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  1. #1
    jon(A)rchy
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    Hills, Brakes, etc...

    The one thing that can get me to think about putting a front brake on my fixed is a hill...more specifically, the very steep kind with a busy intersection at the bottom. I live in a city that was basically built on a series of seven hills. Granted, there is alot of flat terrain on which I feel confident about my abilities, but there have definitely been some downhill moments that have shaken my guts and confidence. Any suggestions from more seasoned riders on hill tactics/technique? I haven't crashed yet, so mabye I should just stop worrying and keep on keepin' on. As far as I know, I am the only one in my city riding brakeless, so I don't have much of a support group from which to gather tips. That said, thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    redundancy is your friend...opinions will vary.

  3. #3
    i don't stop travsi's Avatar
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    there are alot of variables to take in when going downhill. i just try and keep my speed low either by standing and "absorbing" the force or if there is room, slalom. another thing is of course skipping or skidding, which i can't afford to do too often, because good tires are expensive. but i think practicing these type of techniques is important if you're not going to put on a brake. if the hills are really that steep maybe you should just put on a brake.

  4. #4
    ---------
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    sounds like you need a brake.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Ive been riding brakeless for the past 2 months and I live in a town such as yours, hills and flat terrain. Im pretty good at keeping a slow pace down hills but I know if an emergency situation arised I would have to dodge it because I wouldnt be able to stop, which could be good or bad. My new bike is coming pretty soon and I opted to keep a front brake on. Not to use but just to have in case of a true emergency stop. I popped my chain going downhill, and brakeless the other day. Lets just say it scared some sense into me.

  6. #6
    Better than you since 83! junioroverlord's Avatar
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    You can always walk too. Thats what I do when it gets a bit too hairy.
    "Riding bikes on the street is the fuggin jam!" Juvi-Kyle

  7. #7
    perspective distorts killsurfcity's Avatar
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    my front brake doesn't get much use really, but it has served me well in the past. there were two occasions where i lost the ability to stop using my feet while approaching busy intersections, and my brake was there.

    slightly ot: i saw a bike locked up outside the bar the other day that was a breakless fixed gear with no clips. a whole new level of insanity.

  8. #8
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    I ride a lot of long hills, and I use a front and rear brake. On long hills, once my cadence gets so high that I can't maintain smooth, continuous pessure on the pedals, I'm not able to control my speed without a brake. In that situation, the front brake makes the bike more unstable, but the rear brake brings it back under control instantly. I actually use the rear brake on the fixie more than the one on the road bike.
    No matter how you brake the rear wheel- back pressure, skidding or a caliper- no rear brake will stop as well as any front brake. That is just a result of the laws of physics, and there is no exemption from those laws.

    EM

  9. #9
    Bow$$ dustinlikewhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by killsurfcity
    slightly ot: i saw a bike locked up outside the bar the other day that was a breakless fixed gear with no clips. a whole new level of insanity.
    not all of us can ride broken bikes...

    my straps are hella loose, don't think they've ever really had an impact on pedaling or braking. I might just not be thinking about it when I use them.

  10. #10
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    I ride a lot of hills and get plenty of use out of my front brake. I see a few people without brakes in the area and they crawl down hills, fighting the pedals. Different strokes for different folks. I like to ride fast, use 49x16 gearing and I'm too cheap to waste good rubber skidding.

  11. #11
    Senior Member thatcher's Avatar
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    i rode fixed with platforms for over a year. you get good at skids. but yeah its pretty sketch.

  12. #12
    Banned. red house's Avatar
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    I ride w/o brakes, straps, chain, or shoes...I'm FREEEEEEE -eeahh!

  13. #13
    Senior Member jet sanchEz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by killsurfcity
    my
    slightly ot: i saw a bike locked up outside the bar the other day that was a breakless fixed gear with no clips. a whole new level of insanity.
    Mighta been mine if you live in downtown Toronto I like to ride the ragged edge of disaster

  14. #14
    Senior Member wildturkey's Avatar
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    it's hilly where i live, and so i have a front brake - only because of the hills. i've been glad of that more than once.

  15. #15
    F*** Corporate Beer daveIT's Avatar
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    I was hauling around a corner on the Chester Creek Trail here in Anchorage (paved bike path) and as I rounded the corner there was a big bull moose in the middle of trail. I grabbed the front brake and skidded the rear a bit and made a quick u-turn. If I wouldn't have had the front brake I would of skidded right past (or into) the big bassturd! I think mating season is starting so I didn't want to risk trying to just blow past him.
    shutup&ride

  16. #16
    anarchy burger skelly's Avatar
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    Man, I hate getting "moosed"

  17. #17
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Typical moose. They always hog the multi-use trails. Jerks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  18. #18
    Bikes are Fun honduraz10's Avatar
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    learn how to skid, its not that hard. i have tons of fairly nice tires i got from a local coop and i rotate it regularly so its not too bad but thats how i do it. theres a super crazy steep hill on my way to work that i have to make a right turn on halfway down so i just skid the last 10 yards and do a skid turn at the bottom. skid turns are sweet.
    ride those things!!

  19. #19
    Bikes are Fun honduraz10's Avatar
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    oh yeah and brakeless fixed down a big hill necesitates a helmet, at least in my book
    ride those things!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member formulaben's Avatar
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    In my business, failures are presumed. So call me a poseur, but I have brakes on the front and back-just in case. I'm much too heavy to be using my legs only when going downhill. I'm getting better at it, but I'll never not have at least a front brake.
    .
    .
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by honduraz10
    learn how to skid, its not that hard.
    One point: just imagine if the chain broke when going downhill (or if you somehow injured your knee!) A set of brakes sure would be nice at that point...
    "Strong, light, cheap. Pick any two." Keith Bontrager

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    legs are brakes and bombing hills is alot of fun!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Grunk's Avatar
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    I was riding down a hill once, and my lockring stripped and came off (so the cog followed). I just put my foot on the back tire and stopped. It was a little un-nerving, but that's how we used to stop when I rode brakeless BMX. As far as skidding without clips, skipping seems to be impossible on platforms. I don't even ride my track bike without clipless anymore, clips don't seem to offer nearly as much control.

  23. #23
    Bikes are Fun honduraz10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by formulaben
    One point: just imagine if the chain broke when going downhill (or if you somehow injured your knee!) A set of brakes sure would be nice at that point...
    imagine if this guys puts on a front brake and uses it as a crutch to not learn a decent skid, then the brake fails (whhich i've had happen twice on my nice road bike and ive never broken a chain) and then he cant stop. i think its the same situation. and i think no matter what the theory is if someone gets a front brake their skid wont be near strong enough to rely on, especially going downhill. but thats just my .02
    ride those things!!

  24. #24
    Bikes are Fun honduraz10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunk
    I was riding down a hill once, and my lockring stripped and came off (so the cog followed). I just put my foot on the back tire and stopped. It was a little un-nerving, but that's how we used to stop when I rode brakeless BMX. As far as skidding without clips, skipping seems to be impossible on platforms. I don't even ride my track bike without clipless anymore, clips don't seem to offer nearly as much control.
    yeah that way works, i had a firend with a brakeless ss that stopped that way. clipless is definitely the way to go; its good stuff
    ride those things!!

  25. #25
    Senior Member formulaben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honduraz10
    imagine if this guys puts on a front brake and uses it as a crutch to not learn a decent skid, then the brake fails (whhich i've had happen twice on my nice road bike and ive never broken a chain) and then he cant stop. i think its the same situation. and i think no matter what the theory is if someone gets a front brake their skid wont be near strong enough to rely on, especially going downhill. but thats just my .02
    ...which is precisely why he shouldn't do it. I have 2 brakes on mine. If one were to learn these types of tricks, sure, take the back one off, but until then I think prudence should rule the day. But then again, I actually enjoy my health...
    "Strong, light, cheap. Pick any two." Keith Bontrager

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