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Great... another hobby...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm a bigger guy but losing weight right now between 230-240. I have a hardtail with hydros (juicy 3's) and 8" rotor in from 6" in back. Sometimes my brakes seem to be lacking a little in the downhill sections of the trails so I was wondering if I should uspsise my rear rotor to a 7" or 8"? Any thoughts? Thanks.
 

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Old man on a bike
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Most of your braking power is in the front. You might see some benefit from a bigger rear rotor but you might also consider your technique, different pads, making sure your brakes are set up well, etc., as you should have more than enough brake now.
 

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Never trust a fart
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I'm at the 200lb. mark right now. My 185mm front and rear rotors with my BB7's work perfectly stopping me. They might even be a little overkill. I do use both the front and rear together to stop me, that is probably why they work so well.
 

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Great... another hobby...
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'll make sure to try relying a little more on the front and see what happens. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thats a great article, my technique definitely sucks according to this. I think I'll try switching my levers around too.

Bikinfoolferlife said:
Try this article http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html while not really about mountain bike technique, the concepts are there. FWIW I use a 185 front/160 rear setup on two bikes and find it plenty of braking even on long mountain descents, I weigh 195-200 plus gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ha! That would be a great joke! That being said umm... how would I go about doing that?
 

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Old man on a bike
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I'm pretty sure Avids are setup so you just switch the levers around on your bars. Ambidextrous I believe they call it. Hopefully someone will chime in...
 

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Bikinfoolferlife said:
Try this article http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html while not really about mountain bike technique, the concepts are there.
Not meaning to dismiss everything said in that guide but I disagree with a lot of what he has to say about front/rear brake usage for when you're talking about MTB'ing. His suggestions of using the front brake nearly all the time for 'everything' (nice dry pavements?) would, I believe, just be downright dangerous in MTBworld, particularly if you enjoy pushing the envolope a bit here and there.

I'm not sure I could advise well about how I generally use my brakes as it's all very much a subconscious thing and I've not really thought about it, but will say I use both to differing degrees as and when the specific terrain demands it. There's just so much variation in terrain condition from one moment to the next that it really is, in my opinion, a highly dynamic affair as to how best to bias front/rear. That guide reads like it was wrote for roadies.

OK, end of rant. :D

P.S. I'm only a lightweight ~160lbs rider, running 185mm Oro front and rear which are awesome... loads of power. The 185mm rear is undoubtedly overkill for what I do. Personally I'd be curious about the condition of the brakes if 203/160 ain't working out.
 

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Bikinfoolferlife said:
Yeah, that's why I said it wasn't about mountain bike technique...
Seems a pretty worthless guide then? I wasn't intending to have a go at you, it's just that some not-so-experienced folks could take a guide like that as good advice.
 

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I'm a big Clyde & use 185mm BB7s front and rear. I saw the 160s for $49 a wheel. Then I saw the 185s for $53 a wheel @ elitecycling.biz. Went 185 front and rear despite all that has been said about 160s being all you need in the rear. For $4 more, I figured, why not? (brake rotor weight is not an issue for me). Why should it be?...considering my weight! :D
 

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fyrfytr310 said:
So I'm a bigger guy but losing weight right now between 230-240. I have a hardtail with hydros (juicy 3's) and 8" rotor in from 6" in back. Sometimes my brakes seem to be lacking a little in the downhill sections of the trails so I was wondering if I should uspsise my rear rotor to a 7" or 8"? Any thoughts? Thanks.
im almost the same weight and running 5's with a 7" rear, and i'd trade you. The rear just likes to lock up more, it's no benefit.

it looks pretty dope though.
 

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Not meaning to dismiss everything said in that guide but I disagree with a lot of what he has to say about front/rear brake usage for when you're talking about MTB'ing. His suggestions of using the front brake nearly all the time for 'everything' (nice dry pavements?)
Been a while since I read Sheldons article, but I seem to remember that he did mention that the exception to the rule was when riding off road.
 

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NMBP
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I have an 8" rotor on the front and rear. I have tried a 6" on the back and the power wasn't there. For me the larger rotor equals more control. And a disclaimer for all the brake police, I don't lock up my rear tire, ever.
 

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EmanResu said:
Seems a pretty worthless guide then? I wasn't intending to have a go at you, it's just that some not-so-experienced folks could take a guide like that as good advice.
How could it be worthless? It is good advice still, even if it isn't specifically about mountain biking. You still get most of your effective braking from the front brake, on road or off road. I've seen a couple articles written on braking for mountain biking and they will also try and get the point across that the front brake is the most effective. I'm not saying it's the most effective advice for all braking situations by any means.

I thought it might help the OP as he was using an 8" disc up front and feeling as if he had less than necessary braking power (in Ohio yet). The OP thought it was helpful. YMMV.
 

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By lacking, do you mean that the brakes start to fade? I have XTR on one bike with 203 rotors front and rear and the front fades from time to time - as in you have to pull harder for the same braking effect. If the lever just gets mushy a simple bleed may fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You know I didn't think of that. I'll try that although I might still upsize for the aesthetics of it all :D

gticlay said:
By lacking, do you mean that the brakes start to fade? I have XTR on one bike with 203 rotors front and rear and the front fades from time to time - as in you have to pull harder for the same braking effect. If the lever just gets mushy a simple bleed may fix it.
 

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Bikinfoolferlife said:
How could it be worthless? It is good advice still, even if it isn't specifically about mountain biking. You still get most of your effective braking from the front brake, on road or off road. I've seen a couple articles written on braking for mountain biking and they will also try and get the point across that the front brake is the most effective. I'm not saying it's the most effective advice for all braking situations by any means.

I thought it might help the OP as he was using an 8" disc up front and feeling as if he had less than necessary braking power (in Ohio yet). The OP thought it was helpful. YMMV.
I understand and don't disagree with you as such, it's just that Sheldon guy's advice I particularly disagree with. For instance, in his opening paragraph Sheldon "Front Brake" Brown states: "Conventional wisdom says to use both brakes at the same time. This is probably good advice for beginners, who have not yet learned to use their brakes skillfully, but if you don't graduate past this stage, you will never be able to stop as short safely as a cyclist who has learned to use the front brake by itself."

I don't disagree the front brake is the most important for stopping with regards its capability in optimal circumstances, but I would ask Sheldon to test his little theory sometime of the front brake only really being necessary for skilled cyclists by riding off-road downhill sections using front brake only. Maybe he'd feel comfortable doing that (bs), but I certainly wouldn't because I know just how much the back brake is necessary, too. It'd scare the life out of me having only a front brake and attempting to ride the way I do with both. Think about riding downhill on a less than super-grippy surface with only a front brake? Now I know you didn't imply that only the front brake is really needed, but Sheldon's advice, which as you hinted isn't really applicable for MTB'ing, generally does. I believe this could prove bad advice for any people who might take it as being sound practice for MTB.

"When to Use The Rear Brake: Skilled cyclists use the front brake alone probably 95% of the time, but there are instances when the rear brake is preferred:

* Slippery surfaces. On good, dry pavement, it is generally impossible to skid the front wheel by braking. On slippery surfaces, however it is possible to do so. It is nearly impossible to recover from a front wheel skid, so if there is a high risk of skidding, you're better off controlling your speed with the rear brake."
... or here's a bizarre concept, how about using *both* brakes whilst cunningly modulating the pressure to each individually as appropriate?

" * Bumpy surfaces. On rough surfaces, your wheels may actually bounce up into the air. If there is a chance of this, don't use the front brake. If you apply the front brake while the wheel is airborne, it will stop, and coming down on a stopped front wheel is a Very Bad Thing." ... so if you're riding rocks/roots and there's even the chance your front wheel could momentarily go airbourne, don't use your front brake(!) or feel the wrath of Very Bad Thing(TM). Rubbish.

" * Long mountain descents, when your front brake hand may get tired, or you may be at risk of overheating a rim and blowing a tire. For this situation, it is best to alternate between the front and rear brake, but not to use them both at once." ... Horse crap.

"Generally I advise against using both brakes at the same time." ... with a couple of irrelevant exceptions. That's just rubbish advice. If you rely on your front brake too much then if/when you do loose traction you'll regret it worse than if you used both brakes in a proper manner in the same circumstance. You're actually more prone to lose front wheel traction if your bias is 100/0 than, for example, 70/30. The rear bias would also help keep the bike tracking straight.

...

Anyway, like I said I'm not out to diss you, Bikinfoolferlife, just that I can't not say something about that Sheldon advice because I think it's mostly crap, frankly, but each to their own. :D
 
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