SAFETY RESOURCES

What is an Integrated Braking System?

An integrated braking system has certain safety advantages. Some riders, especially inexperienced riders, have a tendency to overuse their rear brake during extreme situations. This can cause the bike to skid and lose traction. On a bike with an integrated braking system, the rear brake lever activates both the front and rear brakes. This helps to increase stopping power and create fast controlled stops.

There is an opposite side to this argument. Many riders question this technology. Their concern is with slippery or wet surfaces. They want to have the ability to independently use the rear brakes, believing that applying both sets of brakes may ultimately result in the locking of the front tire.

The question then becomes which side is right. Do integrated braking systems increase motorcycle safety? Or, do they actually put the rider at risk, increasing the chance of a tire locking?

Why Do Integrated Systems Increase Motorcycle Safety?

The major concern that opponents of integrated systems have is the locking of the front tire. However, in truth, because of a concept known as “weight transfer,” this is almost a virtual impossibility. When a bike stops, the majority of the weight is transferred to the front of the tire. This means that you need more pressure in your front brake than in the rear brakes.

An integrated braking system is designed to distribute the braking force. For example, if your bike is set to apply 300 pounds of pressure to the rear brake, it will simultaneously apply 250-300 pounds of pressure to the front brake. Because the weight has shifted to the front of the bike, this is not nearly enough pressure to cause the bike’s front tire to lock. Basically, in this situation, unless the rear tire locks, the front tire cannot lock.

In the end, integrated braking systems should be viewed as a way to enhance motorcycle safety. During aggressive braking situations, regardless of wet or dry road conditions, the system will help to evenly distribute the motorcycle’s braking force.

View other motorcycle safety articles here.

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