Rear Brake

blackhawk468

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#1
When I first started riding on an xr 200 back in October the rear brake on the bike didn't work that well so I never used it. Well, when I got my current bike 2000 rm 125, I brought that bad habit of not using my rear brake... ever. I don't even use the rear brake in the air when I jump. (Still learning how to jump somewhat). I always use my front brake for slowing down or stopping. I have tried to concentrate on using the rear brake, but I end up forgetting about it and start using my front brake again. I know that the front brake is what you are supposed to use the most, So my question is... When do I use the rear brake? and I was wondering if there were any suggestions on getting into the habit of using the rear brake when I need to.
 

Rooster

Today's Tom Sawyer
Damn Yankees
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#2
What is a rear brake?

I know what you mean, I use my rear brake as little as possible.

When jumping, which I do little of, if your front end gets up to high, clutching and tapping the rear brake will bring it down. Also, the rear brake is kinda nice to slam the bike into a corner for a quick acceleration. It's also nice to have on those nasty twisty slippery downhills, when you don't want the front end to grabtoo hard and wash out.

Remember back when you used to do rear brake slides on you bicycle?.......It can be usefull!
 

firecracker22

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#3
I know EXACTLY what you mean. I started on an XR 200 a year ago, and the rear brake on it didn’t work hardly at all—so I never used it. Worse, the front brake didn’t work all that great, so I got used to grabbing a handful.

I’ve had my KTM for 2 months now and have crashed and burned SO MANY times from that, it’s not even funny. The most recent time gave me a torn muscle in my arm and possible sprained elbow—so I have a few weeks to recuperate and think about my mistake.

I’d start by adjusting the brake pedal to where it is most easily reachable. I did that and don’t have to move my foot very far at all to reach it. The only other thing to do . . . TRY to remember to use it as much as possible.

As far as when to use it:

-Coming into a corner. This is very important. Have all your braking done before you apex; be ready on the clutch in case you hit the brake too hard and the rear tire starts to lock up and the engine starts to stall. My rear brake is a bit grabby so I had to do this a lot on the track. I can usually remember to use the rear brake when entering corners on the track—it’s just when we’re trail riding that I panic at a sharp, downhill, rutted switchback, grab the front brake and the front wheel washes out underneath me.
-In the air: if your front end is too high as you’re jumping, you can use the rear brake to drop it. Once again, be ready on the clutch since you don’t want to kill your engine mid air!
-Braking bumps: they’re called that for a reason. Drag your rear brake slightly as you come over them and it will soak up some of the bumpiness and you won’t take such a beating.

Gary Semics explains this far better than I in his books and manuals. I have one I’m borrowing and it is very, very useful. I know all the theories and what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing—but I don’t always do it. I panic if I am coming into a corner too hot or unsure of the situation in some other way, and instinct and bad habits take over. It’s a downward spiral and I get so sick of making the same mistakes over and over.

So, Blackhawk, if you find a technique that works or helps you to use your rear brakes more often, please share!!
 
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#4
My KLX had so much engine braking that I hardly ever used it either. After a few months on a two stroke you should start getting comfortable with it. It was a little scary at first when I would chop the throttle going into a turn and the bike wouldn't slow down.

Most of the time I use front and rear together and trying not to lock the rear. Even if I can scrub off the necessary speed with the front alone, using both brakes together seems to minimize brake dive. The bike feels more stable using both brakes together.

It is not often that I am on the front brake and not on the rear. I use the rear only when I want to get the rear of the bike around quickly in a tight turn. But that technique seems to favor conditions that I don't normally ride in.
 

MTC

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#5
Don't forget about braking on the face of jumps. It scrubs off speed, lowers your trajectory, and can help over shooting.

It's hard to describe what I mean by this, but go here. There are a lot of good braking techniques there.
 

blackhawk468

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#6
That's a great link MTC!!! Thanks for all the advice keep it coming!!

firecracker 22... I know what you mean about grabbing a handful of front brake I have the scar to prove it and a hat that my mechanic gave me "Braking Power Under Control" When I first got my bike he told me that there was no coasting in racing, that it was either throttle or brake. So because of this I should learn to go fast quick and brake fast. He told me for a drill I should go as fast as I can in first gear until i thought my bike was going to blow up and then SLAM on the front brake. Well I took slam a little bit too far and the bike stopped but I didn't. I had a nice flight in the air and when I landed I slid a good 20 feet on the ground. (thank god I borrowed a chest protector that day) All i felt was the ground moving benieth me. I just got a cut on my elbow and was on my way again. Well, at least i learned when too much brake is to much brake. Now when i ride and slam on the brake and i know what it feels like when the front end washes out so i let off the brake and then slam it again. So I guess my fall was worth it cause I learned what it feels like when the front end is about to wash out and that has helped me ALOT! :p :confused:
 

firecracker22

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#7
I have a torn muscle in my arm for a trophy now! I should have taken pictures of it when it was purple. Oh well.

Steve tells me the same thing, if you’re not braking or accelerating you’re getting passed. True. On a mx track I don’t have as big a problem with the brakes; on the trail is where I screw up more often. Because the terrain is a lot more scary, I think. When you’re going down a steep switchback, if you screw up, you’re going over the edge!

It’s entirely a mental problem, I know.