Tuesday, March 27, 2007
  Braking Practice

The $$$ brakes on Valentino Rossi's 2006 Yamaha M1

During my last ride I was able to practice braking on a deserted strip of desert road. It's something I don't practice often enough, but after re-reading Sport Riding Techniques by Nick Ienatsch I was reminded how important it is. I did multiple passes from two speeds; 50 MPH and 80 MPH (I picked 80 MPH because that's a speed I often find myself going on the freeway).

On my first 50 MPH pass I was able to get the bike stopped in a decent distance. After I stopped the bike, I turned around and looked at the distance between me and my braking marker. I thought to myself, "Hey that isn't too bad." On my first 80 MPH pass, it seemed like an eternity before I got the bike stopped even though I was pressing the bike to the limit. After I stopped the bike this time, I turned around and looked at my braking marker again and thought to myself, "Damn... that is really far away."

It was a stark reminder that braking distances increase on a steepening curve in relation to speed. In other words, the stopping distance from 80 MPH is not simply twice the stopping distance from 40 MPH - it's a lot more. To illustrate, here are stopping distances for the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 as tested by Road & Track magazine:

October 2005
60-0 113.0 feet
80-0 196.0 feet

December 2005
60-0 109.0 feet
80-0 197.0 feet

That extra 20 MPH of speed added 83 and 88 feet, respectively, to the 60-0 braking distances. Keep that in mind next time you're barreling down the road, in your car or on your bike.

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Name: Ray
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
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