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Disc Brake flip-over

Old 05-01-20, 12:47 AM
  #1  
Namyangju
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Disc Brake flip-over

I searched several forums, and can't find any discussion on disc brake flip-over. Am I really the only one here who has strong-handed the wrong brake a split second too soon? I'm an experienced bike rider, and I love both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes, while having no serious complaints with rim brakes. But over the years I've had three flip overs with disc brakes, with two of them very fortunate to have avoided serious injury (landed on my head first, but helmet did its job well, just rung my bell).

I've learned the hard way to always grip the rear brake first, then the front. It's certainly disconcerting because I've been above 32mph many times on downhills, hard to resist the thrill.

As I've lurked here (hybrid bike forum) over the years, I've seen many newbies in this forum, people who are looking to get back into bicycling as a new hobby, get in shape etc., and of course disc brakes seem to have become standard on hybrid bikes these days. . Not trying to scare anyone away from disc brakes, not at all, but people should understand that the brakes are capable of locking the wheel at speed. I think part of the problem I've had is that I frequently get wrist pain/stiffness (a common complaint), and I'm moving my hands all around the bar to find relief, sometimes not near the rear brake, which is why the front brake might get engaged first. Often while riding, I'll remind myself "right is rear, right is rear".
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Old 05-01-20, 01:42 AM
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It seems you are used to brakes that are not so effective, and when riding with disc brakes you pull them on just as hard. Most people have learnt how effective disc brakes are and don't pull them on so hard, so don't have the same problem. You will probably get in that habit in time.

Anyone who has cycled a lot could probably tell you stories. I had a situation many years ago while riding to school. As I went around a corner near school, occasionally there would be another student crossing the road. I would just swing around behind them. One day, one student stepped back. I was too close to swerve any further, so I locked up the brakes and went over the handlebars. I did not hit the student.

It is also smart to know which brake to use. I use the front brake when going in a straight line. If when going in a straight line, I need to stop suddenly, or am going down hill, I use both brakes. If it is down a steep dirt track, or on any surface where you don't get a lot of traction, you cant stop suddenly, you need to keep your speed down, and only slow down gradually. I use only the back brake while turning. If it is not a sharp bend, I use both. Ensure you don't brake too hard on corners.
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Old 05-01-20, 03:32 AM
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From a couple of OTBs that I’ve witnessed, I’d say that ”loose cargo syndrome” is a main contributor to this kind of accident.
Rider clamps down on the brake w/o having braced him/herself against the bar properly. Bike stops, rider’s body continues forward, and drapes her/himself over the bar as a sack of potatoes. And the bike topples over.
I don’t see it as a brake issue, rather a skill issue.
First bike tour I did was on a canti bike. Almost ended badly one cold, rainy descent when I simply couldn’t pull the lever hard enough.
Now, with hydro discs, two fingers will stop anything.
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Old 05-01-20, 06:40 AM
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There are certainly a lot of variables that contribute to this sort of event. A rider not bracing himself or herself before braking could very well be a significant factor. I have two bikes with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and they stop well. But I don't ever feel at risk of going over the bar. I'd have to clamp really hard, and really fast, on that front brake to be at risk of that. But when I do that, I find myself instinctively bracing against the bar and really pushing back into the seat with my butt (to move weight downward and rearward). If I were standing up on the pedals and sort of hunched over the front bar, maybe I could coax myself over with a firm squeeze on the front brake.

I've never ridden a mechanical disc brake system that would put me over the bar. I also own a few bikes with pretty effective rim brakes, and I don't consider that much of a risk there, either. Again, I could probably get that to happen if I set myself up for it (weight high, no bracing, etc.), but I don't think I could get it to happen with generally-accepted "good" technique.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
There are certainly a lot of variables that contribute to this sort of event. A rider not bracing himself or herself before braking could very well be a significant factor. I have two bikes with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and they stop well. But I don't ever feel at risk of going over the bar. I'd have to clamp really hard, and really fast, on that front brake to be at risk of that. But when I do that, I find myself instinctively bracing against the bar and really pushing back into the seat with my butt (to move weight downward and rearward). If I were standing up on the pedals and sort of hunched over the front bar, maybe I could coax myself over with a firm squeeze on the front brake.

I've never ridden a mechanical disc brake system that would put me over the bar. I also own a few bikes with pretty effective rim brakes, and I don't consider that much of a risk there, either. Again, I could probably get that to happen if I set myself up for it (weight high, no bracing, etc.), but I don't think I could get it to happen with generally-accepted "good" technique.

What I'm talking about, no amount of bracing can avoid, so Im now wondering why this would happen to me and not others. The reason to strong grip the brakes was to avoid a dangerous situation with pedestrians or another bike. What happens is the front wheel locks up, and the rear wheel lifts up off the ground and flips the rear of the bike forward, up and over. Bracing yourself on the handle bar merely ensures that the entire bike will fall on top of you rather quickly.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:31 AM
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[QUOTE=alo;21448493]It seems you are used to brakes that are not so effective/QUOTE]
Its been nothing but Specialized since 2007.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:32 AM
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What brand/model of brakes do you have? What are the pads made of? Some (like metallic pads) are better for hard stops but offer more limited modulation.
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Old 05-01-20, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Namyangju View Post
I searched several forums, and can't find any discussion on disc brake flip-over. Am I really the only one here who has strong-handed the wrong brake a split second too soon? I'm an experienced bike rider, and I love both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes, while having no serious complaints with rim brakes. But over the years I've had three flip overs with disc brakes, with two of them very fortunate to have avoided serious injury (landed on my head first, but helmet did its job well, just rung my bell).

I've learned the hard way to always grip the rear brake first, then the front. It's certainly disconcerting because I've been above 32mph many times on downhills, hard to resist the thrill.

As I've lurked here (hybrid bike forum) over the years, I've seen many newbies in this forum, people who are looking to get back into bicycling as a new hobby, get in shape etc., and of course disc brakes seem to have become standard on hybrid bikes these days. . Not trying to scare anyone away from disc brakes, not at all, but people should understand that the brakes are capable of locking the wheel at speed. I think part of the problem I've had is that I frequently get wrist pain/stiffness (a common complaint), and I'm moving my hands all around the bar to find relief, sometimes not near the rear brake, which is why the front brake might get engaged first. Often while riding, I'll remind myself "right is rear, right is rear".
The harder I brake, the more I hang my ass behind the saddle. Raising off the saddle a bit is important as it lowers your weighting point from the saddle to the pedals for more stability. Before losing traction (or flipping over) ease off the lever a bit. Pulsing the brakes is also possible. On the road, I only use the rear brake out of sympathy or when wet; brake modulation is an important skill.
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Old 05-01-20, 11:09 AM
  #9  
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Only time I have ever seen anyone go over a handle bar by slamming brakes is when they are going down a steep hill.

Like an example here:


Above has some good tips that might be helpful.
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Old 05-02-20, 09:22 PM
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[QUOTE=Namyangju;21448944]
Originally Posted by alo View Post
It seems you are used to brakes that are not so effective/QUOTE]
Its been nothing but Specialized since 2007.
I find the hydraulics on my Sirrus X 5.0 kind of soft. Don't think it possible to go OTH with mine.
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Old 05-03-20, 12:33 AM
  #11  
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When emergency braking, the correct technique is to shift as much weight back as possible to not endo. Using the rear brake is worse than useless of you don't do this because the rear wheel will lose traction fast.

If you have wrist pain and are going over your bars, maybe switch to drop handlebars and stay in the drops when going at speed. The only time I've been kicked off a bike when braking was landing a MTB poorly (I'm a total MTB newb) and grabbing the brakes. I feel like it's much easier to fly off flat bars, and yes hydraulic brakes can be very strong.
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