Originally Posted by japgen
I'm awaiting delivery of a 2012 RT, which hopefully will be arriving in September. Can't wait! As I understand it, the brakes are integrated so the rear brake engages when the front brake lever is pulled. In the MSF course we were taught to get in the habit of always using both brakes when stopping (under normal conditions). That is the way I'm used to riding.
Does this rule apply with integrated brakes? With the RT should I continue to apply both brakes during normal straight line braking, or is applying only the front brake lever sufficient/recommended?
I'm new to this forum, too. Thanks to all for your help.
Yes, continue to brake using both exactly like you are used to doing as the brakes will continue to respond to your input the way you expect them to. This is very important since there will be other thngs you need to get used to on the bike for the next 50,000 miles or so.
Now, on to some theory and why:
There are some that are professing to use the front brake only so that you develop the habit of modulating the front brake only. Some police training courses, I understand, are forbidding using the rear brake at all unless they need to lay the bike down.
The whole argument stems from the determination after many years of accident data that improper use of the brakes is a major contriutor (if not the majority contributor) to motorcycle frontal collisions. What happens is, in an emergency situation, the operator applies too much braking force to the rear and tends to lock the tire as the weight transfers forward. When that happens the operator then lets go of both the front and rear to compensate and you can imagine what trouble that would end up causing.
Your BMW will have ABS so that is a great start toward good braking in emergency and adverse conditions. Without lock up you will not try to let go of either brake so front/rear braking will not be an issue other than the development of habits. I had a plate in the battery of my K1100LT short out and the voltage spike fried my ABS module. A replacement was expensive so I rode without ABS for a while. The habits I developed with ABS and my front/rear braking combinations was a disaster waiting to happen. I frequently locked up the rear until my ABS was operational again. So some profess that a rider needs to develop good habits with proper braking in case the ABS fails. My theory is to ride the bike and develop new habits when the ABS fails, but that is me. That situation is an anamoly and you should ride based upon normal conditions. We don't develop habits in case tires go flat, the engine isn't running right, or a windshield is broken; all things that are more likely than an ABS failure. The only real danger is hopping on another bike without ABS, but that would have more differences than just braking.
Now for why the integrated brakes are rear only with the pedal and front/rear with the lever; under hard braking about 90% of the braking force is carried by the front. The theory in teaching riders to use the front brake only is that 90% is better than dealing with a rider locking up the rear and then letting go. So, some prefess to use the lever only. By integrating the rear with the lever pull the stopping effectiveness with the lever only is higher than 90%. So the integrated brakes are designed to give maximum braking forces with just the use of the lever!
So why have a rear brake at all? Trailbraking into corners, low speed parking lot maneuvers modulating the clutch/throttle/rear brake, stopped at a traffic light and you want to scratch your nose...etc.
So, my advice is to continue to brake the way you are comfortable but at the same time know that if you want to, one day, use just the front brake you can do that too! With the integrated brakes and ABS, you will be covered for nearly all conditions! So start off with what you are comfortable with, learn and become comfortable with the reast of the bike, then at some point in the future you can begin to experiment.
I hope this helps!