Habbit of over-using the rear brake

Hi all!

I have a rather noobish question, but then again I am relatively new to motorcycling. Anyway…

When I started riding I was always using the front brake no matter what. It’s like I almost forgot about the existence of the rear brake.
Then, after a while, I realised that I’m not really using it even though 99.9% of my riding is done in London at, as wel all know, rather slow speeds, and started focusing on it a bit more.

I have now gotten to the point when I’m doing the exact opposite - almost never using the front brake just becase the rear one on my MT-09 is so good.

Hence, I’m curious if what I’m doing is wrong? Should I mostly be using the front brake (even though I’m mostly travelling at speeds of up to 30mph) and only add the rear as an additional stopping power or is it ok to rely solely on the rear one in a city?

As always, any advice, be it about braking or not, is always more than welcome!

Thanks in advance!

This thread may get long with people saying what is and isnt right…

We all have our own riding styles that suit us… I used to use my back brake all the time (Only used my front in emergency situations etc) and I was happy doing so, until I got my sv when it changed and I now very rarely use my rear brake…

What Im trying to say is, different riders, different people,different bikes/experience etc etc etc…
if you are happy using your front/back or even the engine braking to stop and you stop safely and efficiently then its fine in my eyes.


This will keep you busy…

I’ve been riding almost 5 years now and use my rear brake the majority of the time, I don’t see any need for the front except for emergencies and slowing from high speed, you’re also more likely to go down if your front slides out (oil at traffic lights etc), not to mention it looks very amateur when you use your front brake to pull up to a set of lights with the front end diving down from the weight shifting and compressing the forks.

At the end of the day though its whatever you feel comfortable with.


Front brake is bigger , there is often 2 of them, the brakes money has been spent there . The rear is small , there is only one , it’s an afterthought of a thing . One is worth getting really good and instinctive with as quick as you can , the other is just a stamping stick .

ultimately it’s whatever suits you but know that the front brake is the one with the most stopping power. You can learn to be gentle with the front but yes you can also have a brown moment if you squeeze it too abruptly.

Personally I rarely use the rear but I find myself using it more in the winter as I change my riding style a bit.

The other thread posted above goes into it in more detail than I’d care to know :smiley:

Oh, wow! Thanks, Daws, for that link! Will indeed keep me busy for a while (already is!).

I suspect that it’s more of a personal preference as you said but I guess I’m more interested in sesing what are people usually doing and was is accepted as the “norm” or the “standard” way.
I know there’s probably not such thing or one specific rule but surely constantly using the rear brake isn’t quite right. I do understand that using the front brake is more prone to locking up than the rear one but at the same time we all know that we have two of them in front and only on at the back, meaning we have more power to stop the heavy beasts motorcycles are.

Keep 'em coming, guys. I want to learn as much as possible about all aspects of biking and what better place and time than forums with seasoned riders :slight_smile:

I only use rear brake for low speed technical stuff - manouvering in built up areas/heavy traffic filtering etc when I want to leave my right hand free for subtle throttle inputs and blipping when I’m changing down without having to cover the front brake at the same time.

Years back I was using the rear excessivelly - I don’t know why I started doing this as my training taught me to rely mostly on the front brake - I guess being a noob I was just experimenting - which got me into the bad habit of using the rear at higher speeds - I soon cut this bad habit out after reacting to a couple of emergency braking situations by stabbing the rear brake causing the back end to lock up and step out - leaving me going sideways down the road a couple of times (roads were wet and greasy at the time which contributed to the stepping out.)

Engine braking is the way to go.

If you like you can borrow my bike for a bit to get used to it.

I’d be happy to look after yours in the meantime and bed that front brake in for you. :wink:

I think Lim’s next bike is going to be an MT-09 :smiley:

What’s it like?

…I live in hope…:slight_smile:

One word - awesome!

Like I mentioned, I’m a new rider and this is actually my first big bike preceded only be a measly Honda CBF125 but I don’t care if anyone says that it’s too much for someone like me.
I’m a believer that it’s all in my wrist anyway and I knew wanted a bike that I get, apologies, erection from when taking the cover off in the morning rather than just a machine that would get me to work and back :slight_smile:

I learned on an XJ6 and did quite a few miles on it but it always felt like it needed just a bit more power in the low end. MT-09 has all that and plenty more. I had my first service on Saturday and ironically got an XJ6 as a courtesy bike for the day. I can’t tell you how weird and underpowered it felt after my bike. The low end torque on the Yamaha is such an amazing thing once you get used to and the seating position is much more upright, which for me makes it easier to filter and traverse the city. I seriously think that it will be hard to match this bike once I decide to get a new one in a few years time.

My advice is - definitely have a test ride if you can and you’ll instantly know whether it’s for you or not :slight_smile:

i don’t use the breaks. one of the wonders of a v twin i guess i just slam it into first and then slow i go XD

i think the reason we have only one disc on the rear is because its a differemt type of force on the wheel (dragging rather than pushing)
if you were to have two discs ont the rear it would be a pain in the hole to try and mount a disc next to a nice GREASY chain and sprocket. which would be pointless seeing as it wouldnt improve the stopping time.

Sounds great - look forward to seeing one in the metal at my local Yam dealer :slight_smile:

its all down to preference I mate says he only uses the rear brake to clear the rust off (SV1000)

I use the rear brake in the winter to steady the bike

but most of the time I just change down my bike tends to have brilliant engine braking

in the summer I don’t use it other than steadying at traffic lights

IMHO is more about physics than grease.

When you breaking (any vehicle) weight shifts to the front, so rear axle is loosing grip (unless you have big bad ass spoiler made by RedBull engineer team, yet this still will work only above certain speed). So for that reason, even with one break disc and less efficient caliper you are able to lock the rear wheel quite easy (any road condition, any tyres). So I have to agree, putting more “breaking power” as discs or calipers will not improve overall breaking abilities, it will just mean that your rear will skid “far easier” than it is doing with current configuration.

I have to admit that you really should try to use front more often, is not about safety, is about yourself and your abilities. You have to get use to “power” of front break, because if you not using it at all (or very rarely) you actually have no clue about its limits. And remember skidding of rear tyre is a bit scary on 120kg+ vehicle but you can still get away with it. Skid front tyre most of the times will end up with touchdown.

Ride safe,

the main reason why people think they prefer the rear brake is the fear of locking the front. usually due to a)poor quality brake pads/bad maintained calipers, b)tyres doesnt suit rider/bike, c)inability to control your hand.

i really dont get how you can control your foot better than your hand, but thats just me :smiley:

make sure you get a good set of pads for your bike and the calipers and discs are in top conditions, and you have a good set of tyres you’re happy with and that suit your bike best, you’ll never look back.

and its HABIT not HABBIT :pinch:

Or ditch that all bu…t of having any skills and get yourself ABS bike.


Thanks, guys, for all the sound advice! Really helpful!

I actually did it twice on one rainy day. The good thing is I was expecting it. The lights suddenly changed to yellow and I was right at the point of no return and decided to stop as pedestrians already started crossing the road. The rear stepped out a bit but I released the brake and all was fine. No dramas, just a mini boost to my confidence :smiley:

To answer some points - I’m not really afraid to lock it (ok, I am but in a different way). I was perfectly fine using it when I used it all the time. It’s just using the rear brake has become a weird habit(!) but after reading all the replies I started using the front brake a bit more just to have some practice with it in case I suddenly need to use it. It is rather sharp after all!

Pads are fine, the bike’s only done 600 miles :slight_smile: I know those points were not about me but just commenting to have a clear picture but again, all you said totally makes sense.

Damn it! Can’t edit the title any more. My finger slipped while typing the word :stuck_out_tongue: