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I bought a 2010 Buell Blast (pre-cubed) and I've been riding it as my main bike for a couple weeks now. Just around town, no interstates yet, practicing turns and stops quite a bit.

I'm not a big guy by any means, the bike feels like it fits alright (I'm 5'6), but I have noticed one or two things. First, when I'm riding around I feel like I ride the back brake simply because of the way my foot is sitting on the peg. So I've started, once I get up to speed, inching my foot back a little so that the ball of my foot is on the peg. Is this a bad habit? Is there a better foot position?

I've also noticed that I tend to coast as I come up to a stop, or am going down hill, or generally don't actively need the power from the engine. This is a habit I've kept with me from when I drove a stick - I was always taught to hold in the clutch if I need to brake so I preemptively do it in case I need to do some shifting. Should I try to break this habit and keep the clutch out longer?
 

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I usually keep the part of my foot right after the heel of my boot resting on my peg. I try to point my big toe upwards which seems to keep my foot off the brake but easily accessible to the pedak in case an emergency stop is needed.

As far as the shifting, I too find myself pulling in the clutch the same as you. I just think its a newbie thing....new rider here...
 

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It's best to ride with your foot off the brake pedal. Riding with the balls of your feet on the foot pegs is fine. I'll often ride with my toes under the pedal to shift foot position for comfort as well. Realize this will fractionally reduce the reaction time to get to the rear brake, so ride accordingly.

Holding in the clutch while coasting won't really hurt anything, but does tend to make you use your hand more than necessary. It's better to leave the clutch out while coasting, pulling it in when needed. This provides you with a little more control over what the motorcycle is doing, especially if you have to accelerate unexpectedly.
 

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You will also save on brake repairs by using the engine more for braking rather than coasting. You might not think so but every time you touch your brakes it's wearing them down. It adds up. Usually wanting to coast is normal when first starting but it can become a habit. And habits are hard to break.
 

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Engine braking ia the easiest way to slow down in a non emergency situation just make sure you r paying attention to your rpms because if you downshift too soon you could cause your bike to jolt on you. Id rather save my beef on my brakes for when I really need it.
 

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Hi, riding with the balls of your feet on the pegs is best practice as it improves feel and helps with the control of the bike through very small changes in weigh transfer. On a bike like yours i.e. short wheel base, about 75% of the braking should be done through the front, especially in an emergency where there is so much transfer of weigh onto the front wheel and off of the back so there is no real reason to hover over or side the back brake. Different entirely for long wheelbase cruisers. For the same reason, try and keep the rear wheel driving whilst braking as it is very easy to lose traction and grip on the rear tire as the weight transfers to the front, especially if the clutch is pulled in.

To be honest, I only really use the back brake to "dab" if I run a little too hot into a bend or when I am maneuvering at low speeds.
 

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You sure you are a newbie Johno? Using the front instead of the rear is unnatural for a newbie. Congrats on having your head on correctly.:thumbsup:
 

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Both brakes, all the time, especially for a beginner. It's a good habit to get into.

Someday you will NEED both those brakes and you will be happy you have developed the habit and muscle memory.
 

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In fifty years there will be nothing but linked brakes so the art of braking will be a lost art anyway ralph. I agree that both brakes should be used in panic stops but 90% of braking can and should be done with engine braking and front brake. Seems like this has been beat to death before. I'm of the opinion it should be front brake then rear if needed but I do agree that a new rider should be using both to start with. Where it gets confusing for the new rider I think is which one first and most naturally go rear because they are used to that foot doing the braking. Linked brakes will end this whole problem in the future and front or rear debate will be history except in the vintage forums. Newbies just have to live long enough for that to happen.
 

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Many times you can adjust the brake pedal travel so you foot can be on the pedal without applying the brake. I have both of my bikes set that way.
 

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I'm going to chime in with something completely different...

Lead with the rear brake -- always! By "lead", I mean depress/apply the rear brake a fraction of a second before applying the font brake. Why? Because by leading with the rear, you drastically reduce the nose dive; secondly, the rear brake provides 30% of your total braking -- do you really want to give up 30% of your stopping power? By avoiding the nose dive, you stabilze your suspension so that the total weight is more evenly distributed across the whole bike. This gives more stopping power to the rear wheel, and it allows the suspension more range of motion for bumps, holes, and other defects in the road, as you are attempting to stop. You still need your suspension to keep the tires, front and rear, in contact with the road surface while braking; if your suspension is at maximum compression, or extension when you hit a road defect, at least one wheel will lose contact with the road, and you could lose control, skid, etc.

Go to an empty parking lot, such as a local High School. Practice leading with the rear brake, while stopping at 10-15 MPH, first. Once you get the feel for it, increase your speed by 10 MPH increments, up to what you feel safe with, and what the parkig lot will allow. ***Be sure to closely examine your testing area for oil stains, and other defects, prior to starting your test runs -- find another lot, if necessary.***

If you find that I am full of hot air, come back and tell everybody... If you find I am right, that this improves your bike's braking, and handling, put it in your 'toolbag', and use it daily. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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In 83 Honda linked the rear with one of the front brakes on the Goldwing, they also built in and anti dive valve on the front forks that works great. The hand brake only applies one front brake. By using both brakes the stopping power is incredible and very manageable. By not using the foot brake, it doesn't stop well at all.
 

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Get in to the habit of down shifting when you need to reduce speed and use the brakes when you have to such as when coming to a stop.
 

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Both Brakes - "Almost always"

Maximum stopping power is attained by using BOTH brakes. If you "Almost" always use BOTH brakes everytime you stop, you will always use both brakes during an emergency.

If you habitually use only front brakes for normal riding, you will not remember to use both in an emergency! (as suggested above). In an emergency, you shouldn't have to "remember" anything because there's no time. It needs to be automatic. It seems illogical to think you should brake "differently" during an emergency. Get into the habit of using both brakes for stopping.

"Almost" always is mentioned above to drive home the point of NOT using the front brake during low speed maneuvers (i.e. parking lots & u-turns).
 

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Wizard - I totally agree with you on this when it comes to riding a cruiser. I've had a Sportster 1200C and a HD Softail Heritage in the past which are long wheelbase, low C of G bikes where the the front brake is next to useless compared to sportsbikes or tourers. You definitely need both brakes in equal measures. If however, I was to brake in an emergency the same way on my triumph Tiger 1050 (assuming no ABS), I would almost certainly lock the back wheel up every time.
 

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Thanks for the comment Johno, You make a good point.

I didn't necessarily mean "equal" pressure on front and rear. Thats definitely bike dependent. So one should get used to braking with both front and rear with respect to the specific bike's characteristics.

For example, on my previous 2009 Sportster 1200C, the rear wheel would lockup amazingly fast. After a short period, I quickly got used to how much rear brake was effective (and safe) along with the front for maximum stopping power.

Now on my 2014 Dyna Wide Glide, it's really hard to apply enough pressure to the rear brake to lock it up, probably because of the extra weight, wider tire and longer wheelbase. The W.G. rear brake is much more effective than the sportster's rear.

On my friend's Ducati, too much front brake will cause the rear wheel to keep going while the front stops. Up and over! But there IS a balance between front and rear for the best stopping power.

All of this being said ... panic stops shouldn't only be used in emergency situations! EVERYONE should practice quick stops to have a real appreciation of their, and their bike's handling capabilities.
 

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I think I even remember something from the temp tag test that said you should ride with your feet pointing upward when cruising to prevent just those conditions from happening (depressing on the rear brake or the gear shift...)
 

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I think I even remember something from the temp tag test that said you should ride with your feet pointing upward
You want your feet in a relaxed position. Try pointing your toes up on a long ride, your ankles will get mighty sore. The idea is not to put pressure on your brake or shift lever until you need to.
 
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