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Pipeburn Poll: How do you brake?


Posted on January 10, 2011 by Andrew in Other. 52 comments

Ever notice how arcane motorbicycling is? With cars it was oh-so-simple; “steer into a skid” my father told me. It seemed a bit weird on first hearing it, but on the next quite dirt road when no-one was looking I gave my 1976 Toyota Celica a hefty squirt of petroleum and, hey presto, he was right. Tail goes right, I steer right. Easy peasy, and often repeated by pretty much everyone. Off the top of my head that about covers it for four-wheeled black magic.

But not so with bikes. My first-ever bike ride as a teen was prefaced with the explicit instructions “don’t use the rear brakes – you don’t need ’em” by my unwitting sensei. Right. So they’re just there for looks, then? Whatever the logic, I took the lesson on board and never touched the things. Then years ago in my first Motorcycle Rider Training Class my cranky old bikie teacher told me to always use BOTH front and rear brakes for EVERY stop. “If you don’t,” he lectured, “you’ll never be able to do a proper emergency stop.” Sheesh. Okaaaay then.

And so it goes on. Everyone’s a braking expert – do this when braking, but don’t do that. Use the rear, but not on a day with a date that is a prime number or on an equinox and even then only when riding a puce-coloured bike blah blah blah…

So let’s get this poop sorted, once and for all. What have you guys been taught and does it work? Basically, how do you brake?