Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Idleyld (near Crater Lake), Oregon
As many others have mentioned, I've been using trail braking for many years without even realizing it. I use it on EVERY corner EXCEPT in conditions that indicate I might have less than adequate traction in an emergency (wet corners, ice melt slime, sand/gravel/aggregate, etc.). Yes, ice melt slime (for lack of a better term) has just been laid down in all the corners above 1500' on the highway I live on - Oregon Hwy. 138, the Umpqua/Rogue scenic byway. I live at 2500'. So yesterday I rode the GTL following the river down-valley the 1-hour minimum into town for my annual fill-up of non-ethanol premium, when I noticed the wet looking appearance of this crap they're already spraying down to minimize winter ice formation.
New to me, I decided to test the traction on this gelatinous-looking crud in a "controlled" experiment. Ie, it seemed to offer pretty good traction, but just how much traction would it provide in an emergency mid-corner full stop if a tree was suddenly lying across the road? So I scouted for a section that allowed full braking while not leaned over in the slightest. Air temp was 52 degrees at 3:00 in the afternoon. Lo and behold, the ABS kicked in WAY before it would have on a dry section of asphalt. Glad I confirmed that! Now I treat these corners as wet and brake well before initiating the turn, and treat the corner with a great deal of respect.
Back to emergency maneuvers mid-corner. This past summer I trail braked into a corner as usual (ie, read: spirited riding), picked my line and then saw a soft-ball sized rock in the middle of my lane. I spotted it in plenty of time, but picked the wrong action: I opted a high deviation to my line. This might have been fine except that it also turned out to be a decreasing radius turn. Luckily nothing was coming on the other side of the double yellow, as that is where I quickly ended up. And yes, it happened VERY FAST. Lesson learned: if a deviation is called for, select the low side to miss an obstacle so as not to become another M/C rider statistic.
2012 K1600GTL Silver 65kmi. & counting
'89 R100RT 65k mi. (sold)
'85 TREK 720 10k mi. (still riding)
'79 CB750K w/Windjammer 35k mi. (not forgotten)