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Rear Brake


Mclovin147
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Hey guys, I have a question.


Approaching 100 miles on my first bike, so still extremely new to riding, but one thing that has me thinking at the moment is how heavily I rely on my back brake. I’m aware that the front brake is strongest of the two when going at any notable speed, but I just don’t feel the need to use it...like ever lol The front brake at the moment for me is basically a ‘oh shit’ tool when I really need to stop, think it’s because my right hand is focused on throttle control too.


Just letting off the throttle (my bike has very strong ‘engine brake’ the second you let off the throttle too which helps) and applying pressure to the back brake has thus far been plenty enough stopping power for my 125, and I like to slow down in plenty of time for things, so I don’t race up on junctions etc - but my question is this, is it ok be using the back brake so frequently and at higher speeds? As in, it’s not going to potentially cause an issue by locking something up on me? I realise the rear brake pads is going to suffer a lot more wear and tear, but Just wondering if the back brake can be used safely/frequently in the manor that I use it, or if I should be trying to kick this habit and keep the back brake for low speeds and for emergency stops (in combination with the front brake)

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You don't need a lot of pressure on the front brake to stop in a relatively short distance, i use a combination of both depending on situation, also most new bikes now come with linked braking systems :thumb:

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You should definitely be trying to kick the habit. Unfortunately the front brakes on 125's are often disproportionately strong for the power and weight of the bike which tends to give them a quite 'grabby' feel when applied with anything but a light touch. You may get yourself into trouble when you do need to stop quick, either by locking the rear or panic grabbing a handful of lever and locking the front when you aren't used to how it responds to lever pressure.


You also need to be aware when using engine braking that unless you are also applying a bit of (either) lever you are not displaying brake lights so people behind may not be prepared for you to suddenly drop speed.


Getting it right now is much, much easier than trying to fix bad habits later and if/when you decide to move on from a 125 that front brake is going to suddenly be a hell of a lot more important! Have a look at this as it seems to explain it quite well: https://www.motorcycletesttips.uk/motorcycle-riding-tutorials/motorcycle-braking-techniques/

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As above, good to use back brake but you need to be comfortable using both, when slowing the weight of the bike shifts to the front, that's where your grip is, if you use rear only and brake heavy your running the risk of locking, if your in gear your also fighting against the engine, you may have noticed the front is not driven 😁

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Hey guys, thanks for the reply!


My bike does have ABS, which will hopefully help me out if ever needed, but I will make a conscious effort to use the front brake more often. The bike is a 2018 model Honda CB125R, the neo cafe sports, it’s an exceptionally light machine, around 130KG with a very light rider (around 60KG), which could be why the back brake is more than sufficient lol


The engine brake is a bit of a pain in the backside, was tough to learn to ride this bike when compared to the old Hondas I did my CBT on, the second you let off the throttle the bike scrubs a noticeable amount of speed off, so I’m very conscious of my throttle control, which has probably led me to develop this habit, avoiding messing with the throttle controlling hand by squeezing the front brake.


The older Hondas were as smooth as anything coming off the throttle. My bike, especially in first, feels like you’ve been kicked in the nuts it brakes that hard (when coming off the throttle lol)

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Hi


When riding in traffic I tend to keep two fingers over the front brake lever. This gives me more than sufficient stopping power and reduces the risk of grabbing a hand full of brake.


As you ease off the throttle your fingers naturally curl around the brake lever and you can apply gentle pressure. You need to get used to using the front brake although your back may be effective at lower speeds as your speed increases it will be less so and more likely to lock up potentially causing a loss of control. When slowing the weight is transferred to the front tyre increasing the contact patch/available grip whilst reducing the rear weight/contact patch as a rough figure to stop quickly you would be using the front for 75 to 90% of the braking power. Get used to using it, chances are it will save your life.

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Using engine braking is fine but using the rear brake as your primary brake is a very bad idea. It's not efficient at all so the amount of braking you'll get from it is limited which is ok except when you need more braking than that limit. You're also not effecting any weight transfer to speak of which assists the braking effort as you would be by using the front brake. Lastly you run the risk of stalling the engine should you lock the rear wheel up and in order to get the rear moving again you'll either have to clutch in or bump start the bike by which time you may well be on the floor. By all means use it in conjunction with the front if you like and for low speed manoeuvring but definitely don't use it as the primary brake.

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My old GSXR had two big disks , two callipers with a total of twelve pistons on the front . On the back it had a small disk and a calliper with two pistons that didn't seem to do a lot . When I sold the bike it was 26 years old with 43,000 miles on the clock and it still had the original rear pads in it . I'm not the best rider in the world and I have torn up a few front tyres but I think it's fairly obvious which is the primary brake . This is the reason I got a Harley with twin front disks so that I could carry on riding in the style to which I am accustomed. I've barely touched the back brake in 5000 miles .

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Try and get out of the habit of doing this, you run the risk of locking the back wheel and going into a skid, even worse if your doing it when cornering. practice using a mix of front brake, rear brake and engine braking from speed, the only time I use the back brake on its own is when I'm crawling along in heavy traffic or manoeuvring in tight confines, rear brake and throttle makes the rear of the bike sit down and therefore easier to control when moving slowly.


I would further argue that most of what you need to know comes with experience, if I think back to when I started biking I was probably making the mistakes you are now, the same as everyone does.

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I think the key thing here is your riding style. You say you slow down early and gently so you're not racing into junctions. It's ok to use your rear brake in conjunction with engine braking if you're riding in traffic and going slow. Using the rear brake shows your brake light as well as balancing the bike.


So in that sense what you're doing is fine. What you don't want to do is the carry the same habit into situations where you're traveling quickly or slowing down more forcefully. That's when you want most of your stopping power at the front.


So it's really a matter of adapting brake input to the conditions.

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It's also a matter of moving up from a 125 before you get too set in your ways . Interestingly , a lot of these Lexmoto 125,s actually have linked braking systems which takes some of the choice away from the rider . Anyway , you're only a hundred miles in . I have been known to do that in one summer's evening . Find some quiet business park and spend a lot of time just riding around and practicing your braking .

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I did this for the first hour of mod 2 training. My tutor picked me up on it immediately and got me to stop. I couldn't see the point back then - I was slowing down just fine using engine braking and a touch of back brake. But you want to acquire the habit and the adeptness of using both brakes together effectively, because if you do this by habit, then the habit will ensure you come to a quick halt in an emergency.


It might help to have a bit of understanding about how the suspension works on a bike... when you brake, the weight of the bike shifts forwards, so that most of the weight of the bike moves over to the front wheel. Initially, this extra weight is absorbed by compression in the forks (which is why the bike dives forward under hard braking) but when the forks have compressed to the point where they've taken the weight, if you're stll braking then then the front tyre gets pushed down into the road, and the friction between the tyre and road increases. The front tyre also deforms a bit, increasing the size of the contact patch with the road, increasing the friction available even further. This is the moment - typically a second or so after you've started braking - when you can use this extra friction by increasing the pressure on the front brake. This slows you down even faster, which moves more weight to the front, allowing you continue braking harder and harder.


When you brake using the rear, the same thing happens initially: as you slow down, the weight of the bike moves forward. But this reduces the weight on the back wheel, reducing the friction available for braking. This is ok when you're braking gently on a nice dry road, but should you need to stop a bike quickly, especially on greasy winter roads, then using the rear alone exposes you to greater risks of locking up the back wheel.


I think the recommended approach is to use 75% front and 25% back brake (or something like that) for braking on a dry roads.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

You may like to note that one of the finest road racers of all time Joey Dunlop never used the rear brake at all.

After all if you are braking on a bike in anything other than a straight line things are going to get "interesting".

My ZRX bought new in 2004 still has original rear pads and my 2003 Busa I have never looked at the rear pads.

I know all the 75% 25% arguments but 40 years and never being off two wheels I am happy with Joey`s choice.

Cheers

Ian

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One of the finest road racers of all tome (Joey Dunlop) never used the rear brake.

After all if you are braking on a two wheeler in anything other then a straight line things could get interesting.

On my ZRX bought new in 2004 I still have the original rear pads and in my 2003 Busa I have never looked at the rear pads.

I am aware of all the 75% 25% arguments but prior planning matters more.

Cheers

Ian

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Loads of helpful stuff on this post but basically it some down to learning. Joey Dunlop may well have used just the front brake but he also had a racing bike! Strong brakes and very soft tyres + years of experience.

If you use just the front brake things can go wrong instantly and thats when you crap your pants and start using both brakes. Use both brake now, go somewhere safe and practice hard stops.

I have to say i have never ridden a bike with ABS but in wet and slippery condition i can imagine it would be hairy.

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Caveat up front: I am a newbie, about 8000 miles in total over 18 months and 6 of that was on my 125.

I use both brakes but not for every application. If I am stopping from speed it is mostly front brake. If I am slowing a little I might use back brake to join in with engine braking. With forward planning lots of braking is reducible and avoidable and when not the power of the front brake is unnecessary. I like to add a little brake light when I am slowing down to stop the muppets up my bum from running in to me, a little touch of back is great for that.

Yammienoob on YouTube and I think Ryan fortnine both suggest learning to use both independently and together. Yammienoob suggests trying some trips just one and some just the other.

I struggle to see why it is a good thing to avoid using some of the bike controls to control the bike. My instructor recently described low speeds good to use back and higher speeds good to use more front.

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Caveat up front: I am a newbie, about 8000 miles in total over 18 months and 6 of that was on my 125.

I use both brakes but not for every application. If I am stopping from speed it is mostly front brake. If I am slowing a little I might use back brake to join in with engine braking. With forward planning lots of braking is reducible and avoidable and when not the power of the front brake is unnecessary. I like to add a little brake light when I am slowing down to stop the muppets up my bum from running in to me, a little touch of back is great for that.

Yammienoob on YouTube and I think Ryan fortnine both suggest learning to use both independently and together. Yammienoob suggests trying some trips just one and some just the other.

I struggle to see why it is a good thing to avoid using some of the bike controls to control the bike. My instructor recently described low speeds good to use back and higher speeds good to use more front.

But your Lexmoto Falcon has a linked braking system James .

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Hey guys, good to see my threads still gathering knowledge lol


I went out of my way to use the front brake more after posting this and now that feels natural, I have a good feel for it now.


Been on longer runs on national speed limits roads etc and now I almost exclusively use the front brake at any respectable speed, back brake for slow movements, basically anything 15+ mph I use the front brake now, or when turning if I HAVE to brake (like a roundabout where we stop etc) I will give the back brake a gradual push.


Pretty sure in my CBT that’s what the instructors taught us, slow speed = back brake, high speed = Front brake, Emergency brake = both

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