Using the Brakes - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-30-2008, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Greensboro, NC
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Using the Brakes

After riding over 600 miles on the bike, and having never really learned to ride I street bike, I have some questions about using the brakes. I seem to be using the engine braking technique the most, only using the brakes for the last few yards and then it seem that I'm only using the front brake. If I have to brake hard for anything I use both brakes, but for 90% of my ride I'm just using the front brake.

So I guess my question is: What is the proper or best braking technique to use as a new street rider? Or could you point me a web page I can read, most of what I have found deals with the sport bikes.

As soon as my new job's working hours steady, should be in about 3 weeks, I plan to take the Basic course. In PA the class is free, if you complete the course satisfactorily you get your motorcycle license.


Last edited by Markk9; 05-30-2008 at 12:46 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-30-2008, 02:23 PM
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Location: Richmond, Ky
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First and foremost, I am glad to hear your going to take the Basic riders course. It will most assuredly give you the correct knowledge and basic tools to learn and use when riding.

As for correct braking procedure:

Yes you can use the engine braking, but use the front and back brakes together. The more surface friction there is being used to stop the motorcycle the safer it is.

You will be amazed at just how much pressure you can apply to the front brakes and not have the front tire skid and loose traction on you. I took the Experienced Riders Course back in April, and wow, I learned alot, especially about brakes and how fast you really can stop if needed. Go out to a parking lot, "empty" preferred, and just start practicing braking using both the front and rears and try to better yourself each time in stopping distance. Start around about 20 mph and brake, then each time after that brake a lil harder and so on. Once you feel comfortable, increase the speed some and do the same. If your rear wheel locks up, do not let off the brake, hold it and keep the bike upright until your stopped. If you happen to be sideways and you let off the brake and the tire catches, you have a chance of the bike throwing you, or what they call a high side. Those hurt real bad.
I heard someone once say, 'a motorcycle is a lot like a chainsaw. It will make the work easy, and do whatever you need it to do, but if you ever turn your back or loose concentration, it may bounce back and bite you hard.'

Keep us posted on how things go and how well you liked the course.

I do hope your wearing all of your protective gear when riding?

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #3 of 5 Old 05-30-2008, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DXKLR View Post

I do hope your wearing all of your protective gear when riding?
I always were a helmet, jacket, gloves and boots. I have the pants but I must confess that I don't always were them.

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post #4 of 5 Old 05-30-2008, 06:31 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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Just the way I ride... I like the get the bike "set up" by applying a little rear brake, then going to the front. It works for me, but as said above, get into a parking lot and see what feels better for your riding style.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-31-2008, 12:02 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Progressive braking is what they call the technique. Applying both brakes through initial start of stopping then gradually letting off the rear as the weight shifts to the front wheel and then only using the front brake to finish the stop. This technique does not use any engine braking.

During emergency stopping, MSF claims most people can't operate both brakes effectively so they recommend focusing on perfecting the use of one brake. Seeing as 3/4's of the braking power comes from the front, this is the recommended brake to perfect.

MSF doesn't recommend engine braking for stop braking. They say that engine braking is for speed changes only, not for braking to stop. IE... if you are going 50 and the speed limit changes to 30, you would not require brakes, just let the engine do it by letting off throttle or downshifting.

Personally, I engine brake way to hard for many stops. The rear wheel likes to squeal every now and then to let me know. KLR brakes don't stop with a lot of gusto so I prefer engine brake combined with front brake and then whatever rear brake to finish off the stop. I might as well use the MSF book as toilet paper based on how I ride.
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