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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reminded last weekend of one of the basics of hard braking. I figured it was worth a post.

You can grab a fistful of front brake, nearly lock it up and still remain upright. However, you HAVE to first let the front end compress a bit. If you just grab 'em hard and fast, BANG!!

Even in pressure situations, you have to roll of the throttle, start to apply the brakes, let them bite, and then go into really hard braking. You can almost skip the front along the pavement doing this. If you just grab a fistful as soon as possible, you're gonna lock 'em up and go down.

Practice in a parking lot. It's amazing how much brake you can grab once they get their initial bite. And even more amazing how quickly you'll end up on your ass if you grad the same amount of brake without getting that initial bite.
 

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Spidey said:
You can grab a fistful of front brake, nearly lock it up and still remain upright. However, you HAVE to first let the front end compress a bit. If you just grab 'em hard and fast, BANG!!
Yep, they teach you that as "setup and squeeze" down here - cover the brake lever and brush it first just enough to settle the front suspension, then slowly _squeeeeeze_ the brake on harder. If you get it right you'll have the back wheel waving in the air _way_ before you lock the front up...

big
 

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I remember on the ride back home in sydney with the DMLER guys. I grabbed that rear brake to hard to avoid the dreaded red light camera and boy i was fish tailing like a 5.0 mustang. Whew it wasnt pretty but a learning lesson and a great recovery. 8)
 

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I have been practicing braking a lot latley because it was the one area I felt was severely lacking when I was at the track. It has been amazing how much faster you can stop yourself when you squeeze progressivly and not grab at the front brake. Twice recently I have experiance this front end shudder phenomena and it scared the piss out of me. Both time I was braking very hard and it happend. Does this happen on other types of bikes??? I read the FAQ but it doesnt seem like there is a fix. I have yet to lock up the front by braking too hard, so how hard is it to recover from a front lock up?
 

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Vindingo said:
so how hard is it to recover from a front lock up?
Its easy to recover - all you need to do is let some of the brake off. The thing thats hard about it is that everything happens so damn fast - usually by the time you've worked out you need to let the brake off, you're already on your ass...

I've only done it once in an emergency situation, and it all happened so fast I didin't even realise I'd done it until afterwards. I suspect if I hadn't spent some time practicing emergency braking (also knoen as "learning stoppies") that I wouldn't have instinctively let the brake off quickly enough - I was also annoyed with myself at the time though, because even though I "saved it" by letting the brake off quickly enough, I should never have locked it up in the first place...

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Yeah, I've chirped the front tire a couple of times and you can just ease off a bit to get control back. Not fun though!
 

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I have felt that shudder of the front end while under hard braking, using both brakes. This is my first time with a sportbike and I didn't know what to expect, so until reading this post I was thinking that that is the way the Ducati handles. I wasn't scared when coming to a quick slow-down for a tight turn and experiencing shudder, but someone tell me, was I using too much front brake or what? I never felt I was going to fall or lose control. Heck, I was going straight and slowing down quick, that's all.
 

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If you do a search on "shudder" or "judder" you'll find that it is not uncommon to get a kind of low frequency shudder as the bike comes to a complete stop, especially if you're going downhill. It isn't normal, but the 'fix' is elusive and could be any number of things.

On the other hand, if you get a pulsation in the brake lever at higher speeds, you might have a warped rotor.

The tech section is a good resource to figure out what's going on.
 

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Here's something that will get that last little bit out of your front brakes: When braking really hard, support your weight at the tank with your thighs. Relax on the grips. That will ease up some of the load on the front end and you can squeeze the lever just that little bit extra.
 

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I have been riding for a few years and thought I was pretty decent on the brakes. Last week while attending another MSF course mandated by work I was given a wake up call. Like so many others I had gotten way too comfortable with the single finger covering the front brake. Just afraid of doing that unwanted stoppie, I guess. My instructor got me back to using all four fingers, squeezing steady all the way to the rear. In no time I was at max braking and stopping much quicker. I was easy to do and definatly added to my skill and safety.
 

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I got really bad front end chatter when doing the panic stop exercises in the ERC. Instructor commented that he wouldn't be happy if his bike did that.

The fork was bottoming causing the tire to lose traction! Cranking the preload (and ultimately uprated springs) took care of that.
 

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i skidded at sudden stop signs twice recently. both were immediately after right curves and i wasnt completely out of the turn when i initially applied the brakes. kept perfect balance and didnt feel in danger at all. i also thought this was some proprietary ducati magic.

But aparently, im just a natural.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You probably skidded with the rear. It's really easy to lock it up, but also fairly easy to stay upright. The front can be a whole different story.
 

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possibly. im ususally pretty spry with the rear however.. to a fault even. unless im cornering hard and i get scared.
 

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CRASH! said:
I got really bad front end chatter when doing the panic stop exercises in the ERC. Instructor commented that he wouldn't be happy if his bike did that.

The fork was bottoming causing the tire to lose traction! Cranking the preload (and ultimately uprated springs) took care of that.
How can you tell if your forks are bottoming while you're riding the bike?
 

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If you need to see how much travel you are using, use zip ties tied to your fork sliders. This is poor man's data acquisition. :)
 

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Tam 212 said:
If you need to see how much travel you are using, use zip ties tied to your fork sliders. This is poor man's data acquisition. :)
What he said. Put a zip tie tighe around one of the sliders (near the top) and go ride the piss out of it. When you stop, check to see how far the tie has been pushed down. If it's hard on the fork bottom, you bottomed out during the ride!
 

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My fear is never "hard braking" but more of "loss of tyre traction" in a lean - particularly the front - and a subsequent lowside slide. This despite probably never getting anywhere near these limits.

I'd rather grab a handful of brake (progressively) which I am more comfortable with than test the limits of the lean /tyre grip.
 

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I don't think anyone was advocating grabbing a bunch of brake in the corners. I'm pretty sure Spidey was talking about straight line braking. Braking in the corners (aka 'Trail Braking') is more of an advanced race track technique than something you'd routinely use on the street. The best explanation of the technique I got from an instructor at a track day school. He said to think of the old 'traction pie' analogy and imagine that when you're tipping it in to a corner you might start out at 10% brake as the bike is starting to lean, but at max lean angle (the apex) you should be at zero brake, then as you start to exit the corner replace that braking with a symmetric amount of acceleration. At least that's the theory.

Usually if someone hits the brakes in a corner, often as the result of a panic reaction, the result is they'll be in the dirt or oncoming traffic PDQ.
 

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Motorbike messengers are the best when it comes to this subject.
 
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