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Feb 12

Posts: 5

Mike299 says:

new biker needs some advice on braking!


I'm a very new biker, having done my CBT about 6 months ago and hoping to take my full test later this year. In my CBT the instructor told us all never to use the front brake unless you were doing an emergency stop...but in the user manual for my bike (Suzuki GN125...don't laugh, I've got to start somewhere) it says use an even combination of front and rear. I'm mostly using the rear to reduce the speed, then applying some front brake too when I want to bring the bike to a stop...can anyone tell me if I'm doing it right or wrong? If I'm getting it wrong, I'd really like to get in the habit of doing it properly before I sign up for a course to do the full test. people think I'm waiting the right amount of time between CBT and full test? I'm a fairly new biker but I've been driving cars for about 12 years, so my road experience/highway code knowledge is a little better than your average 17 year old.
Finally - I'd like to say you bikers are a lovely bunch. Before the suzuki I briefly had an AJS which broke down 4 times in 2 weeks (I made the dealer swap it for the suzuki after that!) but each time it conked out and I had to pull over a fellow biker stopped to offer assistance. Awesome, and I can't imagine that happening with car drivers.

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  • Posted 3 years ago (26 February 2012 16:37)

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Nov 07

Posts: 2432

smidget says:

The advice

the guys have given you is good, the reason for front brake first (by a very small amount of time) is to allow the weight of the bike to be tranfered to the front, thus loading the tyre so that it is giving maximum grip, over brake and you go past this point and lose grip.

Think of any vehicle on the road and you will see this to be the case, watch as they start to brake and you will see that the front of the vehicle dives thus transferring the vehicle weight to the front tyres. 
Over brake and the front tyres are the ones that leave the darkest lines.

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Aug 02

Posts: 817

steveb says:

My advice.

Find a quiet straight road on a trading estate.

Use a lampost or similar as a braking marker, making sure you have plenty of stopping distance beyond it. 

Approach your braking marker at 30mph.

When you get to your braking marker, pull the clutch in and stop as quickly as you can without locking either wheel.

Try this several times using, rear brake only, front brake only and both brakes together.

Please make sure the road is dry the first time you do this, and remember to brake progressively but firmly.

If its a very quiet trading estate, once you are happy with stopping from 30 in the dry, you might like to try 40, or go back and practise stopping from 30 in the wet.  

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Jun 09

Posts: 1050

Amateurcynic says:

Instruction Advice

Your instructor was completely WRONG to tell you to only use the front in an emergency as you've already gathered from all the previous sound advice, as an instructor myself (over 20yrs experience) I would recommend using a different school as this is a Fundamental flaw in their teaching & potentially dangerous (I do not type these words lightly either!).

The advice on "covering" the front brake lever was actually correct, you should only have your fingers on the lever if you're Using the brake, covering it all the time reduces the control of the handlebars, introduces the potential to use "comfort" braking (touching the lever enough to light the brake light whilst not actually having any true braking action) and in the event of you running into a pothole or something causing a hard twitch of the handlebars could quite possibly make you accidentally actuate the brake & cause greater problems!

Braking itself; always "Caress" your levers in a Smooth manner, put front on a fraction of a second before the back then SQUEEZE up to the point where you feel you can't put anymore effort in (the "book" quotes 75% front 25% rear, yeah, right, that really works on my FireBlade!!:blink:), gradually you'll find you can increase this pressure as your confidence builds with more on the front & less on the rear, most important (as has already been said) is Take Your Time, make sure you practice somwhere quiet so you don't disturb yourself or others!!

Lastly get your test done this year mate, it's gonna change for the worse next year:mad:

Best of luck with it all:smile 

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Feb 09

Posts: 541

jon66 says:

some support for instructor ???

Everyone is giving you the correct advise on here as is usual but ............Sorry but maybe you misunderstood him , maybe he was pointing out that in a bend leant over dont ever touch you front brakes or on slow maneuvers its all about back brake control , touch the front on a slow maneuver and your more likely to lose your balance

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Jul 11

Posts: 244

MakemRider says:


Either I misunderstood what I was told on my CBT or was told wrong but when I first started riding my bike I only used the front brake thinking that was what I should be doing.

Only after taking a lesson from a different instructor was it drummed into me to apply the front brake first, then the rear, bringing the speed down releasing the front (below approx. 15/20mph) so as not to get the 'bounce back' from the front brake which happens at low speeds. This applies to a normal slow down/stop.

The improvements in all of my riding was unbelievable purely because I was using the correct braking procedure.

Speeds under 15/20 mph then it's rear brake only. The improvement in stability was amazing.

Emergency stop is as others have said.

Always squeeze & never snatch the lever.

I was also told off for 'covering' clutch and/or brake levers.

The advice given on this forum is first rate, I've learned a lot from reading the posts. I must admit though, even after 40+ years of driving I struggled to adapt to a bike & the second instructor taught me so much in the 2hrs lesson.

My riding improved so much just by following three bit of advice he gave me.

1: Keep my head up.

2: How to brake correctly.

3: How to position my feet on the pegs.

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Nov 11

Posts: 203

jimbo8098 says:


Your instructor is talking doo doo. The manual is tellign you the correct way. Use both branks to come to a stop. I if you only use the front brake you risk a high side , front wheel skid (the worst ,your bike will be totalled) and squising yourself on the back of a lorry. General rule , 80% front , 20% back , if its wet , 50-50 if its icy 20 - 80.

Oh yeah , and never brake while leaning. At least not until you know your bike.

A rear wheel skid is easier to control than a front one and generally isnt nearly as costly.

Dont put too much pressure on your brakes on slippery surfaces like manhole covers , ice , leaves , wet paint or snow. If you need to brake on those , use more back than front.

If you need to do an emergency stop , 80-20 , tap the front THEN hold it in , your front wheel will be less likely to lock. If you feel the front tyre losing grip , take the pressure off then reapply it. If the bike is newer or heavier you may have ABS which should do the job for you.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Feb 10

Posts: 871

robsot says:


everyone on here is right.. but be careful of too much front brake in the wet..

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Feb 12

Posts: 5

Mike299 says:


Hi all

thanks again for all the advice..I recently did a course to get my full licence - with a different instructor. This one was excellent, took loads of time to explain the correct techniques and combined with all the advice from here, my riding has improved so much. He said the instructors I did my CBT with were well known for giving some odd advice...anyway, I've treated myself to an Er6F 2010 model (green of course!) and have been riding around the New Forest roads this weekend - great fun!

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Oct 11

Posts: 157

Lil125Guy says:

To show us

on my CBT, the instructor did an emergency stop with just the rear and then with both, with just the rear it locked and just skidded for about 3 times the distance it took to stop with both brakes.

As you brake, the weight transfers forward lifting weight from the back to the front wheel, which is why bikes have far chunkier front brakes, weight goes forward so the braking transfers forward.

Emergency stop with just the back is asking for it :ph43r:

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