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In the spring, I was at Bob's BMW getting new skins installed and the new S1000RR came pulling in ridden by their factory racer. He was getting used to the bike before doing the complete race prep making it no longer street legal.
We got talking about the new technology on the bike and one very interesting thing was mentioned. The bike has an actuator that senses suspension compression in a turn and extends the actuator to de-compress the suspension and keep the bike from diving in turns.
So, there's technology that makes you a better rider and keeps the bike from diving in turns hmmmm. I guess that alone shows you that smooth is better and allowing the bike to dive isn't the fastest way through a corner.
Slight adjustments, smooth riding is fast riding.
 

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What part of I usually never use the rear brake didn't you understand ?
What part of my statement is unclear? Your first sentence implies that modern linked brakes activate the rear brake when applying the front brake. Take that sentence you wrote and link it to my statement. Shouldn’t be that difficult.
 

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I guess that alone shows you that smooth is better and allowing the bike to dive isn't the fastest way through a corner.
Slight adjustments, smooth riding is fast riding.
Just to be clear, if you're trail braking is causing the front end to 'dive' then you're doing it wrong, very wrong.

Duane
 

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I agree with both @Gunnert and @Jonnybow; "smooth hands make for a fast ride" refers to what both are saying. Trail braking (in my humble estimation) is all about controlling the angle of attack, the degree of weight shift from back to front, by very carefully controlling the front lever; I call it feathering.

It (to me) is the measured and varying continuous application of the front brake. It is not "grab and squeeze"; on that, it sounds as though we agree. I'd also offer that, while not diving the nose of the bike, I am controlling the weight shift forward to increase my lean and arc, and rear to throttle out. Not diving in, a controlled application of brakes.

And by controlled, I use one (two at the most) fingers, and always when moving fast enough. Any braking within the arc of a lean is to be avoided at all reasonable costs, but the set up to that lean can be controlled very well using trail braking with throttle control.
 

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Another attribute of trail braking not discussed in this post is the increase in tire patch contact, more contact equals more traction, etc. When I'm running 'hard' I brake all the way to the apex at which point I transition to the throttle.

Duane
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
Thanks for all of the replies. Okay, silly as this may sound, I believe I AM using the skills prescribed both in the videos and as described by those who've posted. I've, purposely, tried to clear my head of all of the clutter and pay attention to how I'm riding versus the crazy jumble of instruction and discovered that, not only do I look ahead and choose, whenever possible, my line far in advance (keeping ahead of the airplane), I've been trail braking all along without knowing I was doing it. While I'd love to take some formal training, I'm convinced that I'm doing this, pretty much, as suggested in the videos and these posts. For the last couple of weeks I've simply been overthinking things. Again, thanks for the input.

Oh, and after reading some of the replies, here, I should probably say that I'm not engine braking (I do a little) but, as has been stated in this thread, I'm matching my revs to the corner, as required.
 

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You'll never fully experience what you bought if you don't learn how to trail brake. The faster you ride, the more you need to learn this technique. If riding fast is not your cup of tea, then a cruiser may have been the bike for you. Don't mean to sound sarcastic (not my intention), but we all bough a top of the line "Sport" Touring bike. The problem is the name. I have heard some crazy interpretations of what word "Trail" means. For me, it means you trial on the front brake and trail off the front brake... nice and easy. Which is done in concert with easing off and on the throttle. One fluid movement of the wrists and your two front fingers. More brake. less throttle. More throttle, less brake. Practice the movement. Ultimately we're just trying to compress the forks which alter the geometry of the suspension that allows for tighter turns. In addition you spread-out the contact patch of the front tire and gain a bit more traction as you enter the apex of the turn. Don't go too far or you will pass the limits of the front tire and need a paint job in a hurry. Good to practice and you will be in and out of a turn much faster and your riding buddies will think your a super rider! The video you included was more about rear braking working in conjunction with trail braking and honestly - that person talking in term of racing and going the the limits of cornering on a track. Not what most of us are doing or skilled enough to put all that together... plus a bunch of things he didn't even get into. Nice and easy and good luck!

Chuck
 

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Times have changed, e.g... I attended Lee Parks "Total Control" course about 15 years ago. Towards the end the instructors barely touched on 'trail braking' describing it as a very advanced technique used by racers. Fast forward to last weekend, a good friend of mine on an RT took the same course in Woodbridge, VA. Trail Braking was taught from the start of and emphasized throughout the course. JJ said trail braking was taught to be used 100% of the time on the street because it drastically increases rider safety. I agree. I've been trail braking 24/7 going on 3 years. You'd have to ask those that ride with me if I'm quicker, but I know I'm safer..

Duane
 

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Times have changed, e.g... I attended Lee Parks "Total Control" course about 15 years ago. Towards the end the instructors barely touched on 'trail braking' describing it as a very advanced technique used by racers. Fast forward to last weekend and I good friend of mine on an RT took the same course in Woodbridge, VA. Trail Braking was taught from the start of and emphasized throughout the course. JJ said trail braking was taught to be used 100% of the time on the street because it drastically increases rider safety. I agree. I've been trail braking 24/7 going on 3 years. You'd have to ask those that ride with me if I'm quicker, but I know I'm safer..



Duane


Thanks Duane, was just looking online re the courses. Based on your experience and knowledge of these courses would you recommend starting off with the Beginner or Intermediate course for those that have logged many miles but without any formal training?

I am guessing your friend took the Intermediate at the very least where they talk about the throttle/braking on web. TIA.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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@Thomas, he took the Advanced Riders Course 1. If you've been riding for years without formal training this is the course you should attend first. My friend, JJ, was a 'bar hopper' for years who became a 'motorcyclist' 3 years ago when he purchased an R1200RT. I consider JJ a fairly new rider and the ARC1 was perfect for him.

Duane
 

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Times have changed, e.g... I attended Lee Parks "Total Control" course about 15 years ago. Towards the end the instructors barely touched on 'trail braking' describing it as a very advanced technique used by racers. Fast forward to last weekend, a good friend of mine on an RT took the same course in Woodbridge, VA. Trail Braking was taught from the start of and emphasized throughout the course. JJ said trail braking was taught to be used 100% of the time on the street because it drastically increases rider safety. I agree. I've been trail braking 24/7 going on 3 years. You'd have to ask those that ride with me if I'm quicker, but I know I'm safer..

Duane
Exactly! Just normal riding.
 

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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.
 

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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.

Thanks for experimenting and sharing the results!
 

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