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Hey all,

I developed a bad trait when I was younger with pretty much always using the rear brake, for fear of flipping over the handlebars. I have been reading:

http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

Which is saying I should be using the front break 95% of the time, does this apply to trail riding as well? Do you guys usually just use the front brakes?

Thanks!
 

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Even more so. Most of your stopping power is in the front. On a trail, your rear brake is more likely to skid on on dirt given the force needed to stop. You don't "just' use the front brake -- it's probably more like "75/25". The rear brake is primarily to keep the rear wheel down and prevent endo-ing. This is why your front rotor is usually larger than the rear... it sees more friction and increases the heat capacity.

Feathering the rear brake (by itself) is useful for trimming your angle on turns. That's not really a "stopping" situation, but there are some occasions you will just use your rear brake.
 

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I use both all the time....the questions is how much force to each brake...

Normally more force on the rear unless it starts to skid...then I use more on the front...

Or if the rear gets to hot I will start with more front brake..

Also if the brakes are getting hot use stab braking off and on braking with both brakes.
 

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I was in the same situation when I first got my Windsor. Because of childhood habits I was afraid of killing myself if I used the front brake. But one time I was flying down the fire trail and needed to stop. Yeah I mean, I NEEDED to stop... unless I wanted to hit that big rock..... But I pulled both brakes hard. I didn't flip over the handlebars or anything at all. Tired skidded a little in the gravel, but I didn't wreck.

Just don't slam on your brakes when you're in the middle of a turn and you should be fine. Extra care should be taken when going down hills, because you do have a higher risk of going over the bars. Shift your weight more towards the rear and if you feel like you're going overboard, just let up on the brake. Easy enough.

But I haven't had any trouble. If you want to stop, first apply pressure to the rear (but don't lock your wheel and skid) and then apply pressure to the front. Don't be afraid of it, you should be fine.
 

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It's all about the FSR!
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I actually do the reverse of this, by applying pressure to the front first, and then the rear at almost the same time.
 

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Unless you're a highly skilled rider controlling the bike through turns with controlled rear skids, you should always use both brakes. Most of your stopping power is in the front.

Here are some tips on using the front without going over the bars:

Make sure your brakes are properly set up and functional. You should have good modulation - meaning that they're not too grabby and don't tend to lock the wheels with moderate brake pressure. Rather the grab should ramp up as you squeeze harder.

Learn not to overdo the front brake. Don't wait until your verging on disaster to scrub speed. Stay within your limits, be conservative until you gain confidence in using the front brake.

Anticipate the inertial forces that will propel your body froward as you apply the brakes Move your weight back on the saddle and use your arms and legs to resist, . I find this essential to safe braking, especially when going downhill.
 

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rear for control....front to stop

rear can be used by itself....front is usually used in conjunction with the rear....

when actively using the front release it completely for anything that will dramatically slow your front wheel down until you clear the obstacle....even if it's only for a split second....

obstacles like rocks, roots, squirrels, tight turns, ledges, your buddy who endoed in front of ya, etc....

my.02
 

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I use the front brake so much that I have at times thought of jettisoning the rear brake to save the weight. Not that I never use the rear, but I really don't use it much and could probably get by without it if I wanted to do so.

The secret to using the front brake is to brace yourself against the bars and push back against the deceleration forces. Don't just be passive and sit there. Brace. Shift your weight back as needed. Practice to get the hang of it. Also, let up on the brake if your wheel is about to hit a log. Sometimes you must modulate the brake on and off to correspond to the changes in terrain.
 

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This might be dumb but I have ridden motorcycles for years. When I got my SS I realized the brake lever positions were backwards from a motorcycle (right lever is rear on bicycle)...Needless to say the back brake is at my feet on a motorcycle but it kinda messes with my head...Am I the only one who has noticed? Any reason for left hand front, right hand back? Has anyone changed the positioning?

Am I losing my mind??
 

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It's all about the FSR!
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This might be dumb but I have ridden motorcycles for years. When I got my SS I realized the brake lever positions were backwards from a motorcycle (right lever is rear on bicycle)...Needless to say the back brake is at my feet on a motorcycle but it kinda messes with my head...Am I the only one who has noticed? Any reason for left hand front, right hand back? Has anyone changed the positioning?

Am I losing my mind??
Not at all. I have heard of a lot of people swapping. One of my friends did that on his Heckler.
 

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This might be dumb but I have ridden motorcycles for years. When I got my SS I realized the brake lever positions were backwards from a motorcycle (right lever is rear on bicycle)...Needless to say the back brake is at my feet on a motorcycle but it kinda messes with my head...Am I the only one who has noticed? Any reason for left hand front, right hand back? Has anyone changed the positioning?

Am I losing my mind??
Not at all. I have heard of a lot of people swapping. One of my friends did that on his Heckler.
it's called 'moto style'.....and is fun to watch when your friends jump on your bike for a spin....
 

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Big Gulps, Alright!
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This might be dumb but I have ridden motorcycles for years. When I got my SS I realized the brake lever positions were backwards from a motorcycle (right lever is rear on bicycle)...Needless to say the back brake is at my feet on a motorcycle but it kinda messes with my head...Am I the only one who has noticed? Any reason for left hand front, right hand back? Has anyone changed the positioning?

Am I losing my mind??
By law, shops must sell bikes where the right brake controls the rear, and the left controls the front. The end user can change it, but it must be assembled in that manner. Same reason most showroom bikes have reflectors.

Of course these laws aren't always followed, because they're mostly stupid and not worth enforcing.
 

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local trails rider
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when actively using the front release it completely for anything that will dramatically slow your front wheel down until you clear the obstacle....even if it's only for a split second....
+1
The secret to using the front brake is to brace yourself against the bars and push back against the deceleration forces. Don't just be passive and sit there. Brace. Shift your weight back as needed.
You can also shift your weight down. Timed right, it can push the bike at the ground, increasing available traction and also helping to keep the rear end down.
 

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I ran into a suggestion on another thread to try to center over the pedals when descending, and even push into them for braking.

I find I get a lot more braking power if I do this than if I brace against the handlebar, and I can still flick the front end around if I need to. Not that I'm always consistent, of course...
 

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I ran into a suggestion on another thread to try to center over the pedals when descending, and even push into them for braking.

I find I get a lot more braking power if I do this than if I brace against the handlebar, and I can still flick the front end around if I need to. Not that I'm always consistent, of course...
If you mean "balance over the pedals" rather than geometrically center over the pedals then you are correct. You should stay balanced on the pedals all the time. So, when you are decelerating that means you have to move your center of gravity back to keep from pushing or pulling on the handle bars.

Keeping your weight balanced on your pedals allows you to use your rear brake as much as the front since both tires have the same force applied to the ground.

To practice, get going about 10mph on dirt or asphalt and apply both brakes while shifting your weight back and down. Keep doing this until you can brake pretty hard without having to apply much force to the handle bars (push or pull). You will find that during the heavy stopping you will be way back. As your deceleration slows your weight will shift forward slowly. Picture a gage on your handle bars that measures forward and rearward force. Try to balance on the pedals so that bar gage is always reading zero (may not be possible on high traction surfaces). Then modulate both brakes without skidding.

NOTE: This is for straight line braking only. Braking through turns is a different story.
 

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Has anyone changed the positioning?
Since the front derailleur is on the left, it makes sense why the front brake lever is on the left too. I changed my brake positions too. Only ones that will be annoyed by it is people that ride motorcycles. It won't matter to others.
 

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rear for control....front to stop
Ding. The rear is more of a trim while cornering. Use the front brake to stop.

If you're grabbing your front brake while cornering you're greatly increasing the odds of your front wheel washing out.
 

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This might be dumb but I have ridden motorcycles for years. When I got my SS I realized the brake lever positions were backwards from a motorcycle (right lever is rear on bicycle)...Needless to say the back brake is at my feet on a motorcycle but it kinda messes with my head...Am I the only one who has noticed? Any reason for left hand front, right hand back? Has anyone changed the positioning?

Am I losing my mind??
i get really screwed up sometimes because of this haha that's funny.. i was just out the other day and kept expecting the wrong things to happen with my braking
 
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