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Hero's are Remembered, Legends Never Die
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Discussion Starter #1
I teach trail braking as part of the Total Control program. I also receive the news letter from Penguin racing as I have attended their program a couple times and plan to again. This article is from the most recent news letter (re-posted with permission see note at the bottom) I thought it would be helpful to all.

Riding Series 7.5 - Make the pads touch the rotors

This installment focuses on a tip for corner entry that is both easy to implement and a big difference maker for many riders. One of the most important contributors to rider confidence is to have a motorcycle that is completely predictable on corner entrance. One simple way that riders can help this happen is to stabilize the front end using trail braking. However, many riders are afriad to trail brake because they are unsure of if they have enough traction to brake during the turn in process. We have found a simple solution for getting riders started on this path....please read on for more details.
It is often the case that the very same strategies used by top racers to maximize speed also can be applied by track day riders and Amateur racers to ride more safely. Trail braking is a prime example of one of those principles. Top riders brake right up to the moment of their major bar input, using the front brake to both set entrance speed and steer the motorcycle. Riders who are developing their skills often feel safest doing all of their braking while straight up and down and then fully releasing the brake lever as the motorcycle begins to lean. Unfortunately, this practice often causes several problems on corner entry.

The average motorcycle these days has about 120mm worth of front suspension travel. When the brakes are fully released, the suspension extends and rides high in the travel. The absence of brake lever input allows the front end to essentially "float" and react with a lot of amplitude to every input (bumps, rider weight shifts, etc...). When riders trail brake, even with very light pressure, the forks not only ride lower in the travel (making turn in effort easier) but they also react less severly to every input. The "preloading" of the front fork with lever input puts downward pressure on the front end, decreasing the unsettling motion of the forks at the top of the stroke.
The question that always follows after explaining the benefits of trail braking is "How much trail braking is OK?". The answer in an ideal world is that riders should trail brake and set their entrance speed with every bit of traction available. The challenge with this is that it takes excellent body position and perfectly soft arms and hands to feel the precise feedback needed to brake at this level. However, all riders can benefit from a stabilizing effect in corner entrances by simply applying the lever enough to just cause "the pads to contact the rotors".

This concept is an ideal starting point for riders at all levels to develop the habit of trail braking. Applying just enough pressure to make "the pads touch the rotors" will stabilize the front end, decrease the motion of the forks, lower the amount of bar effort needed to turn in, and greatly increase your sense of control. As an added bonus, you will slow down an extra couple MPH at the end of the braking zone and eventually be able to safely move your brake marker forward. All you have to to is keep those pads just touching the rotors when carving into a corner, and you'll find an immediate improvement in the handling of your bike on both the street and the track.
Until next time - ride fast, ride safe!

Copyright 2014, The Penguin Racing School Inc. This material is intended strictly for Penguin Racing School newsletter subscribers and may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the express written consent of The Penguin Racing School Inc.

This article was copied with permission from the Penguin Racing School newsletter. Penguin operates the nation's oldest motorcycle track school and has classes for both racers and street riders. For more information please visit www.penguinracing.com."
 

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Hero's are Remembered, Legends Never Die
Joined
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307 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I wonder what would be the best way to practice this - Parking lot, starting at about 15 mph?
If you have a clean safe parking lot to work with I feel that parking lots are always a good place to start learning and practicing most skills, especially braking.
 
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