Despite your best efforts, you’re boxed in, and there’s no escape route. It's time to hit the brakes. You've just learned the math on reaction time and braking time, but in real life, riders need to know more. Here’s how to stop safely and swiftly.
1. Get the bike straight up and down—you can’t stop hard if you’re leaned over.
2. Use both the front and rear brakes, hard. Up to 75 percent of your braking power is up front—if you only use the rear, you greatly increase your stopping distance..
3. Shift your weight as far back as you can. You’ll need to slide your butt back on the seat and push hard on the handlebar to keep from sliding forward.
4. If the rear wheel locks, let it. Research shows that in a panic situation, riders who release a locked-up rear wheel will also release the front-brake lever, increasing stopping distance. Practice will show you that you can still control a bike with a locked rear wheel—learning on a dirtbike is a great help.
5. Pull in the clutch lever right at the start. Don't worry about using engine compression braking and downshifting in this scenario. If this is a real panic stop, you need to keep things simple and eliminate those variables.