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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got into a discussion w/ a few riders on proper braking . I find I drag my rear brake and don't use the front enough unless I feel my bike isn't slowing so I grab more front. Seems like most of the riders in my group said they used their fronts but as the group mechanic I have changed everyones rears twice before the fronts. Any tips for proper braking ? Conciously I try and say don't drag the rear but always end up after on /off braking sends me into an uncontrolled situation.
 

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good tip...take your back brake off and ride without it....this will help you trust your front braking more and make you handle your bike better (better bike handling skills)....

back brake for controll
front brake for stopping
 

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keen said:
I got into a discussion w/ a few riders on proper braking . I find I drag my rear brake and don't use the front enough unless I feel my bike isn't slowing so I grab more front. Seems like most of the riders in my group said they used their fronts but as the group mechanic I have changed everyones rears twice before the fronts. Any tips for proper braking ? Conciously I try and say don't drag the rear but always end up after on /off braking sends me into an uncontrolled situation.
I rarely use my back brake, cuz it really has no leverage and will just cause you to skid and tear up the trail. Its really just there for those situations where u get into sand and have got to use it to stay in control...
 

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keen said:
I got into a discussion w/ a few riders on proper braking . I find I drag my rear brake and don't use the front enough unless I feel my bike isn't slowing so I grab more front. Seems like most of the riders in my group said they used their fronts but as the group mechanic I have changed everyones rears twice before the fronts. Any tips for proper braking ? Conciously I try and say don't drag the rear but always end up after on /off braking sends me into an uncontrolled situation.
I use both brakes together and cycle them on and off. For heavy braking I use more front brake and will hold the rear fairly steady while modulating the front with hard to moderate pressure. If the rear wheel starts skidding it is usually because it is unweighting so I will release the front brake to regain traction. After 22 years of mtbing it has become instinctive.

The front brake is used HARDER though the rear brake may be on more of the time, however lightly, which is why rear pads usually wear more quickly. I have noticed more even front/rear pad wear with discs than I had with rim brakes.

When I first mounted discs It was on the front first (no rear disc mount) and during an Oregon winter. The disc worked so well and the rear V-brake so poorly by comparison I basically stopped using the rear brake. It made little difference. The front disc alone was still much better than 2 rim brakes. The disc let me brake later for the turns which brought up some other issues for a while.

I learned not to brake hard with the front while turning in hard at the same time. Flipped over the bars and off the outside of the corner more than a few times. It was kind of fun though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Braking vs. speed control - I think my use of the rear brake is mainly for speed control. Maybe the front should be incorporated ? Less dragging more on / off ?
 

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If a trail is super steep and long and I may have to alternate my braking to keep them from overheating, otherwise I use my front brake almost exclusively. My rear is really only for slowing down when my front wheel is in a bad way and speed control.
Until you gain a mastery of your front brake, knowing its limits and braking confindently, your riding will always be second rate, at best. I normally go through 3 pairs of pads in the front before I need to replace one set of pads in the back.
 

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sounds like your riding with an xc crew...the front brake is the key for becoming a fast rider...well both brakes are important of course but to really know how to use the front is how guys like eric carter get where they are
 

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keen said:
Braking vs. speed control - I think my use of the rear brake is mainly for speed control. Maybe the front should be incorporated ? Less dragging more on / off ?
You still need both brakes for speed control. I have seen a rider depend too much on the rear brake DHing and he destroyed the rear rotor because of overheating. It ended up bowl shaped.
 

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Agree with Shiggy.

shiggy said:
You still need both brakes for speed control. I have seen a rider depend too much on the rear brake DHing and he destroyed the rear rotor because of overheating. It ended up bowl shaped.
Both your posts touch on the proper technique of using both brakes as strongly as possible in most situations and alternating between the two to maintain control and tire traction. I think when a lot of people hear that braking power is distributed as 80% front, 20% rear, some tend to think that 80% of braking should be done with the front. All that 80/20 formula really indicates is the braking effectiveness/efficiency between the front and rear when really locking down on both brakes...weight transfer and such. To get the most of your braking you still use the rear just about as much, but you have to be more careful about how easy it is to lock up under hard braking. Oh yeah...obviously the rear is/can be used to help steer or direct the bike in certain situations, and no, it doesn't have to mean tire skidding to help influence the bike's direction...but that's another story.
 

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proper braking technique:

Squeeze both brakes at the same time. If your wheel skids, you're squeezing too hard. if your wheel doesnt skid, you're not squeezing hard enough.

dont skid.

Lesson complete.
 

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another one:

when you are cornering, never use the front brake to slow you down, since your front tire isnt straight to the frame, it'll loose traction if you are on the trail/dirt, and you'll just keep sliding in the direction you are moving instead of actually turning.

i've had this happen many times, one of which almost cost me my bike and possibly my life, near a small cliff. i was going so fast that the chicken wire couldnt even stop my front brake from lcoking when turning, and sliding. i had to use the rear brake to stop me from going off the cliff, and it just tore the tread off the tire, and the rotor got so hot you could see heat waves radiating off it. im suprised it didnt warp

i guess thats another lesson, dont depend on one brake more than the other, if it breaks, you are most likely screwed
 
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I think skidding is fun sometimes.... but if you want to stop good try not to...

90 percent front
10 precent back is responsible for stopping...

I use my back for wheelies and stuff and thats almost it... but when I stop I use it very lightly
 
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