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This section will cover basic braking technique for your motorcycle. To slow or stop the motorcycle, squeeze and hold the clutch lever and apply the front brake lever and rear brake pedal firmly and smoothly. If your speed is reduced a significant amount, you may need to downshift to a lower gear. Gradually increase your braking pressure as you feel it is needed. When you come to a stop, put your left foot down first, then the right foot. Do this so that your brake pedal foot remains on the brake pedal until you come to a complete stop. To prevent the engine from stalling, always pull and hold the clutch lever when slowing to a complete stop unless you are in neutral.

For maximum braking, close the throttle and firmly apply both the front and rear brake. On a motorcycle, the front brake accounts for 70% of the total stopping power of the motorcycle. The rear brake only accounts for 30%. This is because of the weight transfer that occurs when you apply the brakes. When you must stop quickly, you must use the front brake together with the rear brake.

Remember that you can apply more brake to the front wheel than you can to the rear wheel before it will lock up and cause a skid. Finding the proper balance between the amount of front and rear brake pressure you use will come with experience. Attempting an abrupt stop with only the rear brake will likely cause a skid.

Applying the brakes too hard or too fast can cause the wheels to lock and cause a skid, reducing your control of the motorcycle. If this happens, release the brake controls and steer straight ahead until you regain control of the motorcycle. Once you have control, reapply the brakes with less force.

Generally, reduce your speed and complete your braking before you begin a turn. Avoid braking or closing the throttle quickly while turning. Either of these actions may cause one or both of the wheels to slip. Any wheel slip will reduce your control over the motorcycle and could cause a crash.

When riding in wet or rainy conditions, or on loose surfaces such as mud or sand, your ability to maneuver and stop the motorcycle will be reduced. All of your actions should be done in a smooth and steady manner under these conditions. Rapid acceleration, braking, or turning can cause you to lose control of the motorcycle. For your safety, exercise extreme caution when riding under wet, rainy, and/or muddy conditions.

When descending a long, steep grade, use engine compression braking by downshifting with intermittent use of both brakes.


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