market dynamics
How to use the brakes correctly on a motorcycle
Release date:2023.07.06

First of all, you should be clear that although emergency braking can reduce the risk of danger, but to avoid danger is the best policy, defensive driving is generally divided into four steps:





The physiological response time of humans to unexpected stimuli is close to 1.3 to 1.5 seconds, while the physiological response time to preparatory stimuli can be reduced to 0.08 seconds. These steps can take more or less time, depending on whether you understand the situation you're facing and whether you're trained to deal with it.

640 (3).jpg

Physiological reaction time is easily affected by a number of factors, including alcohol (which narrates the field of vision and alters the lateral perception of objects), drugs, fatigue, stress, inattention, and activities that reduce the rider's concentration (cell phones, etc.)

The reaction time is a combination of the physiological reaction time when the brake starts to act and the mechanical reaction time, the latter of which is often forgotten

Let's consider a realistic example of a rider driving his Yamaha at 100 km/h when he suddenly realizes that a truck has stopped just 100 meters away from him.

In this case, the rider's realization time is 0.1 seconds, after which he begins to operate the brake (reaction time), during which the reaction process will take about 0.8 seconds, the rider forces to reach the brake disc (usually takes about 0.2 seconds), and the bike traveling at such a high speed needs another 3 seconds to come to a complete stop.

So, despite the fast reaction time, the bike goes about 70 meters before it comes to a stop. This is an ideal scenario, and anything longer than this reaction time could end up being catastrophic.

In short, stopping distance = reaction distance + braking distance.

Any novice rider will brake as hard as he can in an emergency. However, with such strong braking without ABS, either the front wheels will lock up, slide sideways, or the rear wheels will drift left and right.

Motorcycle brakes: Things to remember

When the situation is somewhat urgent, it is very difficult to take the brake safely, and it requires a series of steps in order to perform them. You must practice well in advance to form muscle memory, and the braking step will be completed quickly. It seems very complicated, however, the front brake and back brake coordination is just one of several tasks that the rider must master. Braking force is largely affected by your muscle flexibility and sitting posture.

It's important to keep your body relaxed without slacking off, and ideally the rider should keep his knees close to the fuel tank, sit up straight, and bend his arms slightly toward the handlebars (you can't react with the necessary agility when riding with straight elbows). In addition, during emergency braking, it is more important to focus on the route, rather than focusing on obstacles.

How to brake without ABS?

A motorcycle not equipped with ABS (anti-lock braking system) is more likely to have an accident when braking suddenly than a motorcycle equipped with ABS. If you put all the brakes on, the chances of the wheels getting locked are very high. However, if you distribute the braking force correctly, the risk of tire lock will be greatly reduced.

Due to inertia during braking, the weight of the motorcycle is shifted forward. In extreme cases, the entire weight of the motorcycle, including the weight of the rider, passengers and luggage, falls on the front wheels. If you suddenly brake hard, the front shock absorber will be compressed. The grip is greatly reduced. But if you gradually and gently increase the brake pressure, the front wheels have enough time to absorb the inertia, we recommend pulling the brake gently first, and then pushing harder and harder.

Tip: The rear brake needs to be applied a fraction of a second before the front brake for additional stability.

Safe and strong braking is one of the most difficult things to do on a bike, no matter what your driving style. Unpredictable events must require you to stop within seconds. All this must be practiced in advance. And as part of a motorcycle safety basics course.

Riders who hone their braking skills will not only enjoy riding a motorcycle, but will also feel more confident and in control of their riding skills.


Do not brake suddenly and violently, even in an emergency. The best way to do this is to start by gradually applying brake pressure with gentle force. Until the brake pads have been fully engaged and the body clearly feels the brake feedback, then apply full pressure.

This procedure also applies to motorcycles equipped with ABS. However, the initial increase in braking force is faster than that of a motorcycle without ABS.

What to do when the wheel is locked

In case you accidentally lock the front wheel while braking, only immediately release the brake at lightning speed and then re-brake. As dramatic as it sounds, it's the only way you can regain your grip.

Why can the rear brake only play an auxiliary braking role. As the weight of the body moves forward when braking, the load weight of the rear wheel is reduced, the grip of the rear wheel and the ground is greatly reduced, and the rear wheel will be off the ground in extreme cases. Therefore, the rear wheel lock will drift left and right, and it is easy to cause the lock, if the clumsy operation during the corner will lead to serious skidding of the motorcycle.

All in all, proper braking has a lot to do with practice. It's important to practice reactions in advance. It takes a lot of practice to develop this understanding and make the operation muscle memory.

Note: Almost all modern motorcycles now come standard with ABS, which prevents the wheels from locking up during sudden braking by reducing the braking force and distributing it evenly over both wheels. Strong braking is allowed, but only if the vehicle is upright (corner ABS holding may reduce the risk of skid in corners)

How do you brake in an emergency?

It is recommended to apply the rear brake first to help keep the motorcycle stable. After a fraction of a second (almost simultaneously), you apply the front brake again until you reach maximum braking force. Many motorcyclists are only used to the front brake, but the ideal brake should be the front and rear wheel brake. For motorcycles not equipped with ABS, it is recommended that the front brake apply 80% of the force and the rear brake apply 20% of the force. For motorcycles equipped with ABS, the force of the rear wheel brake is the same as that of the front wheel.

Bend brake

Corner braking is relatively dangerous, and it is best to avoid it as much as possible (never ride at high speed on a blind corner).

However, if the danger is unavoidable, you must of course brake, but make sure to use the rear brake first. In addition, the first brake should be gentle. Because the rear wheel can easily lock up, it may cause your motorcycle to skid. When the car is upright, you should match the front brake.

It is best to practice these operations in advance and assume that there is an emergency. At the end of the day, it's all supposed to form muscle memory, no thinking.

(Graphic from the network, infringement please contact delete)