Can motorcycles stop faster than cars? Not Likely – See Why

running black motorcycle

Motorcycles brake just as well as cars. It’s worth noting, however, that there are some differences between the two and what makes one better when it comes to braking effectiveness.

Motorcycles are indeed lighter and more agile than cars. They’re better at navigating obstacles and traffic than cars, but did you know that their maximum braking capability is nearly identical?

Do motorcycles stop faster compared to cars?

A motorcycle that stops faster than a car is a myth. People often associate the size of the bike with having better control over stopping the motorcycle. However, the power-to-weight ratio is a tricky thing. If you think about it, cars have a mechanical advantage in stopping. 

The Argument

Some motorcycle riders even argue that motorcycles brake faster than cars because of their lower weight.

However, this claim is false for a variety of reasons. While it’s true that motorcycle manufacturers have built more powerful, lighter frames and better brakes, it is also true that there are many things to think about when you brake on a bike. To name a few, the rider’s level of experience, how much weight the bike has, the weight of the rider, the condition of the brake and suspension, et cetera.

Believe it or not, a car that weighs more can brake faster than one that weighs less. Note that a vehicle is equipped with many different safety systems that allow the driver to react more effectively. For example, if you’re traveling at 60 miles per hour, you need to slow down by about 20% to avoid a collision. In contrast, a motorcycle rider needs to apply the brakes at a much slower speed to avoid crashing.

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What Does the Expert Say?

Motorbikewriter.com interviewed Jeromy Moore, chief engineer at Triple Eight Race Engineering, former Craig Lowndes race engineer, and Porsche, world endurance champion race, engineer. According to this expert, cars with a low center of gravity and more rubber have the potential to brake with more significant deceleration and less weight transfer for the same deceleration.

Jeromy says that the car has significant aerodynamic downforce, which puts more weight and traction on the tires.

Factors that affect braking

One thing that we need to understand about braking is that it’s not just about the specs, power, and stats. Several things come into play, and you need to consider all of them if you want to determine which of a motorcycle and a car has the better stopping power. 

Here are the factors that affect the braking of a car:

  • Number of Passengers: More passengers in a vehicle means that it is heavier and has more weight on the wheels. This means that the vehicle is less likely to stop as quickly as a motorcycle.
  • Driver’s Skill: The more skill the driver has, the more likely they are to be able to brake at the right time and avoid a crash.
  • Technology: A car with better braking technology will be able to stop quicker than one without.
  • Level of Panic: The more panicked the driver is, the less likely they are to be able to control the vehicle and react to hazards.
  • Luggage Load: Carrying more luggage means heavier vehicles have more weight on the wheels. This means that the car is less likely to stop as quickly as a motorcycle.
  • Surface Traction: The better the traction, the more likely it is that the vehicle will be able to stop as quickly as a motorcycle.
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Factors that affect the braking of a motorcycle:

  • Road conditions: Road conditions such as potholes, ice, and debris can affect the motorcycle’s stopping power.
  • Tire condition: Worn-out tires significantly impact the stopping power of a motorcycle.
  • Brake efficiency: Brakes are a significant factor in the braking power of a motorcycle. A poorly maintained brake will result in slow braking.
  • Suspension efficiency: A motorcycle’s suspension can significantly impact the vehicle’s stopping power.
  • Load: If you’re carrying a passenger, it takes longer to come to a complete stop. A motorcycle with more passengers is heavier and has more weight on the wheels. This means that the bike is less likely to stop as quickly as a car.
  • Rider ability: A rider with more skill can control the motorcycle and stop it at the right time.

Braking safely on a motorcycle

Motorcycle riders use both brakes and shift their weight to compensate for the changing distribution while the bike slows down. When they transfer weight to the front wheel, they should ease off the rear brake to avoid losing traction.

Squeezing the front brake when the weight has shifted forward is a way to prevent a skid. As the contact patch of the front wheel creates more traction on the road, the rider should squeeze the front brake for safety and then come to a complete stop.

Indeed, the best time to squeeze the brakes is when the motorcycle slows down, but riders should not hesitate to use the brakes.

Motorcycles are generally lighter and have less inertia than cars. They have less weight to move, so they are more sensitive to sudden stops. When a bike slows down, it needs to be braked more slowly than a car.

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A motorcycle with poor braking performance is more likely to skid, resulting in a crash.

Conclusion

Although many riders think that a motorcycle brakes faster than a car, in reality, that is not the case, a motorcycle has a smaller contact patch than a car. It is less likely to have traction on the road.

A motorcycle can brake more quickly than a car if the bike has more power and a lower center of gravity. A motorcycle has more traction than a car on the road because it has a larger contact patch.

Although a motorcycle has less braking power than a car, being anticipative and braking at the right time can enhance its braking ability.

However, it is essential to know that having a lower center of gravity, the right braking strategy, and skill enhances a car’s braking power. So, the next time you’re in a car, think about how it brakes, and then apply those techniques to your motorcycle. It will help you brake more safely.