For you rear brake haters. - Page 3 - ZX6R Forum
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post #31 of 43 Old 04-28-2017, 05:12 AM
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I wish I had understood this trick and applied it on the Yamaha, because I could have slowed down later and I wouldn’t have always had that handicap under braking. Surely last year I lost because of that.[/I]"
Umm...or because Marquez was just better

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post #32 of 43 Old 04-28-2017, 10:24 AM
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Everything you do on a motorcycle is a learned skill. I'd even argue that being able to stop is the most vital of these.

As these are all learned skills, does it not make the most sense to incorporate the use of all controls? I'm sure that no one here (on either side of this argument) would be daft enough to claim that learning to use the rear brake as a means of controlling wheel speed when rear-wheel steering or to load the suspension on approach to a fast sweeper would be included from the beginning. Indeed, these are skills that utilised in a very specific set of circumstances, and by riders at high levels.

However, learning to apply the rear brake to increase your braking power is not something only achieved by the rare few. If it were, rear brakes wouldn't be found on standard road machines. Applying the rear brake does affect the geometry and load of your suspension, but more importantly, it allows you to stop in a shorter distance. There are also events found in the everyday in which it's useful to increase the usage of the rear brake as opposed to relying on the front. Wet, slippery roads are just one such example. Have you ever tried applying the front brake on soft sand? If you haven't, I'll tell you that it's a one-way ticket to tucking the front.

As much as there's a huge amount of bravado in describing our skills as riders, the application of the rear brake is something that every road learner learns from day one. Let's not write off use of the rear brake as something to be employed only by the very top end of racing superstars (yes, some use it and some don't). If someone who's wobbling around cones on their first day can learn to use the rear brake to steady themselves at low speed, I'm pretty sure someone who's progressed beyond this stage can possess this "high level superstar" skill... maybe even *gasp* use it more effectively?

Perhaps consider this: When Mick Doohan made his return to 500GP and proceeded to utterly decimate the competition for the next five years, if a rear brake weren't something useful, would all the expense and effort be made to add a thumb-operated unit to accommodate his now-limited right leg?

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post #33 of 43 Old 04-28-2017, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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I learned how to use the rear brake around 1967 when I got my first minibike. It only had a rear brake. Then growing up on dirt bikes you make "extensive" use of the rear brake. It was just natural for me to use it on my street and race bikes. As you said, it's just another control available to help maximize the control over your machine.
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post #34 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 04:51 AM
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Twistee, when you are stopping on the track is your rear wheel in the air? If not, you are not adequately using the front brake which is >90% of your braking power. Spend your time learning to utilize the tool that gives you the largest gain and THEN play around with the rear brake.

If you ARE one of those few who uses their front brake to its full potential then congratulations! However you need to understand that the simple fact is that the vast majority of the people here are not at a level where the rear brake can do anything but add complication and risk to track riding.

I do not think anyone here is saying 'don't use your rear brake', they are saying 'use it only after you can get the most out of the front'.

You list Mick Doohan as an example. Do you ride like him? Does anyone here? You are comparing the top .001% to the rest of us which simply is not a fair comparison. Sorry if that damages your ego but it is a simple truth.

The rear brake is used on the track for two main reasons:

Subtle geometry changes under trail braking at or near the apex.
Settling the chassis when experiencing front end chatter.

Neither of these things are anything that your average (or even seriously above average) track rider should concern themselves with. I teach the advanced racing school at Penguin and I spend my days helping already expert level racers get faster. Even then, I would say that <2% of my students are ready for these things.

The point of learning track riding is to focus on where the biggest gains are. If you are at a point in your riding where you feel that this is all you have left to learn then by all means delve into it (and I expect to watch you in BSB) but if you are not yet at that level then I would stress that there are likely other areas of riding where you can improve your skills that will yield you better results.

Sorry if this seems harsh. It is not my intention to slam anyone but I am sick to death of this subject. I really dislike having to pick up downed riders, and that happens A LOT when messing with the rear brake at the track unless you are 100% prepared for it...and even then it is a risk.
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post #35 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 10:45 AM
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I'm in no way comparing myself to Doohan, nor am I anticipating that anyone on this forum would possess a fraction of his skill. To be quite honest, I doubt anyone on the current MotoGP grid possesses more than 80% of his talent and ability. Yes, in retrospect, the example I gave was extreme.

A more appropriate example may be that, for really bumpy circuits like Snetterton, you can't place 100% in the front end. The suspension settings you're forced to adopt to deal with the circuit's eccentricities means running the risk of bottoming out the front end. Using the rear brake to better settle things and make up some lost braking power really did help. Perhaps it's because I've always made use of the rear brake that I'm perfectly comfortable incorporating it on both road (where it really is a useful tool) and track. If you've never made use of the rear brake, trying to use it on a whim is a very poor idea.

This is solely my opinion, and absolutely no offence was taken. I fully accept that my opinion, riding style and choices won't match everyone - or perhaps anyone - else's. As far as the track is concerned, I was a competent racer (I'm now 40 and broke, so BSB is likely to pass me by in this lifetime), and I always left my ego where it belongs; in a dumpster somewhere.
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post #36 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 12:25 PM
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I have used the rear brake before. I've caused a number of back end slides with the Minja (mini ninja) by using it. Never moved the back on the ZX6R. I got to the point where, if I'm stopping, I'm using as much front as I can. I do use the rear occasionally to bleed a little speed right as I'm approaching tip in if I don't want to compress the front forks (like I'm comfortable with the current chassis orientation and I don't want to increase turning/tip in rate).

I don't brake hard enough with the front to lift the rear wheel. I don't use the rear when emergency stopping. I still use the rear sometimes even if I'm not a MotoGP racer.
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post #37 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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You should learn how to use "both" of your brakes from the 1st day you get on a bike. Period. Again, it makes absolutely no sense to ignore one of your controls and not become proficient with it. Once you become proficient with each control and understand how and when they will help you, you'll be much better off. I can't tell you how tired I get of self proclaimed experts stating otherwise. It is true that the rear brake isn't effective in every situation, but it IS effective in MANY situations. Hell, the front brake isn't effective in some situations and there are times when you'll want to use only rear or very little front (off track). But, knowing when and where to use each and how much of a combination of each will most definitely make you a better rider. It's simple physics.
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Last edited by trackdayhero; 04-29-2017 at 02:07 PM.
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post #38 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by trackdayhero View Post
You should learn how to use "both" of your brakes from the 1st day you get on a bike. Period. Again, it makes absolutely no sense to ignore one of your controls. Once you become proficient with each control and understand how and when they will help you, you'll be much better off. I can't tell you how tired I get of self proclaimed experts stating otherwise. It is true that the rear brake isn't effective in every situation, but it IS effective in MANY situations. Hell, the front brake isn't effective in some situations and there are times when you'll want to use only rear or very little front (off track). But, knowing when and where to use each and how much of a combination of each will most definitely make you a better rider.
Which is exactly what I tried - and failed, it would seem - to point out in my previous post. No one is expecting that you'd use a super-advanced skill with any control medium before learning the basics. However, using the rear brake is a basic skill. I wouldn't expect anyone to use the throttle to drift the rear tyre on their first track day. It's a much more advanced skill that comes with experience. I don't expect anyone to use the rear brake to stabilise their suspension geometry on their first day. It's an advanced skill that comes with experience.

To my mind, not expecting someone to have the essentials of the use of the rear brake is like expecting them not to have reasonable ability in use of the throttle.

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post #39 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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I guess we'll agree to disagree. Using the rear brake is a basic skill. It is not an advanced skill. MotoGP riders don't make it all the way to MotoGP before they start using their rear brakes. No, they used it all the way from the peewee bikes they started on. I think people should be forced to ride a dirt bike off road for a couple of years before getting a license to ride on the street. Learning the basics on the street or racetrack is much more dangerous. But that's just me. Also, not all riders choose to use the rear and can do quite well, but it's a choice that works best for that particular individual. It will always be wrong to tell someone to not learn how to use it, even early on. You're cheating them. Now, certainly if I see someone using all or mostly rear in most/all situations I will educate them that most of the braking power comes from the front and to help them work on that, but I won't tell them to stop use the rear completely.
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Last edited by trackdayhero; 04-29-2017 at 02:34 PM.
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post #40 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Twistee View Post
Which is exactly what I tried - and failed, it would seem - to point out in my previous post. No one is expecting that you'd use a super-advanced skill with any control medium before learning the basics. However, using the rear brake is a basic skill. I wouldn't expect anyone to use the throttle to drift the rear tyre on their first track day. It's a much more advanced skill that comes with experience. I don't expect anyone to use the rear brake to stabilise their suspension geometry on their first day. It's an advanced skill that comes with experience.

To my mind, not expecting someone to have the essentials of the use of the rear brake is like expecting them not to have reasonable ability in use of the throttle.
I so not think you failed to make your point, I guess that like you, I have a different perspective. I will include it in greater detail below.

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Originally Posted by trackdayhero View Post
I guess we'll agree to disagree. Using the rear brake is a basic skill. It is not an advanced skill. MotoGP riders don't make it all the way to MotoGP before they start using their rear brakes. No, they used it all the way from the peewee bikes they started on. I think people should be forced to ride a dirt bike off road for a couple of years before getting a license to ride on the street. Learning the basics on the street or racetrack is much more dangerous. But that's just me. Also, not all riders choose to use the rear and can do quite well, but it's a choice that works best for that particular individual. It will always be wrong to tell someone to not learn how to use it, even early on. You're cheating them. Now, certainly if I see someone using all or mostly rear in most/all situations I will educate them that most of the braking power comes from the front and to help them work on that, but I won't tell them to stop use the rear completely.
I think we need to be absolutely clear that we are discussing track riding here, exclusively. Or at least that was my understanding? If not then yes, I completely agree with you that everyone should know how to use the rear brake on a motorcycle, and more appropriately when to use it.

For track riding, it really is quite simple. As I briefly explained before, the front brake is responsible for the vast majority of your stopping power. >90% for sure and I hope that we can all agree on this fact.

The reason I strongly advise against messing with the rear brake on the track is simple ROI. Unless a rider is fully utilizing the front brake, that is where they should be focusing their efforts. Considering that most track riders never master this skill, to me it seems senseless to invest energies elsewhere.

The only way to increase speed on the track (which should be the goal of every track rider) is to maximize use of their controls. When feeding throttle on after a turn, it should be the goal of the rider to add as much throttle as possible without crashing. I add throttle until my rear just starts to spin and then I know that I am accelerating as fast as I can. Can we agree on this?

The same is true of braking. If you are touching your brake lever at all, you should be braking as hard as the conditions allow. Meaning that if you are going into a turn and using 20% of your braking ability when the grip is available for 80% (which is your average track rider) you are leaving time on the table.

Let's use a scenario of straight up and down braking because it allows for easy math. Rider A is entering a braking zone and using 20% of their brakes to go from 100mph to 30mph in 400', Rider B is entering the same zone and uses 80% of their braking and slows from 100mph to 30mph in 150'. That is 250' that Rider B can be on the throttle while Rider A is already slowing down and so Rider B would have significantly faster lap times. Sorry for the back story but it is necessary to ensure that everyone understands that front brake mastery directly=faster lap times. Using this example it is very easy to see that mastering this skill is paramount.

Now, to the subject at hand. Rider B is braking at 80% which is enough to make his rear wheel light or start to 'dance' on the pavement. What happens if he is also using the rear brake? The rear wheel locks up solid, that's what. The rear tire/wheel constitutes about 60% of the rotational mass of the motorcycle (crankshaft and front wheel making up the remainder). The gyroscopic effect of that rotating mass is what gives the bike its stability so if you manage to lock up the rear wheel you have just reduced the stability of the motorcycle by 60%.

Now, even if the rider is absolutely capable of successfully utilizing the rear brake on the track, it is good for maybe .5 a lap. The return on learning that skill is so small, I would always recommend that a rider invest their time into other areas that will yield better results.

I do appreciate your viewpoint and if the above tirade does not at least shed some light into my thinking then as you said we will have to agree to disagree. I do love that we can actually have an intelligent debate on this forum without it turning into a shit show =)

I you guys. Can we all kum ba yah around a fire now? =)
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post #41 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by PainfullySlo View Post
I think we need to be absolutely clear that we are discussing track riding here, exclusively. Or at least that was my understanding? If not then yes, I completely agree with you that everyone should know how to use the rear brake on a motorcycle, and more appropriately when to use it.
Ah, yeah, I was interpreting this whole thing in light of riding on the street. So for street we agree.


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the front brake is responsible for the vast majority of your stopping power. >90% for sure and I hope that we can all agree on this fact.
Pretty sure we agree on this as well.
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post #42 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 07:34 PM
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If you put off learning to use the rear brake until years later when you are an expert with the front brake, then once you start trying to use the rear brake all-of-a-sudden after many years, it's going to take you a longer time to learn to use the rear brake properly. You're going to have more of a tendency to lock up the rear wheel if you're not used to the rear brake at all. However, if you start learning to use the rear brake in conjunction with the front brake from day one, then you will learn how to use both at the same pace from the beginning.

Like @trackdayhero stated above, it doesn't make any sense to completely ignore one of the controls on your motorcycle for several years while you master the other controls first. In that case why don't we hold off on showing any beginner how to use the clutch and shift lever, because on most bikes you can get to highway speeds in first gear. Using the clutch and shift lever just adds more complication and more speed and can get you in too much trouble (just like using the rear brake can). Once you master every aspect of riding in first gear, then you can start using the other controls.

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post #43 of 43 Old 04-29-2017, 10:30 PM
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This is starting to feel like an oil thread. . . .

Anyway, like I said, I usually don't use the rear brake on my zx6r but sometimes I will depending on the corner or riding/ environmental circumstances. On my ninja 300 I use it all the time because it doesn't have the same braking power and it's a completely different bike which I ride in the street and I benefit using it at slow speeds added for stability.

I didn't know people felt so strongly about rear brake use

In all honesty, I think the main problem with the majority of riders (squids, newcomers) is that they DON'T KNOW HOW to USE THE FRONT BRAKE. Most newcomers I know only use the rear brake and that is extremely dangerous.

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