Should I trail brake?

I find it sad the people that keep saying they race 206s on tracks “that don’t use much brakes”. Given the size and width of modern kart tracks, I understand. However, find an older, tighter, more technical track and you guys will have even more fun! Like Burpo mentioned, my home track you can blue a rotor (even in a 206) because we slow down and brake so much.


It would have to be a pretty tight and twisty track. Even at Dousman in 206 I barely am braking. I think there’s two total braking zones on the track. The rest of the corners (including hairpins) it’s just a light graze of the brake or a short stab.

Something like Springfield or smaller club tracks would require more braking.

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When trail braking, is the IR still lifting?

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Curiously, in our electric karts on the swoopy plywood, we don’t brake at all. Since the karts don’t coast, lifting is braking, and it feels directly proportional. Reverse trail, but throttle.

Thats also a function of not having enough speed to warrant it as well, imho. Things would change with more speed, you’d need to decelerate more and quicker than the throttle modulation provides. But, the way the karts work, the tires do chirp when you lift to reduce speed, sometimes.

Yes! Springfield, Whiteland, Wilmington. Some speed and narrowness.

Fremont is the same but with only one really hard braking point.

Yes, Fremont is not quite big enough to need true braking zones, but turn 1 is a good example of how trail breaking is required to get you around a corner fast!

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Yes. It’s probably lifting more because you’re putting the kart on the nose and introducing additional force as you ask the kart to turn and slow down at the same time.

Are you guys calling light braking to put kart in nose before turn in and maybe a bit past turn in a trail?

In the low hp stuff I do, there’s quite a bit of small light braking to produce better bite from turn in.

I am struggling to find examples trails that keep the back end from wandering in rental type power levels.

No trail t5 Etown or Helmet turn… no trail the round corner at Trackhouse end of back straight…

Can anyone give me 9hp trail corner? Surely there’s an lo206 trail corner?

Trail braking is any time you start turning before fully letting off the brakes, blending the braking zone and turn-in. Turn 8 at Trackhouse is a great example since you are familiar with it

Ah. By that definition I revise my answer then. We do indeed trail, and a lot.

But, I have yet to meet the corner I need to have 1-2% brake in to keep the karts back end from going round during a long radius turn. I was thinking trail from the car perspective and being an all the way down to apex and then some, maybe car type trail.

I’ve only been to Trackhouse once, sadly! Really great place.

Car-type trail braking fits my definition as well. “Traditional” braking is strictly in a straight line with turning separate. Trail braking is simply when you overlap the two.

“Setting the nose” with the brakes is a form of trail braking, and I’d wager that, what most people think is “setting the nose” is really rotating the rear because the rear tires are doing two things at once. Either way, traction balance has shifted forwards and gaining front grip will feel similar to losing rear grip. It’s a bit like saying “add negative one” or “subtract positive one”. It does the same thing.

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In 206 trail braking will just kill your lap time, first of all. It will only make your revs too low to exit the corner fast. And in OKC, which is a track with so much grip, it ain’t gonna help if you trail brake. Especially in turn 1, because you have to carry good speed through the kink that comes up next, trail braking will only make your delta go up every corner. Hope this helps.

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Ryan takes a crack at this in his latest vid;

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Most of that movement in the brakes is gonna be hard to see. The majority of movement occurs within a very small throw and very narrow pressure range as you release.

Ryan talks about this in the video above and he has a nice camera angle to show it.

Basically, gonna be hard to see trail since it’s all occurring in a very subtle bit of pedal modulation, towards the end of the tiny motion.

Dunno how TJ and Warren got so good at seeing it.

This all makes me think about my brake release and my insistence that fast vs slow is relevant in terms of how you settle kart for turn in (or disturb it). Probably less nuanced than I think in practice but something I enjoy messing with.

While the kart does need time to settle after hard braking or trail braking, with no suspension and a very rigid platform, this is a pretty instantaneous amount of time before the kart is ready for more input.

In a car with suspension, there is a lot more dive and lift going on which takes more time to settle after braking, so you do need to be more mindful of how quickly you come off the pedal.

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Anyone else enjoy trying to get their regular car come to a rest such that it settles neutral weight distribution, no forward or rear settle/dive? Almost impossible to do but amusing to try. Low speed thing, regular driving. I was describing this to Nick and he was like yeah I do that too.


Yep. I used to work for a private airport where we’d ferry execs and celebrities around, figured it was a good skill to have.


I agree, some tracks are absolute snooze fests but the good technical tracks (Whiteland, G&J, Wilmington) all require you to be good on the brakes.

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I totally agree with Dom here.

Going to nationals no matter which team I’m in trail braking is very rarely a necessity.

Also, develop your own driving style! You don’t HAVE to always finish your braking before turn in. Sometimes that can limit you. Find what you’re comfortable with and then work out the bad parts!

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