February 3, 2023
Motorcycle Racing Skills in 60 Seconds: Braking
We often think the braking zone is all about just slowing our bike down. But Blayze pro motorcycle racing coach Ken Hill explains how we can also use our brakes for direction change.
What are the key takeaways for perfecting our braking technique?
While there are exceptions to every rule in racing, for the vast majority of corners we want our peak brake pressure to come early in the brake zone. This does not mean we are threshold braking in every corner. It is the relative peak brake pressure of that brake zone that should come almost right away.
Our focus in the first part of the brake zone is speed reduction. How can we slow our bike down quickly and effectively? We typically have a little more grip the faster we go and that is why our first hit of the brakes needs to be the hardest so that we can use that additional grip to slow the bike down more effectively.
After the tip-in point, our goal for what we are trying to achieve with the brakes changes. While we are on the brakes, we are still slowing the bike down, but after the tip-in the real goal of the brakes is to help us control our direction to hit the apex where we want with the right bike angle.
In this section of the brake zone, we need to focus on our motor controls to be able to make the small changes necessary at the back end of the brake zone to get the bike pointed where we need it.
One area of the brake zone that is often overlooked by riders is where we come off the brakes. In every brake zone we know exactly where we want to hit the brakes, we focus on the spot, and we look at how we can move it that one bike length later. But do you focus with the same energy on when you transition off the brakes?
If not, you should. We need to treat the first 5% of the brake zone and the last 5% of the brake zone with the same intensity.
One thing you will learn in motorsports is that there are always exceptions to the rules. For instance, if we take turn 5 at Road America where we have the initial brake application coming as the track is going downhill, and then towards the end of the brake zone the road flattens out and compresses.
In a corner like that, we may increase our brake pressure near the end of the brake zone as the road flattens out. This is exactly why coaching has to be personalized to the rider, the bike, and the track.
Want to learn more about mastering your braking? Click here to view the Blayze motorcycle braking course!
While we hope all of our articles are helpful and find your speed, if you want to take your riding to the next level, we highly recommend trying our personalized one-on-one video coaching sessions.
At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you improve your on-track, so you are performing at your very best in every race. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.
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