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Always be aware that there is only
a certain amount of traction available.
If the demand for traction exceeds
that amount you need, the result will
be a loss of control. Braking, turning a
corner, travelling through a curve, and
acceleration require the most traction.

Braking and stopping

Most motorcycles have two brakes, which
operate independently. In most cases,
there is a hand-operated front brake and a
foot-operated rear brake.

Some motorcycles are equipped with
braking systems that link front and rear brake
operation together. Anti-lock brake systems
are also available on some models. If your
motorcycle has either of these systems, read
your owner’s manual for instructions on the
best way to use the brakes.

When stopping under normal conditions,
apply the front brake and rear brake at the
same time. When both brakes are applied,
there is a transfer of rider weight to the front
of the motorcycle. This creates a situation
where about three-quarters of your braking
traction is on the front tire. This can increase
to almost all the braking traction being
on the front tire as more braking force is
applied. The result can be the rear tire losing
contact with the road surface, and possibly
a loss of control of the motorcycle.

It is best to apply the brakes by
gradually increasing pressure. This gradual
increase makes it possible to control the
amount of braking force needed to achieve
threshold braking. (The threshold braking
point is just before the wheels lock.

Here are some tips for slowing
and stopping:

Normal braking

• Practice braking and shifting in a safe,
   traffic-free area.
• To brake effectively, learn to apply even
   braking force between the front and rear
   brakes. (You will acquire a feeling for
   when your tires are about to skid.)
• Downshift smoothly when braking to
   avoid a skid. Downshifting will allow you
   to use the engine to help the motorcycle
   slow down. If you do this without using
   your brakes, it will not activate the brake
   light. Motorists behind you will not be
   warned that you are slowing. For this
   reason, it is a good idea to brake lightly
   between each downshift when slowing
   the motorcycle.
• Use caution when braking in a turn or
   on a curve, and on slippery or rough
   roads. When possible, avoid braking
   when the wheel is turned.
• Downshift through the gears to first 
   gear before stopping so you can move
   forward quickly if necessary.
• Keep the rear brake firmly applied
   while stopped.
• Riding with your brake partially applied
   activates the brake light. This may
   confuse other drivers, and will cause
   unnecessary wear on the brakes.

 

CHAPTER FOUR                                                                 THE BASICS OF SAFE OPERATING AND RIDING  29
 

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