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What Do They Mean by Trail Braking with a Motorcycle?

Just about everyone wants to have motorcycle trail braking explained to them, so we’ll share the most simplistic meaning.

In short, motorcycle trail braking means to continue using the brakes while you’re on a lean in the corner. You’ll be progressively letting off the brakes as you continue through the corner and down to the maximum lean angle. The main advantage towards using trail braking is to maximize lap times through being faster through each corner.

When most people go into a corner, all of their braking use is done before the corner. It’s a smart strategy for beginners, this is the recommended approach. On the other hand, trail braking draws out the braking time and you’re still on the brakes while leaned right over.

This is a skill generally learned later in the development of each rider’s talents. Some advanced motorcycle schools do teach these concepts and we can recommend you enrol in one so you can enhanced your skills behind the handlebars.

Why use Motorcycle Trail Braking?

If you want faster cornering, then you’ll need to start learning and applying the skills behind trail braking. It’s that simple.

Once you learn effective motorbike trail braking, the advantages will help you to:

  • Transfer more force and weight on to your front tyre.
  • Compress the forks leading to easier turning.
  • Have the ability to continue slowing down if needed.
  • Reduce your reaction times on both tracks and public roads.

This isn’t just helpful to racers but also riders who are blasting through the hills. On roads you aren’t familiar with, you’ll be able to flow through much easier while still having a whole lot of fun.

Risks and Dangers with Trail Braking

As with any type of motorcycle skills development training, there are some cautionary tales associated with trail braking. Therefore, you shouldn’t be quick to try out these skills without keeping the following in mind:

  1. It’s hard to practice. You’ll need yourself and a quiet road or open track without any hazards, obstructions and certainly no other traffic that could distract you.
  2. It’s difficult to learn and master. Going back to that first point, you’ll need to keep trying again and again before you eventually master this. We’d recommend quite a few practice sessions first.
  3. Your front tire may slip with too much heavy braking force. This is why you’ll need to try and balance the load and not over-reach through the corners. Trying to recover from a front-wheel slip is very challenging compared to a rear wheel slip.
  4. You’ll fatigue more often. Given that you’ve not exhausted your braking capacity before the corner, you’ll be trying to corner, brake and line yourself up for acceleration all at the same time. This takes greater focus and attunement to get right.

So is it worth the risk? Well, that demands on the type of rider and the type of riding you’ll be doing.

If fast-flowing cornering is your thing, then this will shave off crucial seconds from each lap time. For the casual rider or the non-competitive person, then learning trail braking isn’t something we’d rank highly.

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