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post #1 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 7:55 am Thread Starter
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Integrated Brakes Question

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.
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post #2 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 8:29 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
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.
On my old LT (NON intergrated brakes) I use the front 95% of the time. Now on my New GTL (intergrated) I still only use the Front 95% of the time. I only use both when I REALLY Need to stop Fast. When you use the front only you get ALL of the front brake & about 25% of the rear. If you use the rear you ONLY get the rear.

Stevie Shreeve
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post #3 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 8:53 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
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.
I always use both brakes -- frankly, I believe integrated brakes are the result of too many people not using both brakes, and the manufacturers developing a band-aid to compensate for the low competence level of too much of the riding public.

I also use both brakes all the time because it trains me for instinctive use of both brakes in panic situations. It also maintains my training to use both brakes on my non-integrated brake bikes.

Mark Neblett
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post #4 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 8:56 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Mark
I think you are right. There are still legions out there what think you should never use the back brake. Thus, in a panic stop, they are guaranteed to skid.
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post #5 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 9:01 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
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!

regards,
Dan

2006 K1200GT - the Jagdpanther has arrived as of 5-Aug-2011
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post #6 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 9:20 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

The front brake lever activates both the front and rear brake by applying a percentage of the total braking force to the front brake and the remainder to the rear. So by using the front brake control you are actually using both brakes. There are times when it is appropriate to use only the rear brake. Trail braking for corners is one example of this. I am not a great fan of integrated brakes but that's what we have and from time to time I do use only the front brake control. If I need to stop quickly, I use both controls (probably more out of habit than actual need since the front lever controls both) For speed corrections on the road and slow riding etc, I use only the rear. I find the rear control is more sensitive to rider input than the front.

Ride safe and enjoy the bike.
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post #7 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 9:33 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Continue to brake as you were taught and are used to. What I can tell you is adding the rear brake will do very little, you will feel the pedal kicking at your foot even with light effort.

You can add a little more rear brake pressure if applied slightly before squeezing the front brake lever. Adding rear after the front seems to kick at your foot quickly.

The rear is good for parking lots or for smooth stopping under 5mph other then that the rear doesn't add a whole lot.

Find a parking lot and experiment.
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post #8 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 10:46 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by mneblett
I always use both brakes -- frankly, I believe integrated brakes are the result of too many people not using both brakes, and the manufacturers developing a band-aid to compensate for the low competence level of too much of the riding public.

I also use both brakes all the time because it trains me for instinctive use of both brakes in panic situations. It also maintains my training to use both brakes on my non-integrated brake bikes.
Mr. Neblett is absolutely correct, and the key word is "instinctive." You don't want to make a slow speed stop in some gravely parking lot with only the front!

I try to attend (and have) as many advanced techniques and refresher courses as possible, and the better ones have always stressed braking drills: straight, curves, slow, fast, panic, planned, etc. Your BMW as you will learn has some truly great braking ability, by all means use both brakes. They will haul down the motorcycle (with little or no front end dive) with just one finger from highway plus speeds---and are wondefully controllable. Be prudent and careful, but do practice braking technique on your own, get the feel of how the bike re acts, etc. When you begin to feel the pulsing from the ABS doing it's thing, you will truly appreciate what you have! And oh yes---be sure to "break in your brakes" before you start to really "get on them."
Down the road (no pun), the word 'instinctive" may save your life!
Good luck and many happy miles with your new bike.
Dave

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post #9 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 1:49 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

^^^ Great thread; I learned something here.

Tks/Cheers,

BB
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post #10 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 2:04 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by heavynikonf3
You don't want to make a slow speed stop in some gravely parking lot with only the front!
Won't the rear brake engage also (whether you want it or not)?
Isn't that the whole point of an (semi or full) integrated brake system?
What I feel is that the brake system makes the use of the brake pedal mostly redundant, except for
slow turns where I sometimes use it to "stabilize" the bike. Otherwise I have stopped using the rear
brake pedal, I don't feel that I can improve on the braking of the integrated system.

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post #11 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 3:18 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaby
Won't the rear brake engage also (whether you want it or not)?
Isn't that the whole point of an (semi or full) integrated brake system?
What I feel is that the brake system makes the use of the brake pedal mostly redundant, except for
slow turns where I sometimes use it to "stabilize" the bike. Otherwise I have stopped using the rear
brake pedal, I don't feel that I can improve on the braking of the integrated system.
Hi Gaby---I probably did not express it in the right way; if you were to use the front brake only in a dirt/gravel/icy/slippery situation, in particular while riding in slowly, you would be asking for trouble. Even with linked brakes, the front gets the lion's share of stopping force. The effect at slower speed on the linked rear brake would be minimal.
It would most likely, front brake only, cause the tire to slip sideways, like trying to walk on a field of ball bearings! Ever notice how the better Dual Sport bikes have ABS that can be selected on or off? That makes trips on the dirt much easier for them. Dynamic forces such as sudden weight transfer to the front would only excaberate the situation.

I don't feel like I'm trying to improve on the linked system, but by using BOTH brakes I am getting much better braking performance. And, safer.

2010 R1200 RT, Current Chariot
2007 Triumph Scrambler, Hoodlum
2005 H-D Road King, Trustworthy and fun
1980 R100 RT. Old friend of 22 years, all good
1971 BSA B50 SS, One lung funster
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post #12 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 3:19 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

The rear brake will operate when the front is used. To see/hear it operate, turn the key on (no need to start the engine) and with the bike on the center stand give the rear wheel a spin and lightly apply the front brake.
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post #13 of 21 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 7:13 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Rear brake works pretty good on dirt too. The only problem is the ABS on dirt causes heart problems when down hill on a switchback with ruts and it cuts in as your skipping to the edge with a drop off. Yikes. Funny, my K13S lets me turn off the ABS which I do if I have to use a dirt road, not so lucky with the RT.

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post #14 of 21 Old Aug 17th, 2011, 3:38 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by heavynikonf3
Hi Gaby---I probably did not express it in the right way; if you were to use the front brake only in a dirt/gravel/icy/slippery situation, in particular while riding in slowly, you would be asking for trouble. Even with linked brakes, the front gets the lion's share of stopping force. The effect at slower speed on the linked rear brake would be minimal.
It would most likely, front brake only, cause the tire to slip sideways, like trying to walk on a field of ball bearings! Ever notice how the better Dual Sport bikes have ABS that can be selected on or off? That makes trips on the dirt much easier for them. Dynamic forces such as sudden weight transfer to the front would only excaberate the situation.

I don't feel like I'm trying to improve on the linked system, but by using BOTH brakes I am getting much better braking performance. And, safer.
I agree (and perhaps I didn't read your first answer very well ), although I don't know what the action of the rear
brake will be under the circumstances you describe. The reason I don't know is that I haven't tried it (yet)

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post #15 of 21 Old Aug 17th, 2011, 8:16 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Another reason to continue to use your rear brake. Someday you might be on a bike that does not have the superior brakes of the newer BMW's and you will want to have all the braking you can have. It is easy to get complacent and just use a finger to stop your bike.

I went from my ABS servo assist '05 RT, which has the best brakes on any bike I have owned to the '94 R100GSPD with the worst brake system of any bike I had owned. Terrible braking, even after upgrading the front caliper, was the main reason I just sold the GS.

Nick
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post #16 of 21 Old Aug 17th, 2011, 10:38 am
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dceggert
Some police training courses, I understand, are forbidding using the rear brake at all unless they need to lay the bike down.
When you say you "understand" does that mean you heard it from an instructor or you saw an instructor teach this? Being a motor officer I have never heard an instructor tell me not to use the rear brake. In fact, we use the rear brake a lot because 95% of our training involves slow speed maneuvering, rear brake only. This leads me to be very heavy in my use of the rear brake.

My advise is to continue using both brakes like you always have. The integrated brakes are nice, but there is no reason to stop riding like you always have. I also agree that they are a band aid for the many squids that populate our roads.

Joel
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post #17 of 21 Old Aug 17th, 2011, 12:34 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

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Originally Posted by RT1200-290
When you say you "understand" does that mean you heard it from an instructor or you saw an instructor teach this? Being a motor officer I have never heard an instructor tell me not to use the rear brake. In fact, we use the rear brake a lot because 95% of our training involves slow speed maneuvering, rear brake only. This leads me to be very heavy in my use of the rear brake.

My advise is to continue using both brakes like you always have. The integrated brakes are nice, but there is no reason to stop riding like you always have. I also agree that they are a band aid for the many squids that populate our roads.

Joel
Joel,
I have never participated in the LEO training but there is a thread over at advrider that shows the 2011 competitions and there was a quite lengthy string of notes from LEO's commenting on the rear brake use during the competitions and what was involved in their training. From the comments it would appear that it is not a universal thing amongst all the training.

I can attest to the effectiveness of the rear brake at slow speeds since owning my Ultra. I received personal coaching from a LEO that participated in synchronized riding and my handling of that bike at slow speeds improved 400%.

It is kind of funny now that after 7 years on the Ultra and using the rear brake to smooth out corners I find myself doing it on my K-GT as well. It is much less effective on the GT than the Ultra in my opinion.

That is the extent of my 'understanding' and yes, the comments on teaching not to use the rear brake was a shock to other LEO's as well!

regards,
Dan

2006 K1200GT - the Jagdpanther has arrived as of 5-Aug-2011
1999 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

Used to have:
2005 R1200GS
1994 K1100LT
1988 K75s
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post #18 of 21 Old Aug 17th, 2011, 1:23 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Your new RT has powerful brakes compared to many other motorcycles. You should play with them enough to get used to them.

The use of the front lever applies some rear brake as has been noted. You can ride this way but it sacrifices some of what the rear can contribute so using both brakes is better...

BUT- the RT has an absolutely crappy feeling rear brake that provides almost no feedback- Its soft, long travel, etc etc- about everything wrong with its design that is possible to do to contribute to crappy feel. So when you use it do not be surprised if you trip the rear ABS, get that "two stage" spongy feeling, etc. Its feel is slightly improved with a "harder" pad like the EBC HH but its master cylinder and lever ratios are so wrong that only fundamental redesign will really fix the lousy rear feel. Frankly, the rears on older BMWs with non linked systems are much superior.

The fronts OTOH are quite nice in stock form. BMW uses some very high grade components in the brake systems (eg excellent metal tubing and coated stainless braid lines, good caliper designs, etc) that contribute to the longevity and reliability of the system- though the very small passages in bike ABS units absolutely require fluid changes at least every two years if you don't want to buy a very expensive replacement ABS unit)

There are at least 2 posters in this thread who apparently do not know what trail braking is- here is accurate information about it. Trail braking is the technique of carrying brakes into a turn and easing off the brake effort as the vehicle turns in (as compared to braking in a straight line only which is taught to beginners, it allows the turn to be part of the braking zone). Its purpose is to allow carrying greater speed into turns and to get away with it by using the weight transfer to the front of the vehicle that is caused by the FRONT brake to assist with pointing the bike into the corner. Its a skill that must be mastered by racers but, while helpful on twisties (it can reduce riding effort as well as allowing greater speed into corners), is not an absolute requirement for safe street operation of a motorcycle. The REAR brake is not relevant to trail braking and in a linked system, whether 4 wheel or 2 wheel, is simply along for the ride. In fact it is generally a good idea not to use REAR alone when approaching corners at higher speeds for the simple reason that most bikes want to "stand up" if the rear alone is used and that will cause the bike to want to run wide into the other lane in a turn, possibly with lethal consequences if the rider doesn't immediately correct for it. The RT and other "lever" suspension front bikes respond pretty well to trail braking but also provide less feel for traction under braking than traditional telescopic forks. The RT ABS is rather primitive- slow to reset being one of it annoying properties- and is the bike equivalent of first generation car systems. It needs both hardware and software improvements to match the best but is functional.

A good way to learn brake skills is to do some track time (strong use of fronts, trail braking, etc) and some "parking lot" stuff (rear for slow speed maneuvers)
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post #19 of 21 Old Aug 17th, 2011, 3:41 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by racer7
Your new RT has powerful brakes compared to many other motorcycles. You should play with them enough to get used to them.

The use of the front lever applies some rear brake as has been noted. You can ride this way but it sacrifices some of what the rear can contribute so using both brakes is better...

BUT- the RT has an absolutely crappy feeling rear brake that provides almost no feedback- Its soft, long travel, etc etc- about everything wrong with its design that is possible to do to contribute to crappy feel. So when you use it do not be surprised if you trip the rear ABS, get that "two stage" spongy feeling, etc. Its feel is slightly improved with a "harder" pad like the EBC HH but its master cylinder and lever ratios are so wrong that only fundamental redesign will really fix the lousy rear feel. Frankly, the rears on older BMWs with non linked systems are much superior.

The fronts OTOH are quite nice in stock form. BMW uses some very high grade components in the brake systems (eg excellent metal tubing and coated stainless braid lines, good caliper designs, etc) that contribute to the longevity and reliability of the system- though the very small passages in bike ABS units absolutely require fluid changes at least every two years if you don't want to buy a very expensive replacement ABS unit)

There are at least 2 posters in this thread who apparently do not know what trail braking is- here is accurate information about it. Trail braking is the technique of carrying brakes into a turn and easing off the brake effort as the vehicle turns in (as compared to braking in a straight line only which is taught to beginners, it allows the turn to be part of the braking zone). Its purpose is to allow carrying greater speed into turns and to get away with it by using the weight transfer to the front of the vehicle that is caused by the FRONT brake to assist with pointing the bike into the corner. Its a skill that must be mastered by racers but, while helpful on twisties (it can reduce riding effort as well as allowing greater speed into corners), is not an absolute requirement for safe street operation of a motorcycle. The REAR brake is not relevant to trail braking and in a linked system, whether 4 wheel or 2 wheel, is simply along for the ride. In fact it is generally a good idea not to use REAR alone when approaching corners at higher speeds for the simple reason that most bikes want to "stand up" if the rear alone is used and that will cause the bike to want to run wide into the other lane in a turn, possibly with lethal consequences if the rider doesn't immediately correct for it. The RT and other "lever" suspension front bikes respond pretty well to trail braking but also provide less feel for traction under braking than traditional telescopic forks. The RT ABS is rather primitive- slow to reset being one of it annoying properties- and is the bike equivalent of first generation car systems. It needs both hardware and software improvements to match the best but is functional.

A good way to learn brake skills is to do some track time (strong use of fronts, trail braking, etc) and some "parking lot" stuff (rear for slow speed maneuvers)


So your definition of "Trail Braking" is applying brake (front and rear) before the apex of a corner to allow for faster cornering? I haven't heard this before. I don't race so I try and set up my entry speed before I tip the bike in.

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post #20 of 21 Old Aug 17th, 2011, 4:58 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

Ted,
The technique you use is what is generally taught. It is suitable and preferable for most street riding because it is conservative.

Learning trail braking (where the brakes are eased off while turning) is most easily done in a car in tight turns. By braking later and more heavily on the straight, then easing off after turn in is started, the weight transfer to the front is maintained in the corner and the vehicle turns more easily and has higher average speed through the turn. Mastering this is a necessity for racing because much passing is done under brakes going into corners at the end of fast straights. However, on the street, carrying higher speeds into turns, especially blind ones like many in our NC mountains or the animal laden ones in WV, can be bad for your health and strong braking used at the start of a trail braking entry may exceed traction limits on slick street surfaces. So for public roads it is a "do it carefully and only when appropriate" method.

I find myself trail braking from moderate speeds on some our really tight mountain twisties mostly because the delayed and then sustained weight transfer makes cornering easier on an RT which responds well to the method. Because my bike has linked brakes, I am off the rear pedal and using the front lever only (which give a proportioned rear input anyway) at the turn in point. The easier turning makes my ride a little lazier- I'm not typically trying for the fastest possible speed- that's way too dangerous off the track for my tastes. For most street corners I do what you do because it allows earlier use of throttle and a faster corner exit plus the late apex that goes with it allows better visibility.

Mario Andretti (one of a very few who has won in virtually all forms of 4 wheel racing) is well known for not saying much about his driving methods when questioned by others. But one thing he did note when questioned is that "most people think brakes are for stopping....". The importance of brakes to cornering is well understood by racers though not often discussed by most. Every time you see a bike racer "backing" into a corner you are watching an example of brakes being effectively used to alter vehicle dynamics and improve cornering. Watch any of the AMA road races, Moto GP, or World SuperBike stuff on Speed and you'll see frequent use of brakes well in to turns

Trail braking (cars) is one of the earlier skills I teach track students as part of developing their feel for vehicle dynamics. It provides a mini effect of what the front wings do on adding downforce to the front of a car- its downforce on the tires that allows higher traction and therefore higher speeds at turn entry. Trail braking transfers a higher portion of total traction to the front steering wheel(s) allowing faster turn ins but the back will also start to come around faster because rear traction is decreased- so the driver/rider must maintain coordination to keep the vehicle in dynamic control while using this method or he may spin out. The reduction in rear traction is what makes this method especially useful for tight corners where this temporary effect will make turning easier - in prolonged high speed sweepers it is less useful for turning but will still allow higher speeds for longer periods on the straight which is how races get won. If you were to sit next to me in a track car, you would see I'm on the brakes nearly all the way to the corner apex at the end of each straight. In cars, left foot braking is part of this repertoire for racers, also. No lost time moving the right foot from throttle to brake plus simultaneous applications of throttle and brake become possible as they are on a motorcycle.

It is useful to understand the differences between racing and simply going fast. Racing is the game of beating the other guy to the end and what one does to accomplish that will certainly not be the fastest possible way there unless one can pull an early lead and simply motor away from competitors. For example, defending cornering lines against attack will involve using the tightest inside radius in some corners which will be slower than using a larger radius- but if you give the inside to your opponent he will pass you and chop you off at the turn exit. Knowing when and how to defend are required racing skills. In any race you will see many passes where a legitimate and legal defense was missed because the driver was concentrating on fast, not on winning, and ended up losing a place. Indeed, as a follower you are trying to deceive the guy you're chasing about when and how you will attempt to pass him to minimize his chance of successful defense- you may well make various feints and fakes as part of that deception. (Note that understanding the rules re blocking is also necessary lest you be shunned by other competitors and disqualified by officials. Rubbing is racing but nobody appreciates blocking).

Last edited by racer7; Aug 17th, 2011 at 5:33 pm.
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post #21 of 21 Old Aug 18th, 2011, 6:03 pm
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Re: Integrated Brakes Question

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Originally Posted by racer7
Ted,
The technique you use is what is generally taught. It is suitable and preferable for most street riding because it is conservative.

Learning trail braking (where the brakes are eased off while turning) is most easily done in a car in tight turns. By braking later and more heavily on the straight, then easing off after turn in is started, the weight transfer to the front is maintained in the corner and the vehicle turns more easily and has higher average speed through the turn. Mastering this is a necessity for racing because much passing is done under brakes going into corners at the end of fast straights. However, on the street, carrying higher speeds into turns, especially blind ones like many in our NC mountains or the animal laden ones in WV, can be bad for your health and strong braking used at the start of a trail braking entry may exceed traction limits on slick street surfaces. So for public roads it is a "do it carefully and only when appropriate" method.

I find myself trail braking from moderate speeds on some our really tight mountain twisties mostly because the delayed and then sustained weight transfer makes cornering easier on an RT which responds well to the method. Because my bike has linked brakes, I am off the rear pedal and using the front lever only (which give a proportioned rear input anyway) at the turn in point. The easier turning makes my ride a little lazier- I'm not typically trying for the fastest possible speed- that's way too dangerous off the track for my tastes. For most street corners I do what you do because it allows earlier use of throttle and a faster corner exit plus the late apex that goes with it allows better visibility.

Mario Andretti (one of a very few who has won in virtually all forms of 4 wheel racing) is well known for not saying much about his driving methods when questioned by others. But one thing he did note when questioned is that "most people think brakes are for stopping....". The importance of brakes to cornering is well understood by racers though not often discussed by most. Every time you see a bike racer "backing" into a corner you are watching an example of brakes being effectively used to alter vehicle dynamics and improve cornering. Watch any of the AMA road races, Moto GP, or World SuperBike stuff on Speed and you'll see frequent use of brakes well in to turns

Trail braking (cars) is one of the earlier skills I teach track students as part of developing their feel for vehicle dynamics. It provides a mini effect of what the front wings do on adding downforce to the front of a car- its downforce on the tires that allows higher traction and therefore higher speeds at turn entry. Trail braking transfers a higher portion of total traction to the front steering wheel(s) allowing faster turn ins but the back will also start to come around faster because rear traction is decreased- so the driver/rider must maintain coordination to keep the vehicle in dynamic control while using this method or he may spin out. The reduction in rear traction is what makes this method especially useful for tight corners where this temporary effect will make turning easier - in prolonged high speed sweepers it is less useful for turning but will still allow higher speeds for longer periods on the straight which is how races get won. If you were to sit next to me in a track car, you would see I'm on the brakes nearly all the way to the corner apex at the end of each straight. In cars, left foot braking is part of this repertoire for racers, also. No lost time moving the right foot from throttle to brake plus simultaneous applications of throttle and brake become possible as they are on a motorcycle.

It is useful to understand the differences between racing and simply going fast. Racing is the game of beating the other guy to the end and what one does to accomplish that will certainly not be the fastest possible way there unless one can pull an early lead and simply motor away from competitors. For example, defending cornering lines against attack will involve using the tightest inside radius in some corners which will be slower than using a larger radius- but if you give the inside to your opponent he will pass you and chop you off at the turn exit. Knowing when and how to defend are required racing skills. In any race you will see many passes where a legitimate and legal defense was missed because the driver was concentrating on fast, not on winning, and ended up losing a place. Indeed, as a follower you are trying to deceive the guy you're chasing about when and how you will attempt to pass him to minimize his chance of successful defense- you may well make various feints and fakes as part of that deception. (Note that understanding the rules re blocking is also necessary lest you be shunned by other competitors and disqualified by officials. Rubbing is racing but nobody appreciates blocking).

Good info. I'll work on this the next time I'm on a familiar stretch of road. I've done a few track days on my 12GS but they were rider improvement days geared towards street skills...

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