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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you use your brakes? Front, back or both, and may be none? Light, hard or feathering control braking? I want to know how to use my brakes more effectively. I here all to often that momentum in DH is you friend. I hope I'm not assuming that does not necessarily mean speed, just movement. edgimucate me.
 

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Its got what plants crave
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If tires are skidding you're doing it wrong. Unless it's an intentional slide to reposition the rear wheel or something along those lines, that is. If you aren't using the front brake heavily (but with finesse) then you could be braking later and less often.
 

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I use my front more then my back and use both for increased stopping power. I try and brake hard before a turn, not while turning or going around a brim.

At least this is what I try and do...
 

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Ride, Jump, Pray, Land
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It really depends on the track and the weather and the speed you are travelling. You will have to figure out yourself what works best. Everyone will use their brakes differently on each track and each run.
 

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Slap happy crappiness
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Brake before a turn, not in it. Corner's are all about exit speed, keep that in mind with braking and it'll help you properly brake. Stay off them in the rough if possible.
I usually use both for normal braking. For panic braking it's usually rear. For looking cool and doing stoppies after my run it's front only.
As far as light, hard, feather... it really just depends on the situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
siyross said:
It really depends on the track and the weather and the speed you are travelling. You will have to figure out yourself what works best. Everyone will use their brakes differently on each track and each run.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but you didn't say sh*t. like with everything there are general rules regardless of the conditions.
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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front brake is for stopping ...rear brake is for steering....never use front brake in turns

a good technique for learning braking skills is to take your rear brake off bike and ride your favorite trail....

this will teach you:

to feather your brake
body positioning (lower center of gravity) (so you don't go over the bars)
better (more efficient) braking technique
learning to weight the back

you learn fast this way because if you do make mistake you realize it right away. Your front tire will slide out or you will feel yourself getting light (like you are going over bars or you will go OTB).

IMO this is the fastest way to learn proper braking technique if you are a better then a beginner. Beginners need more time on bike first
 

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slowing down before a turn?

use both brakes, but with more emphasis on the front brake (its where the braking power resides on a bicycle)

if making a slide into a turn, without looking to scrub speed, then its the back brake for sure...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
SHIVER ME TIMBERS said:
a good technique for learning braking skills is to take your rear brake off bike and ride your favorite trail....this will teach you.
IMO this is the fastest way to learn proper braking technique
I like the suggestion and will do it when I think my knees can handle the mistakes, but right now is a little to early too be taking those kind of chances, plus it's way to muddy here in the tri-state area.
 

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Practice: mark a point on the ground, preferably dirt but the street if fine too. Roll with speed to the line/marked point and try to stop before it "without" skidding. As you get better, increase your speed. Some tips: drop you heals ( forces your body weight down and into the pedals) and shift your weight back and down. Just remember not so far back that you unweight the front. I use a ***** ton of front brake but it just takes time to get the feel. This is just a basic drill i use to help beginners but is fun at all levels.
 

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Drth Vadr said:
I like the suggestion and will do it when I think my knees can handle the mistakes, but right now is a little to early too be taking those kind of chances, plus it's way to muddy here in the tri-state area.
knees have nothing to do with it...if you are scared falling then go slower at first...that is the first thing you will realize....you will have to go slower to stay in control....which will get you going faster in the long run because you will brake way better and your bike skills go up because of balance
 

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SHIVER ME TIMBERS said:
knees have nothing to do with it...if you are scared falling then go slower at first...that is the first thing you will realize....you will have to go slower to stay in control....which will get you going faster in the long run because you will brake way better and your bike skills go up because of balance
I learn a ton of balance and slow speed handling skills crawling up technical climbs where I'm at my limit of power/lungs and can not just power through them but instead have to pick lines carefully.
 

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Read the braking section of "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills" by Lee McCormack and Brian Lopes.

In fact...read the whole thing, multiple times. Lots of good info in there for you to think about.
 

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charvey9 said:
Read the braking section of "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills" by Lee McCormack and Brian Lopes.

In fact...read the whole thing, multiple times. Lots of good info in there for you to think about.
I second this one.
Also, I think really focusing on your position on your bike/your attack position is key. A great attack position allows you to scan farther down the trail, be better prepared, and see where to brake. I've been riding a while, and I recently reviewed and made some tweaks to my position and it has paid off in spades in all aspects of my riding, braking and cornering in particular.
Its better to focus braking by feel rather than trying too hard to focus on the mechanics of braking while riding.
 

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The best tip I got was only brake when you need to, then brake like you mean it.

So when you are about to touch your brakes, do you really need to drop any speed there, or could you ride on through. If you really do need to hit that brake, wait until the last minute and ditch a ton of speed fast.

This advice is relevant for most stuff and sped me up a lot.
 

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How hard do you think would it be to make some kind of recording mechanism to attach to my brake lever to see where I brake. Maybe just a a pressure over time stat.

Most of my braking is done by instinct and I don't think I'm doing much wrong but I'm really curious as to how much I use my brakes, especially rear, and where. Remembering DH runs I honestly don't have a clue where I use my brakes apart from the spots I've marked down as braking areas.
 

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Drth Vadr said:
How do you use your brakes? Front, back or both, and may be none? Light, hard or feathering control braking?
hampstead bandit said:
use both brakes, but with more emphasis on the front brake (its where the braking power resides on a bicycle)
Jim311 said:
If you aren't using the front brake heavily (but with finesse) then you could be braking later and less often.
Evo. said:
I use my front more then my back and....
There are good reasons for this pattern. :)

On my AM bike, I super-sized my front rotor so that squeezing both levers equally gives much more braking at the front wheel than at the back, so the proper bias comes more naturally. I'm running 203/160 rotors now and it just feels right. Of course you can do the same thing just by squeezing the front lever harder, but I didn't see any point leaving my bike set up with the stock brake balance if I was just going to have to compensate for it every time I pull the levers.

So for the DH bike I'm building (just ordered the frame last week) I'm thinking 203/203 but with a much more aggressive front brake - like Shimano Saint front and XT rear, or Hope v2 front and x2 rear, or Code front and Juicy rear, etc. Is anyone else using a setup like that to get a better brake balance?
 

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l'm with SMT...

the only thing l do different --

right hand = front brake
left hand = rear brake

l have been doing this for years --- sure, l used to motocross but that's not the reason... l have been doing right/front & left/rear for about 29 years. if l'm not mistaken, most of the world set their bikes up this way, it's the U.S. market that has it right/rear, left/front.

* some of it is that l only have half a thumb on my left hand (cut it off when l was 19) -- dexterity with that hand is a little different.... l also prefer to have a twist shifter on the front D cause l can't quite reach index'd shifters.

* l always felt, use your dominant hand to control your dominant brake (the front).

* it keeps people from asking if they can borrow your bike --
-----Joe biker dude: "hey Mike, can l take your bike for a spin"?
-----Me: "sure, go right ahead... oh by the way, the brakes are reversed"
-----Joe biker dude: "oh, ehhh... neveryoumind"
**** if l don't think all that highly of the person, l let them find out on their own.

* in the unlikely event someone jacks my bike, l sure hope they go assoverteakettle the first time the jam on the brakes not knowing the brakes are reversed.
 
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