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post #1 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 7:02 pm Thread Starter
 
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Confused about covering my brakes

I'm taking the MSF course, and tomorrow is the last day. These guys are good, and one of them is a retired motor officer with 45 years experience. They're sharp cookies.

However, they are teaching something that it seems they and I just simply disagree about. Of course I'll do it their way for the course, but I'd like to get other's opinions if you don't mind.

They don't believe that covering one's brakes is ever a good idea.

I've heard a Motor Officer Instructor say that one should definitely cover the brakes. Figure a half second to get your hand and foot in position, perhaps another half second to begin applying the brakes, and it seems a major saving (like 40 feet or so at 30 MPH.) But the MSF guys say no.. that if you're covering the brakes you're likely all set to jam them on way too hard. Does this follow logically??

An example.. going 25-30 through a town. Why not be ready to save a second of reaction time if some kid jumps out in the road in front of me? Why waste that 40 feet? And if I'm frantically getting to the brakes, aren't I likely to be even more panicky by the time I finally engage them than if I had been fully prepared? Aren't I more likely to hit the kid?

So, like I said, I have a lot of respect for these guys.. they're good! But I just can't wrap my mind around this particular piece of advice. Can anyone help?

Thanks,
Bob

Last edited by RTrev; Apr 22nd, 2008 at 7:13 pm.
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post #2 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 7:07 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Maybe I an not the one to answer your question, and I too am a motor cop and agree with them. It is ok to cover the brakes while approaching an intersection or a threat, but to ride towndown covering the brake and clutch, just cause, is an over kill.

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post #3 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 7:16 pm Thread Starter
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by motorman587
Maybe I an not the one to answer your question, and I too am a motor cop and agree with them. It is ok to cover the brakes while approaching an intersection or a threat, but to ride towndown covering the brake and clutch, just cause, is an over kill.
Thanks John. Okay, but you would support covering them in a situation where danger is likely? They are saying NEVER to cover them.
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post #4 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 7:33 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

I always cover the front brake. Then again, I live in the land of horned rats and text messagers.



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post #5 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 8:05 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

I vote for cover when you think you will need it and during my commute it is ALL the time. I don't agree with the reasoning that if you cover you are more likely to "jam" the brakes. Quite the contrary, you are better prepared to ease them on if you are already there.

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post #6 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 8:33 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

I'd have to say cover the brakes. If I'm coming up to an intersection, I'll cover up going thro it. I dont get where they say never cover the brakes. I drove tractor trailer for twenty years and always covered if I thought things were going to go south on me.
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post #7 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 8:48 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

I always cover the brake, I figure every1/10 second will help in a emergency.

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post #8 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 8:57 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

What they tell us is general information to cover most bikes in most situations. If you're covering the breaks and you panic stop, you can lock the tires and cause a crash or flip or some loss of control. It doesn't consider that you may have ABS breaks that would prevent a lock up. So it is a general rule. They don't like us using two or three fingers on the breaks either, but again that rule doen't consider you have power assist breaks. So think for yourself, adjust to you and your equipment.

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post #9 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 8:58 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Just out of curiosity: doesn't the presence of integrated ABS make a difference?

If you cover the rear--but not the front--on an I-ABS LT, wouldn't the initial response by the integrated system give you enough time to then grab the front at lower speeds? At the same time, wouldn't it break you of the habit of covering the front, something that I think got me in trouble at low speeds and contributed to my drops.

Just speculating (my 12-step profession: I'm a dropper whose been dropless for ten months...)
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post #10 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 9:04 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

I cover the front brake when I feel I might need to stop quick. (intersection or a car might pull out) One thing I do that the instructors had a fit about is use 2 fingers on the front brake. I had a hard time not doing it in class. And thats how I always brake when I ride.
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post #11 of 33 Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 9:25 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

ya know, with the ABS, you can't "over apply" the brakes.. =)

When I taught the class, I would sometimes suggest "covering" the front brake lever... but with a few "practice" applications of the front brake, the students "got it". Also, it was nice to help "control the throttle"... by using the top of the front brake lever as a reference point...

So, I taught lots of options.. got folks thinking about what would work for them... after all, it is their decision to ride and they need to know, automatically, exactly what to do in a rapid braking situation.

P.S.... sometimes I "cover" my front brake lever....

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post #12 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 3:48 am
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by motorman587
Maybe I an not the one to answer your question, and I too am a motor cop and agree with them. It is ok to cover the brakes while approaching an intersection or a threat, but to ride towndown covering the brake and clutch, just cause, is an over kill.
My right foot is always resting barely above the brake pedal, my left hand is always resting on the clutch lever and I am always looking for trouble in way of obstacle or some dirt on the road. Maybe having such an important job as you guys do. it woulld be better to have "over kill" then accidentaly hurt someone not to mention yourself when you are in pursuit.
That is my normal driving, but as you said; I am definately covering the brakes And clutch at intersections.

And from my flying days I also use a special scanning pattern when I drive and I think it would maybe be funny to have a video of my eyes when I drive the beast.
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post #13 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 5:17 am
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

To answer the direct question:
I cover both brakes to reduce reaction time, in situations where I am unsure of what someone else may do or what may happen.

Here is what I try to do and recommend to others:

Be prepared. Don't depend on others for your own safety.

Slow down. This will give you more space, more reaction time, etc. If you feel that you need to cover the brake, perhaps you are riding too fast for your situation.

Position your motorcycle where you can be seen earlier and where you are farther from where other vehicles may potentially intrude on your space. Sometimes you have to find a compromise position between the two goals.

Cover the brakes. I don't fully understand the arguments against covering your brakes. Whether or not you cover your brakes, everyone must learn good braking technique and practice them. Good braking technique varies between different motorcycles.

In my opinion, covering the brakes is a tradeoff. This may be the reason why some people are against covering the brakes. You may be trading some throttle smoothness and swerving ability / control (e.g., a good grasp on the handgrips) for reduced reaction time on the brakes. I think it is a worthwhile tradeoff when approaching a situation where emergency braking may be necessary.

I also cover the horn or the bright headlight switch when appropriate, and sometimes use them to warn others of my presence. They are a proactive way to gain reaction time - the other vehicle often changes its behavior after a quick toot on the horn.

Practice. Practice. Practice.
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post #14 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 7:08 am
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

As a coach, we often try to not have the students cover the brakes in class. It's so that if they panic, the beginning rider won;t grab a fistful of brakes, often followed by pavement. But we tell them that once they leave the range, to cover the brakes whenever they feel they may need a quicker response.

3 parts to braking: Perception, reaction, braking. IF you are covering the brakes and need them, you may be able to reduce your reaction time by a little bit. Perception is important because you have to SEE the problem before you can respond to it.

So once you leave the class, you can further develop your own style and if that means covering the brakes to reduce or minimize your risk, then that should be a good thing.

Good luck finishing the class.
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post #15 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 8:47 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Okay, thanks for all the replies!

I gather that the MSF course allows some discretion among the instructors, and allows them to deviate from a "strict party line" -- which seems like a good thing to me.

OTOH, I agree with the person who said that brake control is something you learn, and that it doesn't matter how you get to the brakes.. what matters is that you apply them correctly.

Here's another one they told me that I don't know the answer to, but I hope and strongly suspect that their answer would be wrong in many if not most cases:

They said that ABS brakes only work if the two wheels are in perfect alignment. I asked "Does that mean that if I'm making a low speed turn on gravel and grab the front brake, the ABS won't kick in at all?" Instead of answering, they made a point of my use of the word "grab" -- saying that this isn't the way to brake -- and completely ignored my actual question.

They had some interesting points, though.. ones that honestly hadn't occurred to me at all. The Motor Officer said "Okay, you're riding along and someone pulls out from the right, violating your right of way. You could possible swerve and go around behind the car. But consider this.. if you blow your horn to alert the person to your presence, you may make things worse. The person has already done one stupid thing. Now, when they hear your horn and notice you, then may very well do the second stupid thing.. which would be to slam on the brakes and prevent you from being able to swerve behind them." Or words to that effect. He said that often in emergency situations like this he would rather the person not know he is there. Now that was a thought I'd never had before, but I see the guy's point.

All-in-all I think it was excellent. There were some issues, but how could there not be with two instructors teaching 20 or so new riders? For example, one exercise was to accelerate, brake, make a corner while rolling on some throttle, then accelerate to the other end of the lot, do the same thing, and around and around. Problem was that every time it was time to roll on some throttle I had some newbie in from of me going 10 mph and had to apply gentle trailing brakes instead. The instructors called me over and chuckled and said they saw that, and that I handled it well, but they were sorry that it happened that way.

Another little problem was that the bikes sucked. The throttle on mine, beyond the first quarter turn or so, was essentially a binary device.. on or off. Nothing much in between. So gently and smoothly rolling on throttle would have required the touch of a neurosurgeon. LOL!

But I figure all of that will just make me appreciate the R1200RT all the more!

Oh, one thing I wanted to ask you guys. They kept reassuring us that slipping the clutch wouldn't hurt anything, because modern clutches were in an oil bath. They said this isn't like the old days of dry clutches. But the RT has a dry clutch. Is using the friction zone truly any harder on the BMW clutches than on those of any other make?

Thanks much!!

Bob
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post #16 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 8:59 am
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

I cover most times when I approach an intersection with other vehicles approaching the intersection or already there.
I also cover when I see someone in the on coming lane signaling a left hand turn.
I do not ride the entire time covering brake and clutch.

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post #17 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 4:07 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTrev
...
Here's another one they told me that I don't know the answer to, but I hope and strongly suspect that their answer would be wrong in many if not most cases:

They said that ABS brakes only work if the two wheels are in perfect alignment. I asked "Does that mean that if I'm making a low speed turn on gravel and grab the front brake, the ABS won't kick in at all?" Instead of answering, they made a point of my use of the word "grab" -- saying that this isn't the way to brake -- and completely ignored my actual question.

They had some interesting points, though.. ones that honestly hadn't occurred to me at all. The Motor Officer said "Okay, you're riding along and someone pulls out from the right, violating your right of way. You could possible swerve and go around behind the car. But consider this.. if you blow your horn to alert the person to your presence, you may make things worse. The person has already done one stupid thing. Now, when they hear your horn and notice you, then may very well do the second stupid thing.. which would be to slam on the brakes and prevent you from being able to swerve behind them." Or words to that effect. He said that often in emergency situations like this he would rather the person not know he is there. Now that was a thought I'd never had before, but I see the guy's point.
...
ABS:
Ultimately, ABS is software. It is hard to predict what it will do if you make the hypothetical (or real) situation complex enough. Under normal braking, the ABS watches your wheel rotation rates. It is supposed to sense when the wheel is close to locking up, and release the brake until your wheel begins to rotate again. But the programming is more complex than that. When you come to a stop and the wheel isn't turning, the ABS lets you use the brake to lock the wheel. That helps you keep the bike from rolling downhill when you don't want it to, for example.

In your gravel example, is the wheel turning or is it already fixed and sliding in the gravel? If it is turning, I can imagine that the ABS would let you keep the brake on until the wheel starts to lose its rotation, when it would release the brake to keep the wheel from locking up. What happens next may depend on whether there is any traction left for the tire. The ABS programming may also take into account what is happening to the other wheel, too.

Horn:
The motor officer makes a good point and I agree with him/her. The truth is that people are unpredictable. IMHO, the horn is useful to help avoid a collision only if it keeps the driver from making the first mistake. Once the driver pulls out in front of you, it is too late for the horn. If the horn keeps the driver from pulling out before you reach the danger zone, then it has done its job.
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post #18 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 5:50 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTrev
Thanks John. Okay, but you would support covering them in a situation where danger is likely? They are saying NEVER to cover them.
Yes, danger likely, cover the brakes.

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post #19 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 6:30 pm Thread Starter
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by XMagnaRider
In your gravel example, is the wheel turning or is it already fixed and sliding in the gravel? If it is turning, I can imagine that the ABS would let you keep the brake on until the wheel starts to lose its rotation, when it would release the brake to keep the wheel from locking up. What happens next may depend on whether there is any traction left for the tire. The ABS programming may also take into account what is happening to the other wheel, too.
Okay, let's define some variables, at least very loosely.

Let's say I'm on a gravel-covered road, going about 25 mph, taking a turn which requires me to counter-steer and then lean at an angle of, say, 5 degrees. So now a moose appears, I panic, and I GRAB the front brake lever with all my strength.

What I was told by the MSF instructors was that ABS would be completely inoperable in that case.

I could understand it being programmed to do the wrong thing, but it's hard to imagine that it would be programmed to simple not work at all because the two wheels weren't aligned precisely.

Thanks,
Bob
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post #20 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 6:56 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

You definately don't want to get in the habit of slipping the clutch. You'll know real quick by the smell that your slipping the clutch too much.
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post #21 of 33 Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 11:44 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTrev
Okay, let's define some variables, at least very loosely.

Let's say I'm on a gravel-covered road, going about 25 mph, taking a turn which requires me to counter-steer and then lean at an angle of, say, 5 degrees. So now a moose appears, I panic, and I GRAB the front brake lever with all my strength.

What I was told by the MSF instructors was that ABS would be completely inoperable in that case.

I could understand it being programmed to do the wrong thing, but it's hard to imagine that it would be programmed to simple not work at all because the two wheels weren't aligned precisely.

Thanks,
Bob
Bob,

Your description doesn't say anything about how much traction there is between the tires and the gravel road, but I get your point.

The way you put it, your MSF instructors are almost certainly right. You only have so much traction, and your description implies that you're using 100% of it prior to grabbing the brake. In that case, one or both tires will break loose and you would be very lucky indeed if you manage to keep your balance and regain traction without falling down or high siding. When your tires break loose like that, the ABS probably can't help.

I bet that your user manual has a disclaimer to tell you that ABS can't help under all possible circumstances. They usually cite ice as an example.

Look on the bright side: Moose steaks on the BBQ tonight!
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post #22 of 33 Old Apr 24th, 2008, 7:58 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by XMagnaRider
The way you put it, your MSF instructors are almost certainly right. You only have so much traction, and your description implies that you're using 100% of it prior to grabbing the brake. In that case, one or both tires will break loose and you would be very lucky indeed if you manage to keep your balance and regain traction without falling down or high siding. When your tires break loose like that, the ABS probably can't help.
Okay, I knew those guys were no dummies.

I didn't think ABS would ever put you down by itself. If there is no traction left, then I thought you'd simply get no braking.

Perhaps a better example.. 5 mph down the driveway, turn the front wheel in the intended direction of travel, the front wheel is now sitting in the gravel on the end of the driveway, and before the turn I look up and see a car is coming so without thinking I use the front brake. Remember the front wheel is now at full right lock, but we are going slow so there should be some traction left. Without ABS I would expect to drop like a stone.

With ABS...?

Thanks for your patience with this dunce!!

Bob
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post #23 of 33 Old Apr 24th, 2008, 10:22 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTrev
Okay, I knew those guys were no dummies.

I didn't think ABS would ever put you down by itself. If there is no traction left, then I thought you'd simply get no braking.

Perhaps a better example.. 5 mph down the driveway, turn the front wheel in the intended direction of travel, the front wheel is now sitting in the gravel on the end of the driveway, and before the turn I look up and see a car is coming so without thinking I use the front brake. Remember the front wheel is now at full right lock, but we are going slow so there should be some traction left. Without ABS I would expect to drop like a stone.

With ABS...?

Thanks for your patience with this dunce!!

Bob
Hi Bob,

Here is the way I see _ANY_ scenario that you may throw at us:

1. You only get so much traction at any given moment. You have more traction on the hard driveway than you do on the soft gravel at the bottom.

2. Whatever traction that you have, you can divide into three parts: cornering, braking, and acceleration (which doesn't apply in your examples).

3. When you use up all the traction, you slide or skid, and it is hard to maintain control of the motorcycle in typical street situations.

4. The purpose of the ABS is to prevent you from using up the last of your traction when you apply the brake. To do this, it watches the turning rates of your wheels and your braking.

5. If the ABS senses that the wheel is going to lock up, it will release the brake until your wheel starts turning again. The goal is to give you as much braking as possible without locking up your wheel.

In your newest example, where you state that you have some traction left, my best guess is that the wheel will start to lock up, and the ABS will try to release the brake. It is anyone's guess whether there is enough traction left to start the wheel rolling again, especially if it is turned. Even if you (or the ABS) releases the brakes, there may be so little remaining traction between your angled tire and the gravel, that the small amount of friction between the brake pads and the rotors will keep the wheels locked up anyway. Frankly, there are still too many unknowns in your example.

When the wheel is turned, you have a far greater chance of sliding and falling. Hopefully your MSF class instructor told you to straighten up before applying the brakes.

ABS's are designed to keep you from locking up your wheels under real world riding conditions. I imagine that it is possible for an ABS to be the cause an accident under highly contrived conditions, but I agree that ABS won't put you down in real life. You have to do that for yourself.
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post #24 of 33 Old Apr 24th, 2008, 10:32 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Bob,

MSF classes are great. I highly recommend them. It is good to take them every few years or so as a refresher.

But there is more to motorcycling than they can cover in a one-day MSF Experienced Rider's Course (ERC). Here are some great books that you might enjoy:

David L. Hough: Proficient Motorcycling

David L. Hough: More Proficient Motorcycling

Nick Ienatsch: Sport Riding Techniques
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post #25 of 33 Old Apr 25th, 2008, 6:54 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by XMagnaRider
Bob,

MSF classes are great. I highly recommend them. It is good to take them every few years or so as a refresher.
I just did, and agree it was very good. They did, however, raise a few points which I never got clarified to my satisfaction. One is the statement that ABS simply does not work unless both wheels are directly aligned. I think my dealer may have answered that one the other day when I picked up the bike. Having been an MSF instructor once, he said "That's how it used to work."

Quote:
But there is more to motorcycling than they can cover in a one-day MSF Experienced Rider's Course (ERC). Here are some great books that you might enjoy:

David L. Hough: Proficient Motorcycling

David L. Hough: More Proficient Motorcycling

Nick Ienatsch: Sport Riding Techniques
Working my way through the second one now.. will have to order the other two. Thanks!

Bob
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post #26 of 33 Old Apr 25th, 2008, 3:02 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTrev
I just did, and agree it was very good. They did, however, raise a few points which I never got clarified to my satisfaction. One is the statement that ABS simply does not work unless both wheels are directly aligned. I think my dealer may have answered that one the other day when I picked up the bike. Having been an MSF instructor once, he said "That's how it used to work."

Working my way through the second one now.. will have to order the other two. Thanks!

Bob
Bob,

I agree that alignment helps a lot. ABS works by looking at the rotation rates of the wheels. If the front wheel is not aligned with the back wheel, then far less traction (friction between the road surface and the tire) is available to rotate the front wheel. That's the same traction that you need for braking.

Think about it. If the front wheel is at 90 degrees to the direction of motion, then all you have is skidding to slow you down. The ABS is helpless (at least on the front wheel, because it isn't turning), and you are very likely to fall down. When the wheels are aligned, the maximum amount of traction is available for braking. The wheel rotates, and the ABS can sense the rotational speed and try to maximize your braking efficiency. As you turn your front wheel, you are somewhere between the two extremes. At some point, there won't be enough angular force on the tire to rotate it, and releasing the brake (manually or by ABS) won't help.

I am not afraid to use the brakes when I am in a turn, but only when I know that there is plenty of traction available for braking. The popular example is slow maneuvering in a parking lot. I generally use the back brake only. If I hit a slippery spot with the front wheel turned, I am less likely to fall down, because the front brake isn't being applied. All of the available front wheel traction goes to keeping the front wheel in the turn (and none goes to braking), so it is less likely to slip.

The popular example of when NOT to brake in a turn is if you enter a corner too fast. Read the recommended books for a detailed discussion of what to do in that situation. (I'll bet that most riders have gotten away with using light braking to bleed off a little speed during a turn under the right conditions, even though it is not recommended.) Skilled riders sometimes apply the rear brake in corners, called trail braking, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.

I hope all this helps. I've said more than necessary. Hopefully the others will jump in to fix all my misstatements and outright errors.
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post #27 of 33 Old Apr 25th, 2008, 5:03 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

In the CHP we train to cover only the clutch lever while riding, not the front brakes. If braking is required good combination braking with all four fingers covering the lever. The use of the front brake is very big no no if the bike is in any kind of a lean. Now said that my 02 is linked (which i hate) but I deal with it accordingly.

Bill (aka Chipper)
Elk Grove Ca.
2014 K1600GTL-E
2009 K1200LT (BLACK)-Traded In
2004 RTP Work Bike(Retired)
2002 LTE Totaled Aug/2011)
1978 H-D LowRider
1975 Honda-Goldwing
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post #28 of 33 Old Apr 25th, 2008, 5:34 pm Thread Starter
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipper
In the CHP we train to cover only the clutch lever while riding, not the front brakes. If braking is required good combination braking with all four fingers covering the lever. The use of the front brake is very big no no if the bike is in any kind of a lean. Now said that my 02 is linked (which i hate) but I deal with it accordingly.
I think this is where I'm a tad confused, Chipper. If one is able to modulate the brakes correctly, then covering them simply means you gain some time.. no? What am I missing here? And why cover the clutch?

I'm combining a bunch of things here, including the advice of someone whom many may feel to be a crackpot.. Jerry Palladino of the "Ride Like a Pro" series of videos. He says he's a Motor Officer Instructor.

Why the disagreement on something which seems, on the surface, to be so simple? Either save a second, or not. Why would anybody choose not to?

Sorry if I'm being characteristically dense.. ..but I just don't get the rationale behind not saving that second. I'm not disagreeing or arguing with you.. I'm just trying to understand the logic.

Thanks,
Bob
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post #29 of 33 Old Apr 25th, 2008, 9:48 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTrev
I think this is where I'm a tad confused, Chipper. If one is able to modulate the brakes correctly, then covering them simply means you gain some time.. no? What am I missing here? And why cover the clutch?

I'm combining a bunch of things here, including the advice of someone whom many may feel to be a crackpot.. Jerry Palladino of the "Ride Like a Pro" series of videos. He says he's a Motor Officer Instructor.

Why the disagreement on something which seems, on the surface, to be so simple? Either save a second, or not. Why would anybody choose not to?

Sorry if I'm being characteristically dense.. ..but I just don't get the rationale behind not saving that second. I'm not disagreeing or arguing with you.. I'm just trying to understand the logic.

Thanks,
Bob
Bob, the best way I can say this to make some sense is if you have a habit of covering the front brake while riding, riders will inadvertently pull on the brake lever in a panic situation causing a lot of problems. While covering the clutch you will take power away to the rear wheel for proper emergency braking, to keep it from either locking up or abs setting in. Remember the proper technique in making an emergency stop is to stay out of abs activating. As far as the covering the front brake just because one wanted to save on that 1/4 of a second reaction time is not warranted. There are many many situations that occur that brakes are not needed and quick acceleration or deceleration will be needed such as an evasive weave to avoid the hazard. And in those situations you would not want your fingers covering the brake lever, and on the grip completely.
I will cover the front brake when and if I am trying to anticipate something occurring in front of me. Such as entering an intersection and a vehicle is sitting at the same intersection waiting to either pull forward or turn in front of me I usually cover my front brake, and just prepare myself for an emergency braking situation. Then as soon as I am so close that braking wouldnt avoid the vehicle if it pulled out, I quit covering the brake and watch its wheels for moving and then I would either accelerate or make an aggressive weave to avoid the vehicle if it pulled out in front of me.
I hope this has shed a little light on the subject for you Bob.
Ride safely,

Bill (aka Chipper)
Elk Grove Ca.
2014 K1600GTL-E
2009 K1200LT (BLACK)-Traded In
2004 RTP Work Bike(Retired)
2002 LTE Totaled Aug/2011)
1978 H-D LowRider
1975 Honda-Goldwing
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post #30 of 33 Old Apr 26th, 2008, 6:56 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipper
Bob, the best way I can say this to make some sense is if you have a habit of covering the front brake while riding, riders will inadvertently pull on the brake lever in a panic situation causing a lot of problems. While covering the clutch you will take power away to the rear wheel for proper emergency braking, to keep it from either locking up or abs setting in. Remember the proper technique in making an emergency stop is to stay out of abs activating. As far as the covering the front brake just because one wanted to save on that 1/4 of a second reaction time is not warranted. There are many many situations that occur that brakes are not needed and quick acceleration or deceleration will be needed such as an evasive weave to avoid the hazard. And in those situations you would not want your fingers covering the brake lever, and on the grip completely.
I will cover the front brake when and if I am trying to anticipate something occurring in front of me. Such as entering an intersection and a vehicle is sitting at the same intersection waiting to either pull forward or turn in front of me I usually cover my front brake, and just prepare myself for an emergency braking situation. Then as soon as I am so close that braking wouldnt avoid the vehicle if it pulled out, I quit covering the brake and watch its wheels for moving and then I would either accelerate or make an aggressive weave to avoid the vehicle if it pulled out in front of me.
I hope this has shed a little light on the subject for you Bob.
Ride safely,
Yes, it has.. thank you Chipper!

I don't know where Jerry got those figures of 1/2 second to reach the brake, and another 1/2 second to begin applying it. Seems to me your 1/4 of a second is more realistic. And I can certainly see where many situations would require some solution beside braking, and you'd want a good firm grasp of the grips in those cases.

I really appreciate your willingness to share this stuff, Chipper. Learning never stops, and mine just took another jump.
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post #31 of 33 Old Apr 26th, 2008, 11:40 am
 
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

I am no math whiz but doesn't a moving object travel approx. 88 feet per second at 60mph? That being the case, a 1/2 second time saving on emergency braking translates into 44 feet - a distance that could mean the difference between collision or a "big scare".

I cover my brake and clutch because I know I can begin stopping sooner with two fingers over my brake then having to unwrap all fingers from the throttle (and left grip) first before finding the brake (and clutch) lever...

Actually, what I have discovered is that I do not have to use as much brake when I need to slow suddenly (but not needing to panic stop) when my two fingers are already loaded. Doesn't less hard braking = more control?

Gus

Last edited by Nodakgus; Apr 26th, 2008 at 11:47 am.
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post #32 of 33 Old Apr 26th, 2008, 9:51 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Look the most IMPORTANT part is knowing HOW to apply the brakes for any given situation. If you are not competent in this then "not covering" the brakes won't save you it just means you'll screw it up a bit later. If you ARE competent then covering the brakes will shave a bit of time off and most likely make the difference in surviving the incident.


The key is know how to brake properly first.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
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post #33 of 33 Old Apr 27th, 2008, 5:20 pm
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Re: Confused about covering my brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
Look the most IMPORTANT part is knowing HOW to apply the brakes for any given situation. If you are not competent in this then "not covering" the brakes won't save you it just means you'll screw it up a bit later. If you ARE competent then covering the brakes will shave a bit of time off and most likely make the difference in surviving the incident.


The key is know how to brake properly first.
I spent many years telling myself what I'd do in an emergency stop situation. I did this to prepare myself mentally in case I had to brake in a hurry.
One day I was suddenly faced with a small motorcycle coming at me at speed out of a side road. This was in the days before I had a bike with ABS. A collision was imminent but there was no time to think, only to act. Instinctively, I applied the brakes as hard as I could and my bike skidded to a halt with both wheels locked. My bike left rubber on the road for a distance of 12 feet and as it did so it fell over onto its side and dumped me onto the road. I had avoided a serious collision but that's the only positive thing that can be said about my handling of this emergency. Clearly, the mind-games I had played with myself earlier had not helped me.
The next time I had to stop in a frantic hurry was for an animal crossing my path. My new ABS-equipped bike came to a halt rapidly and under my control. The sheep I had avoided hitting took up its grazing on the other side of the road. Two emergency stop situations but with very different characteristics.
In my experience I think instinct takes over when an emergency situation arises, making you apply the brakes with all the strength you possess. ABS in a situation like that can be a real life-saver.
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