Rear Brake Tips With Mike Lafferty

Story By Chris Denison · Photos By Adam Booth

 

Mike Lafferty doing a wheelie Eight-time Nationwide Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty knows a thing or two about control. And as a master of tight terrain, Lafferty cannot talk about control without mentioning his unique rear brake setup preferences and techniques. Now in his 20th and final year of racing—and returning to the KTM brand right after three years on a Husaberg—Lafferty brings a few braking pointers, as well as some good tips for beginners who want to get more comfortable with their back binders.

 

Run It Low

“I’m big upon running my rear brake pedal really, really low. Being an East Coast woods rider, I sit down a great deal on the trail. When I go for the rear brake I don’t want to have to move the foot at all; I want to have the foot already resting on the pedal so that I can react quickly. This particular setup is not the greatest for huge downhill sections, but if you’re seated during a tight trail section, you are probably already on the brakes more often than not anyway. By running the pedal super low and having a bit of play in it, I can get on the rear brake more quickly and with better manage than I can with a higher/sharper set up. ”

Let It Drag

“One of the other benefits of the low rear brake setup is that it gives me the ability to drag the rear brake all the time. I don’t know if it is the greatest technique out there, but what realy works for me when I’m on the fuel is to also be using the rear brake, too. I do this because it is important (and also faster) to keep the rpm up and to have the ability to hold the throttle on, even if you are slowing down slightly. There’s always something in the trail—a log, a basic, a rock, whatever—and if it seems like I need to slow down a little bit, the bike tracks better when I modulate the particular brake while staying on the fuel. Also, if the bike gets out of shape I simply use the throttle and the brake together to hold the back end down and bring the rear end to where I want it to go. ”

Practice Makes Perfect

“Beginner riders should actively work to become more comfortable with their rear brakes. One great way to do this is to play around and practice using your brake to bring the front end back to the earth after a wheelie. I would find a place that allows you to go slightly up hill so that you can play with a steeper position. Start off doing small wheelies in first gear, and once you overcome first, start trying them in second. Keep your foot on the rear brake at all times, and smoothly apply the rear brake to bring the front end down after it comes up. I maintain my fingers on the clutch, and as I hit the brake I use the particular clutch to keep the bike operating. Start off small and just keep having fun with brake, clutch, brake, clutch, brake, clutch as much as you can. Focus on becoming smooth and controlled, and this will make you a better rider! ”

No pressure on rear brake Pressure on rear brake

 

 

Really want More?

Even though you can’t follow Mike on the path for long, you can still stick to him on Instagram at @mikelafferty22.


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