Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Mountain Biking
Reload this Page >

Learning how to keep off the brakes

Notices
Mountain Biking Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Check out this forum to discuss the latest tips, tricks, gear and equipment in the world of mountain biking.

Learning how to keep off the brakes

Old 10-09-19, 10:00 PM
  #1  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,019

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 49 Posts
Learning how to keep off the brakes

Still new to mountain biking. I can probably count on two hands the number of times I've been out riding. Tonight I did my most challenging ride yet. The ride was a lot of fun.

I did notice though that throughout all of my rides I'm dragging the rear brake for a lot of the downhill. And even then, I'm keeping my finger on the front brake, dragging it frequently.

Tonight I fell and the reason for the fall was because I slowed my momentum so much so that I couldn't roll over the drop. Then I grabbed the front brake and rear of the bike lifted off the ground. I was able to unclip from the bike and plant both feet but still. I came to going over/falling down. Is there a secret/tip to trust the bike and keeping good momentum, but not so much that I'm flying over drops and whatnot?

Thank you.
NoWhammies is offline  
Old 10-10-19, 06:15 AM
  #2  
grubetown
Senior Member
 
grubetown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Since you are so new I think what you are hoping;
  1. Will come with more experience
  2. Can be helped by riding with more experienced riders
  3. could be improved by checking out this website - Ryan Leech great stuff and worth the investment.
grubetown is offline  
Old 10-10-19, 06:53 AM
  #3  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,509

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 788 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 29 Times in 22 Posts
Skills come with time and learning, get some instruction/ ride with better riders. Go with elbow and knee pads. G Form works for me there. Get to know your bike, try some panic stops, practice your wheelies/ ledge ups. Bunny hops? Try riding on a 4" curb.
Leebo is offline  
Old 10-10-19, 07:19 AM
  #4  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,449
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1047 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 155 Times in 110 Posts
Best way to stay off the brakes is to not pull the lever. Not sure if you are asking WHEN to brake, or how to stop braking when you know you shouldn’t be.

I think the problem some riders run into is that their brain sees the brake lever as a safety lever.... you pull on it when things get scary or uncertain. They make a dangerous situation stop.

But that is not what they are, and sometimes they make scary situations more dangerous.

Maybe you need to think of brakes as what they are and what they do: they make it harder for your bike to roll over stuff, pitch your weight forward, and usually make your tires more likely to break traction. Oh, and they also slow you down.

While some advocate always having a finger “covering” the brake lever, if you find you are unintentionally dragging the brakes a lot due to nervousness, put your finger back on the bar when you are not using them, at least until your brain gets OK with the bike rolling downhill freely. If you feel you are going too fast, brake hard enough to actually slow down enough so that you can let go of the brakes again for a bit. It is generally better to brake harder intermittently (and doing so where conditions are best, like on a smoother and less loose section) than dragging the brakes over everything..

And for any obstacle, be it a drop, root, or rock, or loose section, brake before or after, but not while you are going over it.

When coming up to a drop, you need to decide if you are going to roll it, launch it, or walk it. Stop and check it out first if you need to.

Assuming for now you are going to either roll it or walk it, you have to decide before you start rolling down it, and stick with it.
Kapusta is online now  
Old 10-10-19, 09:04 AM
  #5  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 9,916

Bikes: Schwinn Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Diamondback Expert TG, Burley Samba

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1600 Post(s)
Liked 212 Times in 135 Posts
Helps to keep in a medium gear too... so when you do stop you aren't seized up.

I've settled on flat pedals... for now... I tend to change it up every couple of years
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 10-10-19, 09:44 AM
  #6  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,019

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 49 Posts
Yeah, skills will come with time. I get that. I just don't want to get in to bad habits and then have a difficult time breaking them.

The suggestion for lessons is a good one. There are a couple of mtb schools out here and I plan on signing up for a class. Unfortunately all of their group lessons are over for the season. I can sign up for a private lesson, but they are a bit on the costly side. Plus I need to approach the lesson with a goal. By that I mean I need to tell them/ask them about learning a skill. And there are so many skills I need to learn. Picking a clean line (learned that the hard way yesterday). Braking. Bunny hops. How to ride high on the berms. Etc. The list seems endless.

@Kapusta good advice re: don't break while going over the obstacle. I learned that the hard way too. What really bugs me is I have the skills to go over some of the obstacles. I just didn't have the confidence to be able to pull it off. Time I suppose. I can't expect to be an expert right out the gate.
NoWhammies is offline  
Old 10-10-19, 04:09 PM
  #7  
2cam16
Senior Member
 
2cam16's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: San Mateo,Ca.
Posts: 2,856

Bikes: TOO MANY

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Liked 92 Times in 74 Posts
As everyone has said here, practice,practice,practice. It's a mind game too and sometimes I still "lose" that mind game. lol
2cam16 is offline  
Old 10-10-19, 08:52 PM
  #8  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,019

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 49 Posts
Definitely a mind game. And yeah. Practice. Good thing I'm coming in to the rainy season here where the roots and wood bridges get all wet and slick!
NoWhammies is offline  
Old 10-13-19, 03:00 AM
  #9  
cpach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mt Shasta, CA, USA
Posts: 1,267

Bikes: Too many. Cannondale SuperSix, Trek Remedy 8, Trek Crossrip+ get the most ride time.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 26 Posts
Dial down the difficulty of what you're riding, at least for some of your rides. When you're more solidly in your comfort zone, be intentional about how you use your brakes--brake hard before turns with both brakes, try to get off them during the turn using, if necessary, only the gentlest touch of the rear to modulate speed. Build confidence slowly letting your bike run for greater distances at higher speeds. In steeper terrain with inconsistent traction, build confidence in letting your bike run over the sections with poor traction and brake harder in the sections with good traction. In some situations, it can be good to pick something that you'd be tempted to brake in that you KNOW you can ride fine, like an easier bermed turn at modest speed, without brakes and go into it with your fingers off the levers.

Be conscious of the fact that your tires can use their grip to brake, accelerate, or to change direction, and that braking will impact your traction negatively, as well as tend to bring your bike more upright.

You also just need to drill into your head that you may not brake when your wheel is not on the ground or your will be punished. Get your body weight way back and hope for the best in this case, brake afterwards.

And yeah, a lot of this will improve with just riding more.
cpach is offline  
Old 10-14-19, 08:06 PM
  #10  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,019

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 49 Posts
So some additional guidance please. I can dial down the difficulty a bit. There is a downhill trail near me that is fast and flowy. The trail has some berms that I can bank off, but to be honest I ride those burns on the low side. I brake going in to them and I brake while ON them. Would you call this trail easier? I can work on riding in to those berms and do laps up and down. It will work on my climbing skills. But man, it is a fast bike. The bike just flies over the hills that are built in to the trail.

I have been riding some more technical trails out my way, but I gently roll over the drops. And once I am over the drop, I pretty much apply the brakes again to slow my momentum. Again. Fear. Who knew learning new skills this late in life would be so challenging

Last edited by NoWhammies; 10-15-19 at 09:21 AM. Reason: Typo
NoWhammies is offline  
Likes For NoWhammies:
Old 10-14-19, 09:17 PM
  #11  
spokes5678
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 48
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You are desperate for what they call flow on the trails.
The way to get this and not ride the brakes is to look way ahead of you down the trails.
This stops you braking hard in the turns because your brain has already registered what's
ahead and you automatically do the appropriate braking, maneuvering and gear shifting
to set yourself up for what ever's ahead.
Easier said and done to relax and do this but if you can everything flows.
If you can follow a rider who knows where the clean line is this will help.
spokes5678 is offline  
Old 10-15-19, 02:23 AM
  #12  
cpach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mt Shasta, CA, USA
Posts: 1,267

Bikes: Too many. Cannondale SuperSix, Trek Remedy 8, Trek Crossrip+ get the most ride time.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 26 Posts
Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
So some additional guidance please. I can dial down the difficulty a bit. There is a downhill trail near me that is fast and flowy. The trail has some berms that I can bank off, but to be honest I ride those burns on the low side. I brake going in to them and I brake while ON them. Would you call this trail easier? I can work on riding in to those berms and do laps up and down. It will work on my climbing skills. But man, it is a fast bike. The bike just flies over the hills that are built in to the trail.

I have been riding some more technical trails out my way, but I gently roll over the drops. And once I am over the drop, I pretty much apply the brakes again to slow my momentum. Again. Fear. How knew learning new skills this late in life would be so challenging
This is fine, and berms also allow you to maintain more traction while braking in a turn than a flat turn. You don't need to ride them without touching the brakes at all, you need to decrease your depence on dragging progressively. That said, for the sake of practice:
-Brake to a comically low speed before entering the berm.
-Keep your eye farther down the turn than you're accustomed to.
-Lightly scrub speed with your rear brake in the turn to stay comfortable.
-When you feel you can, let off the brake through the remainder of the turn.

Progressively scrub less, and get off the brake sooner. After a while, enter with a more reasonable degree of speed.

One of the challenges is that in most scenarios, keeping speed low is safer. However, you need to build the skill and comfort to let the bike run faster to deal with short sections of steep, loose terrain, cornering with limited traction, or clearing obstacles. So slowly build up your confidence in low risk scenarios. A lot of beginner riders (myself included, sometimes even today) try to keep speed down at all times. It's good to practice really slamming down the speed in places with good traction--as your riding progresses and you find yourself in more challenging terrain, you simply cannot ride some things at low speed, and it's therefor more important to be good at dumping speed when you can.

-
cpach is offline  
Old 10-15-19, 09:26 AM
  #13  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,019

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 49 Posts
Thank you @spokes5678 and @cpach. All very good tips. The next time I'm out on the trails (which won't be for another two weeks at a minimum) I'll log back in here and re-read what you've written. Then I'll have to remember it while I'm riding down the trials.

@cpach if I enter the berm with a comically slow speed, I will be at the bottom half of the berm. That's ok I suppose? Also, if I'm coming in to a tight berm, how am I keeping my eye further down the turn? ie. where am I looking when I can't see past the turn? Thank you.
NoWhammies is offline  
Old 10-15-19, 11:49 AM
  #14  
cpach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mt Shasta, CA, USA
Posts: 1,267

Bikes: Too many. Cannondale SuperSix, Trek Remedy 8, Trek Crossrip+ get the most ride time.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 26 Posts
Just in general look down as far as you can, there are obvious limits to this depending on the radius of the turn. Your height in the berm will be relative to your travel speed--riding the berm high is the fastest way to get through, but it's OK to be lower in it if you're going slower. My suggestion is basically to start training to start entering turns at a speed that you need to minimally brake for.
cpach is offline  
Old 10-15-19, 08:43 PM
  #15  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,019

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 49 Posts
Thanks @cpach. Great suggestion re: speed to enter the berm at. Right now I'm bombing in there quick (due to how the trail is setup) and having to brake. I like the idea of entering the berm at a speed I can minimally brake for.
NoWhammies is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.