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  1. #1
    Senior Member chis51hd's Avatar
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    Tips on using front brake

    I just want to get some tips on using the front brake properly, especially during hard braking. My bike has Shimano v-brakes, and they have fairly strong stopping power. But I'm still not that confident using too much pressure on the front brake, for fear of flying over the bars. Are there techniques to apply when using the front brake, like pushing against the bars, shifting body weight, etc.?

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    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chis51hd
    I just want to get some tips on using the front brake properly, especially during hard braking. My bike has Shimano v-brakes, and they have fairly strong stopping power. But I'm still not that confident using too much pressure on the front brake, for fear of flying over the bars. Are there techniques to apply when using the front brake, like pushing against the bars, shifting body weight, etc.?
    Body position is going to depend on situation. However, if you're just practicing on mild terrain, I would maintain a rather neutral position.

    If you feel your back end coming up....release front brake! Get most of your hard front braking done while you are vertical. (i.e. before you start cornering). Otherwise you might washout
    Last edited by mx_599; 07-08-05 at 12:52 AM.

  3. #3
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Or read this...!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chis51hd
    I just want to get some tips on using the front brake properly, especially during hard braking. My bike has Shimano v-brakes, and they have fairly strong stopping power. But I'm still not that confident using too much pressure on the front brake, for fear of flying over the bars. Are there techniques to apply when using the front brake, like pushing against the bars, shifting body weight, etc.?
    Weight behind the saddle.

    Start by going down hill with your weight behind the saddle. This will keep you from flipping. The brake action will naturally shift your weight forward.

    To get comfortable, you may way to adjust your rear brake (right) so it won't work. Than try some biking on flat ground relying only on your front brake.

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    The front brake isn't called the DENTAL brake lightly

  7. #7
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    Get used to using both brakes together. You will eventually find yourself using the front brake more, to reduce speed, and using the rear brake for control. The more you ride, the more natural it will become.

  8. #8
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Practice on a grassy (soft) lawn. Ride fast and apply the front brake. Keep doing this, each time using more and more front brake until you get the rear wheel to start coming up off the ground. Work at it and you'll learn how hard you can use the front brake.

    To get maximum braking, slide your rear off the back of the saddle and stay as low as possible. But since you don't always have time to do this, practice in your normal riding position.

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    RT
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    Not to question someone with the obvious experience of Sheldon Brown, but he does not state *why* he does not recommend braking with both front and rear. The only reason I use both is so they wear evenly, and it took me quite a while to get juuuust the right tension on both so my bikes stop on a dime. Am I missing something?

  10. #10
    ride like theres not 2mrw chris_pnoy's Avatar
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    Most of the stopping is done with the front wheels. When you slow down, inertia shifts forward and that is what causes some people to fly over their handle bars. Stopping with just the rear will not be as effective as stopping with just the front.

    You will learn to modulate the braking so you don't flip over. You have to be riding fairly high and moving fairly fast to flip over. It happens also when riding downhill. Practice using both, then one at a time to see which does what and you'll be comfortable using them correctly.

    When I brake going downhill, I tend to do my rear first, then my front if I want to stop. That however slows the driving wheel, the rear wheel, but it also means that I'm not applying all the power to my front wheel while still moving, which will cause a flip. Use the front brakes lightly and you'll learn to NOT flip over with them. You'll want to lean back, unless you like dirt for lunch.

    Like mentioned, practice is the only way to get it.
    Pagdating ng panahon.
    Speak concisely lest thou shalt be rectified
    by the grammar or thought police.

    Weapon of choice:Bruiser 1

  11. #11
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    front brake is most important for stopping, it's the same for cars - that's why most cars have disc brakes on the front (more stopping power) and drums on the back (less stopping power, cheaper and easier to fit an E-brake too) --- Unless of course you drive a more modern/expensive car and then you'll have discs all around !

  12. #12
    Very rigid mountain biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Practice on a grassy (soft) lawn.
    Bad idea there! Grass can be very slippery even when dry (especially soft grass), it's far too easy to wash out. I recommend a dry, hard-pack dirt trail. Besides having a better surface, dirt is also a lot easier to wash out of clothes than grass stains. Of course if you're a real man (tm), you won't have any problems just practicing on pavement (every time you fall, it's just an encouragement to ride better and fall less ).

  13. #13
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddorado
    Not to question someone with the obvious experience of Sheldon Brown, but he does not state *why* he does not recommend braking with both front and rear. The only reason I use both is so they wear evenly, and it took me quite a while to get juuuust the right tension on both so my bikes stop on a dime. Am I missing something?
    I have learned a lot from his site. However, he is not God when it comes to proper braking.

  14. #14
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddorado
    Not to question someone with the obvious experience of Sheldon Brown, but he does not state *why* he does not recommend braking with both front and rear. The only reason I use both is so they wear evenly, and it took me quite a while to get juuuust the right tension on both so my bikes stop on a dime. Am I missing something?
    No problem questioning me, but you are missing something! ;-)

    See my article on this topic: http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn

    Here's the relevant section:

    Using both brakes together can cause "fishtailing." If the rear wheel skids while braking force is also being applied to the front, the rear of the bike will tend to swing past the front, since the front is applying a greater decelerating force than the rear. Once the rear tire starts to skid, it can move sideways as easily as forward.

    Sheldon "Front Brake" Brown
    Code:
    +--------------------------------------------------------------+
    |  The man who does not read good books has no advantage over  |
    |  the man who can't read them.                  --Mark Twain  |
    +--------------------------------------------------------------+
    [COLOR=blue][CENTER][b]Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts[/b]
    Phone 617-244-9772, FAX 617-244-1041
    [URL= http://harriscyclery.com] http://harriscyclery.com[/URL]
    Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
    [URL=http://captainbike.com]http://captainbike.com[/URL]
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    [URL=http://sheldonbrown.com]http://sheldonbrown.com[/URL] [/CENTER] [/COLOR]

  15. #15
    RT
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    Sheldon, no offense intended I spend mucho time on your site, but was curious why you didn't recommend even wear of the pads.

  16. #16
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddorado
    Sheldon, no offense intended I spend mucho time on your site, but was curious why you didn't recommend even wear of the pads.
    Because that's beyond anal. Your car doesn't even wear the pads out at the same rate. It's impractical to expect a brake that's doing 80% of the work to wear at the same rate as one that's only doing 20%

  17. #17
    Senior Member Al K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Raiyn,

    Excellent article and reference. Sheldon's site is outstanding. Thanks.

    Al K

  18. #18
    RT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Because that's beyond anal.
    I prefer to call it attention to detail. The Adrian Monk of cycling, if you will

  19. #19
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddorado
    I prefer to call it attention to detail. The Adrian Monk of cycling, if you will

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    No problem questioning me, but you are missing something! ;-)

    See my article on this topic: http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn

    Here's the relevant section:

    Using both brakes together can cause "fishtailing." If the rear wheel skids while braking force is also being applied to the front, the rear of the bike will tend to swing past the front, since the front is applying a greater decelerating force than the rear. Once the rear tire starts to skid, it can move sideways as easily as forward.

    Sheldon "Front Brake" Brown
    Code:
    +--------------------------------------------------------------+
    |  The man who does not read good books has no advantage over  |
    |  the man who can't read them.                  --Mark Twain  |
    +--------------------------------------------------------------+
    And in some cases "fishtailing" on dirt, fishtailing is desireable. But it is unlikely that a newbie will have the skill to move his bike like this intentionally.

  21. #21
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    The rear brakes have their application as a means of bike control...not merely as an emergency measure for front tire blowouts. Mountain biking typically involves braking over variable terrain, and only experience can give a rider the "feel" for threshold braking (dynamic adjustment of front/rear brake bias to maximize stopping power without skidding). Ignoring the rear brakes is bad practice. Learning to apply them judiciously is good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gastro
    The rear brakes have their application as a means of bike control...not merely as an emergency measure for front tire blowouts. Mountain biking typically involves braking over variable terrain, and only experience can give a rider the "feel" for threshold braking (dynamic adjustment of front/rear brake bias to maximize stopping power without skidding). Ignoring the rear brakes is bad practice. Learning to apply them judiciously is good.
    Well said.

  23. #23
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    And in some cases "fishtailing" on dirt, fishtailing is desireable. But it is unlikely that a newbie will have the skill to move his bike like this intentionally.
    I bet your trail managers just LOVE you.

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