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Old 01-24-09, 07:34 PM   #1
zeo_max
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Downhill braking technique

Ok. So I have a hardtail with V-brakes. Nothing fancy, it's an economic Schwinn Mountain Bike. I wanna know if I'm doing the correct thing when going downhill, whether on the road or in the dirt. You see, when going downhill, I apply my brakes a lot, I don't like gaining a lot of speed, it sort of scares me, safety first for me. My rims get painted black from friction with the brake pads. I wonder if this is how I'm supposed to do it, for safety purposes. Will my brake pads wear out quicker than normal for doing this ?

Just wanna know how other people do it. Thanks.
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Old 01-24-09, 07:53 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what your hills are like. On one or two hills that I ride, I'll alternately tap and let up on the brakes to control my speed. I may let up for only very short intervals, but I do try not to ride the brakes continuously.
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Old 01-24-09, 09:10 PM   #3
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Personally, I've never gone as fast as I wanted. When I do the fast'ish DH section at my local trails, I get to a nearly fun speed and then I either have to turn or smack into a tree.

When I rode my brother-in-law's crotch rocket...I'd get to an almost fun speed and I'd get to a stop sign or think to myself..."do I want ticket #27, or not?"

If you were me...then yeah, I'd say you're doing it wrong. I like fast...so for you, you're probably doing it right. You would benefit from disc brakes with larger rotors versus gumming up your braking surface with rubber.
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Old 01-24-09, 09:16 PM   #4
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My hills are not technical Jonathan, but they're steep enough for the speed to make me uncomfortable. I brake down to a speed where I know if fall I can get back up again.

And I would get disc brakes chelboed but my wallet prevents me to. Plus I've read in this forum that cheap disc brakes are not worth it.
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Old 01-24-09, 09:21 PM   #5
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I've read in this forum that cheap disc brakes are not worth it.
Yes indeed...but BB7's or even 5's are good enough for XC speed.
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Old 01-24-09, 10:09 PM   #6
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do w.e. you want. you get used to speed the more you ride at higher speeds... when i first started riding, 45km/h would freak me... now it's around 60km/h+ i get the heeby-jeebies. i'm sure as i become a stronger rider and get a more reliable bike, i might start getting the freaks at 65km/h instead of 60.
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Old 01-24-09, 10:53 PM   #7
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What's a km?
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Old 01-24-09, 11:07 PM   #8
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kilometer
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Old 01-24-09, 11:12 PM   #9
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I have another braking question. Do you use more front brake or back brake? On a dirtbike it's more front, but I was told that using the front on a mtb downhill is just asking for a face full of dirt.
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Old 01-24-09, 11:14 PM   #10
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Rear brake for slowing, front for stopping. It should be a balance.
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Old 01-25-09, 08:36 AM   #11
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depends on how steep the incline is that you're going down. if it's steep, i use more back than i do front, otherwise your risk of going over the top is higher. otherwise the ratio is about 60 front, 40 back, or 70 front 30 back.

if i'm on the roads, i use a lot more front.

if it's really loose or slippery terrain you're riding on, i use almost no front.
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Old 01-25-09, 08:41 AM   #12
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kilometer
Surely you don't think I'm a total idiot

It was banter.
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Old 01-25-09, 09:05 AM   #13
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poking fun at the metric system again, are we?
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Old 01-25-09, 09:28 AM   #14
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Just another American with an inferiority complex
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Old 01-25-09, 10:58 AM   #15
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sorry for hijacking your thread zeo_max, but i've always wondered...

1. If you ride down a hill, and if you held on to your brakes from the start to the end,
2. If you ride down a hill, and you just coast without braking all the way down, until you're nearing the end, then you 'hard' brake.

Would the second method stop you more efficiently and wear less brake pad?
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Old 01-25-09, 01:45 PM   #16
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IME your speed is determined by how far ahead you can see. As far as technique, I don't really know how much front or rear, I just use both based on how it feels. Don't worry about how fast your pads wear. They are ,after all, consumables fulfilling their proper function. Would you ride less to save on tire wear?
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Old 01-25-09, 01:51 PM   #17
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Would you ride less to save on tire wear?
I think he's saying he'd ride "differently" to save on pad wear. Not less. He may brake later instead of more consistantly.
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Old 01-25-09, 04:53 PM   #18
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I think only panty waist sissys use brakes.
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Old 01-25-09, 05:13 PM   #19
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I think he's saying he'd ride "differently" to save on pad wear. Not less. He may brake later instead of more consistantly.
I see what you mean, but the analogy was meant to illustrate the logic in trying to save on brake pad wear.
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Old 01-25-09, 05:25 PM   #20
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I make the analogy work in my favor with the intent to flame whomever I can.
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Old 01-25-09, 05:37 PM   #21
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When I rode my brother-in-law's crotch rocket...I'd get to an almost fun speed and I'd get to a stop sign or think to myself..."do I want ticket #27, or not?"
I remember vividly the day I came to the determination that I should not own a street bike. I was riding a friend's Yamaha RD350 cafe bike up a twisty 35 mph road out of Edmonds. When I hit a straight long enough to allow me to take a quick glance at the speedo, I realized I'd exited the previous corner at 80. Gawd it was fun but I knew I would not get to my 21st birthday if I owned one .
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Old 01-25-09, 05:43 PM   #22
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I make the analogy work in my favor with the intent to flame whomever I can.
Thanks for the tip- I'll remember that for future analogies.
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Old 01-25-09, 06:28 PM   #23
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(crouching behind the bushes...ready to pounce)
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Old 01-25-09, 08:19 PM   #24
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I have another braking question. Do you use more front brake or back brake?
I use mostly front brake. Even on steep hills, I brake using the front. If it's steep and bumpy, then there's a knack to modulating your braking such that you let off a bit just as you hit each bump, so as not to get tossed over the bars.
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Old 01-25-09, 08:39 PM   #25
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Ok. So I have a hardtail with V-brakes. Nothing fancy, it's an economic Schwinn Mountain Bike. I wanna know if I'm doing the correct thing when going downhill, whether on the road or in the dirt. You see, when going downhill, I apply my brakes a lot, I don't like gaining a lot of speed, it sort of scares me, safety first for me. My rims get painted black from friction with the brake pads. I wonder if this is how I'm supposed to do it, for safety purposes. Will my brake pads wear out quicker than normal for doing this ?

Just wanna know how other people do it. Thanks.
Dude, try this. Instead of riding the brakes down a hill, ride at a speed just slightly above your comfort level. Then, get your hands in a position that will allow you to apply the brakes quicker. On questionable descents I always have both middle fingers hovering on the levers. I find that lets me quickly apply brakes without ask much risk of grabbing a handfull of brake and a facefull of dirt. And like someone said earlier, back brake to regulate speed, front brake to stop.

I'm teaching my wife to ride and thats the advice I gave her. Whether or not she listens is another story...hope it helps!
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