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Safety Tip from Throttle - Stopping and weight

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I’ve heard many say that heavier bikes can’t stop as fast as lighter bikes or that sport bikes can stop faster than cruisers. If these bikes are all running similar tires, then these statements are wrong when it comes to one off panic stop situations. In fact due to the shorter wheelbase of sportbikes, it takes greater skill to stop them quickly because they are capable of lifting the rear tire and actually doing an “endo” (the bike flips forward).

This position applies to heavier versus lighter bikes or single versus two up riding. This argument doesn’t apply to adding trailers to a bike. Add a trailer and you increase you stopping distance.

In a nutshell, additional weight translates into more friction on the tires resulting in greater traction. You may have to exert more effort on the lever/pedal to stop the increased mass but with the additional traction, stopping distances can be similar. So take comfort in the fact that when riding 2 up, you can still stop just as fast as when solo. No need to take my word for it. Take a look at this article from Promocycle:

James R. Davis also has a good article on this subject. It gets into a bit more of the mathematics if you’re interested.

For questions, comments, or suggestions on safety tips please contact Rob 'Throttle' Capozzi.

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