You ask, we answer - How do you stop a bike if your brakes fail?

Posted: 26 Jul 2013

Braking

Andrew Moore recently got in touch with us on Facebook to ask how to slow a bike down without using the brakes. We got in touch with an expert in the field to see what advice they could give!

Andrew asks:

My question is how to stop your bike quickly without hitting the brakes (should they fail)

Our Expert answers:

The chances of both front and rear brake systems failing are almost zero. The front brake stops the bike; the rear merely slows it down (all the bike’s weight is in front of the rear brake). Braking should be applied at a constant ratio – most people use 70% front brake, 30% rear. Experienced riders will use a greater percentage of front brake especially on sports bikes. Custom riders will use far greater amounts of rear brake because of the bike’s extra weight. Early Ducati sports bike rear brakes were about as useful as a wet tissue for brake pads, so front brake use was paramount. Assuming the front brake does give out, apply the rear fully but avoid locking the wheel and causing the tyre to skid. Change down through the gearbox as quick as possible at high-ish rpm to enable engine-braking to reduce the bike’s speed, but not ridiculous rpm to cause engine damage – enough revs to avoid rear wheel lock.

Latest Advice
  • The Good, Bad and Ugly of Suzuki Katana
    Pick of the Ads: Good, Bad & Ugly - Suzuki Katana
  • ZZR600
    Grand Designs part eight - meet the organ donor
  • Honda RC30
    Pick of the Ads: Good, Bad & Ugly - old bikes that are new
  • Kawasaki ZZR600
    Grand designs - warm hands for winter