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Thread: Engine Braking - How to do properly, and is it worth it?

  1. #1
    Ryan
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    Engine Braking - How to do properly, and is it worth it?

    If done properly (rev-matching), I cant help but think its the way to go but I would like some opinions. Do you do it? What is your technique?

  2. #2
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Effectively engine braking is a matter of applying carefully judged reverse loading to the engine. Change down at too high a road speed and the engine over revs - could be expensive. Change down at too low a speed and the effeect is minimal. Match engine revs to road speed and there is no engine braking. In most ordinary cars the engine braking effect, just by lifting off the accelerator, is fairly minimal. It is all a matter of experience and judgement. Using the brakes is just as effective and far cheaper in the long run.

    On a supersports/hypersports motorcycle however, with its high revving high compression engine, the engine braking effect, just by closing the throttle, is very pronounced. I make a habit, on the bike, of just touching the rear brake to illuminate the rear light if throttling right down. The decrease in speed, just by closing the throttle, is so marked that a half asleep cage driver (the usual sort) can quite easily run into the back of the bike and claim 'Your brake lights weren't working' as if that is any excuse.

    Ken.
    Last edited by Ken; 10-18-2012 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Clarification.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Effectively engine braking is a matter of applying carefully judged reverse loading to the engine. Change down In most ordinary cars the engine braking effect, just by lifting off the accelerator, is fairly minimal. It is all a matter of experience and judgement. Using the brakes is just as effective and far cheaper in the long run.
    Engine braking is quite effective in most cars - it's a much better way of controlling speed on long descents than using the brakes in my opinion. Ford agrees with me, apparently! I'm just back from the US, driving a Mustang; using cruise control, if the speed over-ran the set speed going downhill it would change down, sometimes to as low as third (six-speed box) to utilise engine braking - the engine braking effect in sixth, at 40mph/1000rpm, was minimal.

    Using the brakes you're producing heat & wearing the pads! Just a point on this: if you do use the brakes to control speed on a long descent, apply them in short bursts rather than keeping them constantly applied - that way you'll get much less heat build-up.

  4. #4
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Agreed, Dave, where controlling speed, ason long descents is concerned. Changing down under those circumstances is just normal driving practice. Using high reverse loading engine braking as a general means of slowing down from hign speed, rather than using the brakes - which is what I was referring to - is, to my mind not such good practice.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  5. #5
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Engine braking is a standard professional driving practice. That's one reason I like manual transmissions. Automatics can still engine brake but they haven't had rear pumps since the '60's. They'll still supplement the brakes and take strain off them. To get the most advantage from engine braking, you want a manual. On a bike, I'll often rarely use brakes until I stop at a light.
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