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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

View Poll Results: Do you switch brakes for cross racing?
Yes (reversed) 12 63.16%
No (traditional) 7 36.84%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-09-06, 06:49 AM   #1
tneedham
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reversing brakes for cross racing?

I am curious what the percentage is of cross racers that reverse their brake levers (the left lever controls the rear brake, and the right lever controls the front brake) ?
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Old 10-09-06, 07:39 AM   #2
jfmckenna
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I do.
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Old 10-09-06, 11:32 AM   #3
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all of my bikes are reversed
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Old 10-09-06, 12:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JimmyMack
all of my bikes are reversed
+1
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Old 10-09-06, 12:34 PM   #5
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Why?
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Old 10-09-06, 01:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Why?
Why reversed on the cross bike, or on all the bikes?

On the cross bike, it works to your advantage because you commonly dismount on the left side. Your right hand is (should be) resting on the top tube before you dismount. If you're coming up to a barrier too fast, having the rear brake lever on the left side allows you to slow your speed without risking a front wheel skid, which could cause you to lose control.

-- A quick side-note: One argument against switching the brakes is that if your right hand is resting on the top tube, then you are pinching the rear brake cable, and you won't be able to operate the rear brake anyway. However, the plastic straw-shaped housing over the exposed portion of the cable (which you should add if you make this modification) allows the cable to slide underneath the weight of your hand. --

As for all the bikes, well, it's very confusing (at least for me) to remember which hand operates which brake unless they're all the same.
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Old 10-09-06, 02:47 PM   #7
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I don't "reverse" my brakes for 'cross. If i were to do that i'd need to switch my other bikes as well-- so it's probably just sheer laziness on my part that i don't even bother doing it since i'm already used to the way things are.

I'm quite aware of the justifications given for right/front and left/rear brake lever set-up. But in the end, i think it's really just a matter of personal preference.

I would propose that braking before a transition is rather inefficient and perhaps indicates that technique needs to be improved upon. At least in my experience i've discovered that my transitions were faster and smoother when i properly judged the approach and didn't use brakes at all.
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Old 10-09-06, 05:46 PM   #8
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I don't "reverse" mine...too handy to tap the front brake with your left hand to tilt your bike into a carrying position.
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Old 10-10-06, 07:35 AM   #9
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All my brakes are moto.

Walleye's right about the advantage of doing it the other way. But has probably never had a guy crash in front of him while rolling up to a barrier and instinctively grabbing a fist full of front brake while standing on one pedal.

Ron
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Old 10-10-06, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunacycle
Why reversed on the cross bike, or on all the bikes?

On the cross bike, it works to your advantage because you commonly dismount on the left side. Your right hand is (should be) resting on the top tube before you dismount. If you're coming up to a barrier too fast, having the rear brake lever on the left side allows you to slow your speed without risking a front wheel skid, which could cause you to lose control.

-- A quick side-note: One argument against switching the brakes is that if your right hand is resting on the top tube, then you are pinching the rear brake cable, and you won't be able to operate the rear brake anyway. However, the plastic straw-shaped housing over the exposed portion of the cable (which you should add if you make this modification) allows the cable to slide underneath the weight of your hand. --

As for all the bikes, well, it's very confusing (at least for me) to remember which hand operates which brake unless they're all the same.
where can you get that tubing from?
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Old 10-10-06, 11:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Why?
I read the Sheldon Brown article on braking for beginners when I first got back on the road bike. It reads that the front brake is the most powerful brake to use, and all beginners should learn how to use it. Controlling the front brake with my left hand was a constant exercise in dexterity and grip strength. So, I just decided that I would switch everything and become an expert with the front brake. It worked well for me and never switched back. All the bikes are like this now.

When it came time to race cross, it made more sense when dismounting on the left. If I came into a barrier too hot, very often my first season, I could grab a fist full of brake with the left. No worries about the dreaded endo, and I had the strength in the right hand to control my braking for the remainder of the course. With the ergo setup and single chainring. My right hand controls everything in the cockpit of my machine during the race.

If you are constantly endoing due to heavy braking try reversing the brakes. You may just love it, and feel the need to do this on all your bikes.

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Old 10-10-06, 12:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRLski
where can you get that tubing from?
I don't know, they came stock with my bike. They're like thin plastic straws -- not particularly rigid, but better than the three or four little donuts that you usually see attached to the cables. I would imagine that your LBS would have some spares sitting around.
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