Yes, a car stops faster than a motorcycle. This is fundamental to physics, the friction. With 4 wheels on the ground, the braking distance is reduced.
Take a look at a motorcycle and a car side-by-side, and you may think you have an easy answer to this popular question: Can a car stop faster than a motorcycle?
The truth is, the answer is far more complicated than simply figuring out which vehicle is smaller and weighs less than the other. Here are all the factors that go into comparing the break speed of motorcycles and cars.
The sheer size of motorcycles alone has led many to believe that they must have a shorter and thus faster braking distance compared to large cars. And while motorcycles can be more responsive than cars in some ways and are power machines compared to the weight, they don’t always have a stopping distance advantage over larger vehicles.
It’s actually the friction coefficient that makes vehicles stop — the measure of the gravitational force and static friction between surfaces. That means a vehicle’s weight doesn’t have a real effect on its average stopping distance.
One big reason: the experience level of who is behind the wheel. Stopping distance is impacted by familiarity with a vehicle.
Those more experienced with their car or motorcycle will have a shorter stopping distance in general compared to new drivers who are still getting used to their vehicle’s power.
That means that while cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles all have a stopping capability of 1G, braking standards of motorcycle training tests performed by graduating riders was about just .5G. In addition, the stopping average of expert riders is around 1G, it’s more than .7G for experienced riders.
Using this stopping capability power, an experienced rider’s stopping distance averages about 30 feet if they are going 30 mph. At 45 mph, the distance is 68 feet.
Speed is just one factor in braking distance. The grip of tires, the way the roadway slopes, and weather all impact how long it takes for any vehicle to stop.
Other Factors in Stopping Distance
Yes, a motorcycle is almost always much lighter than a car and when head to head with a car, they will often shop faster.
But not all cars are the same. A sportscar with ABS braking and big, advanced tires will stop faster than other cars and some types of motorcycles.
There is also more friction surface in a car with 4 tires than a two-tire motorcycle. The tread, age, and size of tires also factor into how quickly a vehicle stops.
The quality of the brakes in both cars and motorcycles is vitally important when it comes to stopping speed. You won’t stop quickly if you don’t properly maintain a brake system, and it’s harder to stop quickly if your brake shocks are worn out.
Most cars with very high-quality ABS and four wide tires stop more efficiently than many motorcycles today. That extra grip from the extra tires goes a long way.
The bottom line: a quality car, especially a lighter sportscar, has the capability of stopping faster than a motorcycle.