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 Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?

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Dimond
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PostSubject: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Wed 15 Feb 2012, 22:45

Number 19 ( http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/howto/122_0608_50_ways/index.html ) on How to Save Your Life is: Keep the Front Brake Covered - Always. So, do you always do this? If so, how so? If not, why not? I think that this i a great idea; however, I do not follow this practice as I typically keep my hands (both) on the handlebar - not the brake. I know that this is NOT a good practice - so how do I break it? Suggestions welcomed.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Wed 15 Feb 2012, 23:54

According to my riding instructor (in my refresher course last Sept), covering the brakes could kill you. I was scolded a lot on the course because I was covering them too much. The brakes must ONLY be applied when you are fully vertical and traveling in a straight line. Applying them in a curve while in a lean interferes with the tire's ability to pull you through the curve. It might not be a problem on dry pavement but in any kind of averse condition (rain, gravel,etc) applying the brakes in a curve can easily spill the bike. The way to avoid the need is to use the brakes as you approach the curve, while you are still vertical. It was a good 2-day course.
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Thu 16 Feb 2012, 00:16

x


Last edited by bigbird on Sun 10 Jun 2012, 17:55; edited 1 time in total
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KurtPerthWA
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Thu 16 Feb 2012, 03:27

Spot on Bigbird
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Meldrew
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Thu 16 Feb 2012, 04:22

Being the cynic again, before internet forums came along you usually had to figure these out things for yourself.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Thu 16 Feb 2012, 05:16

My instructor (for the Test) told me in no uncertain tems that I shouldn't and it could count against me if I did.
IMHO there is not 'one size fits all': I do sometimes in stop-start traffic but don't on clearer roads.

I thought one was supposed to ride according to the conditions.
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Thu 16 Feb 2012, 08:37

Meldrew wrote:
Being the cynic again, before internet forums came along you usually had to figure these out things for yourself.

I don't think you are being a cynic at all.

Reading only gives you half (if that much) the picture. You really cannot learn anything fully through reading about it.

And no matter what Oprah says - There are stupid questions. Make that rule #1. Cool

I also agree with bigbird. Take an MSF riding course.
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DickO
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Thu 16 Feb 2012, 11:32

I agree that you should take the MSF if you haven't already. Also, as has been already stated, one size does not fit all as I had to find out on my own... especially on the 'curves' thing. I had been instructed (properly) to setup your speed before going into it, lean properly, and be able to accelerate on out of it (all this so you don't have to brake during the curve).

Well, if you're a seasoned rider, you know all that stuff. My first time going into a curve too hot was a disaster... and I wound up in a wet hay field (luckily with only a damaged psyche) . Took me only a scary coupl'a times more before I realized that, yes, I could successfully apply my brakes during a curve without any adverse affects (as long as I did it smoothly and slowly enough to maintain control). And yes, I always cover both brakes when going into those curves.
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steveR
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sat 18 Feb 2012, 04:27

MarkB wrote:
The brakes must ONLY be applied when you are fully vertical and traveling in a straight line. Applying them in a curve while in a lean interferes with the tire's ability to pull you through the curve. It might not be a problem on dry pavement but in any kind of averse condition (rain, gravel,etc) applying the brakes in a curve can easily spill the bike. The way to avoid the need is to use the brakes as you approach the curve, while you are still vertical. It was a good 2-day course.

In an ideal world all this is probably true, do your braking as part of the setup for a bend, however most experienced riders knows that using a trailing rear brake can assist in cornering, especially in really tight nadgery stuff.

It is probably my pet hate about the linked brakes we have to deal with these days...
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Old Limey
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sat 18 Feb 2012, 13:41

Nearly all my riding is done on country lanes, which are full or bends,I avoid Motorways or dual carriageways whenever possible.The thing i enjoy most is keeping to the speed limit especially on a nice twisty road, taking bends without reducing speed is what riding on two wheels (for me ) is all about. In my opinion Using brakes on a bend is definately a no no. If iam following Motorcyclists, no matter what machine they ride, if i see brake lights come on at a bend i tell myself they don't know how to ride. I usually overtake them and leave them far behind on a bendy stretch, on the straight they then pass me nearly always exceeding the speed limit. I've never been on any kind of training course. Smile Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sat 18 Feb 2012, 15:26

Forgive me if I'm wrong but I thought one of the advantages of ABS was that one could apply the brakes and steer other than straight ahead and that the trouble was that most riders and drivers are not trained to do it.
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sat 18 Feb 2012, 15:53

Right....most are not trained or practice to use ABS properly.

Not a fan of linked brakes---as mentioned trail braking/balance aid with rear only much safer.

My new Burgman does not have linked brakes=real plus for me, also it is my first ABS bike-----used this feature only in practice on steep,wet hill near my house.

As to cover front brake----skilled riders maybe ok---those still in getting experience/learning process questionable----handful of front brake at wrong time can put you on your head---I call it toppling


As to general riding....my take....if you have made one panic stop in the past year, sometime is wrong with your riding......thinking ahead better.
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sat 18 Feb 2012, 20:02

john grinsel wrote:
As to general riding....my take....if you have made one panic stop in the past year, sometime is wrong with your riding......thinking ahead better.

Again, agree fully. Situational awareness is the name of the game in bike survivability.

Look ahead plan, and enjoy the ride.

Look at the near distance and prepare to have an accident. Accidents just don't happen, they are caused by a sequence of events.

Don't become the cause.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sun 19 Feb 2012, 07:54

I took the MSF course after I'd been riding for ten years and it was before the advent of linked brakes or ABS. So I don't think what they said is very relevant to riding a SWing.

Today, I cover the left (combined) brake lever only in stop-and-go traffic. Otherwise, I keep my hands on the grips.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sun 19 Feb 2012, 09:21

john grinsel wrote:
Right....most are not trained or practice to use ABS properly.

Not a fan of linked brakes---as mentioned trail braking/balance aid with rear only much safer.

My new Burgman does not have linked brakes=real plus for me, also it is my first ABS bike-----used this feature only in practice on steep,wet hill near my house.

As to cover front brake----skilled riders maybe ok---those still in getting experience/learning process questionable----handful of front brake at wrong time can put you on your head---I call it toppling


As to general riding....my take....if you have made one panic stop in the past year, sometime is wrong with your riding......thinking ahead better.

John, You da man, and you are right.
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DickO
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sun 19 Feb 2012, 22:39

john grinsel wrote:
As to general riding....my take....if you have made one panic stop in the past year, sometime is wrong with your riding......thinking ahead better.

So, is more "one-size-fits-all" reasoning being applied here?

Now, I'll just bet that every "experienced" rider who had a "have-to-hit-the-brakes-NOW!" type of accident in the last year, thought the very same thing you are saying.

My take, based on my measly 3 and a half years of riding and reading about all the individual bike accidents that have happened to various "experienced" riders on all these various bike forums, is that no matter how hard everyone tries to do the right thing, crap does happen.
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 20 Feb 2012, 00:53

DickO your right, 'crap does happen' but if we prepare for 'crap' we can at least try to avoid the preverbial stuff!

As I said. An accident is a series of events leading up to the accident. Looking forward and being prepared for eventualities will help us, (riders,) avoid the ensuing accident.

If we keep our wits about us take all the precations we have been taught, picked up and whatever experience we have gained then we can in some way keep out of the do-do!!

Back on topic. I actually DO cover my brakes. Both of them, I use my second and third fingers to 'cover' the levers. This I was informed reduces the time taken to take hands from around the grips and then place them on the brake levers and apply pressure. The technique wasn't taught at my test, it was suggested at my BikeSAfe training, taught by our UK police, (in my case). Having both hands wrapped around the grips now feels uncomfortable for me. Nor do I have an urge to dab the brakes everytime I feel the need. I find defensive riding, the 'Wings' amazing engine braking and looking ahead works for me.

Whatever technique works for you and keeps you out of danger cannot be a bad habit!

Ride safe.
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 20 Feb 2012, 05:29

Remember--using brakes is not the only way to avoid a potential accident situation.... you can swerve, get off gas, speed up, change lanes among others-----and the one that really gets me "lay it down" means you hit what ever you are trying to avoid at a greater rate of speed than had you kept the bike upright and braked----and the other one I "locked up the brakes" rolling wheels stop quicker than sliding wheels.

Yes things happen and you need to be prepared with awareness and fine 2 wheel skill set. Many people bring horrible car skills and habits to bikes and if really doesn't work very well.

Riding everyday good teacher.
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steveR
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 20 Feb 2012, 06:26

john grinsel wrote:
and the one that really gets me "lay it down" means you hit what ever you are trying to avoid at a greater rate of speed than had you kept the bike upright and braked----and the other one I "locked up the brakes" rolling wheels stop quicker than sliding wheels.

Riding everyday good teacher.

The "lay it down" approach is I suspet a hangover from lousy drum brakes, when a slide was more likely to avoid a head first impact. That or roadracing which means naff all on the road!!

Locked up wheels is never good as you rightly say.. Smile

I am getting back on the bike after a few months layoff (for various reasons) and car habits are a curse. I may well go and get a refresher ride with the IAM locally, and sharpen up. Following a good rider for a day is really good I find and even better is a 7-8 day tour, my positioning etc is always streets ahead after such a trip!
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Sun 03 Jun 2012, 21:19

john grinsel wrote:

As to general riding....my take....if you have made one panic stop in the past year, sometime is wrong with your riding......thinking ahead better.
I'll buy this if by "general" you mean other vehicles/pedestrians. I live in deer country and just today had to do a full out slow down, 55 to 15 mph, when 2 deer came out of the trees beside the road running flat out. I know this road and deer are a problem so I'm always 15 to 20 mph below the posted 70 speed limit. Though I wasn't today I often cover on stretches of road with trees right to the edge and always slow down. Still no guarantee as I had one run into the side of my jeep going to work in pre-dawn darkness. It is something I have to accept living where I do.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 04 Jun 2012, 09:56

The only comment I have is stay off the front brake when going slow in a turn and on gravel,can put you down.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 04 Jun 2012, 14:35

I cover the front brake 99% of the time. For two reasons.
1. I'm just recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome and for the past several years, having at least the index and middle finger, if not the whole hand covering the brake helped keep it from falling asleep.
2. I ride either on the freeway in the HOV (carpool) lane or on twisty roads. In the first situation, you can't tell when a car will decide to jump into the lane in front of you. Every fraction of a second can count. In the second case, I've had a deer jump out in front of me. If I hadn't had my hands there, I would've hit him/her. There were many very tense seconds that seemed to stretch out to hours just then as I was braking for all I was worth and the deer running full speed.

Like a couple of you, I have found myself in a decreasing radius turn and needed to brake in the corner itself. It can be done safely, but it is not something they will teach you in a beginner's course. It just needs to be done very smoothly with a real good feel of how close you're coming to the edge of your traction.

I suspect the reason they don't teach you to cover the front brake in a MSF course is because on many of the sport bikes, you can do a stoppie. Also, most of their instruction is done at very low speeds. It is so easy to drop the bike by applying the front brake with the front wheel turned to the side. You won't hit that last situation when riding at 35 mph because you don't turn the front wheel to turn. They don't want the liability with new riders. And some riders know only two postions for a brake. All off. Or full on.

I've never found a situation where the handlebars will jump out of my hands, so I've never felt a need to really grab onto the handlebars to stay on (well, except in some very gusty situations).

But even when not in a situation where I thought either a car or wild furry creature would come into my path, if I'm on a twisty road, both brakes will be covered if I'm hitting the corners hard and fast.

That doesn't leave me with many times not to cover both brakes. And btw, I've only hit the brakes really hard maybe 6 or 7 times in the last 70,000 miles...but it doesn't mean I don't prepare myself for what can happen.

Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 04 Jun 2012, 16:33

Well said Chris I ride the same way. The front brake can be a good friend, in fact they both can.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 04 Jun 2012, 18:46

The OP was asking how to cover your brakes, not how to use them!

I cover my brakes by having my first two fingers resting on the brake lever, I find that is sufficient to apply moderate braking if required.
The rule I follow is only use your front brake when the scooter is upright, any lean and it is rear brake lever only (yes this will bring in the front brake on linked systems).
I was taught (by an instructor who instructs DVLA riding examiners) that judicious use of the rear brake can settle a machine in a bend, a practice I use all the time.

This post is not a 'You Must Do This' but 'How I Do It'

Cheers,
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 04 Jun 2012, 22:37

ABS! I am not a fan! The only thing they do is keep the wheel from sliding in a hard braking situation. They will not necessarily stop you in a distance that will keep you from running into something because they allow the wheel to continue to rotate. You should always avoid using brakes while in a turn if at all possible on any m/c. What this means to you is brake before you get into a situation if at all possible with or without ABS.
Old Dave in Western Nebraska Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 04 Jun 2012, 22:57

I probably keep 2 fingers on the front brake about 1/2 the time. If I'm just on the interstate or going for an easy ride I just keep my hands on the grips. But when I ride more aggressively then I usually keep a couple of fingers ready , just in case.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 04 Jun 2012, 23:39

Well, this thread has actually helped me change my riding habits.

I now often cover both brakes with my index and middle fingers. And I've learned to rely on the engine decompression to assist in steadying the rear wheel while cornering. I still approach corners cautiously, often braking a bit before entering them. But I've learned that even in a significant lean, I can safely decelerate to adjust my line of travel. (I was able to practice these lessons a lot on my recent 1000 mile roundtrip to Ottawa, Canada from Boston for my niece's wedding. My extended family were all pretty impressed with the Swing. Naturally. Smile

Thanks, all.
Mark
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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Tue 05 Jun 2012, 00:02

I don't really cover the brakes unless the road and or condition warrant such.
Some times I will use a little pressure on the rear brake, just enough to engage it and sometimes I will hold it a little and if needed use a little throttle against the clutch in the wheel. It was just something that seemed to work with this being an automatic and the 22g sliders causing the drive plates to go back together faster than the heavier weights.


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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 23:31

I cover the front brake only.  Out of habit, as most motorcycles, the rear brake is operated by the right foot.  In that case, if the front brake is not covered, and a panic stop is initiated by an inexperienced rider, they will slam on the rear brake, like they do in their car.  When this occurs, all steering is impossible.... and the next thing they say is "I had to put it down."  They put it down because they tried to steer with the rear wheel locked up.  Sliding metal on the asphalt will not stop as fast as two rubber tires on the asphalt.  

The ABS is great tool.... and anyone who has an ABS bike that doesn't want ABS, please trade with me, as my bike is not ABS and the next motorcycle and those from now on will be ABS.  No question about it.  I would take a panic stop with ABS over non ABS all day long.

I would pay the difference for anyone who wishes to trade motorcycles.

My opinion is mine. I hope I don't offend anyone with my opinion if it is different than yours.

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PostSubject: Re: Keep the front brake covered - always! Do you? How so?   Tue 26 Nov 2013, 07:51

I agree with you lalee ,I am on my first bike with abs would never go back too non abs .In the future all bikes will have abs [happy safe days]. cheers 
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