Stop using the rear brake?

Stop using the rear brake?

If you want to get really good at low speed maneuvers, as I’ve said many times, you must become proficient with using the friction zone of the clutch.  That of course is the gray area between where power begins to be transferred to the rear wheel, and when the clutch is fully engaged or released.  At low speeds, you must use that gray area known as slipping the clutch.

The point is to coordinate the clutch and throttle so that only the amount of power needed is transferred to the rear wheel.  Having the ability to use the friction zone skillfully gives you precise control of your bike even at a slow walking pace.

Combining a little pressure on the rear brake while in the friction zone make low speed handling on even the biggest, heaviest, motorcycle a breeze.  Throw in head and eyes, i.e., looking only where you want to go, and you’re riding like a PRO.

How much pressure do you need on the rear brake?  Well, there are too many variables to give a definitive answer to that question.  But, there is a way to find out exactly how much rear brake you need and that is, no brake at all.  Start by doing the slow race in a straight line as slow as possible using just the friction zone.

Next, try weaving back and forth at 8 to 10 mph while turning the bars aggressively so the bike almost hits the pegs or floor boards as the bike dips from side to side.  If you set up five or six cones in a straight line at 12’ apart, simply weave through them using just the friction zone at 8 to 10 mph.  Keep your foot poised over the rear brake so it’s there if you need it.

Next, try some U-turns in three parking spaces with no rear brake and friction zone only.  Eventually, you should be able to U-turn in two parking spaces without using the rear brake.  When you can do that, you have really mastered the clutch and throttle and you’ll know how little rear brake you need to be and expert at low speeds.  You’ll never again have to duck-walk or drag your feet like some sort of doofus.

Jerry “Motorman” Palladino

Copyright 2017 – Jerry “Motorman” Palladino

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