Take a brake, man!
Going and stopping, that’s all life is about, well at least for someone on a two-wheeler on the traffic-light infested busy roads of Delhi. While enough has been said about going in a bike, it’s the stopping that matters most. After all, if you don’t stop in time, then it would really be a very unpleasant stop. And yet, most people neglect the brakes on their two wheelers in the fashion one ignores job-searching former acquaintances.
We have some handy tips for maintaining the brakes on your bike and also braking properly. After all, its a matter of life and death that you brake properly.
If you haven’t realised then do so now that your bike or scooter comes equipped with front and rear brakes. Use both brakes simultaneously. When you fail to use the front brake (like 50 per cent of the two-wheeler riders around), you compromise a lot in terms of stopping power. Remember, about 75 per cent of the stopping power in a bike comes from the front brake, the reason why manufacturers provide better brakes at the front than at the rear.
Brake before entering a corner and not when you are already leaning into one.
It is better to depress the brake levers gradually to come to a gentle stop. Panic brake is bad for mileage, stability, tyres and safety in general.
If you use only one brake then there is a good chance of “skidding” the bike. Stay stable while applying brakes.
Increase your braking distance in case of wet road conditions.
It is also very important to ensure that your motorcycle’s brakes are in good condition.
Check the brakes one by one by depressing their respective levers. The brake levers should have a small amount of play after which they should depress smoothly and gradually without any jerks. Braking should be progressive and should firm up at the end. If there’s too much play in the brake levers, then adjust it from the adjuster nut. In case, the adjustment nut is at its very end and no more adjustment is possible then go for a brake shoe / pads replacement.
Some new performance oriented machines nowadays come with disc brakes at the front. Make sure the braking is not sudden and jerky which may disorient you at high speeds. A disc brake is lot sharper than the normal drum brake and one must practice braking with the disc before taking off.
Disc brakes are hydraulic and to ensure that they work, make sure that the oil level in the reservoir (mostly mounted on the right side of the handlebar) is within the limits specified.