- Written by Carole Nash Editor
- Created: 12 March 2008
If you’re into trackdays, or fancy a race school, then there are some valuable techniques to be learned when braking hard. Just improving this aspect of your riding could cut 10 seconds off your lap time on your first trackday, even if you work on nothing else.
Think about the physics of what you’re trying to accomplish on track; reduce speed fast, whilst maintaining tyre grip, then transferring weight suddenly through a corner, then finally accelerating as hard as possible to the next braking point. That’s the essence of racing, but it’s fiendishly hard to learn.
You need to complete sections of the circuit in a very controlled way to really go fast – and doing stoppies, or `backing it in’ to corners, have bugger all to do with fast lap times for most of us. Smooth braking is the key.
So use about 80% front, 20% rear braking on a typically dry circuit. A gentle dab on the rear pedal is all your should need. Keep your fingers smoothly squeezing the front brake lever – don’t grab – and the bike’s weight will gradually compress onto the front tyre. Don’t forget to use your bodyweight and shift back a little bit in the saddle too, it will help keep the bike straight whilst you scrub off speed in a couple of seconds.
Just when you think that you’re going a fraction too fast to make the turn, ( and all your gearchanging is done) let the brakes off and kind of `float’ the bike into the turn, dragging your bodyweight as low as possible and sticking your knee out.
Because the bike is `pushing’ a little against its tyres as it tips into the corner, this acts in effect as a bit of extra braking, so the final bit of your corner entry is still a part of your braking sequence. The hard thing of course is guessing how much speed you can truly carry into the turn – that’s what makes a proper road racer.
One final tip; Take a deep breath and exhale as you enter the corner – it helps!