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I found myself in a situation the other day (75 on the freeway, car in front of me slams on brakes and starts fishtailing). I stopped HARD, but got it stopped without any contact. I follow far back or it would have been unavoidable. After my heart stopped feeling like it was about to explode, I realized something. I REALLY believe in practicing for the worst contingencies and I regularly practice and feel where the threshold is. When I needed to do the right thing, my body just did it. I knew I had the distance to get it stopped, but it was damn close.

Practice guys. There have been enough deaths this past year. No doubt I would have freaked out and grabbed too much if it wasn't for the fact that I do a couple lock ups every few rides. And if I'd lost the split second I gain by always covering the levers, this story would probably have a bad ending as well.
 

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Great call, Jaw!!!

I practice panic stops often too. Full grab on the front and just to the edge
of lockup on the rear. There's a LOT of deer and blind hills where I live and commute.
This is a necessary practice if we ever wanna meet our grandkids someday.

CheapAndStill Alive
 

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And if I'd lost the split second I gain by always covering the levers, this story would probably have a bad ending as well.
+ 1!!!!!!!!!

At an off-road workshop, our instructors (International Six-Day Enduro and Last Man Standing racers) taught us, "Always keep two fingers on the brake lever, and two fingers on the clutch lever," when riding.

From your description of the incident, you survived because:

1. You maintained a safe interval from the vehicle ahead of you.
2. You developed competence in panic stopping technique from practice.
3. Your fingers, already on the brake lever (and, I assume your foot on the brake pedal) immediately responded.

I've had similar "near-misses," the readiness of the fingers on the levers helped me avert disaster, also. And, I'm not proud of it, but . . . some of these situations were a result of my own lapses (as in, hurrying, and "just this once," not maintaining a safe following interval).

I'll add another safety contributor: Steel-braided front brake line. In my view, the faster, more positive rersponse of the caliper to the master cylinder pressure afforded by the stiffer, braided brake line, translates to a few feet saved in response time. Sometimes, those few feet may be the difference between riding on and a crash.

Back to fingers-on-the-levers-at-all-times; don't know what the Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches, but--I'm all for the practice.

Again, glad you're safe!
 

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Thanks. Yeah, I debated putting it up, but it is something we have to remember. The really scary part was how damn close it was even doing the right things.
 

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Good on ya' LJ !!!

From time to time I'll also practice hard braking if I find myself in a good spot away from other traffic. The local high school has markers out in the parking lot presumably for band practice that I'll use for slow speed riding practice also. I dont always cover the levers, I should, but always do in heavy traffic or threatening situations. In hard braking a mirror check is in order as the threat can change from ahead to behind quickly.

Another thing I find myself doing as well as braking practice is avoidance maneuvers at speed. Pick a spot ahead and imagine say a cinderblock lying in your path, apply some deliberate countersteering to initiate a change of direction. It's amazing how quickly you can get your bike to respond. Where deer are concerned I think it's better to keep a straight line and slow as quickly as possible than try to avoid. They are just too unpredictable.

Practice slowing mid corner. If you follow the advice of "in slow, out fast" you should be OK but you never know when you may have to do it. I'll pull the clutch and gently apply the front brake staying completely off the rear. I'll take any other good advice on this as it's the most upsetting situation I've ever found myself in.

Practice practice practice and be sure you're away from other traffic doing it. I'm not much on rote learning methods but in these cases the point is to make the actions automatic and you a better, safer rider.

OK, off the soapbox.
Ride safe.
 

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I practiced braking last night. Its amazing how fast it stops from 100 km/h.
One thing tho lets say,Heavens forbid I would have to lay down the bike.Is there a proper technique?
Sorry for the hijack but its sorta related.
 

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my buddy crashed last week , he had locked up rear wheel on gravel on edge of road from snow removeal ,, once he had locked up rear he panicked and gave a hand full of front brake and high sided and slid 70 feet .. he never felt the rear skid before and didnt learn to feather brakes to keep from locking up ..

some i know refuse to ride a bike without abs .. i think abs is ok but nothing beats driver experience and control ..
 

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I practiced braking last night. Its amazing how fast it stops from 100 km/h.
One thing tho lets say,Heavens forbid I would have to lay down the bike.Is there a proper technique?
Sorry for the hijack but its sorta related.

The only option is to reduce speed. The energy at impact is the mass x the velocity squared (sorry for the physics dumb down physics guys!). The more speed you can scrub off the better off you'll be.

Laying down the bike is giving up or more likely admitting that you lost control. There's no way to practice laying down a bike unless you're a stunt man.

Emergency braking should be practiced from the speed you normally ride, work your way up to it but you should be able to clamp down hard on the brakes at 65 mph if you ride at 65.

Might just need to sometime, right Lockjaw?

Glad you came out OK bud!
 

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my buddy crashed last week , he had locked up rear wheel on gravel on edge of road from snow removeal ,, once he had locked up rear he panicked and gave a hand full of front brake and high sided and slid 70 feet .. he never felt the rear skid before and didnt learn to feather brakes to keep from locking up ..

some i know refuse to ride a bike without abs .. i think abs is ok but nothing beats driver experience and control ..

One advantage that dual sport riders should have (from off-road riding) is learning how to slide the bike. The best thing to do when you break traction is usually nothing! Ride it out, the bike will generally correct itself. It's normally the riders inputs trying to stop the slide that causes the crash.
 

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+ 1!!!!!!!!!
At an off-road workshop, our instructors (International Six-Day Enduro and Last Man Standing racers) taught us, "Always keep two fingers on the brake lever, and two fingers on the clutch lever," when riding.
When on the road, I actually ride with all four fingers covering both the brake and clutch levers at all times. I always have; just habit, I guess. the idea of wrapping my hands around the grips bicycle-style seems foreign to me.

For all the jokes about it being a "pig," you can actually move the KLR sideways pretty quickly. In my opinion it's quite nimble while in motion on the road. To practice swerving, I like to see how fast I can go while still weaving the yellow striped lines on local blacktops.
 

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The only option is to reduce speed. The energy at impact is the mass x the velocity squared (sorry for the physics dumb down physics guys!).
Actually, Spec, I think the kinetic energy is HALF mass x the velocity squared.

Nevertheless, you're quite correct; energy is directly proportional to the square of the velocity.

And, you're in good company with what may be a formulaic error: I think General Julian Hatcher made the same one in, "Hatcher's Stopping Power Formula," regarding terminal ballistics of handgun ammunition.
 

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...The best thing to do when you break traction is usually nothing! Ride it out, the bike will generally correct itself. It's normally the riders inputs trying to stop the slide that causes the crash.
Very true, I believe.

This happened to me on the way out to the desert last month. I was on the 91 freeway in Riverside moving at 65 mph. All of a sudden the traffic decided to quit moving. I nailed the front brakes hard and tried to feather the rear, but it locked up.

Because I have such mad skillz and chiseled good looks I calmly rode it out, counter-steering into the skid, keeping the rear locked up. I stopped within a couple of feet of the car in front of me. I think the most scared individual in the whole scenario was in the car following me - I can imagine the thoughts running through his head!

Consider what happens when the rear locks - the rear end starts to slide around. As that happens the bike leans in the opposite direction of the skid. If you don't keep it well balanced you will low-side.

On the other hand, if you release the brake with the ass end hung out, the tire will regain traction and the bike will try to right itself, launching you into a high-side.

Laying the bike down is never a good option - you're trading .6 G of deceleration for almost zero deceleration.

Keep it upright. I was a bit lucky last month, but have also practiced locking up the rear wheel in a panic braking situation.

And been thrown out of the TRW parking lot for it...

T
 

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Good Afternoon All KLRers,

Living in the city of San Francisco, I have had many occasions to "Hard Stop" because we have more than our fair share of Stupid Drivers. I like the "two finger" rule as well. I practice this each and every time I ride. The broken yellow line weave is a great idea, I hope you don't mind me using that Damocles.

It never ceases to amaze me how much knowledge can be learned from the various members of this site. The experiences that you share can and do save lives. Keep it up.

Snakeboy66
 

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Funny how we all do this. I hope that means we get to keep doing it. In any sport, the greats are the ones who practice the most.

Sorry to hear about the crash. Sounds ugly.

Yeah, I weave between the road dots, too. Got pulled over for doing parking lot practice a few years ago (cop thought I was hot rodding) and the cop was impressed. I figure, you watch those cop training videos...the shit those guys can do with a bike is nuts. But it's all about control. Doing a circle inside two empty parking spaces and then working it down as tight as you can.

Hell, I even had my wife come one time and I rode the bike at her and at the last minute she'd point a side. That was probably dumb. But, yeah, counter-steering, hard stops, riding REALLY slow, try to stop the full two seconds at a stop sign without putting your feet down...

I am also of the school of thought that no one 'lays it down' on purpose. At least not people like us. If I tried to do it i'm sure I'd end up highsiding or something. Always better ON the bike. 'I had to lay it down' is just something you smile at so the rider can save face. :)

Basically, I want to know how the bike feels and reacts in every forseeable scenario and I want to know that I can control (or release control) as necessary. OCD? Heck yeah. :)
 

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great post as I for one have not practised this move since my training course,This will be in my thoughts the next time I take the bike out,better now than in an emergency when you really need it.
 

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I had meant to mention this in my post, but forgot. I'll add it here rather than edit the post.

In my hard stop I made a critical mistake.

~80% of your available braking force comes from the front, 20% from the rear. When you brake hard there is a lot of weight transfer to the front, allowing the rear to unload.

With so little weight on it, the rear brake can easily overcome the available traction. That makes it very hard to control so that you can actually get that 20%.

The mistake I made was in trying to use the rear brake. It happens automatically, but it's a mistake to hit the rear brake (no authority here, just my opinion) in a panic stop because the likely outcome is a skid, which is worse than not having that additional 20% of braking power. When it skids you've got close to 0% braking anyway, plus the skid to deal with.

Intellectually I knew that, but my right foot forgot.

T
 

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I had meant to mention this in my post, but forgot. I'll add it here rather than edit the post.

In my hard stop I made a critical mistake.

~80% of your available braking force comes from the front, 20% from the rear. When you brake hard there is a lot of weight transfer to the front, allowing the rear to unload.

With so little weight on it, the rear brake can easily overcome the available traction. That makes it very hard to control so that you can actually get that 20%.

The mistake I made was in trying to use the rear brake. It happens automatically, but it's a mistake to hit the rear brake (no authority here, just my opinion) in a panic stop because the likely outcome is a skid, which is worse than not having that additional 20% of braking power. When it skids you've got close to 0% braking anyway, plus the skid to deal with.

Intellectually I knew that, but my right foot forgot.

T

It's probably a natural reaction but I push on the bars and try to keep my weight back when standing on the brakes. The back brake on my bike is kinda touchy so I'm carefull not to stomp it. I don't give it full presure until almost stopped usually.

Of course I've never been in an actual panic stop... :pC fail:
 

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I practice rear braking on wet grass, I steer and try to slide a bit. If anything Im getting more confidence.
I do admire those who slide the M/C on twisty gravel roads.
 

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I had meant to mention this in my post, but forgot. I'll add it here rather than edit the post.

In my hard stop I made a critical mistake.

~80% of your available braking force comes from the front, 20% from the rear. When you brake hard there is a lot of weight transfer to the front, allowing the rear to unload.

With so little weight on it, the rear brake can easily overcome the available traction. That makes it very hard to control so that you can actually get that 20%.

The mistake I made was in trying to use the rear brake. It happens automatically, but it's a mistake to hit the rear brake (no authority here, just my opinion) in a panic stop because the likely outcome is a skid, which is worse than not having that additional 20% of braking power. When it skids you've got close to 0% braking anyway, plus the skid to deal with.

Intellectually I knew that, but my right foot forgot.

T
CAVEAT: I do not know what the Motorcycle Safety Foundation doctrine might be; the following comes from my own perception and experience only:

Although the rear brake provides much less stopping power than the front brake, I think the rear brake is important in panic stops.

First, the 20 % or so deceleration the rear brake provides may be critical in the overall stopping distance required.

SECOND, applying the rear brake neutralizes the INERTIA, of the engine and drivetrain. Without applying rear brake, the dynamic force of the spun-up rotating motive components actually DRIVE the machine forward momentarily, even after the throttle is chopped closed.

As mentioned, intuitively, the rider's inclined to stomp the rear brake in a panic situation; and, also as mentioned, a rear-wheel lock-up and consequent skid is likely. However, some practice and "feel" can be developed to let up suddenly on the rear brake when this undesirable situation develops; then, rear brake force can be re-applied up to the point of a skid, again.

In a way, a rider becomes a do-it-yourself "ABS," modulating or pumping the rear brake pedal to minimize skidding.

===================

Not the only time I ever experienced this hazardous situation, and I take responsibility for my part in creating it:

Hurrying to join a ride last Saturday morning, I followed a car down a two-lane balcktop road; on the right, railroad right-of-way and unimproved shoulder; on the left, intersections with residential driveways and an occasional street.

I did NOT see any left-turn signal from the car ahead of me, as it stopped suddenly, awaiting the passage of on-coming traffic to turn into a driveway.

Regardless, I doubtless was following too close for this contingency; couldn't possibly stop behind the car without hitting it.

Went into mondo-panic stop mode, applying both front and rear brakes simultaneously; rear wheel locked up and began to skid to left as I swerved to the right, aiming for the minimalist shoulder instead of the car's rear bumper . . .

I released the rear brake to gain some "steerage," or control, dived successfully onto the ragged shoulder, and passed the stopped car on the right.

Abruptly braking the rear wheel had killed the engine, but . . . as with the brake lever, I had two fingers on the clutch lever; was able to quickly bump-start the engine from the existing momentum and power out of the shoulder, continuing safely on my way (but with more vigilant attention to the interval between my machine and other vehicles I followed!).

By the way, this maneuver was NOT like John Surtees gracefully negotiating a corner at the Isle of Man or Josh Hayes at the Laguna Seca road race; instead, it was awkward and desperate. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME . . . unless you have to! :)
 
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