Front vs Rear Brakes on Motorbikes – Why Is Your Front Braking System so much More Effective?
Many myths abound when it comes to proper motorcycle braking technique. In the bad old days before Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) basic RiderCourse, most new riders were given a five-second class on how to operate a bike: “This is the throttle, this is the clutch and don’t touch that. It’s the front brake, and it’ll throw you over the handlebar.” With such sage advice, novices were sent wobbling down the road and straight into the school of hard knocks. Fortunately, today most riders know better when the front brake is involved.
Still, misinformation abounds in this information age. We discuss the differences in braking systems of a motorbike, and why one may (or many not) be more effective than the other.
Front vs Rear Brakes on Motorbikes – What is the difference?
in different road situations, the rider can get good results by using just one of the brakes or both in different strength combinations. To get the best results you need to have very good experience and training.
Many modern motorcycles today have a front brake lever that applies the front brake and the rear brake together (rear brake is applied at a much weaker rate than the front brake, mix is optimised).
The first reason for this is that front brake is necessary to stop at higher speeds, however the bike comes to a halt much sooner if both breaks are applied with a good mix. The second reason is; if a rider locks the front wheel by applying too much front brake, the rider will most probably go down in a very dangerous way (high-siding possible especially in a curve). The new front brake makes stopping safer especially for the less experienced rider.
A possible reason why manufacturers did not include this in older bikes is that the motorcycles were small and technologically less advanced. Now that these technologies are smaller and cheaper, it is possible. Another example for this is the ABS break system.
Case Study: Front Brakes vs Rear Brakes vs Combined Braking
This case study was conducted by rider.drivemag and full credit for this excerpt is attributed to them:
“Rear Brake Only :
We first used only the rear brake. It took the bike 23 meters of sliding to come to a complete stop. This is not the efficient way of stopping your bike. When it comes to brake slides it may be the coolest way to impress your friends, but be cautious, the rear brake must be released only when the wheels are aligned, or you’ll fall.
Front Brake Only
The front brake stopped our bike in just 9 meters with a small stoppie. However, this technique may not be the safest way to stop your bike. You have to practice it a lot. Lever squeezing has to be firm, and you must use at least two fingers. Don’t rush to bite hard on the lever because it may put you down instantaneously.
Combined Braking Technique
We left the combined braking at the end to see how big the gap would get. Not too big, only 4 meters (14 feet). That may be the difference between having an accident and walking away unharmed. This is the best way to stop your bike.
Every rider should know that braking power is concentrated on the front wheel. The bigger discs and calipers are not the only difference: the weight is mainly pushed towards the front wheel. 70 percent of the braking power is available on the front while the rear holds up only 30 percent. Under heavy braking, the weight comes forward. “
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