Front Brake Lockups On A Motorcycle
Anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle has likely experienced front brake lockup. This phenomenon usually occurs when you brake too aggressively or when you hit a slippery patch on the road such as oil, grease, ice, white line striping or a railway track and grab the brake lever to stop the skid or spin.
Gradual or progressive braking will prevent this from happening in most cases. You can remain upright on the bike, but your bike can slide when locked. If you panic and grab at the brake lever, the bike may tip.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are sliding, gently squeeze the brake lever. Braking progressively allows the forks to compress. If the front brake begins to lock up, release the brake and re-apply.
The majority of motorcycles have two separate brake control systems for the front and back. When you apply the brake lever, located on the right handle of the bike, the weight is transferred to the front wheel. The traction will vary as the weight is transferred.
Unfortunately, most motorcycle riders do not know how to properly brake, which may be the most critical part of motorcycle riding. Studies have found that most riders over-brake on the rear, controlled by your foot, and under-brake on the front without realizing that the weight transfer to the front tire means that the front tire does most of the braking.
Rear brakes lock as well. If the rear wheel locks, the bike will lose directional control. If the front brake locks, the rider risks loss of stability unless he or she knows how to stabilize the bike. Newer bikes now utilize hydraulically actuated disc brakes on the front. These are self-adjusting for wear and makes it more resistant to wear and wet conditions. There are also linked braking systems that will slow both wheels with only one control. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) can withstand hard braking that would otherwise lock up the brake so long as the bike is kept upright.
Rider safety courses offer riders training in braking under panic conditions. It is difficult to totally simulate an emergency situation since the rider risks loss of stability and injury if the bike falls over. Still, you can practice braking under the tutelage of certified motorcycle instructors that could save your life one day.