What's engine braking and how does it differ?

Published: 06 August 2010

Engine braking can be a useful tool to riding smoothly when you first start out, or it can get you into a bit of trouble if you don't pay attention to the gear you're in.

It occurs when you shut the throttle, at that moment the engine goes from producing power to having its pistons pumped by the rotating rear wheel.

A big single will have more engine braking because you are trying to squeeze a larger volume of air into a small space than with four smaller pistons on a sports bike.

On a thumper single it will be so acute that the front end will dip  like you've hit the brakes, but a multi-cylinder machine will lose speed gradually.

The determining factors for the amount of engine braking are the displacement of each piston and the compression ratio, not the fuelling method. 

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