Can Motorcycles Stop Faster Than Cars?

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There were conversations regarding what motor vehicle stops faster for years and years. There are forums discussing the matter and providing logical explanations for either side.

But the answer is not that simple. Both vehicles have braking systems manufactured to have different braking systems. The fact that one could still be faster in coming to 0 mph is still ambiguous.

So when someone asks you, can motorcycles stop faster than cars? Yes motorcycles can stop quite faster.

Motorcycles have a superior braking system and a gravitational advantage to stop faster than cars.

However, many factors influence the stopping of a motorcycle and vehicles that should all be considered.

Different factors play their roles in stopping a car and a motorcycle. To understand how the brakes are applied, it is best to start with how the mechanics of their brakes work.

By the end of this article, you will have your logical answer.

Stopping A Motor Vehicle With Brakes

Stopping a motor vehicle is the job of the installed brakes. Though the mechanism of both car and motorcycle brakes are almost similar.

To find out which stops faster, car or motorcycle? It is better to have a fundamental understanding of how each braking system works.

Car Braking System

When it comes to understanding the car’s braking system, the first thing to keep in mind is that cars are wider and occupy more space, so they need around 4-5 braking systems working as one.

Here are a few things to know about car braking systems:

  • The basic braking principle is that the moving car converts its kinetic energy into heat and power with the help of friction which makes the car tires stop and hold the weight on top.
  • The foot bake of the car activates the mechanical brakes and the hydraulic force manipulation, which covers the three basic components of braking systems of leverage, hydraulic, and friction.
  • The new cars use hydraulic brakes and drum brakes on the front wheels, which are durable. When the hydraulic brakes are activated, it passes on the braking signal by incompressible fluid and stops the car at once.
  • Keep in mind that cars are bigger, and if the speed is greater, it will take a while to stop completely and even give a few jolts before stopping completely.

The braking system for a car is a little more complicated and needs more energy to make the car stop completely.

Motorcycle Braking System

Compared to cars’ braking systems, the motorcycle has been using the drum brakes since the early 2000s.

Compared to a car, motorcycles are light weighted and only have two tires that require almost half the kinetic energy used in the car.

  • The motorcycle tires are thinner than car tires, the biggest tire can be 70 inches, but these tires are not as heavy. The basic braking system uses kinetic energy to release power and heat with friction to stop the bike.
  • Motorcycles have drum brakes in the front aspect of the tires, and when the brakes are hit, the set of braking pads or shoe press outwards, and it immediately stops the bike.
  • Another brake has been introduced to expand the braking options, the disk brake, which uses calipers for stopping the motorcycle.
  • No matter the quality of a bike, it will have good quality braking systems to enhance the protective features.

Compared to a car, the brakes of a motorcycle are more efficient than one would have hoped. It could be because of the bike’s weight or because the tires do not require as much energy.

5 Factors That Influence Motor Vehicle Braking

There are plenty of factors that influence the stopping of vehicles. These factors will determine which will stop faster, a car or a motorcycle.

It is not just the manufacture of these two vehicles, but rather intrinsic and intrinsic factors play a vital role in helping to make one stop faster than the other.

1. Drive Or Operator

The first and utmost important thing is who is operating the motorcycle or the car. Because it does come with experience, you learn road skills and where to apply the brake for safety.

A beginner with a motorcycle or a car may be a little loose on the brake, and not pulling the brake correctly can be a factor in slowing the stopping time of a car or a motorcycle.

This issue is observed more with car drivers, as maneuvering a larger vehicle can be overwhelming for many.

2. Passengers

With passengers, the vehicle becomes heavy and requires a more forceful application of brakes. As a fair point, you can fit almost 5-7 passengers in a car, increasing the weight five times.

On the other hand, a bike can accommodate two or a maximum of three smaller passengers, which does add weight but not as much as the car does.

With the car already being a heavy vehicle and having passengers, it needs more power to fully apply the brakes. In such a circumstance, a bike will stop faster than a car.

3. Level Of Panic

The issues with driving a car is the panic which can make a person double mind and not apply the brakes properly. Also, in most cases, it can take one wrong paddle to go from stopping to fully blown acceleration.

Motorcycles are easily on the brakes because of their smaller size and lighter weight it can easily be maneuvered and use full power on the brake paddles.

But in a car, it takes time to make the right decision, which can make a car slower on the brakes.

4. Luggage Load

Motorcycles have their own cargo spaces, which is not much, so most of the cargo is on the back of the operator, which reduces the surface area and reduces the action of gravity, inertia, and even torque.

While cars usually have an extra cabin for cargo, which is a large deck, it increases the load on the back wheels.

As the brakes usually use the front wheels for braking completely, the heavy load on the back wheel can affect the stopping time.

In such situations, take the example of a loaded truck, it needs to slowly make its brakes, or it can cause catastrophes.

Similarly, a loaded car will need to slow on the brakes. While on the other hand, motorcycles can make quick and faster stops.

5. Surface Traction

A common rule of physics claims that the larger the surface area, the larger the gravity, and the more force will be needed for it to be in momentum.

The tires of the motorcycle are sleek, and the body of the motorcycle is designed to reduce gravitational pull and follow the laws of aerodynamics, which helps in fast braking as well.

On the other hand, cars have a bigger surface area and a lower center of gravity. It takes more energy to get it moving and requires more power to make it stop.

If the car has broader tires, such as a mustang, then the bike and the car would stop at same time.

How Can Motorcycles Stop Quicker Than Cars?

While it is a known ambiguity when one sees a car, it is assumed that cars will be faster in braking than bikes.

Here is why I think motorcycles are faster in stopping as compared to cars:

  • The brakes on a car are more complicated, with drum brakes, disk brakes, ABS, and hydraulic brakes all working as one. It takes a little time for the incompressible fluid to activate all brakes.
  • Motorcycles have a drum brake or a disk brake that presses upward on the brake paddle or the caliper when brakes are applied, and it stops the motion of the tires.
  • Cars have four tires which require more energy to be converted from friction and kinetics for the tires to completely stop the moving car.
  • On the other hand, motorcycles have a 70-inch slim pair of tires that do not need more energy to stop.
You may also be interested in my article: Why Are Motorcycles So Fast?

Conclusion

Motorcycles and cars usually do not have any comparison, but most of the things are compared when it comes to road skills and safety features. One of the features compared is the brakes.

If asked, can motorcycles stop faster than cars? The answer is yes! It is a fact that motorcycles are well equipped with brakes, taillights, and other protective features rather than a car.

So when the brakes are hit, motorcycles are sure to stop faster, but if the car competing is a wide-heavier tired car then there is a chance the car will be faster in stopping.