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Thread: Simple but brilliant tip

  1. #1
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Simple but brilliant tip

    This was originally posted by AKsuited in "Crash Chronicles" and thought it deserved a wider audience:

    "Sometimes when I stop for a traffic light, the bike wants to tip to the right. Since I'm using my right foot on the brake, I'll turn the handlebars to the right as I stop to force the bike to tip to the left, instead."

    When I read that I thought WHAT COULD BE MORE OBVIOUS? Perhaps I am the only one on this forum who didn't get that idea about two days after the first MSF course. But I didn't, and have frequently had to poke down my right foot while I re-squeezed the front brake lever, and felt rather incompetent in this simplest of maneuvers.

    If you are one of those who isn't quite sure which direction the bike will lean when you come to a stop - learn. The rest of you can have a good laugh at my expense. It IS pretty funny that I never thought of "counter-steering" in this light before.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

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    I'm a both-feet-down-at-a-stop kinda guy, so this isn't an issue for me.
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  3. #3
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRider View Post
    Since I'm using my right foot on the brake ...
    Because every stop is uphill?
    Kent Christensen
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    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Because every stop is uphill?
    1 Because I was taught to always stop with my left foot down, in the BRC. They teach that for a reason.

    2 Because when you do stop on a hill, you have to stop with your left foot down so that your right foot is on the rear brake. In a recent group ride, I saw 3 bikes tip over because their riders didn't do this correctly. If you haven't developed the habit of stopping and putting only your left foot down, then it's too late to learn this when you do stop on a hill.

    3 You may not have any hills where you live, but you will encounter them in your travels...

    Thanks, Doug.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  5. #5
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsuited View Post
    1 Because I was taught to always stop with my left foot down...
    Excuse me while I climb up on this soapbox.

    Always? Really? When stopped sideways on an incline with the left side being the downhill side? Anyone who always does something the same way is someone guaranteed to do the wrong thing in some given circumstance. How about instead of following blind rules we teach people to use some common sense?

    OK, I've climbed off the soapbox. I usually stop with my left foot down, depending upon the surrounding terrain.

  6. #6
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    Excuse me while I climb up on this soapbox.

    Always? Really?
    I guess you missed the part of me watching 3 bikes fall over on my last ride. In all cases, it was in a driveway. In the first, it was a turn into a driveway with a steep pitch. Because the rider did not stop with his foot on the rear brake, the bike rolled backwards and over it went. On the second two, it was again a driveway where there there were bikes trying to exit from a gravel drive and trying to merge with other bikes on the road. Two of them tipped over due to a lack of bike handling skill, which again was caused by not having right foot on rear brake. They were trying to turn right, there was a steep pitch to the driveway and there was gravel. No foot on rear brake = bike on ground.

    Again, the MSF teaches stopping with your left foot down for a reason.

    I don't recall ever having a situation where stopping with my right foot on the brake caused a problem. I've also got 36" inseam legs...

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  7. #7
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsuited View Post
    I guess you missed the part of me watching 3 bikes fall over on my last ride. In all cases, it was in a driveway. In the first, it was a turn into a driveway with a steep pitch. Because the rider did not stop with his foot on the rear brake, the bike rolled backwards and over it went. On the second two, it was again a driveway where there there were bikes trying to exit from a gravel drive and trying to merge with other bikes on the road. Two of them tipped over due to a lack of bike handling skill, which again was caused by not having right foot on rear brake. They were trying to turn right, there was a steep pitch to the driveway and there was gravel. No foot on rear brake = bike on ground.
    All demonstrating various rider errors unrelated to left foot down.

    Again, the MSF teaches stopping with your left foot down for a reason.
    I taught MSF for 10 years. The MSF stopping curriculum demands rear brake use, and reasonably so because using the back brake is indeed steadying while stoppiing. But the requirement that the rider press the rear brake pedal while stopping means the curriculum was created for bikes without integrated brakes; on BMWs from this century, the front brake lever applies both brakes. I only use the rear brake pedal in very tight very slow speed turns.

    I've also got 36" inseam legs...
    That'd certainly help in situations where the surface slants off to the left. For me, with way shorter legs, if I want a foot down on a left-slanting surface, it'll be the right one. I find no trouble in manipulating the throttle and the front brake lever at the same time with my right hand.

    I'm with Marc on this one: I also usually stop left-foot down...but not always.
    Last edited by dbrick; 07-01-2013 at 11:46 PM.
    David Brick
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  8. #8
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    I taught MSF for 10 years. The MSF stopping curriculum demands rear brake use, and reasonably so because using the back brake is indeed steadying while stoppiing. But the requirement that the rider press the rear brake pedal while stopping means the curriculum was created for bikes without integrated brakes; on BMWs from this century, the front brake lever applies both brakes. I only use the rear brake pedal in very tight very slow speed turns.
    And what percentage of bikes on the road are BMW's?

    I suspect my front tires don't last as long as they should because I use mostly front brake myself.

    But stopping and putting your left foot down is bike handling 101. And those bikes did tip over because of bike handling problems. I saw them go down. The first one rolled backwards because the rear brake wasn't used. And the other two, the ground did slope away to the right, which only supports what I'm saying.

    We're not trying to split atoms here...it's bike handling 101...Saying that one time in a hundred you stop with your right foot down doesn't change anything.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  9. #9
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsuited View Post
    Saying that one time in a hundred you stop with your right foot down doesn't change anything.
    It does, Harry. It changes my advice from always to usually. Yours certainly may vary.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  10. #10
    Nickname: Droid
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    Left foot to the ground first is not an absolute for each and every riding/stopping situation. But I have found it works for a very high percentage. By the way, I have a 30" inseam and ride a stock height 94RS, also been an MSF coach for 20+ years. Left foot down works for nearly all stops, but its also important to scan/search your stop and foot placement before you get there. That is more impotant than which foot goes down first, because it helps determine which foot/feet it should be. But also, use of the rear brake does wonders to stabilize the bike during and right up to the stop. I teach my students that the rear brake has as much to do with bike stability as braking.

  11. #11
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    Left foot to the ground first is not an absolute for each and every riding/stopping situation. But I have found it works for a very high percentage. By the way, I have a 30" inseam and ride a stock height 94RS, also been an MSF coach for 20+ years. Left foot down works for nearly all stops, but its also important to scan/search your stop and foot placement before you get there. That is more impotant than which foot goes down first, because it helps determine which foot/feet it should be. But also, use of the rear brake does wonders to stabilize the bike during and right up to the stop. I teach my students that the rear brake has as much to do with bike stability as braking.
    I think the point I first quoted is most important - a slight push of the bars determines which way the bike leans when you come to a stop. If for some reason it is better to put your right foot down, push the bars to the left and come to almost a full stop before you do so. Complete the stop with the front brake as you put your right foot down. Maybe worth practicing both ways for the odd time putting your right foot down would be the better option.

    I have never ridden I bike with "integrated" braking. My reading is that there is no problem with front braking also applying some rear braking. The opposite (rear braking applies some front brakes) is bad news for low speed maneuvers.

    I know from personal experience that a little front brake at the end of a stop can lead to a tip-over.

    Still think the tip quoted was a great one. A smooth, controlled stop - no drama - should be the norm. Try it, if you ever wonder which foot will meet the ground first.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

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    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Bravo!

    Love all the riding tips I can find!

    Voni
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    Excuse me while I climb up on this soapbox.

    Always? Really? When stopped sideways on an incline with the left side being the downhill side? Anyone who always does something the same way is someone guaranteed to do the wrong thing in some given circumstance. How about instead of following blind rules we teach people to use some common sense?

    OK, I've climbed off the soapbox. I usually stop with my left foot down, depending upon the surrounding terrain.
    To add to that, if you ride in England/Scotland/Ireland on an old, crowned country road, when you stop you might not want to depend on your left foot.
    2012 BMW R1200RT
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  14. #14
    Nickname: Droid
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    An earlier reply said he turns the bars slightly to cause the bike to lean in the direction of the downed foot. Got me to think about my technique, and I realized I actually have been doing this without really noticing it. But it is a great tip/technique to apply.

    Another way to apply the technique may be: slightly more palm pressure against the handlebar grip to coincide with the foot going down to support the bike at a stop. So, when the left foot goes down, press slightly more against the left grip. If the right foot goes down, press slightly more against the right grip.

  15. #15
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    An earlier reply said he turns the bars slightly to cause the bike to lean in the direction of the downed foot. Got me to think about my technique, and I realized I actually have been doing this without really noticing it. But it is a great tip/technique to apply.

    Another way to apply the technique may be: slightly more palm pressure against the handlebar grip to coincide with the foot going down to support the bike at a stop. So, when the left foot goes down, press slightly more against the left grip. If the right foot goes down, press slightly more against the right grip.
    ANDYVH, I'm sure this is not the only thing you and other experienced riders do without giving it a moment's thought. Voni, can it be true you don't always know which way your bike will lean when you come to a stop - after over a million miles? Seriously doubt that! But thought that AKsuited's tip might benefit others if it benefitted me - a person with several years and miles under his belt - who NEVER had this very logical thought.

    For you MSF coaches who read this, does it seem like a tip worth passing along to your students? Should it be part of the curriculum, including how to put your RIGHT foot down when that is what the road dictates under unusual circumstances?
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

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