When you’re first learning to ride, coordinating a motorcycle’s throttle, clutch, shifter, front brake, and rear brake can seem like a confounding task – and especially doing so smoothly. Fortunately, though, if you’re already a bicycle rider, the clutch and front brake levers will seem natural enough. (Until, of course, you notice that a bicycle’s front brake lever is on the left and the front brake lever on a motorcycle is on the right…but that’s a mystery we shall not address here.) Instead, let’s just discuss brakes and braking.
Many of us are products of MSF rider education courses and are quite familiar with the admonition to use all four fingers on the front brake for maximum control. While I support that rule for beginning riders, it is one that we quickly outgrow once we start logging miles out in the real world. I first began to notice the shortcomings of this rule when I anticipated in traffic that I might need to use the brakes. Covering the brake lever with four fingers makes it quite difficult to control the throttle. Then there were the magazine photos of all my heroes blatantly using two fingers on the front brake. Two-fingered braking appeared to address the problems I was encountering as an urban rider. (It was only later that I learned that it opened up a new world of braking techniques.)
New patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveal Honda is working on an automatic braking system for motorcycles. The patents describe a system that would apply the brakes when it detects a possible frontal collision, like, say, a car suddenly turning through an intersection.
As the pinnacles of technology and performance in their respective fields, you can’t get any more advanced than MotoGP and Formula 1 in the motorcycle and automotive worlds, respectively. And when pitted against each other, a Formula 1 car will smoke a MotoGP machine. Interestingly, there are only two circuits that play host to both series – the Sepang circuit in Malaysia and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Information provided by Brembo – brake provider for both MotoGP and Formula 1 – gives us some interesting insights into the dynamics at play during a lap of COTA for both machines.