Locked up my rear brake last night... - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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Locked up my rear brake last night...

So I'm a somewhat inexperienced rider. I've heard how easy it is to lock up the rear brake on the V, but I had never experienced it. Last night I decided to take my V into an undeveloped portion of our subdivsion where there is paved road, but no houses, and practice/experience rear wheel lock up. Figured it would be better to experience it here at less than 30mph than out on the open road.

I got up to 25-30mph and purposefully applied a lot of pressure to the rear brake pedal while maintaining a straight line. The wheel locked up and I slid in an upright position in a straight line for about 25 feet. Nice and safe, with no apparent problems. But the engine died. And the wheel stayed locked up.

I restarted the engine, put the tranny in gear, and drove off and the wheel released. I figured I had failed to pull in the clutch in my practice panic stop, causing the engine to die. But what caused the wheel to remain locked up?

I repeated this a few more times and didn't experience the engine dying again (I remembered to pull the clutch lever), but did experience the rear wheel staying locked up each time.

Is this normal?

And before anyone asks.. yes I am taking a rider safety class in the spring as soon as it warms up.


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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Zatx View Post
So I'm a somewhat inexperienced rider. I've heard how easy it is to lock up the rear brake on the V, but I had never experienced it. Last night I decided to take my V into an undeveloped portion of our subdivsion where there is paved road, but no houses, and practice/experience rear wheel lock up. Figured it would be better to experience it here at less than 30mph than out on the open road.

I got up to 25-30mph and purposefully applied a lot of pressure to the rear brake pedal while maintaining a straight line. The wheel locked up and I slid in an upright position in a straight line for about 25 feet. Nice and safe, with no apparent problems. But the engine died. And the wheel stayed locked up.

I restarted the engine, put the tranny in gear, and drove off and the wheel released. I figured I had failed to pull in the clutch in my practice panic stop, causing the engine to die. But what caused the wheel to remain locked up?

I repeated this a few more times and didn't experience the engine dying again (I remembered to pull the clutch lever), but did experience the rear wheel staying locked up each time.

Is this normal?

And before anyone asks.. yes I am taking a rider safety class in the spring as soon as it warms up.
You were in gear with the engine off. That is what caused the wheel to stay locked up.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Zatx View Post
I repeated this a few more times and didn't experience the engine dying again (I remembered to pull the clutch lever), but did experience the rear wheel staying locked up each time.

Is this normal?

Is your rear brake lever and linkage a bit stiff and need a squirt of wd40?
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:48 AM
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If you're still hard on the brake lever that's what is keeping the wheel locked up - you control it. BTW, the MSF course teaches riders to stay locked up until they stop since there is a possibility of having what is called a "highside" crash if you lock up the rear and than let off the brake while moving. Great job practicing and being scheduled for a riders' class!

PS: your front brake has 70% of your stopping power - the key is to be smooth and easy on it until you get more comfortable and capable with it.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:51 AM
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PS: your front brake has 70% of your stopping power - the key is to be smooth and easy on it until you get more comfortable and capable with it.
My opinion is front has 90% to 99% if you are in a emergency or very sudden brake situation as rear wheel only feathers the road in these situations.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:29 AM
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My opinion is front has 90% to 99% if you are in a emergency or very sudden brake situation as rear wheel only feathers the road in these situations.
Need to apply rear before, to transfer weight to the front, lower the rear (hence changing front geometry) and then the front brake
Of course, this has to be done very quickly !!!

And on the V, I would concure with you has to front brake capacity, 90-99 %, since it's so happy to lift it's tail ... The rear become obsolete at one point


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 03:32 PM
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In a panic stop (straight-line), I use the rear brake lightly, at the same time I am increasing the pressure on the front brake lever. As more weight transfers to the front suspension, I will pull even harder on the front brake lever, and push less on the rear brake pedal, because the weight is transferring away from the rear and to the front suspension. Once most of the weight is transferred to the front, I can really crank on the front brake lever.

In non-panic braking, I tend to stay away from the rear brake pedal when riding at medium or high speeds, and rely on the front mostly. At speeds below 25 mph, I'll use the rear brake a little more, for stability reasons, such as making a U turn, parking, etc.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 05:08 PM
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Good to practice!

I remember as a kid, riding my bike down the street as fast as I could and then locking up the rear wheel in the gravel to see who could get the longest skid. We would swerve back and forth to make the skid zig-zag.

Motorcycles do very similar, just on a bit bigger scale, same principle. I have locked my rear wheel a few times to get the feel and the childhood play/training comes right back.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 06:19 PM
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I tend to lock up my rear brakes at slow speed to see what traction is like if it is raining or wet. If it locks up real easy, then I am more careful and tend to not use the front brakes aggressively. I use the rear brakes more through the ride in addition to the other precautions I take (increase following distance, anticipate traffic lights, lean less, etc). I also use the rear brake when I am going slow. Otherwise I use the front brakes - if I use both, the rear locks up real easy. Maybe I am applying as much pressure as the front subconscously.
I agree the front seems to provide about 90% of the braking but one needs to be careful not to stoppie or let the front wheel break loose. I learned the hard way what would happen when you are too aggressive with the front break and the front wheel starts sliding. Fortunately I got away with only a scratched side panel and a bruised ego.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 06:24 PM
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I've had the rear on my "V" lock a few times no big deal as it's easily controllable. NOW my KLR will scare the snot out of me doing this as the the front end dive is very much a attention geter. AND when the front end dives the rear brake locks right up!

I think all long travel bikes will lock the read brake easier than a lot are use to. My Buell STT would lock up about like the Versys will.

I think you're on the right track to find a nice quite place to practice without a mess of cars to worry about.

Or was that look THEN leap?
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:26 PM
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I locked up my rear brake 3 times before i hit the car that made a U-Turn into me.....

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 12:27 AM
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ABS kicks in as soon as the back wheel locks.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 12:54 AM
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If you have ABS. A lot of us don't.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 01:07 AM
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Practice hard braking in a parking lot.

The rear brake is best used on it's own (without the front) in low speed parking lot type maneuvers as it will stabilize the bike while the front will make it unstable. This is especially true if the front wheel is not strait while applying the brakes This applies to low speed tight turning in a parking lot or similar situations.

In hard braking at road speeds don't try and turn while braking, ever. Brake in a strait line before the turn. In this kind of braking the front brake does all or almost all the work, just apply the rear brake enough to stabilize the bike.

Suggest reading books like Practical Motorcycling and later perhaps Twist of the Wrist. Most libraries will have these or you can buy online.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 09:27 AM
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Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough! The Bible!





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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 10:24 AM
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Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough! The Bible!
+1. Great book. Tons of good info for noobs and experienced riders alike.


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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 06:44 PM
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Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough! The Bible!
Thanks for the tip! Been riding for 25 years and never read a MC book other than some mags from time to time.

Just ordered a copy from Amazon.com and I'll give it a read.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 11:10 PM
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I thought there might be a "More proficient motorcycling " book as well.....or maybe I'm just hoping

just checked and will be adding it to my library

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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2013, 01:05 AM
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If you have ABS. A lot of us don't.
No choice in Aus since 2010
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2013, 03:30 AM
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No choice in Aus since 2010
No choice in the USA either, but the other way. ABS is unavailable.
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