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Braking for corners - why not?

Old 06-29-09, 09:44 AM
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Braking for corners - why not?

After crits, it's not unusual to hear riders (who usually didn't place well) b*tching about unnecessary braking before corners. It's a well known phenomenon that any braking done for a turn necessary or not, tends to get amplified backward in the pack resulting in the back of the pack having to sprint out of the corners just to hold their wheel.

So the original brake-tapper is roundly criticized by all for not knowing how to corner.

But what's the problem? Isn't the object of bike racing to make others work as hard as possible. I mean, these riders are all experienced enough that they can deal with a slow down without crashing, so really they're just pissed that someone did something that made them work harder. But isn't that the point?

Am I missing something?
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Old 06-29-09, 09:48 AM
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the problem is that it's not a tactic, just bad bike handling.
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Old 06-29-09, 09:51 AM
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I dont know about bike racing but in motorcycle racing the person "passing" is responsible when cornering. The person aheads keeps their line and the person behind must calculate what to do in the situation.

Saying that, I would say it is a tactic as well as bike handling.
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Old 06-29-09, 09:54 AM
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In what sense is it "bad handling"? If it results in your competitors having to work harder at small or no cost to you, what's bad about it?

Sure, it's not the most efficient way to ride, but you're causing even more inefficiency for people behind you. That's good, right?
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Old 06-29-09, 09:56 AM
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Just tell all them people *****ing to ride up front. Problem solved!
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Old 06-29-09, 09:56 AM
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You can argue with me all day. The guy hitting the brakes isn't doing it to slow down the guys behind him. He's doing it because he can't corner. By hitting the brakes, the guy in front of him who isn't hitting the brakes is opening a gap, which he himself will have to close. By hitting the brakes he's also making himself work harder.
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Old 06-29-09, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Velton View Post
Just tell all them people *****ing to ride up front. Problem solved!
I love the idea that that would stop any complaining.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:03 AM
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Never really thought of it that way before.

The guys up front might not intentionally be hitting the brakes to cause everyone behind them to work harder, but it certainly has that effect.

Yes I get pissed when I have to hit the brakes going through a turn, just cause I don't want to do the extra work sprinting out of the corner.

If you don't want to brake going through a turn, make sure you're in the top 5 going into it.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
You can argue with me all day. The guy hitting the brakes isn't doing it to slow down the guys behind him. He's doing it because he can't corner. By hitting the brakes, the guy in front of him who isn't hitting the brakes is opening a gap, which he himself will have to close. By hitting the brakes he's also making himself work harder.
Unless blocking, but that's another thread
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Old 06-29-09, 10:08 AM
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Correct. And yes, that does indeed happen, though it can be pretty dangerous if it's the kind of guy who grabs a handful of brake.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:11 AM
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People who unexpectedly break on the front, especially in crits, make the races unfun and often unsafe. Braking more than necessary doesn't give you an advantage, if anything it makes it harder to hold your position in the field as stronger bike handlers will be able to capitalize on your mistake and show you the rear exit. Watch P12 races vs cat 5 races, there is a reason there is a lot less sudden braking in the upper cats, if it were a winning tactic you can bet they would be using it.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:30 AM
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gsteinb, i'll write it for you.
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is this a bit?
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Old 06-29-09, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
You can argue with me all day. The guy hitting the brakes isn't doing it to slow down the guys behind him. He's doing it because he can't corner. By hitting the brakes, the guy in front of him who isn't hitting the brakes is opening a gap, which he himself will have to close. By hitting the brakes he's also making himself work harder.
Even as a newb racer, I can only agree with this.

And besides, just let a gap open up before the turn, and you won't have to brake just b/c the person in front of you did, problem solved.

I try to brake as little as possible in races, especially in the turns.
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Old 06-29-09, 11:59 AM
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I remember when I first started racing I would be using some brake in almost every corner.. now I make it entire races without a single touch depending on the course.

grabbing brake before a corner, when unwarranted, is a pure jackass maneuver.
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Old 06-29-09, 12:16 PM
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A crit I could see going a whole race without braking... but a road race, no way.

I spent over 25% of my last road race drifting. I'm sure a lot of that was on the brake too (going down hills).
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Old 06-29-09, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by timster View Post
A crit I could see going a whole race without braking... but a road race, no way.

I spent over 25% of my last road race drifting. I'm sure a lot of that was on the brake too (going down hills).

Feathering your brakes is a whole other thing, and I am pretty sure this is what you are talking about. I use it often to modulate my speed in the draft, I am pretty skinny so sitting up and puffing out my chest doesn't have the parachute effect that it does for some. I use it more to arrest acceleration rather that to reduce speed.

It's just annoying guys who can't or don't take a corner at speed. It's bike racing for heaven's sake.

Last edited by MattDC; 06-29-09 at 12:37 PM. Reason: brake != break
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Old 06-29-09, 01:03 PM
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!

Originally Posted by recursive View Post
In what sense is it "bad handling"? If it results in your competitors having to work harder at small or no cost to you, what's bad about it?

Sure, it's not the most efficient way to ride, but you're causing even more inefficiency for people behind you. That's good, right?
Ohhhhh. I get it. It's not that you can't corner well. You're actually braking on purpose because it's a legitimate bike racing tactic!

And so....since the Cat.5's brake in corners so much more than the Pro's, then that must mean they are actually better tacticians than the pro's.

Sure they are.....



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Old 06-29-09, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobby Lex View Post
Ohhhhh. I get it. It's not that you can't corner well. You're actually braking on purpose because it's a legitimate bike racing tactic!

And so....since the Cat.5's brake in corners so much more than the Pro's, then that must mean they are actually better tacticians than the pro's.

Sure they are.....



Bob
I'm just asking the question. Clearly there is more braking in the 5 field than the pro field. I don't understand why that is the case. And I don't see why it's not a legitimate tactic, which is not to say that it's an effective one.
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Old 06-29-09, 01:18 PM
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In a recent crit guys back in the field were *****ing about the drop in speed going into turn two. They obviously never got close enough to the front to feel the headwind we were slamming into at the front exiting turn two.
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Old 06-29-09, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by recursive View Post
I'm just asking the question. Clearly there is more braking in the 5 field than the pro field. I don't understand why that is the case. And I don't see why it's not a legitimate tactic, which is not to say that it's an effective one.
You're close to answering your own inquiry with that last statement. For something to be a legitimate tactic, it usually needs to be an effective one.
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Old 06-29-09, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by recursive View Post
I'm just asking the question. Clearly there is more braking in the 5 field than the pro field. I don't understand why that is the case. And I don't see why it's not a legitimate tactic, which is not to say that it's an effective one.


Did you read any of the responses? And you still don't get it?
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Old 06-29-09, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
You can argue with me all day. The guy hitting the brakes isn't doing it to slow down the guys behind him. He's doing it because he can't corner. By hitting the brakes, the guy in front of him who isn't hitting the brakes is opening a gap, which he himself will have to close. By hitting the brakes he's also making himself work harder.
X2 to the 1,000th
Speaking in terms of any crit I've ever been in:
Get the F&#K off the brakes or get in back.
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Old 06-29-09, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by recursive View Post
I'm just asking the question. Clearly there is more braking in the 5 field than the pro field. I don't understand why that is the case. And I don't see why it's not a legitimate tactic, which is not to say that it's an effective one.
Hello,

Why isn't it legitimate? Causing people to crash may be one reason.

Granted, people following are supposed to be protecting their front wheels and paying attention, but a pack of riders screaming into a corner that they know they can easily take at 25 MPH and then some yahoo at the front decides to brake-check the guy behind him as a tactic causing massive accordion effect and a crash? If you're the brake-check guy you better have your car pre-packed at the end of the race.

Why do people legitimately brake going into a corner? Because they don't have the skills to corner fast.

Better tactic for the leader going into a corner to make the guy behind work more? Learn how to corner fast and attack coming out of the corner.
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Old 06-29-09, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Did you read any of the responses?
Yes. All of them I think.

Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
And you still don't get it?
If "it" is the reason it's not an advantageous tactic, then yes.
Edit: cleave has posted the first comment that articulates some objective reason that I can understand. Particularly the one about attacking out of the corner giving better results.

Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
X2 to the 1,000th
Speaking in terms of any crit I've ever been in:
Get the F&#K off the brakes or get in back.
I hate this attitude. It's never anyone's responsibility to get behind you. If you don't like the position you're in, then it's your prerogative to move up.
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Last edited by recursive; 06-29-09 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 06-29-09, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by recursive View Post
I'm just asking the question. Clearly there is more braking in the 5 field than the pro field. I don't understand why that is the case. And I don't see why it's not a legitimate tactic, which is not to say that it's an effective one.
I've read Prehn, Wenzel, Friel, Carmichael, and numerous other books and articles that discuss bike racing tactics. I have yet to see anyone suggest unneccessary braking, in a corner or elsewhere, as a legitimate racing tactic.

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