David22 New Reader
2/23/21 11:56 p.m.

So I know that in the MSF we are taught to use both brakes at the same time when coming to a stop (which I used to do all the time). But now I’ve developed a habit of engine braking and using mainly my rear brakes to smoothly come to a stop at lights and only a little front brake when super close to the light because they are just so sensitive and even a light grab will jolt me forward. Mind you I only do this on the street at normal speeds, on the highway, since going faster I use my fronts more often when I need to quickly brake.

914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/24/21 10:13 a.m.
David22 said:

 since going faster I use my fronts more often when I need to quickly brake.



When your front tire steps out of line, you'll stop that.

Mezzanine Dork
2/25/21 10:40 a.m.

A habit of using brakes independently is fine with me as long as you're very comfortable and familiar with their characteristics. I have one bike that the front brake vibrates/grabs horribly at very slow speeds but no vibration whatsoever at cruising/high speeds. So that bike I've learned that you use the rear brake for parking lot speeds and a combination in all other settings. Another bike I ride has a really wooden rear brake...so I use the front more. 

The panic stop is something I force myself to practice lately and I would encourage every rider to work on those skills. 

Any rider that discourages you from using the front brake is one you should probably avoid when it comes to advice. Front brakes are everything when it comes to stopping hard when you need it. If they're grabby at slow speed, then don't use it at slow speeds. Maybe change up the front pads to a different compound. 


spandak HalfDork
2/25/21 12:49 p.m.

What kind of bike?

The "dont use the front brake" mantra seems to come from the cruiser crowd. The opposite from the sport bike crowd. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle. I started on a sportbike so I use the front brake as a primary and the rear as a secondary/fine tune. It just comes down to where the weight is when under braking. Sportbikes have the weight forward so you get the most grip on the front wheel under braking. Cruisers are generally the opposite. Either way you want to avoid locking a wheel and the first one to lock is the one with the least amount of weight transferred to it (probably.)


Rodan Dork
2/26/21 5:13 a.m.

Even on a cruiser, the majority of your braking power comes from the front brake.

Maximum stopping comes from both brakes being applied, and then adjusting the bias as the weight transfers to the front.  Most bikes on modern rubber are capable of lifting the rear off the ground completely, and even if they don't (cruisers), they will unweight the rear to the point of locking it up with minimal braking.

Like Mezzanine said, practicing panic braking is critical to survival on the street, especially if your bike doesn't have ABS.

Now, if you have ABS, just crush the brakes and get it stopped.

To David's point, I will often transfer my braking to the rear brake when coming to a stop, as it's more stable on most bikes.  But, we're talking under 10mph to a stop.  I still brake with the front/both brakes until I get down to walking speed.  It's also a good habit to develop for parking lots, as a panic grab of the front at walking speed can pretty easily put you on the ground.

FMB42 New Reader
2/26/21 7:44 a.m.

You should always use the front brake whenever the road surface allows it; i.e. no loose dirt, sand, gravel, oil, ice, manhole covers, and painted pavement (cross walk lines), etc. However, you may want to use only 1 or 2 fingers on the FB lever during low or moderate speeds and then 3 or all 4 at highway/freeway speeds and above. Maintaining the practice of properly using your FB can save your life.

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