Braking vs Engine-Braking before entering a corner

I ride two different bikes with plenty of engine-braking power each (SV650 and Vstrom 1000) so for the last few years I became lazy regarding the use of my actual brakes to set my entry speed before entering a curve; I would just roll off the throttle enough to slow down and dive into the turn. (I live at the foothills of the central Sierra Nevada so I spend lots of time in my "backyard", which is full of amazing twisty roads).

Anyway, lately, I have been trying to be more conscious of the way I set my cornering entry speed and I started using both my front and rear brakes —lightly as I am not riding at track speeds on public roads— instead of just rolling off the throttle to reduce my speed before entering the curves. My entry speed has remained basically the same as it was when I was simply engine-braking but there is a very noticeable difference in the way the motorcycle handles entering the turn. The bike feels more stable, better planted on the pavement and this, in turn, makes turning and getting back on the throttle much easier. The end result is smoother and more controlled cornering.

I'm sure there is plenty of detailed, technical information of why this happens (suspension compression/stabilization, etc.) out there, but I won't discuss that here. Let's just say I get a very satisfying feeling by experimenting and discovering those little motorcycle dynamic quirks on my own.

Food for thought.

-    Ofir

About the author

I am a graphic designer, a linguist, a software developer and a marketer in no particular order. I am also an avid motorcyclist who's extremely concerned about coming back home in one piece after each ride and spreading the word of safe riding habits among my fellow motorcyclists.
The ideas and opinions expressed here are my own and may not reflect the philosophies of the organizations to which I belong.
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