Friday, July 31, 2009

Braking distance - a case for using the both brakes

I'm catching up on my backlog of moto mags and came across an interesting article in the May 2009 issue (yeah, I'm that far behind) of Cycle World on Honda's latest motorcycle anti-lock brake system. I won't debate the good and bad of ABS on a motorcycle here, but just say that there's a compelling case for ABS for street riders and especially for novice riders.

More interesting to me was the difference in stopping distances with standard brakes when comparing using front & rear brakes versus rear alone. In general, over 2x the distance is needed when using just the rear brake at 30-mph and over 3x the distance at 60-mph, irrespective of road surface conditions or whether it was wet or dry. In fact, these data underscore another truism: good brakes & good tires allow you to stop in the wet almost as quickly as when it is dry.

Thinking about the number of riders I see using only the rear brake is scary. Those I've asked about it tell me they worry about flipping over the handlebars if they use the front brake. I'd be more worried about flipping over the car you might run into if you don't use the front brake.

Ride safe...

SpeedSurfaceFront & RearRear alone
30 mphdry bumpy38 ft89 ft
60 mphdry bumpy146 ft353 ft
30 mphdry smooth32 ft73 ft
60 mphdry smooth140 ft304 ft
30 mphwet smooth37 ft82 ft
60 mphwet smooth155 ft335 ft

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