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It's definitely not something you want to do on purpose, but it's a hell of a lot less dangerous than locking up your front tire. I've had my rear lock up a couple times during emergency stops, and the rear end just kind of drifts to the side a little bit. Ease up on the rear brake a little and it comes back in line.

But if you lock up the front, you'll lose steering and go down. Not a good thing.
 

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It REALLY isn't something you want to do on purpose :D Scares the poop out of you....
 

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If you're going to lock up one, lock up the rear. It might slide around a bit but if you have been riding for a bit your instincts should keep you up. The front, on the other hand, almost always results in a spill.
 

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Did it for the first time in YEARS the other day...could have made diamonds. :eek:
 

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In the MSF class, they teach us that if we lock the rear wheel, to keep it locked until you stop because if you let off and the rear wheel catches traction, it will throw you forward off the bike which is called the high side.


Thanks,
Todd
 

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In the MSF class, they teach us that if we lock the rear wheel, to keep it locked until you stop because if you let off and the rear wheel catches traction, it will throw you forward off the bike which is called the high side.


Thanks,
Todd
That's only really true in a rear lock in a turn (high siding that is), can easily happen if you over enthusiastically trail brake too much. It's also speed dependent. If you lockup at the end of the braking action going into a stop and fishtail a bit there's little concern of high siding, if however you lock early going highway speed definitely stay on the brake until you come to a stop. Skids and mini rear lock ups happen kind of frequently in NYC at stoplights with all the oil and fuel that accumulates near intersections.


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I've done it twice since August. Split second each time and instinct kicks in. Slight drift sideways before letting up, but no serious negative results.

BUT may have been a lot different for a really new rider or if I'd otherwise kept it locked long enough for it to slide out on me.


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I personally don't know what it's like to lock up the rear. I ride slow and carefull and I use my engine brake to slow me down most of the time.


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I locked up both the front and rear tires on separate occasions during the MSF course just to feel how the bike reacted at a slow speed (and I really didn't care about dropping their bikes although I never did).
The rear lockup was pretty predictable and was easy to control and get back in line. That didn't scare me.
Locking up the front wheel is a whole different ballgame. I only locked it up for a split second, but I'll be damned if that bike didn't do it's best to throw us both to the ground during that split second. Releasing the front brake easily got the bike back under control, but I was amazed how quickly the bike wanted to hit the ground. That one made me nervous.
 

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Braking "technique"

I personally don't know what it's like to lock up the rear. I ride slow and carefull and I use my engine brake to slow me down most of the time.
Hey there!! I'm glad to hear you ride carefully........but, don't think you're doing yourself any favours by using engine braking alone (letting your engine's compression slow you down) in place of front and/or rear wheel brakes.

Motorcycles typically have fairly high compression ratios in their engines which DOES allow you to simply turn off the throttle in order to slow down. This is GREAT if you want to save your brake pads from needing frequent replacement.

HOWEVER (and it's a big however).....the DANGER of using engine braking is that the drivers/riders behind you don't get the visual message from your BRAKE LIGHT that you are in fact slowing down NOW!

Yes.....those tail-gaters will eventually catch on to the fact that you're slowing down.....when their front bumper is hitting your rear tire! But, why not give them plenty of warning, by at least TOUCHING your brake lever(s) while slowing down.....even if you're not actually applying any braking power.....you know, like wearing out your brake pads!

The added benefit of activating your brake lever is the simple fact that even though you were confident your engine would slow you down enough on its own.........if YOU DO suddenly need more braking power than you expected (say, because the bozo in front of you surprised you by slowing down without using his brakelights!!), you'll already be in position to apply more stopping power quickly.
 

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What is "High-siding"?

In the MSF class, they teach us that if we lock the rear wheel, to keep it locked until you stop because if you let off and the rear wheel catches traction, it will throw you forward off the bike which is called the high side.

Thanks,
Todd
Well, Todd......you got it HALF right.

Keeping the rear wheel locked up IS the conventional wisdom.....and it usually works to prevent "high-siding".

However, just to clear up what is MEANT by "high-siding": this is the act of the rider being catapulted OVER what is the high SIDE of the bike.....not the "front end", as you mentioned.

The best way to explain is to SHOW you one of each.....a low side.......and a high side. Check out this YouTube video:
.

At 2:37 seconds into the video, you'll see the rider in the dark outfit start to slide. He goes down toward the inside of the curve (the LOW side).....and STAYS in that position, executing a perfect (if there were such a thing) "low side". (This IS, by the way, the preferred way of "going down"........again, not that going down in ANY way is a desired outcome of any riding scenario!)

At 3:38 into the vid, you'll see a "test" rider (in a non-traffic, parking lot location) perform what looks to be a "controlled" high side by doing exactly what you are taught NOT to do at bike school: doing a rear-wheel skid, then suddenly RELEASING the brake so the tire once again gains traction......resulting in the bike uprighting itself like a bucking bronco......and THROWING the rider over the HIGH side....the side that WAS facing UP when he first went into his skid.

This video shows the relative "safety" of the low-side vs the wild and crazy outcome that is typical of a high-side.

Both low AND high-siding are to be avoided like the plague.....but if you're ever faced with a situation where you find that you HAVE applied the rear brake so severely that you're GOING DOWN........by all means KEEP the brake on and ride your bike down in as controlled a manner as possible. It allows you to a) stay with your bike (the two of you together are easier for other vehicles to see and avoid) and b) stay close to the ground so you don't add sky-diving-type injuries to the road rash you're undoubtedly going to suffer!!
 

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Engine braking has it's usage but I like to use each for what they were designed for. Brakes -> slowing down & stopping and engine -> going forward. And pads are cheap, engine parts are more expensive.
 
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