Have you ever found that your rear brakes are not working and wondered if you can still ride your motorcycle?
Yes. It’s not an ideal scenario, but you can do it. Rear brakes only provide 30% of your overall braking, with the other 70% coming from your front brakes. In normal riding conditions, you can use your gears to slow the engine. In emergency braking situations, your stopping distance will be extended.
Do you need rear brakes on a motorcycle?
Your rear brakes are there for a good reason, and you should use your rear brakes every time you ride.
Using your rear brakes frequently will build muscle memory, and come the day you need to emergency brake, you will be thankful for the extra braking assistance.
Rear brakes usage depends on the type of motorcycle you are riding; sport bikes tend to lurch forward under heavy braking, which reduces the potency of the rear brakes.
If you ride a cruiser, you are more likely to use your rear brakes as a matter of course when riding.
With most braking force coming from your front brakes, you can get away with just using the front brakes in most driving conditions.
If you use your rear brake and lock up the rear wheel, then you must know that your wheels need to be aligned before you come off the brake, or you will be flipped off the bike.
Should I use front or rear brakes on a motorcycle?
With 70% of the braking force coming from your front brakes, you need to use the front brake most of all. Rear brakes can give some cool-looking skids to impress your mates, but in real life, riding your rear brake alone is not going to save you in an emergency braking situation.
A bike with a normal ABS on dry asphalt with rear braking only will take a whopping 75 feet of skidding to come to a complete stop.
Using your front brake only in the same conditions, you will stop in 30 feet, and combined front and rear braking, you will stop in 14 feet.
The stopping distance is dramatically demonstrated and proves an excellent reason to use your rear brake in daily driving.
Can you drive without a rear brake?
Yes, you can, is it a good idea? Not really. If you have a mechanical issue and need to get home or make a short journey, you could ride without using your rear brake.
However, you need to make sure your rear brakes are fully functional for an excellent reason. It will save your life if you find yourself in a situation where a car has jumped a red light, and you are hurtling towards it.
Should you end up in a severe collision and your bike is inspected and found defective, expect your insurance to drop your claim.