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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone, I recently purchased a new Ninja 300 last Friday and have a couple of questions about proper riding techniques. I only have about 130 miles of riding experience on the new bike. I have taken the MSF course twice (once 2 years ago, and once again Saturday/Sunday of the Easter weekend). My question is what is the proper braking technique you should be using for coming to a stop sign, slowing down with the speed of traffic, or slowing down in anticipation of a traffic light change. At the moment, if I even so gently let off the throttle my bike slows down very fast, so fast that I don't even have to use the brakes. If I downshift while slowing down without holding the clutch in, it further increases the effect. The way I have been stopping is pulling in the clutch, and clicking down slowly through the gears to match engine speed to road speed, while using both front and rear brakes. If I see the light change or don't need to be slowing down anymore, I gently release the clutch and roll on the throttle at the appropriate gear.

I guess my question is while I was taking the MSF course, they would have us go in 2nd gear, brake without the clutch held in, and then roll on the throttle during the curve. If I even so much as let go of the throttle all the way, I can forget about using the brakes as it slows me down way too much. I have to hold the clutch in the whole time I'm braking.

Sorry if this post is too long or doesn't make sense, this question has just been bothering me a lot and I can't seem to find anything that will help me use the proper method.

Also, Hello everyone!
 

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Also, Hello everyone!
Hello!

At the moment, if I even so gently let off the throttle my bike slows down very fast, so fast that I don't even have to use the brakes.
If you are talking about just letting off the throttle in the lower gears (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) then yeah, there is pretty good speed reduction, even when you just let off the throttle. Even more speed reduction with down shifting through those gears.

The way I have been stopping is pulling in the clutch, and clicking down slowly through the gears to match engine speed to road speed, while using both front and rear brakes.
Especially when downshifting from higher gears like: 6th to 5th and 5th to 4th, and even down into 3rd to 2nd and 2nd to 1st. Let your engine do the braking, by (for example) downshifting from 6th to 5th and letting out the clutch steadily and comfortably, you will see your RPM's spike if you do it correctly (normal, just the engine working to slow you down.) You will feel the bike slow, as the engines RPM's spike to around 6 or 7 thousand. When the RPM's reduce further to around 4 or 5 thousand, click down another gear and repeat til your are in first.

If you are engine braking correctly, there should be no need to use your hand or foot break (in a normal situation, not emergency situation, that is different lol) at all until you are in first gear and want to come to a complete stop.

*Note* first gear (stock) for my bike has significantly more braking power than all the other gears. And unless my bike is some special or unique snow flake- it should be the same on yours. Just remember not to release the clutch too quickly in that gear lol.

Sorry if this post is too long or doesn't make sense, this question has just been bothering me a lot and I can't seem to find anything that will help me use the proper method.
Do not worry about post length- say what you came to say lol. And just remember that if you are downshifting for the purpose of engine braking- do not use your throttle at all. Cheers.
 

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through the city i hardly ever touch my front breaks and just blip the throttle going down while dragging my back break ever so lightly more to show people I'm slowing.

Never really felt it a problem but the bike does have crazy engine breaking.
 

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Yep, I use engine braking so I can stay in a good gear for my speed. And Im getting really smooth at the rev matching blip technique which is great. If cars are behind ill usually tap on the brakes to light up the rear light so they know I'm slowing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks stringer, I will definitely give this a try tomorrow around the neighborhood where no cars will be behind me so I can try it out. I've always had an issue with downshifting in my mind and I guess it's just something I need to work on. So when I downshift and I see the RPMS spike upwards that doesn't harm the bike? I notice it also makes a very different high pitch noise as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also one more question, when I was taking the MSF, if I let off the gas on those bikes they didn't slow down nearly as much as mine does, and I was able to brake as well without pulling in the clutch. Is this because my bike isn't broken in yet, or is this because this bike has a lot of engine braking compared to others?
 

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The bike has quite a bit of engine braking. The vacuum created by this engine is very strong for it's size and results in some awesome engine braking.
 

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A lot of riding has to do with your preference on how to ride. For Me, I prefer using the engine braking to slow me down. Downshifting appropriatly for my speed. I like this because it alows me to always be in the right gear ready for the unexpected.

IMO, The best thing you can do is get out there and ride and try different things. Brake with engine braking and without. That way you can feel what and start to lear what the bike does is these situations.

The more you understand about the bike and the better feel you have for it the better/safer rider you will become.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the information everyone! I rode around my town for a little today using engine braking as much as possible. I do enjoy this a lot more than my old less efficient technique of pulling in the clutch, braking with both brakes, and downshifting appropriately. The only issue I have so far with engine braking is that people do not like me slowing down so far ahead of a red light. I make sure I tap my rear brake slightly to give them a visual indication of me slowing down, but half the time I will have the driver behind me swerve into the other lane, speed up, and then slam on the brakes because the light is still red. All the while I never come to a complete stop unless I timed it incorrectly and start accelerating way ahead of them :D. I do not understand why people seem to think it's necessary to get to the red light as fast as possible. I coast to lights in my car as well and I just don't see why other drivers have to be in such an insane rush. Even if you do go 10 -15 mph over you are only decreasing your commute time by about 30 seconds, not to mention there are cops all over my city.

How does everyone else deal with tailgaters or other drivers who do not like to give you space when braking? I do not like waiting until the last second and doing a "quick stop" every time there is a red light.
 

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I know what you mean. Seems most folks out there got to go go go and hurry up to wait..... ridiculous IMO. Why you got to speed around me to get to the red light is beyond me.

As for what to do about it, there's nothing. Just be cautious and aware these tools are out there and ride your ride always making sure you have a way to avoid an idiot on your @ss should they do something stupid. Always survey for that evasive maneuver you could use.

But flashing your brake light as you slow even thought you are using engine braking is a great idea. There more visible you are the better.
 

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I had this problem a lot when learning the right technique when coming up to a red light with cars behind me. You will learn the right distance to start engine breaking so that it doesn't halt the bike so early you run the risk of people rear ending you.

Riding a bike is vastly different to that when you are in a car and also other drivers mind set change when they see a bike = fast (rider will move) etc. Ride defensively to move yourself out of potential danger and if that means getting to the traffic lights faster or a stopped vehicle rather then coasting then practice it.

I for one don't want some cage hitting me because I pull up without notice.
 

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Obi Wan has taught you well ;) stringer pretty much nailed it. Regarding "technique" it's all about the situation. Regarding tail gaiters? You're probably riding a bit too slow for a given situation and pissing people off and hence, they feel they have to make you uncomfortable to prove a point...whatever that point is? DON'T inconvenience a car driver that has NEVER rode a bike. That seems to be a cardinal sin for some numbnutz.

You have a good grasp on what's going on and are paying attention...after awhile it will all become second nature. Just keep riding brother ;)
 

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When you have a tail gater, you have to increase your stopping distance to compensate for dipshit behind you. This way you can brake more smoothly and not have to brake hard and take stupid up the ass and get killed. You're almost always going to have someone tail gating you. There's always some idiot who wants to do 90 in a 40 and doesn't care who's in front of him. You just happen to be the next rolling road block in front of him. Best thing to do is calm down and make more space with the vehicle in front of you and be sure you brake and accelerate smoothly. The idiot will move on.
 

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When you have a tail gater, you have to increase your stopping distance to compensate for dipshit behind you. This way you can brake more smoothly and not have to brake hard and take stupid up the ass and get killed. You're almost always going to have someone tail gating you. There's always some idiot who wants to do 90 in a 40 and doesn't care who's in front of him. You just happen to be the next rolling road block in front of him. Best thing to do is calm down and make more space with the vehicle in front of you and be sure you brake and accelerate smoothly. The idiot will move on.
Good stuff FMG...I was cruising down the highway at 70+ in the diamond lane a couple of weeks ago. I reached down to unzip a vent on my pants and spotted a car right on my ass in the rear view that I hadn't noticed before then. Went another mile or so and he was stuck to me like glue. I zipped out of the diamond lane into the fast lane and glared over at the offending driver as he passed. The CHP officer just gave me a nod...and proceeded to tail gate the guy that I had just been behind of.

Assholes come in all shapes and sizes...
 

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Assholes come in all shapes and sizes...
+1 Can find them in every profession and neighborhood.

Back to OP's purpose of thread, regarding braking when and how. There is a lapse of information between MSF and pretty much everything else. Read Keith Code's books, Twist of the Wrist one and two. While the school is directed mostly towards track, it will help everyone. The books give food for thought on riding habits and skills (not the best written but gets the point across).

That will help more than another guy on a forum saying how things work in my world. Doesn't help with tailgaters either though.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Everyday I've been learning more and more. I understand engine braking now thanks to all these posts! I feel confident and I can drive much better in traffic now, considering that I'm always in the proper gear.
 

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Thanks stringer, I will definitely give this a try tomorrow around the neighborhood where no cars will be behind me so I can try it out. I've always had an issue with downshifting in my mind and I guess it's just something I need to work on. So when I downshift and I see the RPMS spike upwards that doesn't harm the bike? I notice it also makes a very different high pitch noise as well.

Interesting! I wasn’t aware that the front brake does not generate the light in the bike to come on, only the rear brakes does that. I guess I am a real NOOB.
 

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Interesting! I wasn’t aware that the front brake does not generate the light in the bike to come on, only the rear brakes does that. I guess I am a real NOOB.
Both front and rear brakes should activate your brake light. If yours dont then you have a problem.

So when I downshift and I see the RPMS spike upwards that doesn't harm the bike? I notice it also makes a very different high pitch noise as well.
As long as you are not dumping the clutch its not an issue. The high pitch sound is a normal sound from our engines at higer rpm (mine gets super loud from 7k up)
 

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Hi everyone, I recently purchased a new Ninja 300 last Friday and have a couple of questions about proper riding techniques. I only have about 130 miles of riding experience on the new bike. I have taken the MSF course twice (once 2 years ago, and once again Saturday/Sunday of the Easter weekend). My question is what is the proper braking technique you should be using for coming to a stop sign, slowing down with the speed of traffic, or slowing down in anticipation of a traffic light change. At the moment, if I even so gently let off the throttle my bike slows down very fast, so fast that I don't even have to use the brakes. If I downshift while slowing down without holding the clutch in, it further increases the effect. The way I have been stopping is pulling in the clutch, and clicking down slowly through the gears to match engine speed to road speed, while using both front and rear brakes. If I see the light change or don't need to be slowing down anymore, I gently release the clutch and roll on the throttle at the appropriate gear.

I guess my question is while I was taking the MSF course, they would have us go in 2nd gear, brake without the clutch held in, and then roll on the throttle during the curve. If I even so much as let go of the throttle all the way, I can forget about using the brakes as it slows me down way too much. I have to hold the clutch in the whole time I'm braking.

Sorry if this post is too long or doesn't make sense, this question has just been bothering me a lot and I can't seem to find anything that will help me use the proper method.

Also, Hello everyone!
Joe,

You still riding around Baton Rouge?

Dave
 
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