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How steep of an decline can you go and not flip over the handlebars?

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How steep of an decline can you go and not flip over the handlebars?

Old 03-12-07, 08:52 PM
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doompirate
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How steep of an decline can you go and not flip over the handlebars?

It seems like alot of weight is shifted near the front of the bike and I have a feeling like im going to fly over the handlebars if I tap the front brakes if I am going down a steep hill. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-12-07, 09:04 PM
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Don't use the front brake on steep descents? On my mountain bike we ride down nearly vertical trenches and hillsides without much issue. Weight back, and some rear brake.
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Old 03-12-07, 09:04 PM
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Move your butt back. Way back.
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Old 03-12-07, 09:07 PM
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I've descended 15+ percent grades without any fear of going over the bars. And yes, in those situations, the front brake is useful, and sometimes absolutely necessary. Sure, it's fun to let the bike run as fast as it can go, but there are some steep grades where it's simply not safe to do so. (Residential neighborhoods, areas with lots of pedestrian traffic, etc.)
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Old 03-12-07, 09:08 PM
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I just lean back with my ass almost touching the rear tire and then only use the rear brake, if I use brakes at all. Of course thats if I'm going straight down a hill. If I need to manuver down a hill then just lean back and go balls to the wall, I'm pretty ugly anyway so I ain't to nervous about eatn' dirt.
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Old 03-12-07, 09:57 PM
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I've been down a 25% grade in Wales, and have been fine ... so it would have to be steeper than that.


One of the scariest ones I descended was probably about a 15% grade, but I was riding my loaded touring bicycle with my panniers (the bulk of the weight) on my front rack ... on that descent I wondered a few times if I were going to flip.
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Old 03-12-07, 10:15 PM
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On the road, on a bike without suspension, there's no danger of going over the bars by using the front brake.
The vast majority of the braking power is from the front brake. So if you don't use it you're putting yourself in much more danger.
I'm assuming that you're bracing yourself from falling forward and that you're keeping your butt on the saddle.
You do not have enough strength in your left hand to lock up the front brakes.
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Old 03-13-07, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
.You do not have enough strength in your left hand to lock up the front brakes.
And that's why my front brake is on the right handlebar.
What do kids call that manuever, a "stoppie"?!
 
Old 03-13-07, 04:03 AM
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30% and no problems. Even with a strong grip, a full grown adult would have incredible difficulty to accidentally flip themselves over the handlebars. The balance of forces, particularly at speed are very much in your favour.

It's easier for kids because of the different mass issues.
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Old 03-13-07, 04:22 AM
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Whenever possible, I don't brake at all on hills. There's one around here on which I sometimes reach 51 mph going down. Spectaclular, Snot Whipping, Screaming Fun.

Really, it's almost impossible to endo while braking.
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Old 03-13-07, 05:11 AM
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So long as your center of gravity stays behind the front wheel hub you'll be OK.
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Old 03-13-07, 08:49 AM
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Back in my mountain biking days I cleaned some pretty steep downs. It's all about confidence. If you're afraid of wipeing out, you probably will. Most of the time the best thing is to put your chest on the saddle, release the brakes, and just let it go.
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Old 03-13-07, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
So long as your center of gravity stays behind the front wheel hub you'll be OK.

yup, this is the key. If you brake hard and *slide* forward, with your body now over the handlebars, then yes...you'll flip.

hold yourself back on the saddle and you'll be fine
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Old 03-13-07, 09:00 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
You do not have enough strength in your left hand to lock up the front brakes.


I've done some 60-degree trails on the mtb and not gone over, I've even used the brake. About the time you start crying and praying, you can feel free to switch to the rear brake - you won't be judged too harshly.
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Old 03-13-07, 09:07 AM
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A bike's not a carnival ride, you gotta ride it! That means don't just sit there, but use your body and lean to the side, hang off the back of the saddle, lean forward......whatever the situation calls for. For steep downhills, throw your butt back behind the saddle, completely if necessary! Get a feel for it, ride that bike.........As for it not being possible to lock up the front wheel and endo, I don't know where that idea is coming from. Here's Hans Rey doing a near endo, using his mastery of the brakes and body English to control the situation. The photo is from the early '90's, he's riding an old GT: https://www.hansrey.com/new_photos/hans_guard.jpg

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Old 03-13-07, 09:11 AM
  #16  
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Interesting responses. It makes a big difference as to whether you are talking about on road or off road. I ride both and consider it imperative to be able to lift the rear wheel off the ground on dry flat pavement by using the front brake. If I can't do this, the brakes (front) aren't working well enough. That being said, while mountain biking using the front brake going down hills is sometimes necessary but should always be done using caution. I remember one of my first attempts at a particularly steep (45+ degree) hill with a switchback two thirds of the way down. I was too scared to let the bike gain any momentum and road the front brake all the way down until the turn. When I let up, my rear wheel finally touched down. I went down nearly the entire hill on my front wheel alone. I couldn't stop laughing.
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Old 03-13-07, 09:52 AM
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Very, very steep. In theory.

Seriously, the roadies and MTBer's are on completely different pages here, as they should be.

I think the OP needs some more context.
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Old 03-13-07, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Back in my mountain biking days I cleaned some pretty steep downs. It's all about confidence. If you're afraid of wipeing out, you probably will. Most of the time the best thing is to put your chest on the saddle, release the brakes, and just let it go.
Chest on the saddle?
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Old 03-13-07, 10:06 AM
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The key is braking. If you don't have to brake the answer is extremely steep as gravity will pull you and the bike down at the same speed to theoretically a near free fall would be possible as long as you gradually came out of it at the bottom. Now with brakes, it is a different story as your center of gravity could be too far above the handlebars to allow the bike to slow you down without your mass trying to flip the bike over.
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Old 03-13-07, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by jimples
Chest on the saddle?
that would give you some killer weight distribution. you could really wail on the front brake then.
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Old 03-13-07, 10:25 AM
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Somebody posted a pic some time back of a roadie actually completely stretched out over the bike, like Superman. Yes, chest on the saddle. Looked very odd indeed - and precarious.
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Old 03-13-07, 11:11 AM
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I've dropped hills with the belly on the saddle and my chin about 1/2 inch off the quill! Cranks @3 and 9, with the knees tucked in as close to the TT as possible, in the drops w/ the elbows tight in to get as aero as possible! Talk about a way to scream down a hill!
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Old 03-13-07, 11:11 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by jcm
Somebody posted a pic some time back of a roadie actually completely stretched out over the bike, like Superman. Yes, chest on the saddle. Looked very odd indeed - and precarious.
Just be careful you don't rub the jewels on the rear tyre! And yes, in this position, you have enough resistance against going over that you can lock up the front tyre if you wanted to...

It's not the steepness of the decline that throws you over the bars, but the braking effort. The harder you brake, the more weight-transfer to the front-wheel and the more torque rotating you over teh front contact-patch. Just don't brake on downhills and you won't have any problems. Imagine if you went off a cliff and was falling straight down (vertically front-wheel first). Your body falls at the same rate as the bike, so no endo'ing! It's only when you grab the front-brake that you start rotating. So lay off the brakes on a downhill...
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Old 03-13-07, 11:22 AM
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I'm a downhiller and free rider.
Steep vert is fun if you do it right.
As mentioned above, use your weight and get your center of gravity behind the front wheel instead of over it and you'll be fine.
You may crash a few times, but that is part of riding.

Get your ass back to where you just almost floss your crack with tire.
You will feal the back end getting all light before it actually goes over.
At this point get off the brakes and slam it back into the ground with your legs, then get back on the brakes.
Let go of the brakes for that left turn at the bottom too. lol
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Old 03-13-07, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
You do not have enough strength in your left hand to lock up the front brakes.
Careful there - I have plenty of strength in my left hand to lock up the front brakes. And, not everyone is right handed (like I am). I used to rock climb. I could probably break the lever if I wanted too. Also, it depends on the surface on how much force it takes.

shifting you weight as others are saying is the key. Your rear end doesn't have to be glued to the seat you know. Having clipless pedals really helps.
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