Suppose you have ever watched a bike race such as MotoGP, Isle man of TT, etc. You would have seen how precisely the riders take the corners. Corners are the best part of the track where one can take the lead. It’s because it is the only part where the riders de-accelerate.
So, what exactly is trail braking? Trail braking is a technique used by most riders to drive in unexpected corners by applying brakes constantly in the blind corners. This helps the rider to slow down and drive according the curve in a much more safer way.
Trail breaking gives the rider a lot of options to recover in case something goes wrong.
But, can anyone perform it? Or, what type of motorcycle do you need in this process? Haven’t you been so curious since you heard this name? If yes, then read this complete article to quench your thirst on this matter.
What Is Trail Braking?
Trail braking is the technique of constantly applying the brakes in blind corners. By doing so, the rider can slow down and adjust the motorcycle according to the curve of the corner. Additionally, it ensures that the bike can stop in time when any obstacles present themselves.
Trail braking is primarily a front brake technique. You can use this technique in almost every type of bike, starting from cruisers, touring bikes, adventure bikes, and even motorcycles.
Is Trail Braking Different From Standard Braking In Corners?
Cornering is a tricky skill to master. It takes many years and lots of practice to perfect it.
Many beginner riders take driving lessons at first. Where they learn the most basic way of cornering. That includes the usage of brakes before entering a corner, and they gradually accelerate when the rider sees a straight path.
Whereas in trail braking, the rider applies the front brakes very lightly before entering the corner. He keeps on driving through the intersection while using constant braking power.
The rider can also adjust the brake pressure according to the corner and speed. That lets the rider be in control of the movement of the motorcycle all the time. Thus yes, trail braking is different from standard braking while driving through a corner.
How Does Trail Braking Work?
Trail braking, as the name suggests, follows a trail/path. Riders try to slow down their bikes when entering a corner. They gradually accelerate when they see a straightway. But this technique of braking and then entering a corner has many loopholes.
The amount of brake and acceleration to be applied is ambiguous in this method. These problems arise due to the large variety of corners present on the road.
Trail braking eliminates such problems. It does this by having the same set of rules to tackle every corner. It is a process in which the rider starts to hold the brakes very lightly and goes inside the hub. The rider then adjusts the brake according to the corner.
If the corner is a long curve, then he keeps the brakes steady. When the hub is sharp, he increases the brake pressure gradually to reverse the motorcycle’s inertia.
The Science Behind Trail Braking
The primary purpose of trail braking is to make enough room for adjustments while riding in a corner.
It helps to drive in blind corners with confidence and safety. When a rider enters a corner, he shifts his entire body weight in one direction.
That makes it hard for him to react. This reaction can be related to changing lanes, changing the path of a motorcycle, and stopping it entirely in case of an oncoming vehicle.
Trail braking is all about keeping the brake pressure constant on the front.
This constant pressure can be increased in case the turn is shorter than expected. The application of brakes will make the front scope push down. That will transfer all the weight on the front wheel. It will make the distance between the front and rear wheel shorter. This decrease in space will help the bike change its path quickly.
How To Ensure Perfect Trail Braking?
Even if you’re a beginner, you can have safe trail-braking by considering a few things. Every mechanical material is based on some mechanism. Here are some steps are given below that will help in completing a perfect trail braking-
Tires are the only point of contact on the road. No matter what corner it is or how you want to drive through it. Your vehicle should have good tires. As in corners, the grip is the most important thing you should have. It helps you be confident, feel safe and go much faster in turns.
Performing trail braking is all about how well one can manage the brakes. The release of brake in a required proportion is what a rider should do before doing trail braking.
The first rule of braking will always be to use the front brakes. Using the rear brakes can imbalance the vehicle very quickly in the corner. Braking too hard in a corner will also result in a crash.
This situation can be avoided by using corner abs. But this feature is only available on high-end bikes. Thus having explicit knowledge of the brake lever and the braking ratio is very important.
No matter what you are doing in life, having dynamic thinking and anticipation of all scenarios helps you prepare for everything. The amount of braking pressure to apply and the time to start braking are all variables for all the corners.
All these factors depend on what the rider wants to do. Trail braking is an excellent technique. But it is not necessary to consistently perform it in every corner you drive in. The usage of trail braking always depends on the rider.
How Does Trail Braking Make You Go Faster?
The quest for speed is ancient. Everyone from a professional racer to an amateur rider wants to use their vehicles to their fullest potential. Trail braking is one of the ways to make you faster and agile around the corners.
The age-old trend of braking before entering a corner and accelerating gradually has its downsides.
A regular rider brakes in a straight line before the corner. That helps the vehicle to have a normal turn. But in this method, the rider is not utilizing his tire’s grip strength completely. This decrease in grip strength limits the capabilities of the vehicle. It makes you slow and unsafe in corners.
A professional rider or someone with experience in trail braking knows its advantage. It’s a valuable skill for all riders. This method not only makes you faster but also makes your turn safer.
In trail braking, the rider starts to apply brakes late before entering the corner. But instead of releasing the brakes while entering the corner, the rider slowly releases the brakes. The release of brakes is done at a level of 20-15%.
The brakes are released throughout the corner little by little. That helps the rider use the total grip of tires and take turns at a more incredible speed than average.
Risks Of Trail Braking
Trail braking is a technique that can only be learned after knowing many other things about your vehicle first. It is not a trick that any novice rider can perform.
There are many risks associated with it. But one of the most prominent ones is the slippage
Tires slipping on a straight road are easy to handle. But it’s a different story in the corners. During trail braking, two types of tire slippage can occur, and that’s front and rear tire slippage.
#1: Rear Tire Slippage
Rear tire slippage may occur due to the rider’s fault. Many amateur riders tend to use rear brakes in trail braking because of not using front brakes. These actions will lead to posterior tire slippage and may cause fatal accidents.
#2: Front Tire Slippage
Front tire slippage, unlike rear tire slippage, is a scenario that can happen to even veteran riders. All the force generated by the rider’s weight and the vehicle will be on the front tire during trail braking.
This force, if not appropriately controlled, will result in slippage of front tires. Front tire slippage is harsher than rear tire slippage as it is hard to recover. So riders should always try to perfect this technique on closed track areas before heading out in the real world.