At some point in your riding career, you may come across a term known as trail braking. In short, trail braking is a technique that involves applying braking force after starting a turn into a corner, instead of completing all of the braking while the motorcycle is still vertical. The rider continues using the brakes, while leaning into the turn and gradually reduces braking as the lean angle increases. The braking pressure trails off into nothing eventually, as the rider approaches the apex of the turn. 

 

 

Are there any benefits to trail braking? 

Trail braking is a personal preference and will vary from rider to rider in terms of being beneficial. Trail braking helps in transferring weight onto the front tire as well as compressing the forks. This reduces trail and makes it easier to turn corners. It also gives the rider the ability to continue slowing down if needed. However, trail braking reduces the rider's speed and also reduces the motorcycle's turning radius at the same time. It really depends on what type of rider you are to determine if trail braking is for you. 

 

 

Are there risks in trail braking? 

Like other biking techniques, trail braking does have some risks associated with it. As stated earlier, trail braking loads the front tire heavily with braking and steering forces. If overloaded, the front tire has the potential to suffer from slippage, especially during midturns. Front-wheel slippages are generally harder to recover from than rear-wheel slippage. 

 

While trail braking can prove difficult to learn, it's not impossible. This technique can prove to be useful for the right type of rider, motorcycle and roads. The best place to learn and practice trail braking is to enroll in a riding school that teaches the technique. Practicing can be virtually done on any road. However, it is important to know that your margin of safety may dramatically reduce if you decide to practice on a street rather than a track. This is especially true if the roads are unfavorable and in rough condition. 

 

 

Try out trail braking for yourself (in a safe manner of course) and see if it is right for you! For more resources and articles, CLICK HERE.

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Founded in 1969 in Milwaukee, the motorcycle lawyers at Hupy and Abraham, S.C. have represented nearly 5,000 riders, collecting over $1 billion for their clients. With 11 offices in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, the firm has a reputation of providing sound legal representation to accident victims. Contact us anytime -- 24/7/365 -- by phone or online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham