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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Is this bike light in the a$$ or is the the way I'm riding? 3 times in the last 2 days I've locked up the back brake. The first time we went into a full screeching lockup. Fortunately I stayed in line and rode it out without incident. The second and third times I could hear it starting to howl early and let off the brake early enough to keep from locking up full. Now maybe it's because this bike has a disk on the rear and my old bike had a drum brake on the back or maybe it's because this bike is about 180 lbs heaver. I don't know but I'd like to know if I'm alone here or have you all experienced also?

Thx,
RG
 

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No it's a little light. I've seen my rear tire out of the corner of my eye a few times :). Just ease off and she'll straighten out. Just don't lock up that front brake ;)
 

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That's part of it. Mostly though I think it IS that there is a very effective rear brake on the bike. I've been on bikes that you have to really mash down the pedal for the brake to even start working. Not this bike.

Whenever you change bikes, you need to practice emergency stopping with them. They all act a little different and it could save your life or keep you from dropping a bike.
 

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I've been on bikes that you have to really mash down the pedal for the brake to even start working. Not this bike.
That's probably the problem in a nutshell, although I've found the rear brake on the VN to be a bit on the spongy side. My other bike has Brembos- -and they're pretty effective! All depends on what you're used to. I usually just use the front brake (a bad habit, I know...) unless I'm in a bind - no pun intended. The Vulcan isn't really "light" ANYWHERE, although the "C" model is reportedly easy to lock up in the front with that skinny tire, not my observation - something I've been told. I have a "D" model. I've leaned into the brakes pretty hard several times in my brief career as a Vulcaneer, and I've found this bike to be pretty forgiving in simulated panic stops. I know....adrenalin will probably change that! :D

Whenever you change bikes, you need to practice emergency stopping with them. They all act a little different and it could save your life or keep you from dropping a bike.
VERY good advise!! After I got finished with my MSF course, I took my (first) bike back to the venue and re-practiced all the stuff I learned - except the tight turn-in-a-box stuff (V-Rods turn like a toad!) This has saved my bacon TWICE so far with panic stops!
 

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The front brake IS the brake of choice when above 10-15 MPH. Whenever your speed is such that you are NOT turning the handlebars to steer then use the front brake with a trailing rear brake. In a parking lot situation drag on the rear brake only (no front brake) while turning, or you'll dump the bike.
 

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actually the fron is pretty composes when mashing the front lever. ive had the front squeezed all the way and no lock-up (and thats with the stock dunlops) .. yes its a custom .. i mean sure if you just yank it itll lock up but slow steady pressur and shell do fine. gotten my bike to stop from 60mph if 46 yards
 

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I had a VN750 before with drum brakes for the rear. Once i got the VN900 the braking was a different experience. Very sharp and gives me much more confidence.
 

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I hardly use the back brake. The front has much more stopping power than the rear. The only time I don't touch the front is in gravels.
 

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I hardly use the back brake. The front has much more stopping power than the rear. The only time I don't touch the front is in gravel.

Man I'll tell you what I always use both brakes front and rear. In doing this you are using 100% of your braking. Maybe you are not pushing the pedal or squeezing the lever to achieve 100% braking but you have the potential to. The maximum you can achieve in the front is 70-75%. I have only locked up the rear brakes twice on mine so maybe I am not mashing it as hard but having come from bikes that had rear drums both my rear disk brake bikes stop so much faster and safer.

Bottom line is you will not stop as quick or as safe as you would if you are using both front and rear brakes. Even before taking my safety course I never considered using only one brake.

Agreed, in loose gravel I am light on the front brake especially at parking lot speeds. I do try to avoid loose gravel and dirt at all costs.
 

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Bottom line is you will not stop as quick or as safe as you would if you are using both front and rear brakes. Even before taking my safety course I never considered using only one brake.

QUOTE]

I agree, after a 20 year break riding, i went back and did the riding course, i use to be a front brake user 99% of the time, after a few runs using both brakes, i reduced my braking distances by about 1/3rd. I have only locked the rear up once, during an emergency stop, pulling a 125lb trailer with 150lbs of gear in it, cut off by a car, i stopped in time but ended up with a "pucker" factor of 9.25.
 

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Actually, in most cases, it seems (to me, anyway) that the back brake is a bit soft and unresponsive. I tend to rely on the front brake more, although I will try to use both brakes if I'm doing more than just slowing myself down. I have, however, proven the back brake will bite in a few emergency situations. I've locked it twice, in pucker situations, but the soft play seems to help in keeping those situations under control. The key? PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE in a parking lot until you're used to how the brakes work together so you have an instinctive yet manageable reaction instead of a panicked "oh s***!" reaction. ;)
 

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Woha, I can't imagine riding the VN900 without using the rear brake!

To me this bike feels like it can only achieve 50% of it's total braking power if you use only the front, 30% if you use only the rear, and there is an additional 20% if you use both of them (due to the position of the rear caliper in the swingarm, that is higher than the axle, it settles the bike and keep the front end from diving too much).

It did surprise me at first how much braking power the rear wheel has on the VN900, I didn't expect it to be THAT powerfull. I'm used to use the rear brake for control, not really for braking.
 

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...snip... I don't know but I'd like to know if I'm alone here or have you all experienced also?

Thx,
RG
Yep, I lock my rear wheel at odd times, too.

...snip...
It did surprise me at first how much braking power the rear wheel has on the VN900, I didn't expect it to be THAT powerfull. I'm used to use the rear brake for control, not really for braking.
Yep, that says it for me, too.
 

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Funny story -

I always have used both brakes fairly evenly bc that what was how i was taught i guess.

The day i bought my 900 custom from the stealership, the mechanic went over the bike with me and told me that the shocks in the front absorb so much that he recommended hardly ever using the rear brake because you would never slide the bike out from under you when using mainly just the front brake on this bike.

Interesting to hear that coming from the dealer...

I still use both brakes, but I do tend to use a little more front brake than rear on my custom because i do feel the rear is a little touchy.

just my .000001 cents and an interesting story,
N
 

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actually the fron is pretty composes when mashing the front lever. ive had the front squeezed all the way and no lock-up (and thats with the stock dunlops) .. yes its a custom .. i mean sure if you just yank it itll lock up but slow steady pressur and shell do fine. gotten my bike to stop from 60mph if 46 yards
46 yards!!?? that almost 1/2 a football field
 

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46 yards!!?? that almost 1/2 a football field
you try it in a shorter distance, you got to remember .. we only have 2 tires. we cant stop extremely quick like a sportscar. most of the sportbikes (you know super stick tires and crazy awsome brakes) were hittin 41s and 42s, 46 for a 600lb cruiser with a super skinny front tire is extremely awsome.
 

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you try it in a shorter distance, you got to remember .. we only have 2 tires. we cant stop extremely quick like a sportscar. most of the sportbikes (you know super stick tires and crazy awsome brakes) were hittin 41s and 42s, 46 for a 600lb cruiser with a super skinny front tire is extremely awsome.
Actually sportbikes are not very good at braking due to ther high COGs, that is why they can do endo/stoppies, so brake force is limited by the weight transfer, not traction. On a sportbike, with the COG over the axle, you can get to a point where there is more weight pushing forward over the axle centerline than the weight in the rear, so the rear will lift and you've got to ease on the brakes if you don't want to be sent flying over the bars.

In the case of a cruiser, where the COG is low, they can transfer more weight to the front wheel, the extra weight transfer will get them more traction, and more traction means shorter stopping distances.

What sportbikes can do and cruisers can't, is repeat the feat in a short time. That's what sportbikes get from their dual rotors with 4/6 pot calipers, more power to overcome fading and larger area to dissipate the heat, to avoid fading.
 

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I've only locked my rear brake once, right before I slammed into a honda passport that made a left in front of me. I always thought the brakes sucked on the Vulcan until I rode a few different cruisers. My last bike was a CBR. Now after two+ years of riding it, I think they are more on the good side.
 

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46 yards!!?? that almost 1/2 a football field
46 yards? I think I could coast to a stop from 60mph in 46 yards or at least 100 cubits
 
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