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Dirt Bike Riding Tips: Braking Techniques To Slow Down Faster

When you think about improving your lap time, it’s natural to think about higher speeds, more throttle, and better technique. While those are all vital to faster riding, the correct application of braking will also help you shed those seconds. Faster braking means better traction, better control of your bike, and better turning.

Proper Braking Technique

Before you learn how to apply braking in any fancy matter, it’s important to review how to properly brake in the first place. You are going to be most comfortable standing when you hit the brakes, weight centered to the back, as your legs will help absorb any shock or bumpiness.

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Applying both the front and back brakes is also going to help you brake more smoothly and effectively. The front brake allows for a quicker stop, but if you apply only the front brake, or apply it too quickly, it may lock and buck you over forward. Downshifting your gears as you slow will also improve the quality of your braking, especially if you ride a four-stroke– and it will allow you to accelerate out of the stop much quicker.

Advanced Application of Braking

Simply learning how to brake will make you a better, more confident rider, but it will not help you reduce your track time. You must also learn how to apply braking techniques on the track to maximize your speed.

When you drop off a steep downhill, it helps to brake slightly with your back break. This creates a slight decrease in speed, which allows for more stability and better control of the bike. This allows the rider to accelerate out of the drop more quickly, and navigate upcoming turns better.

New riders are taught to take hill jumps at a high speed, but as you advance you will learn to brake right at the crest. You need enough power to get you into the air, but braking right before you leave the ground helps keep the bike lower, which gives the rider more control and a faster landing.

Practicing Braking

If you are first learning how to ride, or if you feel your braking technique is sloppy, spend a day practicing your braking skills. Accelerate to 4th gear and then stop. Repeat this until you feel comfortable, and then start gauging your stop time by noting the point at which you begin accelerating, where you stop accelerating, where you apply your brakes, and where the bike comes to a complete stop. As you practice, the distance between your points of acceleration and the points of brake will greatly reduce.

Learning how to brake properly is vital to the safety of new dirt bike riders, but it can also help you make gains at the tracks. If you feel like your braking is too slow, or if you have trouble maintaining complete control over your bike when you brake quickly, you may need to take a day just to practice technique. Once you are confident in your braking skills, take it to the tracks and begin experimenting with more advanced braking techniques.

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