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single speed and front brake... really?

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single speed and front brake... really?

Old 08-28-07, 08:14 AM
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single speed and front brake... really?

i've heard people make sweeping accusations before about how you'll flip over your bars sooner or later if you run a SS (not fixed) with just a front brake. can someone explain to me how stoping the back wheel has anything to do with the direction of your momentum?
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Old 08-28-07, 08:16 AM
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It lowers the amount of momentum (speed), because the rider should first use the back brake and then apply the front, and therefore helps prevent a flip.

But, having a front brake only doesn't mean one will flip. Just means it is more likely to occur.

EDIT: Of course, someone with a front and back brake could still flip.

Last edited by lvleph; 08-28-07 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 08-28-07, 08:17 AM
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If you are going a little too fast into a corner you want to
slow by using your back wheel. Its a little more stable.
Just my boorish, unscientific opinion.......
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Old 08-28-07, 08:18 AM
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The problem with the single front brake isn't so much the flipability of the bike (you can do that on any kind of bike). The problem is that there's no backup braking system.

can someone explain to me how stoping the back wheel has anything to do with the direction of your momentum?
huh?
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Old 08-28-07, 08:21 AM
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I would say those "sweeping accusations" apply to older, lower-end brakes. Today's brakes are designed to slow down the wheel without locking it up (which is the cause of the infamous bar-flip). As long as you keep your weight towards the rear of the bike, and you aren't squeezing the lever with a death grip, you should be fine.
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Old 08-28-07, 08:32 AM
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Those sweeping accusations come from morons who don't know how to operate a front brake properly.
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Old 08-28-07, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Gambutrol View Post
I would say those "sweeping accusations" apply to older, lower-end brakes. Today's brakes are designed to slow down the wheel without locking it up (which is the cause of the infamous bar-flip). As long as you keep your weight towards the rear of the bike, and you aren't squeezing the lever with a death grip, you should be fine.
I have SRAM Rival brakes on my road bike; if I pull that front brake too hard I will flip. But new brakes are easily adjusted and so one can prevent that from happening.
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Old 08-28-07, 08:41 AM
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flipping has more to do with weight distribution in relation to braking force than it has to do with how the brakes are set up or what style they are.
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Old 08-28-07, 08:45 AM
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From Sheldon Brown:
"Many cyclists shy away from using the front brake, due to fear of flying over the handlebars. This does happen, but mainly to people who have not learned to modulate the front brake.

The cyclist who relies on the rear brake for general stopping can get by until an emergency arises, and, in a panic, he or she grabs the unfamiliar front brake as well as the rear, for extra stopping power. This can cause the classic "over the bars" crash.

Jobst Brandt has a quite plausible theory that the typical "over-the-bars" crash is caused, not so much by braking too hard, but by braking hard without using the rider's arms to brace against the deceleration: The bike stops, the rider keeps going until the rider's thighs bump into the handlebars, and the bike, which is no longer supporting the weight of the rider, flips."

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
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Old 08-28-07, 09:16 AM
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I am running my Pista as a SS now. I run front brake only. When I brake really hard, I ride an endo with my rear tire about 6" off the ground to a stop but it takes quite a bit of force to complete flip over. I have never done that, even with downhill bikes running 8" disc rotors.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:19 AM
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Old 08-28-07, 09:32 AM
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I have a basic SS conversion, and I only use the front brake, mainly because the back one does not function properly. As said above, if you know how to counter the forward momentum of your body with your arms, you won't flip.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:35 AM
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So my geared bike with one brake is going to me me spontaneously combust I think...

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Old 08-28-07, 09:39 AM
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A bigger problem then flipping is locking up the front wheel. Every bike that is going to be ridden above jogging pace should have a way of easily stopping both wheels. To forgo either is just moronic.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Re-Cycle View Post
So my geared bike with one brake is going to me me spontaneously combust I think...
Elegantly stated.


...as someone mentioned earlier, you can stop with only one brake (hell, if you ask Ted Shred, you can stop a SS with no brakes) but the rear brake offers the advantages of redundancy and finesse. In certain kinds of terrain-- sandy, gravely or icy-- I consider a rear brake essential, due to the danger skidding the front wheel and losing control of the bike.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by baxtefer View Post
Those sweeping accusations come from morons who don't know how to operate a front brake properly.
Word.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by lvleph View Post
It lowers the amount of momentum (speed), because the rider should first use the back brake and then apply the front, and therefore helps prevent a flip.

But, having a front brake only doesn't mean one will flip. Just means it is more likely to occur.

EDIT: Of course, someone with a front and back brake could still flip.
This is tripe.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dutret View Post
A bigger problem then flipping is locking up the front wheel.
I'm not sure about that - that doesn't ever happen to me unless I am riding on sandy streets (or you have tires from the 1950's.) Modern tires, especially race tires, are super sticky. You will flip over before you lock up the front tires.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:49 AM
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more front brake!!
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Old 08-28-07, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by baxtefer View Post
Those sweeping accusations come from morons who don't know how to operate a front brake properly.
Agreed.

The front brake isn't an on-off switch. You have to modulate it. Its all about progressive pressure on the lever. You apply a little bit of pressure to the brake until your weight starts to move forward, then contunue to squeeze the brake harder and harder, the harder you brake, the more weight is transfered to the front tire, the more weight on the front, the more traction, the harder you can brake.

The limit is when the front tires starts to slide or the back wheel come off the ground, in which case you have to get off the brake because either the front wheel will tuck and you will go down or you will flip.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MIN View Post
I'm not sure about that - that doesn't ever happen to me unless I am riding on sandy streets (or you have tires from the 1950's.) Modern tires, especially race tires, are super sticky. You will flip over before you lock up the front tires.
You live in portland. If you can't lock up your front wheel before you flip a good portion of the time between oct and jul you need to work on shifting your weight around more.
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Old 08-28-07, 10:07 AM
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one brake on either end provides plenty of stopping power, either SS one brake or brakeless fixed gear is more than adequate

learn how to ride the equipment and how to stay within its design limits, is that all that difficult?

I've got around 30k miles riding a SS front brake in the city and about 40k brakeless fixed, stopping has not been a problem or an issue even when the roads are icy or snowy.
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Old 08-28-07, 10:24 AM
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I was riding a SS for a week with only the front brake because my rear brake cable needed to be replaced. I was doing fine til I started riding more in Hollywood with the crazy road rage locals and oblivious tourists. Was behind a car when it abruptly stopped, I hit the front brake and commenced flight over the handlebars. Am I the only one who's had an "OH ****" moment?
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Old 08-28-07, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by okpik View Post
one brake on either end provides plenty of stopping power, either SS one brake or brakeless fixed gear is more than adequate

learn how to ride the equipment and how to stay within its design limits, is that all that difficult?
When considering my own and other folks' personal safety, "adequate" doesn't cut it. The "design limits" of track bikes is that they are used on a track, and most street bikes are "designed" to use two brakes.

I've said it before: no one can reasonably argue that having fewer mechanisms to stop a moving bicycle is safer or better.
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Old 08-28-07, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Aeroplane View Post
This is tripe.
Explain to me why it is either useless, or incorrect?
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