Tuesday Tip: Maximum Downhill Braking

This week we’ve got Grant Langston as our demonstrator, and a section of track that we’ll break into two chunks. This week features a hard downhill braking zone, which led into a 180-degree left-hander that we’ll cover next week. The corner featured just a thin rail of a berm on the inside, so if you blew the braking, you’d pretty much blow the corner. But enough drivel, we’ll let Grant handle the description from his point of view.

“I’m coming down the hill on the right side, since I’m setting up for a left-hander. That gives you more of a sweeping arc. Coming into the same corner from the left, you have to brake a little harder to start the back end sliding around to meet the berm. By coming in with more of an arc, you’re able to still brake while joining into the turn.”

The traction’s pretty good, so I’m able to brake pretty late and use quite a lot of front brake, which definitely make a big difference on a downhill. On an uphill you can kind of hit the brakes at the last second. On a downhill, if you brake two feet too late that could be the difference of making the turn or not.”

“With the way that hill is in this particular instance, it isn’t really too choppy, so you’re able to squat a little more and lower your center of gravity. I’m also able to move my butt more toward the rear of the seat, and my head slightly behind the handlebars for maximum braking.

“I don’t use much clutch during braking, if at all. Especially with braking compression of the four-stroke, you can be pretty aggressive on the brakes. If you’re just able to shift down and let the engine do some of the braking, you’re never going to stall it, and even if you do, as soon as you release the brake and sit down, it’ll bump start anyway. There’s been the odd time when I’ve really slammed the brakes to avoid an incident or something, and I’m able to continue anyway.”

Next week we’ll show how Grant smoothly links the downhill into the corner.