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Safety Tip from Throttle - Curves and braking

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It is best to complete your braking before you enter a curve. Why? Your tires have a certain amount of traction. Changing direction takes up part of that traction leaving less for changing speed (braking/accelerating). The faster you need to change direction (the faster you take a corner), the more traction that is NOT available for slowing down.

Think of your available traction as a pie chart (you pick the flavor). The entire pie represents 100% of available traction. If changing direction (i.e., turning) takes 60% of the available traction, then you only have 40% available for slowing down. Now when traveling in a straight line, you have 100% of your traction available for slowing down/speeding up. So if you try and brake in a curve similar to a straight line, then you may find out the hard way just how much less 40% is than 100%.

For this reason, it is safest to make sure you are slowed down before the turn. Unless you’re racing for money on a track, going in to slow is good thing. This doesn’t mean however you can’t brake or slow down in a turn. Just remember you have less to work with for speed adjustment in a turn than when traveling in a straight line.

What if you need to brake hard in a turn? Do you throw up your hands, reference “they say don’t brake in a turn” and crash? Remember the pie reference? The less traction you use for a turn the more you have available to stop. To accomplish this in reality, you should “stand the bike up” or straighten the bike and then apply your brakes hard. By straightening up, you will have 100% available traction for you to make a panic stop.

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

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