Road Braking

Road Science – Braking

By David L. Hough


Most of us understand that a quick stop is a primary defense against collisions. Of course, braking needs to be discussed both in terms of rider skill and the type of braking system on the bike.

Back in the “good old days,” motorcycle brakes were generally so feeble that no one had to worry about skids or “stoppies.” But both tires and brakes have been improved to the point where today it’s not unreasonable to expect a quick stop with deceleration in excess of 1G. Test riders routinely wring 60-to-0 quick stops from new motorcycles in distances less than 110 ft.

Motorcycle manufacturers have been producing high tech brake systems to help the rider make better quick stops. But whatever the braking system on the bike, it’s still up to the rider to recognize an impending hazard, apply the brakes quickly and efficiently, and maintain balance to maximize traction and avoid a spill while the bike is being brought to a halt.

Read the article in its entirety in four PDF files. Each file will pop up a new window. When you are through reading, simply “X” out the window and you will return to this page.

David Hough is a long-time motorcyclist and journalist. His work has appeared in numerous motorcycle publications, but he is best known for the monthly skills series “Proficient Motorcycling” in Motorcycle Consumer News, which has been honored by special awards from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Selected columns were edited into a book “Proficient Motorcycling” published by Bowtie Press. He is also the author of “Driving A Sidecar Outfit.” A pocket handbook, “Street Strategies” is also on the market now.