Braking bad? - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Braking bad?

Engine braking, that is.

Apparently, when my girlfriend took the MSF basic course a few months ago, the instructor told the class that rather than using the engine to help slow the bike down when braking, you should use the clutch. His reasoning was that when you use the bike's engine to help slow down, you'll either put wear on the engine or on the clutch, and on a motorcycle (well, most of them, anyhow), the clutch is really easy to get to and service, so it's better to put the stress there.

Hearing this left me with a few questions:
  1. Huh?
  2. Wouldn't this wear on the clutch a lot faster than it would wear on the engine?
  3. Even if you're feathering the clutch to slow the bike, ultimately the engine is still taking up the load and slowing you down. So... what the hell?

The best I can figure is that he was worried about a pack of new riders downshifting too far when they wanted to slow down, and then overrunning their engines by letting the clutch out too fast.

Has anyone heard this before? This was new to me.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 04:23 PM
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That sounds goofy to me. I agree with your concerns - using the clutch sounds like the most difficult, dangerous way to slow down that I can think of.

I took the MSF course this spring and our instructors had a different take. They discouraged slowing the bike down by downshifting because they want you to get in the habit of always applying the front and rear brakes together to maintain maximum control. Their concern was that someone who was in the habit of downshifting would downshift in a corner or in slick conditions, break the back tire loose, and lose control of the bike. I've found out the hard way that downshifting in a corner to slow down is a very bad idea.

I'm a relatively new rider and I have to say that I think they gave good advice. I might downshift one gear when coming to a stop but mostly I use the brakes, pull in the clutch, and downshift all the way to first gear while I come to a stop. I've found that when I get into a tight situation my reaction is to focus on applying the brakes which has worked well so far (I haven't crashed the thing yet).

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 05:13 PM
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did he mean to hold in the clutch while you brake, then downshift, while clutch is still engaged, to a correct gear once you're done decelerating? if that's so, then i think all motorcycle courses would teach this.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 05:25 PM
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I just read instruction on the internet to learn toride but when i need to slowdown fast i hold my clutch in as i use both brakes,always thought downshifting to fast to slow was terrible for the engine because it sounds like it.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8th_note View Post
...using the clutch sounds like the most difficult, dangerous way to slow down that I can think of.

...

I might downshift one gear when coming to a stop but mostly I use the brakes, pull in the clutch, and downshift all the way to first gear while I come to a stop. I've found that when I get into a tight situation my reaction is to focus on applying the brakes which has worked well so far (I haven't crashed the thing yet).
Any quick stops or emergency situations, I just use both brakes and hold the clutch in. I'll deal with the situation first, then once I'm clear of any danger, I'll get into the right gear to move on.

But for normal stops, say if I'm coming to a red light or a stop sign, I usually start with both brakes, but then clutch, downshift two gears, and ease off the clutch to let the engine help slow me down. (I do pretty much the same thing in my car.) I don't have a tach on my bike, but judging it by ear, I'd say the engine never gets above 3,000 or maybe 4,000 RPM when I do this.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 06:53 PM
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I took the MSF in June they taught us the 70/30 braking. However we were not told to hold the clutch in coming to a stop. We were told to leave the bike in 1st at stops so incase we need to get up and get out of the way and didn not have the reactions of an experianced rider. We were really not going fast enough to down shift we only got into 2nd gear. However when I was 16 many years ago I failed my drivers licence for riding the clutch at a stop and not down shifting. I down shift for turns and coming to a stop. They taughts us the the clutch is our power and the throttle is our speed.

8th Note what happens if you are holding the clutch in to come to a stop and you are not in the right gear but all of a sudden you need to get up out of the way. You are now not going to have the time to get in the right gear and get up and go. And take the chance of stalling out and then your screwed.

I personally want to have complete control and want my gear to match my speed. With that being said I have a few times down shifted to fast and the bike yells at me but I did not get lose. They taught us that you are supposed to be going into the turn at the right speed and should not be braking in the turn or shifting (if possible). They did teach us how to upshift in a turn.

Again I am a very new rider and learned from class and being on the back of my boyfriends bike for five years. But I feel confident with downshifting and feel like it has helped me know my bike better. I have a heavy bike (677lbs dry +/-) I would not want to rely on my brakes alone to slow me down.

Just my two cents for what it is worth. Each rider has their own style.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 04:10 PM
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At my MSF emergency stopping was using all four limbs!
Hand Brake, Foot Brake, Clutch held in, & Down shifting to be in the right gear to escape if needed.
Sounded like the best bet to me!

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EXNAUTI View Post
At my MSF emergency stopping was using all four limbs!
Hand Brake, Foot Brake, Clutch held in, & Down shifting to be in the right gear to escape if needed.
Sounded like the best bet to me!
+1. This is the best method regardless of what you are instructed in a motorcycle or automobile (downshifting with manual transmission equipped automobiles) safe driving class for panic stopping or emergency braking and obstacle avoidance maneuvers. Remember that when you get to the threshold of skidding, you need to release the brakes and apply again if needed as momentum dictates. However, if you are in an ABS equipped motorcycle (most cars have had ABS as standard since the mid-1980s), you can keep your foot on the brakes during the entire process of the emergency maneuver.

Keep in mind as posted above, that the front rotor and brakes are very sensitive and you need to practice the correct amount of braking pressure to apply in concert with the rear brake to avoid high-siding.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by newbie View Post
8th Note what happens if you are holding the clutch in to come to a stop and you are not in the right gear but all of a sudden you need to get up out of the way. You are now not going to have the time to get in the right gear and get up and go. And take the chance of stalling out and then your screwed.
why are you not using your clutch to downshift anyways?
if you're not in the correct gear, you GET in the correct gear. it takes a fraction of a second. if you don't, then you're either gonna stall out or have a significant loss of power trying to speed away because you haven't downshifted yet. it's quicker and safer to downshift to the correct gear and you should be doing this towards the end of your deceleration.




Quote:
Originally Posted by EXNAUTI View Post
At my MSF emergency stopping was using all four limbs!
Hand Brake, Foot Brake, Clutch held in, & Down shifting to be in the right gear to escape if needed.
mine taught the same
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
8th Note what happens if you are holding the clutch in to come to a stop and you are not in the right gear but all of a sudden you need to get up out of the way. You are now not going to have the time to get in the right gear and get up and go. And take the chance of stalling out and then your screwed.
I didn't explain that very well. I was taught the same technique that EXNAUTI described. What I was trying to say is that I don't downshift a gear, let out the clutch, downshift, let out the clutch, etc. I pull in the clutch and downshift one gear at a time as I slow down so that if I have to re-engage the clutch and speed up I am in the right gear to do so. By the time I come to a stop I'm in first gear. If I've got plenty of time to stop and conditions are good I'll sometimes downshift one gear and let the compression slow down the bike, say from 50 mph to 30 mph, before pulling in the clutch, applying the brakes, and downshifting the rest of the way as I slow down.

If I read Caliente's post correctly, feathering the clutch to slow down seems really odd. I have a hard time imagining that they would actually teach that in an MSF course.

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