SPEAKING WITH NEWBIES ABOUT STOPPING MOTORCYCLES. I was at one of the local motorcycle dealers this week. As I was walking around the large showroom, I happened to pass by a sales person while he was pointing out the motorcycle controls to a potential customer, “…and this is the front brake lever…”
But before he could say anymore, the potential customer jumped in, “Oh, but you shouldn’t use that, right? Wouldn’t you flip over?”
I didn’t catch everything the salesperson said, as I was shortly out of hearing range, but I did catch just enough to understand that he was trying to politely advise the newbie that the front brake was an important part of a bike’s stopping system.
Who knows where the newbie got his idea, but over the years I’ve listened to a number of other inexperienced riders remark about how they are timid about the use of their front brake lever.
FRONT BRAKES DESERVE SOME RESPECT – BUT THEY “MUST” BE CONFIDENTLY USED TO MAXIMIZE BRAKING FORCE
The front brake does deserve some respect, since it accounts for the majority of braking force. However, I am still amazed that riders will risk their lives out on public roads without having full confidence in how to use ALL of the bike’s braking potential.
That potential customer on the showroom floor was wise to have blurted out his understanding (or lack thereof) of the front brake, so that he could have that bad idea corrected before he even owned a bike. Imagine if he didn’t mention it? What if that guy bought the bike in question and rode for quite a while harboring the notion that a front brake is a taboo control?
At some point that bad idea would get him hurt.
(Here in California, it’s illegal to ride a motorbike without a motorcycle license, but it is not illegal for a dealer to sell a motorcycle to an untrained and unlicensed rider. This results in various brand-new motorcycle accidents with first-time riders, right on dealer parking lots. And I’ve been there when it has happened! But that’s a different story altogether….)
Anyway, if you know of a new rider, or any rider who is not a trained motorcyclist, you would be doing them a favor to find out what their understanding is regarding the use of their front brake. If they have any notion that they should use it as little as possible, you ought to invite their appreciation to the reality that front brakes account for about 70% of their bike’s braking power, and that they should use their front brake ALL the time, in conjunction with their rear brake, so that they are fully familiar with using both, and can bring their bike to a very quick stop any time the circumstances demand.
Riding is where all the fun is. Efficient stopping is an important part of where survival is.
How much do YOU use your front brake? (Post your comment below.)