Stayin’ Safe: Proper Use of the ‘Brottle’

For ultimately smooth braking transitions, combine brake and throttle.

When taught to ride motorcycles, we learned to use the throttle and brakes as separate controls. To speed up, roll the throttle grip toward you. To slow down, roll the throttle the away from you. To slow more quickly, roll off the throttle and then apply the front and rear brakes. In that order.

After slowing, when it’s time to reapply power, we were taught to ease off the brakes and then, as a separate motion, roll on throttle. Unfortunately, those throttle/brake transitions can be jerky, tend to upset the bike’s chassis and, when riding with a passenger, can have helmets banging out Morse code.

Fortunately, the two controls don’t have to be mutually exclusive. For unmatched smoothness, think of the brake and throttle as one combined control. Let’s call it the “brottle.”

brake and throttle
1) Apply brakes while the throttle is steady.
brake and throttle
2) Roll off the throttle as needed to aid slowing.
brake and throttle
3) Begin to roll throttle back on…
brake and throttle
4) …while slowly releasing the brakes to seamlessly resume travel speed.

Combining brake and throttle creates a push-me, pull-you tension that stabilizes the chassis while also providing the option to seamlessly add more brake or more throttle as desired without any chassis disruptions.

Try it on an open, straight section of road. Maintain a steady throttle and squeeze the brake lever (and pedal) against it. You should feel the weight of the bike smoothly transfer from rear to front.

Once a slower speed is achieved, smoothly release the brakes and let the throttle take over again. The weight will shift gently back to the rear wheel. Experiment with different degrees of brake pressure.

Got it? Now try the “brottle” technique on the approach to a slight or moderate curve, completing the full transition before entering the corner.

When approaching sharp bends, progressively squeeze the brakes against the steady throttle but this time, begin rolling off the throttle as you continue to squeeze the brakes (avoid rolling throttle all the way off).

When you’ve slowed enough, begin rolling the throttle on as you slooowwly release the brakes. Throughout the entire process, the brakes and throttle are overlapped, working together as one control.

With a little practice using the “brottle,” your braking transitions will soon be smoother than ever!


  1. I learned a number of years ago, to lead with the rear brake, to stabilize the chassis suspension, in all braking situations. It prevents the front-end from diving. I apply the rear brake1/2-second, to 1-second, ahead of engaging the front brake. This keeps the chassis in a level position while braking, much more stable. It also helps me to utilize both brakes fully, for maximum braking power. Cheers!


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