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Discussion Starter #1
I have been riding (or scooting) since Oct, 2012.

I have a problem - I use the front brake in (to me) panic situations. During my MSF course last December, I dropped their 250cc three times. I was 2 seconds from being totally stopped!! They sent me home after the third time... The instructor said, "You used the front brake, didn't you?" I really didn't know! That was over a year ago. I can handle my 150cc better and haven't made that mistake - for a while. I have put over 1,000 miles on it. But, I did mess up a new paint job...

Switch to my newly acquired (20DEC13) Burgman...

I've been riding it carefully about a month. It's still new to me. Two days ago, I was preparing to leave the restaurant parking lot. I was starting to make a slow u-turn to the right. It was about 180º. At the apex, I guess I gave it a bit too much gas. I don't know. I stopped immediately. The bike went down and I remember doing a somersault like a movie stunt man. I don't remember any of the specifics. (But I have a nice bruise on my inner left knee.)

These are ALL 1-2(?)mph dumps...when I am starting up or stopping.

The only solutions I can come up with are to disconnect the front brake or amputate my right arm. What do I need to do to break myself of the newly acquired habit of braking with the right brake in a panic situation?

Thanks for your time.
 

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Cover the left brake handle with you fingers while not covering the right brake handle but keeping the fingers wrapped around the throttle?
 

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Well first off, congratulations on both finding the forum and on getting a cool new bike!

Unfortunately, if you hit that front brake hard while the front wheel is turned significantly left or right, you WILL torque yourself right into the ground. It's just the way it is; something tells me the MSF people tried hard to get you to understand this because (believe me!) you aren't the only one to do it on one of their 250s.

But if your only real choices are to either remove the front brake or amputate your arm, I'd recommend having your family take a BIG life insurance policy out on you. Without either one, you're likely to become a big payout for them really quickly.

I'd recommend a third option: Find a big empty parking lot and practice for a few hours. Practice making U-turns until you can do it without dumping the bike. Then practice until you can do it within 3 parking spaces without dumping it. Then practice until you can do it within 2 parking spaces.

Bring a friend and have him/her take video if you can. It's a lot easier to see what you're doing wrong if you're not actually riding the bike at the time. You WILL get better at it, and it really is pretty cool to be able to whip the bike around in a small space without putting your feet down. It's a technique which you will actually use fairly often. Take it easy and figure it out. The life you save may be your own.
 

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At speeds you state (1-2 mph), use the front brake VERY sparingly or not at all. You may also find it helpful to "drag" the rear brake a bit when rolling on the throttle during low speed maneuvering.

Doing so will keep the CVT slightly loaded and therefore less grabby...
 

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front brake use

One of the things you can do to moderate front brake force is to shorten the front brake lever. cut it shorter, so you can only get a couple fingers on it. cost isn't much and you can replace it if wanted. I had a kawasaki 250 ninja I traded a sailboat for that was crashed because of too much brake on the front. I told the guy that bought it from me to do the shorten trick, but he replied that he never uses the front brake. Read about braking a cycle, in an old article if you can. It is a skill, and skills must be learned.An empty parking lot is the best place to learn, as said before. Easy does it, be brave.
 

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I have been riding (or scooting) since Oct, 2012.

I have a problem - I use the front brake in (to me) panic situations. During my MSF course last December, I dropped their 250cc three times. I was 2 seconds from being totally stopped!! They sent me home after the third time... The instructor said, "You used the front brake, didn't you?" I really didn't know! That was over a year ago. I can handle my 150cc better and haven't made that mistake - for a while. I have put over 1,000 miles on it. But, I did mess up a new paint job...

Switch to my newly acquired (20DEC13) Burgman...

I've been riding it carefully about a month. It's still new to me. Two days ago, I was preparing to leave the restaurant parking lot. I was starting to make a slow u-turn to the right. It was about 180º. At the apex, I guess I gave it a bit too much gas. I don't know. I stopped immediately. The bike went down and I remember doing a somersault like a movie stunt man. I don't remember any of the specifics. (But I have a nice bruise on my inner left knee.)

These are ALL 1-2(?)mph dumps...when I am starting up or stopping.

The only solutions I can come up with are to disconnect the front brake or amputate my right arm. What do I need to do to break myself of the newly acquired habit of braking with the right brake in a panic situation?

Thanks for your time.
WickedDum,
I woud highly recommend you not choose either of the two options you suggest. The majority of your braking power is on your front wheel and without it, your braking distance is going to be much greater than you'll need to ride safely.

Like ChipDoc suggested, I recommend you find a parking lot somewhere to practice your braking skills. I want you to focus on braking modulation. Controlling the the amount of braking force you apply at the proper time is crucial to proper braking. I recommend you use two fingers for front wheel braking and keep your remaining fingers around the grip. That alone may help you, and you can focus on releasing the brake a little as you turn more and have more lean angle on the wheel. The object is to keep applying the brakes, but allowing the wheel to continue rolling and not lock or slide.

I hope that may help you some.

Be safe!
 

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What you may note is when you turn the handle bars in a slow turn and the scooter is leaning it is very hard to hold upright. Add going down a grade and you have trouble.

You would get yourself killed without a front brake.

Practice is what you best do. I use only three of my fingers on the front brake so it does not press as hard. That may help. The scooters are a lot easier to drop compared to a cycle.

Hit the front brake hard in a tight turn and you will go down.

The other thing I do in a tight 180 turn is walk the scooter, COOL or not I do not drop it.

"Above all practice"
 

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You could try replacing the brake pads with ones that are of a lower friction rating. I had a bike that was real easy to lock up the rear brake. Anything more than a gentle pressure on the brake would lock up the rear tire. I replaced the pads with inexpensive pads and cured the problem.
 

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WickedDum, worst thing in world is to live with fear and lack of confidence and feeling of not 100% in control you have presently when you ride, I suggest you purchase the Ride Like a Pro video, I know people who purchase it and that video + all exercise in it change their riding experience and knowledge completely and vastly improve self confidence because of this, they now very good in control rider that can ride anywhere and handle situation properly.

https://www.ridelikeapro.com/
 

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The hand operated rear brake on our Burgmans is a huge advantage in tight low-speed maneuvers. You can go incredibly slow if you let the motor pull and regulate the speed by using the rear brake.

I don't know how much it takes for the 400's clutch to start engaging, but you must be in the friction zone, as they call it in "Ride like a pro"

You don't have to buy the video at once, take a look on youtube first.

I had never thought of using the rear brake before I read it here, mainly because I grew up on normal motorbikes, where the rear brake is often awkward to operate, and best forgotten while riding, where the front brake is all you use in an emergency stop
 

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The hand operated rear brake on our Burgmans is a huge advantage in tight low-speed maneuvers. You can go incredibly slow if you let the motor pull and regulate the speed by using the rear brake.

I don't know how much it takes for the 400's clutch to start engaging, but you must be in the friction zone, as they call it in "Ride like a pro"

You don't have to buy the video at once, take a look on youtube first.

I had never thought of using the rear brake before I read it here, mainly because I grew up on normal motorbikes, where the rear brake is often awkward to operate, and best forgotten while riding, where the front brake is all you use in an emergency stop

Chérie use rear brake all time, only way me find to replace clutch function at low speed that me would use on shifty bike.

It wear rear brake faster but that ok as ma & pa shop have very decent price to replace pad, clean & lube rear brake system, he do brake job in less than 45 minute.
 

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Better yet trade your new Burgman for a 2006 or 2005 model that had the linked front brakes. :rolleyes:
Otherwise follow the advise above and practice duck walking it around the parking lot too. A lot of dumps are form just moving it around not under power. ;)
 

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I don't use my front brake at all below speeds of about 10-15 mph. Nada. None. Use the rear brake at those speeds. I use both brakes above 10-15 mph. If you aren't using your front brake at slow speeds you won't get those spectacular drops you are having. Go out to a parking lot and practice doing this.

Namaste'
Doug in Kentucky
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you all for your posts. I'll watch the "Ride like a Pro" video as Cherie mentioned.

I try to do most of my braking with the rear brake. I use the rear brake to "flash" the folks behind me to let them know I'm stopping. Guess I have to keep telling myself no front break...but I really don't recall applying it... I'm told that is the cause of my dropping it. And it only happens when I am going slow...as in a 180 turn.

Thanks, again, for all of your input!
 

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Not using the front brake at all is totally wrong, you just need to practice letting go of it again.

Does anyone have a link to the video of the guy crashing a Burgman in the gravel beside the road, never releasing his grip of death on the front brake?
Edit: http://youtu.be/fYXrrbxOk_Y but it's not as clear as i remembered.

BTW, I also use the rear brake on my bicycle to make ultra tight 180-360 degree turns at no speed, just for fun.
 

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A few years ago a riding buddy asked me to help his GF learn to ride her newly purchased Sportster. This was before before she went to the MSF. I wasn't too keen on the idea but they talked me into it with the flattery line of "You're the best rider we know" - soooo - ok - I decided to give it a try. She had ridden dirt bikes a few times - and quads a lot - and knew how to operate everything. First thing she did when I got there was start it up and pull it into the street to park it at the curb - she turned sharp and decided she needed to slow it down as she was turning. She instantly hit the front brake with the front end turned which as you all know dumped her over. Real fast. The bike ended up resting on its crash bar. No real damage other than a bruised ego!

I explained to her that when you are maneuvering at slow speed you can NEVER use the front brake - only when you are going in a straight line. When turning at slow speeds use a bit of throttle and the rear brake - and keep your feet UP. She was wanting to drag her feet at every slow turn. We went to a parking lot where she could practice - she got pretty good pretty fast. I suppose because she didn't have time to develop the bad habit of using the front brake. I also mentioned to her not to use the front brake on grass or gravel. And in turns fast or slow either. AFAIK she hasn't yet dumped the Sportster after that very illustrative 'lesson'. She passed the MSF course with better marks than her BF!
 

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Not using the front brake at all is totally wrong, you just need to practice letting go of it again.
You are exactly right. If you brake properly, about 90% of the braking is done with the front brake. Why do you think that they put dual and larger rotors on the front than the rear. Why do many motorcycles and cars have large rotors on the front and drum brakes on the rear? Have you seen where many wrecks happen on bikes when the rider locks up the rear brakes (especially on Harleys and other cruisers)?

I have bought several motorcycles with the rear brake worn out. That is a sure sign that the prior owner wasn't a proficient rider. In 40+ years, I have never worn out a rear brake.

You use the front brake for most braking but you use it less or not at all at slow speeds on loose surfaces and/or when turning sharply. I hated to use the brakes on my BMW with linked brakes because the front brake was always applied regardless of the speed or circumstances.
 

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I guess because I learned on dirt bikes and raced in my younger years I use the front brake extensively. The trick is to not use all your fingers on the brake lever. I use my first finger and index finger for stopping the bike and predominantly use the front brake for stopping. With todays disc brake systems I find this works very well for me.
I am also in agreement that spending time in a empty parking lot learning to ride your bike slow and in tight circles will make you a better rider.
Remember that smoothness is the key. My old racing mantra is Slow is easy, easy is smooth and smooth is fast. Not recommending you go blazing around on your bike but rather become as smooth as you can.
 

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Front Brake Technique

I guess because I learned on dirt bikes and raced in my younger years I use the front brake extensively. The trick is to not use all your fingers on the brake lever. I use my first finger and index finger for stopping the bike and predominantly use the front brake for stopping. With todays disc brake systems I find this works very well for me.
I am also in agreement that spending time in a empty parking lot learning to ride your bike slow and in tight circles will make you a better rider.
Remember that smoothness is the key. My old racing mantra is Slow is easy, easy is smooth and smooth is fast. Not recommending you go blazing around on your bike but rather become as smooth as you can.
+1. With modern disc brakes you only need two fingers on the lever. I know the MSF teaches using all four, but that's left over from the bad old days of drum brakes, when enthusiastic application could mash the the lever all the way to the bar (and crush fingers underneath it). Why they haven't changed the training criteria, I don't know. I strongly recommend using your index and middle finger on the brake lever, and your thumb, ring finger and pinkie on the throttle. When you ride a motorcycle with manual shift, you should learn this technique so you can blip the throttle on downshifts. Believe me, guys at the track on 1000cc race bikes are only using one or two fingers on their brake levers when they're slowing down from 180 mph to corner the bike. Dirt bike guys use their front brakes in low speed situations all the time. The key is practice, practice, practice.
 
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