FRONT BRAKES?

ebiter76

Wannabie Member
May 3, 2020
16
18
3
24
I ride a
SSR110 pit bike/SSR XF250
So. Front brakes pretty much terrify me. How necessary is it to use front brakes on a day to day basis for you guys? I've just started riding recently and as of now I really just make like a 5 minute ride back and forth to work, and I literally never touch them. I pretty much just always imagine myself going over the bars. lol Any advice or pointers would definitely be much appreciated. I've read to kinda start with the back brake then slightly use the front, like go 10% to 20% and so forth until you're at a full stop, but I still can't bring myself to decide when to use the front brake or if it's even necessary most of the time.
 

humes

Colorado Motovlogger
May 17, 2020
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Denver, CO
www.instagram.com
I ride a
2012 Ducati Monster 696
Front brake has all the stopping power (70% or so) compared to back brake. It's critical that you become comfortable with the front brake and practice emergency stopping.

For sure it's all about being smooth on and smooth off. Just like your throttle and clutch control is smooth and slow, braking is the same. 10, 20, 30, etc.

I'd suggest finding a parking lot, getting up to 20 mph and practice stopping within 25 feet. That will be a good still to build your comfort.
 

ebiter76

Wannabie Member
May 3, 2020
16
18
3
24
I ride a
SSR110 pit bike/SSR XF250
Front brake has all the stopping power (70% or so) compared to back brake. It's critical that you become comfortable with the front brake and practice emergency stopping.

For sure it's all about being smooth on and smooth off. Just like your throttle and clutch control is smooth and slow, braking is the same. 10, 20, 30, etc.

I'd suggest finding a parking lot, getting up to 20 mph and practice stopping within 25 feet. That will be a good still to build your comfort.
I had a feeling it was going to be that way. I definitely will have to go practice that and try to not huck myself over the bars. lol I have a big parking lot near my house which is where I originally practiced taking off using the clutch so looks like i'll be making another trip over there!
 

Pooley

Wannabe tractor enthusiast
Nov 19, 2019
294
350
63
Derbyshire
I ride a
2003 Honda Deauville 650
Most braking should be done with the front brakes, rear brakes are more for slow speed maneuvering and emergency braking (not excessively) only.

When moving at speed you only really want to be using front brakes.
 

L. Bilious

Huge member
Aug 2, 2019
161
237
43
North Cheshire/South Manchester
I ride a
CBR1100, GSXR750, XR250
Don't snatch at the lever.
Gentle pressure to start with, then increase pressure. You will be surprised how much you can squeeze the lever without going over the bars or locking the wheel.
As @humes says, find an empty space and practise, practise, practise. Gradually pulling the lever progressively harder and harder. DON'T SNATCH AT IT!
It's all about loading the front wheel with weight transference, which presses the front tyre into the tarmac, which gives grip.
 

HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
5,436
4,074
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West Sussex, UK
I ride a
2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Aye, as @humes said, it needs 70:30 ratio front to rear in the dry, 60:40 in the wet.

For regular braking, ie not in an emergency, just use one or two fingers on the lever, you'll be a lot more gentle in how much you use. For an emergency you will be surprised how much pressure you can put on the leaver to haul up.

Is this on your pit bike? That will tip forward, so be careful, and practice. If on the dirt, the front is still the most important, you will get a feel for how much grip you have.
 
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ebiter76

Wannabie Member
May 3, 2020
16
18
3
24
I ride a
SSR110 pit bike/SSR XF250
Aye, as @humes said, it needs 70:30 ratio front to rear in the dry, 60:40 in the wet.

For regular braking, ie not in an emergency, just use one or two fingers on the lever, you'll be a lot more gentle in how much you use. For an emergency you will be surprised how much pressure you can put on the leaver to haul up.

Is this on your pit bike? That will tip forward, so be careful, and practice. If on the dirt, the front is still the most important, you will get a feel for how much grip you have.
so this is definitely geared more towards on the road on the xf250, but I plan on getting nobbys for it to take it out on trails, so tips for braking on the pit bike/dirt bikes in general is also good help
 

FloridaMan

Wannabie Member
Dec 30, 2018
142
131
43
Polk County, Florida
I ride a
Boulevard s83 & Boulevard s40
Best thing to do is to just go to a lot and play with it. You have to practice. In an emergency stop you aren't going to be thinking about how much you are applying to front vs rear, it's all going to be reflex and feel. Do some emergency braking in a lot and have fun with it. Get to know your bike so there is no thought in what you are doing in braking.
 

HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
5,436
4,074
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West Sussex, UK
I ride a
2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Be progressive.... gradually increase the pressure.... in the dirt, which would have you off if you grabbed a handful, you can do a stoppie very easily by building that pressure. Practice is the key. Find a field you are allowed to ride in, and just gradually apply more front brake on repeat runs. You'll notice by just using the rear brake you have very little control of the bike as it'll lock and once you are sliding, you won't be able to slow down harder.

If you are unable to find a place to practice, or don't feel safe, grab some professional instruction, we can all learn new things no matter how long we have been in the saddle. I am hoping to get some tuition myself once able as I really want to improve my trackday braking, as it is currently holding me back there too! :)
 

SighBored

@thesighbored
Jan 18, 2015
2,521
1,031
113
Malaysia
www.thesighbored.com
I ride a
2012 Kawasaki ZX-6R
How do you even ride without even using the front brakes? Do you go at 20 km/h on your motorcycle?

Learn how to use the front brake properly otherwise you are just an accident waiting to happen.

Find an quiet and empty area to practice, use one finger or two finger to brake, NEVER use all four fingers on the lever.

Why not to ever use four fingers? Because once you get used to that, in an emergency you WILL use four fingers to grab the brake and that will most likely cause you to flip over the bars (your #1 fear) or instant lock up the front tire, unless you have ABS to save it. If you practice with 2 fingers and are used to it, in an emergency your reaction will be to use 2 fingers and it won't have as much grabbing power as 4 fingers to instantly cause a lock up, even with 2 fingers you can lock up the front but it won't be as instant on applying the grabbing force of 4 fingers.

Modulate or feather the brake lever when you practice and you will get the feel for your brakes and how they work/feel when applied.

As a beginner I would say just ignore the rear brakes, only use it when you are filtering thru really slow traffic, or slowly approaching a red light, otherwise just focus on the front.

Never fear the front brake, it is probably the only thing that can stop you well enough to avoid a bad situation.

If you need more explanation on braking, you can see this. (remove the spaces)

https:// youtu.be/ 9OZsaz4QdHo
 
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FloridaMan

Wannabie Member
Dec 30, 2018
142
131
43
Polk County, Florida
I ride a
Boulevard s83 & Boulevard s40
NEVER use all four fingers on the lever.
I kinda disagree with that. A lot of this would vary based on hand size/brake lever. For a street bike I believe you have more control if you grip it with all four fingers. It might take more self control, but it gives you more control. In my experience on my bike I've panic emergency stopped using four fingers multiples times and never grabbed the front brake too hard. I have however failed to brake hard enough when using 1 or 2 fingers multiple times, either because my other fingers got in the way of the brake or just not getting a good enough grip on it. I don't have much experience on dirt, but from BMXing I know that the two finger rule applies more since you need to always maintain grip on the bar when jumping and such and if you have your whole hand on the brake your body weight coming down on it may make you accidentally squeeze the brake. So, it just depends on what you're doing and how the bike fits you IMO.
 
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WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
580
517
93
31
South Africa
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
I pretty much just always imagine myself going over the bars
Dont worry about this at all. You're holding onto the bike with your knees. Take it from someone who used to be worried about this. You are more likely to lose front wheel traction than have your whole bike flip frontwards.
 
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WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
580
517
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South Africa
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
Please watch "Twist of the Wrist" on Youtube, this will teach you more about motorcycling in an hour than any forum user could.
 
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ebiter76

Wannabie Member
May 3, 2020
16
18
3
24
I ride a
SSR110 pit bike/SSR XF250
How do you even ride without even using the front brakes? Do you go at 20 km/h on your motorcycle?

Learn how to use the front brake properly otherwise you are just an accident waiting to happen.

Find an quiet and empty area to practice, use one finger or two finger to brake, NEVER use all four fingers on the lever.
I definitely feel where you are coming from, I guess I was just being extra cautious on the few rides I took it out on when only using rear brakes, I would just let off well before the stop signs and what not. Also it’s a pretty light weight bike, pretty much a street legal dirt bike so maybe that helped my case idk.
I have been practicing now a little bit yesterday and today and feel a lot more comfortable using the front brakes, I definitely still need to do more practice in an open lot though.
I typically use 3 fingers on the clutch and front brakes I’ve noticed. It feels comfortable enough, I’ma smaller guy so I think it'd feel awkward with only 2.
But I definitely appreciate the advice!
 

HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
5,436
4,074
113
West Sussex, UK
I ride a
2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Have you had any formal training? In the UK we are not allowed on the road on a motorbike without passing a CBT and even then we have L Plates, and sub 125cc bike, to ride on the road on anything bigger we also need more training and then to pass at least one more bike test, sometimes 2 if of a certain age. I know it is different in other parts of the world.
 

Gemini

Los Angeles R1 Motovlogger
Apr 16, 2020
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Los Angeles
I ride a
2019 Yamaha R3 ABS
I had a feeling it was going to be that way. I definitely will have to go practice that and try to not huck myself over the bars. lol I have a big parking lot near my house which is where I originally practiced taking off using the clutch so looks like i'll be making another trip over there!
Dont worry too much about going over the front, it's much harder to do than you think. Also squeeze with your legs to keep you latched on to the bike, dont stiffen your arms. Keep your arms loose and relaxed. This way you have better control over the controls themselves. One hour in a parking lot of practicing hard breaking and you will be confident. You got this :D
 
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lupin

2016 Solar Bear Champion.
Jul 5, 2015
2,252
1,434
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Australia
www.imlupz.com
I ride a
FZ1N
It would be more dangerous to ride only using the rear brake than the front.

You just need to practice. You really can't ride safely only using the rear brake.
 
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Pooley

Wannabe tractor enthusiast
Nov 19, 2019
294
350
63
Derbyshire
I ride a
2003 Honda Deauville 650
Revisiting this thread; why do you think manufactures put drums on the rear? Well, they don't intend the rider to use the rear as much so it saves a lot of money to manufacture a bike with poorer rear brakes.

If course modern bikes will probably have discs all round, but this doesn't make only using the rear brakes ok.

Personally, I have lost the rear end under braking a lot more than the front. Have faith in the front brakes, they will be what save you in an emergency.
 

Madlad

Absolute Madlad
Apr 24, 2020
106
96
28
Canada
I ride a
2014 Yamaha R6
Pretty much what everyone else said.
At least in Canada, they tell us at the course we have to take to get our unrestricted license that you should use all four fingers for braking, and that you should use both brakes at the same time (however there are certain scenarios where only one is needed, such as maneuvering like pooley said). Using only the rear brake is dangerous because, again its only 30% of your stopping power, and if you stomp on it to brake faster your rear wheel could slip out.

The front brakes are your friend. You won't go over the handlebars unless you're trying to do a stoppie or something lol
 

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