I always thought it was using your rear brake in a corner. It would help you settle the bike or start to slide the rear end out. Not positive about that though. And I have only heard that referenced to on the track.
Dont take this as gospel, since i am not the expeirienced track guy that some are, but from what i understand it is the rear brake used when braking into corners, sometimes in conjunction with front, to keep bike from diving, or basically used as needed to keep the bike properly distributed in critical moments. Its a very fine art and something that takes skill and practice to master.
I could be wrong here, but this is what i have understood it to be.
I have to side with Tigerblade on this one. If you're thinking of the flattrack stuff you see on AMA roadraces these days, that's something else. You can certainly use the rear brake to transfer weight forward before applying front brakes, but you still normally want to accomplish most of your braking before entry into the turn.
btw, some experienced racers don't even use the rear brake. Considering I still have problems every now and then at the end of a long straightaway with getting the rear loose while downshifting, I can see why.
Trail braking can refer to front or rear brakes on a bike. It's most commonly referring to the front. You lightly stay on the front brake as you turn the bike in. This helps the bike turn in quicker (the weight transfer alters your front end geometry) and allows you to brake a little later than usual. I like to use the Freddie Spencer technique: Trail brake into the corner then, while STILL trail braking, crack the throttle open (loading the driveline while under braking eliminates driveline lash) then release the brake and initiate your drive out of the corner. Freddie used to take it to the extreme of getting the front to start sliding into the corner then, as the brake was released and throttle was applied, sliding the rear as the front begins to get traction. A good deal of the time he was sliding BOTH tires mid-corner, often times holding the bike up with his knee. A lot of today's riders also trail brake the rear into the corner to help it turn in even better. Haga-san and the Hayden brothers are masters of this technique.
You must be fast 'cuz I was haulin' ass when I passed you
I am going to have to agree with all Mashuri said. I don't think it really applies to the rear because most racers don't use rear and rear has more tendency to lock up. I saw a picture of Chandler and Duhamel trying to outbreak each other while going into a turn; it looked like the bottom of their fairings were about to touch the pavement, because they are such masters at trailbraking.
I just came back from a track school, where I was told that many racers, who use the rear brake, will often put air in the rear brake line, lower, and sometimes even shorten the rear brake lever to force the rider to consciously apply effort to use the rear brake. Since weight is dramatically shifted forward during hard braking, the effectiveness of the rear brake is greatly diminished, limited by the available tire patch friction at the rear. Therefore, by making the above mentioned modifications to the rear brake system, one can better modulate and control rear wheel lock-up. But even in the class, I was told that you don't have to use the rear brake at all, and it boils down to a matter of rider preference, since most of the braking performance comes from the front. You can use the rear to pre-brake, transfering weight to the front before applying maximum front braking, but obviously that's not the only option available for pre-braking. Or you can use the rear brake for fancy techniques such as backing into a turn like Haga and Kurtis Roberts, but, arguably, you don't have to ride like that to win races. As far as I'm concerned (I'm not exactly advanced racer material as I type this), I get plenty of rear wheel braking from the engine compression, so the only time I use the rear brake is at the end of long straights before and after snapping the downshifts. As there is no hard and fast rule with regard to the use of rear brakes (unless you ride a VFR or Blackbird) and everybody has different riding styles and preferences, I'm sure you'll come across many varied opinions with regard to this topic.
I too thought that trail braking was usually
referring to front braking as you begin your
corner entry. I don't use the rear brake
for exactly the reasons stated (UNLESS I'm
riding with a passenger). Those reasons
being that when I am really really railing
on the twisties; the back tire is barley on
the ground and it just takes away from my
font braking concentration. Trail braking
came naturally for me, I think it does with
most people who like to ride fast. Though
I don't hit the brakes an gas simultaneously.
I do get off the brakes and on the gas very
very quickly and smoothly otherwise you get
to much weight transfer and the bike will
want to power slide through the turn. So
personally I don't think it is as 'expert'
as people label it. Some of you probably
allready do it.
Just my 2 cents.
Anyone got a rear tire I can borrow?
[This message has been edited by chris_y2k_r1 (edited July 14, 2000).]
Chris, try cracking the throttle open while you're still trail braking. I think you'll notice the weight transfer to be a lot smoother with no abruptness. I don't manage to do it in every corner, but my eventual goal is to do it second nature.
Thumb brakes are becoming popular for racers who like to back 'em into corners. I'd like to try one to see how much better they feel. Anyone try one of these yet?
You must be fast 'cuz I was haulin' ass when I passed you
Wow, there are some experienced and still humble people on this site. To paraphrase Keith Code, you only have so much traction (as dictated by Physics) so be careful when leaning and braking (or trailbraking). You can't go to max lean because you're using up some of the available traction by braking. And vice versa. I know it sounds obvious but we've all crashed trailbraking.
Well, the trail-braking thing has pretty well been covered, so I won't add to it, but I did notice something interesting at Laguna this week:
It was brought up that many rear-braking racers use various methods to control the braking force at the rear. Shortened brake levers (less leverage), air in the brake line (not very consistent, though), and Swiss-cheesing the rear rotor (also reduces unsprung weight!) are all common methods.
At Laguna, they had one of last year's R6 factory supersport bikes on display, and they actually installed what appeared to be a clutch spring on the rod that goes from the brake pedal to the master cylinder! It took quite some force to depress the pedal, so that seems like a pretty cool method...
As far as "most racers" using the rear brake? Well, maybe it's becoming more common as new racers try to emulate the Bostroms and Haydens of the world, but most of the guys I've raced with since the early 80's, I'd say probably 80%, use only the front brake.
I just never got comfortable using the rear brake on the track, and I don't think I want to start now! (Although, that thumb-operated system does look interesting...)
I'm not joking. And don't call me Shirley.
O.K. El Diablo, I read your little link and was more confused than ever. Heel and Toe? "Blip the Throttle" (turn right knee toward the right)??? O.K., we're talking about a car now--I thought this was sportbike world must have entered IRL World by mistake. I guess I should have that first cup O coffee before reading these boards.
On a side note: How do your stock rear brakes work? I think my rear brake on the Magna had better feedback and performance than the 929. I don't use it often, usually just when coming to a stop light for that last 15mph or so. Mine feel very mushy and give no indication before lock-up ( playing in the parking lot ). Maybe They just need to be blead, I'm not gonna fork over the $$ for steel line if that doesn't work though. I guess since I'm breaking in the bike I just want everything to work properly. Whatever, I'll quite rambling now.
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