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I see figures claiming that the front brakes provides 75% of the stopping power for a bike. So why is the front tire not as wide as the rear, especially since the engine and rider are closer to the front?

The front tire has bigger demands on grip and supporting weight, but is given less.

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  • $\begingroup$ Stopping power might be on the front tyres, but accelerating power is on the rear. How frequently is high power braking carried out versus high power accelerating? $\endgroup$ – AndyT Feb 24 '17 at 14:15
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Braking is only one of several factors affecting tire and wheel design. The rear wheer, for one thing, is the drive wheel. That means not only does it experience far more stress at all times, but maintaining a larger contact area with the ground reduces the chance of breaking traction.

As to braking: while it's true that the front wheel ends up handling a lot of the stopping power due to basic mechanical physics, it's also true that the rear brake is critical to avoiding a somersault crash.

The rear wheel handles far more weight at all times other than a hard brake. Most of the bike & operator mass is nearer the rear wheel than the front one.

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