Maximum or Emergency Braking – MSF Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Stopping your motorcycle in the shortest possible distance is another valuable skill that street riders need. When an obstacle appears in front of you and swerving is not an option because there are no escape routes available (a piece of furniture falls off of the truck in front of you), then stopping becomes your only option to avoid a collision.
The term “maximum braking” is used when both brakes are applied as firmly as possible without locking up either wheel, typically in an emergency situation. To achieve maximum braking, simultaneously squeeze the front brake and clutch levers, and press the rear brake pedal with firm pressure. Apply the brakes smoothly—avoid “grabbing” or “stabbing” the brakes, as the harsh application is more likely to cause a skid or other upset to the chassis. During maximum braking, keep the motorcycle in as straight a line as possible to reduce lean angle and the likelihood of the wheels losing traction. Remember, if either wheel is skidding, maximum braking power is not being applied to the road surface. Keep your body centered over the motorcycle and look well ahead, not down.
Maximum braking, like swerving, is a critical skill that should be practiced. It is wise to occasionally go to a clear (not wet or oily), safe area and practice maximum braking maneuvers to accustom yourself to how much braking force can be applied before your wheels begin to skid. This is especially the case if you have recently purchased a new or different motorcycle and need to discover its unique braking characteristics.