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What makes a motorcycle be able to brake faster than a bicycle?

I know a few reasons however would appreciate it if someone can explain some of the physics – how the kinetic energy is dissipated and why a motorcycle (even tough it has far me KE) can brake so much quicker. Tell me all the reasons if possible not just that the tyres are bigger.

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7 Responses to “What makes a motorcycle be able to brake faster than a bicycle?”

  1. the rocket said:

    The surface area of the brake pads and the manner they are applied(hydraulically)far out weight the small rubber brake blocks on a pushbike.The fact that the callipers on some of these modern motorcycles have a 2/4 piston arrangement also greatly enhances its stopping ability.

  2. Matt M said:

    The first answer was partially right. Kinetic energy is transferred into Thermal energy in the brakes by the rotating brake disc (aka rotors) being squeezed by the stationary brake pad.
    The larger brake pads and disc allow the pad to impart more heat into the disc and the larger disc spreads the heat out across a larger area (known as swept area to brake experts). Also, motorcycles use higher friction compounds in the pads and some have drilled discs (aka rotors) which cause more friction than the rubber brake on the metal rim.

  3. Tim D said:

    Front suspension action, fork trail & rake, weight and footprint of the tyre also play a part in this. Suspension, combined with the fork geometry and weight, reduces the amount that the bike will rotate around the front axle.

  4. € h ë m ‡€ ã L said:

    uh……..what??!!!!!!…………………i have a motorcycle and a bmx…..and my bicycle stops instantly…!!!!!! just as fast as my motor…maybe you need to check your brakes!

  5. wyomingrider said:

    Good physics-related answers so far.

    But, from a practical standpoint, modern pedal bikes with full suspension and disc brakes can actually stop quicker than a motorcycle — especially mountain bikes with larger (fatter) tyres.

  6. barry m said:

    This can’t be a real question?

  7. onlyme Mr G said:

    The braking system is irrelevent!!

    You mentioned the answer in your question!!

    It’s the rubber footprint left by your tyres, that determin stopping ability!

    I ride a roadbike nowadays (of the bicycle variety) and I used to ride mainly Lambrettas twenty odd years ago (some had disc brakes, some were drum brakes). I can tell you now, that If I slammed on the anchors on my Heavy Lambretta at 30Mph I would stop far quicker than I could on my carbon fibre bike. At 30Mph my bike wheels would lock and I would skid to a halt (or, into the back of a car, – been there – done that!) – Purely because of the friction coefficiant of rubber to road.!

    Hope this helps.




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