Friction 101: The Most Important Thing to Know About Stopping a Motorcycle

written by David Mixson

Warning. I’m about to discuss something I learned in physics class back in college. I loved that class. Roll your eyes here if you want.

There’s one thing every rider needs to know about friction, and it’s this: The coefficient of static friction is greater than the coefficient of kinetic friction.

What this means is very simple: a skidding tire has less stopping friction than a tire that is still rolling but braking.

This is one of the reasons why ABS rocks. It prevents your tires from skidding. If you remember nothing else, remember this.

* A portion of this article is an excerpt from my book Motorcycle Hacks.

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About the Author

David Mixson writes about the topics other motorcycle books gloss over. He worked as a NASA engineer for over thirty years and is the author of three books.

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