Breaking Down The Motocross Braking Technique

Braking is one of the trickiest, but most essential techniques to master before you hit a Motocross track. Riding a dirt bike without understanding the method of braking can initiate a series of unintended landings that can make your chances of sustaining injuries very high. 

Though a little technical, learning to apply brakes with the right technique is easy. In this article, we will decode the right braking technique. Take a look. 

The Ideal Braking Technique Decoded

Balancing front and rear brakes are key to stopping the bike without getting thrown off. But, most of the riders don’t know the right technique. 

Here is how you should ideally apply brakes:

  • Select the line that you will use to corner and stand on the bike in the central standing position. Make sure you push your weight towards the rear. 
  • Grip the bike in between your knees to keep yourself from moving to the front of the bike or bouncing off the footpegs. 
  • Downshift to slow down. Now, use both the brakes simultaneously. Try to be as gentle and smooth as possible while applying the brakes. Due to the forward momentum, the primary work will be done by the front brakes.
  • Make sure you don’t lock up the wheels (most importantly front wheels). Release the front brake a little to get the wheel rolling.

Essential Braking Tips

Now that you are aware of the right braking technique, take a look at some handy braking tips: 

  • Keep yourself from braking early 

If you are racing, make sure you don’t brake too early. Braking early will only eat up your time. The ideal timing is to get into the corner and go deep before you start braking. 

  • Realize the power of the front brakes 

Front brakes are more robust than rear brakes. When you stop your bike, 70% of the task is done by the front brakes. While using them, make sure you press them firmly. 

Generally, you should apply both the brakes simultaneously, but if you want to stop suddenly, using only the front brakes will allow you to do so. Although, beware that the sudden jolt of stopping can cause you to get thrown off the bike.  

  • Use rear brakes for directional control 

Rear brakes are used for directional control. Make sure you run the rear brake pedal as low as possible. Do this by keeping your foot on the pedal to avoid moving it much while applying the rear brake. This technique comes to your rescue when you want to brake quickly. Running low provides you better control and longer reaction time. 

Use this technique while riding on tight trails. However, do not use this braking technique for downhill sections. 

  • Use the engine brake too 

Engine braking involves moving from a higher gear to a lower one to slow down the bike gradually without using front or rear brakes. Engine braking allows a progressive slowdown of the machine. 

  • Extra tip: braking and safety

Even if you are an expert rider, falls and crashes are a common occurrence in Motocross. Even with a skilled hand at braking techniques, crashes happen. So, your safety while riding never stops being a priority.

To ensure your safety, wear suitable Motocross gear: DOT-approved helmet, gloves, jersey, pants, goggles, knee guard, and elbow guards to minimize the impact of falls and prevent sustaining injuries. Several online stores, like the MXstore, have a vast selection of Motocross gears that you can choose from. 

The bottom line 

Having a firm understanding of the braking technique is an important part of your riding capabilities, and so you should pay a lot of attention to it. Moreover, the lack of practice or control in this respect leads to falls and subsequent injuries. Therefore, make these techniques your second nature and practice them thoroughly before you hit the tracks. 

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Cory Weinberg

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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