A lot of riders forget this very important fact: brakes means the difference between life and death.
It’s pretty basic. If you can’t stop when you need to then you better not ride at all.
Brakes on a motorcycle are designed to function differently – the rear brake is to slow down your motorcycle while the front brake allows you to stop immediately.
So while riding at speed, when you see vehicles in front of you slowing down, it is best to apply the rear brake gradually to allow your motorcycle to slow down. Then once you are running at 5kph, you can apply the front brake to achieve a full stop.
Why is this necessary? Why not just use the front brake and apply with force to stop immediately when you approach stopped vehicles?
Well you can do that, but you better be ready to do some action movie stuntman maneuvers, because you will definitely skid and crash.
A motorcycle is a heavy machine that is rolling on two rubber wheels. Add your weight to it and physics will tell you that coming to a full stop immediately after running a medium to high speed is physically impossible. The rubber of your tires and your brakes will try to break forward movement, but the inertia will force an additional movement that is compounded by the weight of you and your motorcycle. Ergo, you might end up doing a dangerous move called an “endo” or worse, you will fly over the handlebar to crash painfully into whatever obstacle is in front.
So in order to ride safe, best to maintain a defensive posture and slow the motorcycle with a rear brake. The center of gravity of the bike works well with the rear brake to give you more control at stopping rather than the front brake.
Others may now ask, why not just use the rear brake instead? Can I simply step on it and bring my ride to an immediate stop instead of a gradual stop?
You can, but be ready to control a rear-tire skid, also known as fishtail skid, that will surely happen when you force your bike to an immediate stop at speed with the rear brake. It will be a scary and painful experience that you will be lucky enough to avoid once without crashing.
So how do you do an life-saving emergency stop? It will take a lot of skill and practice, but you will need to use both brakes – engage the rear brake to stop your bike while you use your front brake to give you a measure of control over the fishtail skid. Trust us when we tell you that if you love your bike and your body, it is best to not even attempt this at all because you will definitely crash a couple of times before you can do this action-star stunt.
So what is the alternative? Don’t be a kamote rider. Be aware and defensive at all times during your ride. Learn to slow down early and use your brakes the way they were intended.
Speed riding might be thrilling and fun, but the risks of injury and even death will definitely be a deal-breaker. Knowing how to brake properly and having a ride-safe attitude will let you enjoy riding a lot longer, kaibigan.