug­gested it wasn’t as dan­ger­ous as get­ting im­paled on the on­com­ing prongs of a com­bine har­vester. Per­haps that was a bit tact­less.

In fact, it’s not just the fun­da­men­tal­ists who can’t brake hard. Lots of peo­ple can’t, be­cause they never prac­tice. And brak­ing a mo­tor­bike de­mands prac­tice be­cause, un­like stop­ping a car, it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult. On pre-abs bikes you have to get near the limit while avoid­ing wheel lock. On ABS bikes you have to sum­mon the nerve to get the ABS work­ing in the first place.

The hard­est you can brake, on a de­cent sports­bike, ad­ven­ture bike or naked, is at a rate of about 1g. That means stop­ping from 65mph in three sec­onds. Next time the roads dry out, find an empty stretch and see how good you are. Count the sec­onds in your head, or say some­thing that takes that long. If you ride a cus­tom bike, you’ll need about 3.5-3.7 sec­onds, be­cause its lower cen­tre of grav­ity pushes the front wheel along, in­duc­ing lock-up. A sports­bike or naked car­ries its weight higher, so it pitches for­ward more, and so al­low­ing more brak­ing force to be ap­plied. The rea­son you can’t ex­ceed 1g by much is be­cause you are al­ready putting all the bike-and-rider weight onto the front wheel. Any more will send you over the bars.

Rac­ers do rather bet­ter, hit­ting 1.6 or 1.7g. That’s be­cause they brake while sit­ting up at 190mph, at which speed the sail ef­fect of their body pro­vides the ex­tra stop­ping power. By the time they get down to 100mph or less, they’re stuck with the same physics as the rest of us.

‘ They’d been taught that brak­ing hard was dan­ger­ous!’ Ru­pert Paul

Q Great va­ri­ety of bikes Q Book camp­ing or rooms to crash in after a beer or three Q Lively at­mos­phere Q Cheap eats and real ales Q Biker pub – bikes al­ways wel­come


Q Be­ing the UK’S first ded­i­cated biker pub to be recog­nised by of­fi­cial brown tourism road signs

Price: No en­try fee, burg­ers £2.50, camp­ing from £5 www.vicbik­er­

If you’re good you’ll be able to stop from 65mph in three sec­onds Mar­quez only be­came this skilled at hard brak­ing through prac­tice

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.