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  1. #1
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    I never realised how much brakes slow you down

    I know that sounds like a strange statement, but I had a bit of a breakthrough yesterday.

    On my old bike the brake were bad breaks, and also probably badly set up. This meant that whenever I was in a section that might cause me to need to use my brakes, I squeezed them ever so slightly just to bring the pads into light contact. This meant that I had better control once I did need to actually slow down. Due to the quality of the brakes however just hovering like this had a very negligilbe effet on my speed.

    This (bad) practise has stayed with me. The problem is, I now have a bike with some reasonable decent disk brakes. On a section the other day I decided I'd try to get through it without touching my brakes at all. This desicion meant that I took my fingers of th brakes levers completely (which turned out to be a slightly foolish idea). The amount of extra speed I picked up was staggering, even in areas where I previously thought I wasn't really using my brakes at all. This did admitadly result in me nearly flying straight of the trail, but fourtunally managed to just about wrestle it back round in time.

    Not really sure why I'm posting this. I suppose partly just to say just try braking less, you may be surprised about how much faster you can make a section. Also if you do what I used to, STOP, it ruins your flow more than I ever realised.

    As a side note, I can now keep up with the full sussers through most of the rocky sections, partly due to this realisation.

  2. #2
    Oooooooofffff SALESMAN! The Big Wheel's Avatar
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    Great advice. Also, always stay clipped in.
    "Why give some drunk the chance to plaster me against a car? That's why I don't even own a bike light, or one of those godawful reflective suits. Because if you've put yourself in a position where someone has to see you in order for you to be safe -- to see you, and to give a @#$% -- you've already blown it."


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  3. #3
    Rat Bastard mcoomer's Avatar
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    Just rest a finger on the levers when you ride. It feels a bit weird at first but you quickly get used to it and then you can grab plenty of brake to slow your progress when you need to.

    Mike
    It's better to burn out than fade away...or slip out of your pedal and face plant on the side of the road!!!

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcoomer View Post
    Just rest a finger on the levers when you ride. It feels a bit weird at first but you quickly get used to it and then you can grab plenty of brake to slow your progress when you need to.

    Mike
    Yea, thats what I do now. With my previous bike and it's rubbish brakes you had to squeeze a bit to get reasonable control.

    The only reason I didn't touch them at all in the sitution mentioned was so I didn't automatically brake.

  5. #5
    "STAT" -_RebelRidin'_-'s Avatar
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    Yea, I usually ride trails with a 2 finger hold on the levers, something I picked up from BMX,
    whrn it gets way to techy or bad, I'll return the fingers to the grips.
    2007 Kona Dawg
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  6. #6
    Senior Member zeo_max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Big Wheel View Post
    Great advice. Also, always stay clipped in.
    Why ?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bighec's Avatar
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    It's funny you mention this. Same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Almost ate it nasty. Another thing, who doesn't use their front brake? I find myself sticking to the rears. I know it's supposed to be the other way around. What do you guys think?

  8. #8
    Zan
    Zan is offline
    Senior Member Zan's Avatar
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    They say the ratio is supposed to be something like 60-40 front back or even 70-30. You get little stopping power with the rear relative to the front.

    of course on the steep downhills i don't use the front quite as much.
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

  9. #9
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcoomer View Post
    Just rest a finger on the levers when you ride. It feels a bit weird at first but you quickly get used to it and then you can grab plenty of brake to slow your progress when you need to.

    Mike
    Very good advice. I almost always have my brakes covered (although it led to some 'interesting' moments early-on). If your brakes are strong enough, you can move the levers inboard and cover/brake one-fingered - - leaves the other four to maintain a plenty-secure grip.


  10. #10
    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bighec View Post
    ...Another thing, who doesn't use their front brake? I find myself sticking to the rears. I know it's supposed to be the other way around. What do you guys think?
    There's more control when the front brake is used AND you're not skidding. Using the rear brake usually means skidding, skidding is bad for the trails. I learned to use my front brake, wasn't intuative, now I find it's the only way to go.
    IGH's, Dyno Hubs, LED lights and old frames

  11. #11
    Senior Member mystolenbikes's Avatar
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    I know it's not a rocket science but it all comes down to your speed and the type terrain that you are on. Like yesterday I went to sycamore cnyn here near oxnard california(I don't know how many californians on this board )for the first time, trail we were on was basically a wide fire road after climbing none stop for 3.5 miles we decided to turn around anywho...now you guys can imagine how much fun it is to come down on 3.5 miles of fire road, well...because we were kind of slow and talking going up I didn't pay attantion to the trail to much and that was a big mistake. Needles to say it was a great fast decent, near the end of the trail that was this long straight away so decided to see how fast I can go down the hill without knowing that at the end of the straight away trail makes a sharp U turn so I put the bike on higest gear and sped down the hill after picking some speed I looked down for one second to see how fast I was going and when I looked up al I saw was this sharp U turn and a pretty good drop at the end of it, all I can think was oh @#$% this is gonna hurt so applied very light front brake and I squezed my rear as hard as I can to slide the back of the bike in to the turn so I was basically drifting into the turn and it worked...I almost crapped in my pants but I am here to tell you guys about it. Hehehe
    And in case if you guys are wondering my top speed was 32.2mph

  12. #12
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    ^^ Next step: learning to pitch it sideways at speed without touching the brakes - - let the drift scrub off the speed . Fireroads are fun for this.

  13. #13
    ****** (can I say this?)
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    ^^^
    Very first time I did that, I just about ate it because as I rounded the corner, there was a very slow moving jeep.

    But yeah, on the loose stuff, you can really go a lot faster.
    “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... that’s what gets you.”- Jeremy Clarkson

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    although it led to some 'interesting' moments early-on
    Care to expand.

  15. #15
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dheorl View Post
    Care to expand?
    Being the klutz that I am, I can show it graphically in a series of shots my friend Jonathan was there to catch:

    Anyone have any pics of them riding

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